The faculty mentor form is the best place to take and share notes related to mentee progress.

ERAS timeline for MD Residency can be found here.

Ask the student. If that does not work, feel free to contact the Assistant Dean or Associate Director of Career Mentoring ( and

    1. August – November (MS3 year): Mentees will request a career mentor, if not already established.

    2. Prior to December (MS3 year): Schedule meeting as MS4 schedule is due in late December and Jan

    3. Jan - March (MS3 year): Start applying for away rotations at least 8 weeks in advance of the start of the rotation. Rotations should be done in April through August.

    4. April (MS4 year): Mentees meet with mentors on specialty career selection and attend programming if offered. Review CV and personal statement.

    5. July – August (MS4 year): Meet to discuss where to apply for interviews

    6. Jan (MS4 year):  Meet to discuss rank list (due in Feb)

  1. Briefly review mentorship article.

  2. Complete ‘Medical student advising tracking form’. This will allow you to discover their background, motivations for the specialty, etc.

  3. Assess competitiveness: MS1 and MS2 grades/remediations, step 1 score, extramural involvement, previous life experiences, involvement in specialty of their choice.

  4. Make recommendations for improving competitiveness (need for research – specialty specific or not, involvement, leadership, need for away rotations and number)

  5. Mentors need to be “point of truth” for competitiveness. Encourage consideration parallel residency plan if not considered competitive for first specialty choice (student should establish with career mentor in that specialty as well).

  6. Give your perspective on the specialty of their choosing. Try VERY HARD not to insert bias as this is the STUDENT’S DECISION.  You are the facilitator.

  1. Complete 4th year schedule

  2. Give early impressions of where to do away rotations given your advisee’s competitiveness

  3. Review CV

  1. Review content to be included in MSPE.

  2. CV, and Personal Statement review

  3. Review away rotation recommendations and applications

  4. Begin discussion of where to apply for interviews given mentee’s competitiveness.

  1. Review content to be included in MSPE.

  2. Review programs for application and discuss strategy of reach, middle, and safety programs. AAMC program search tool:

  3. Discuss Letter of Recommendation (LOR) assignments to programs.

  4. Encourage participation in Mock Interview sessions conducted by Medical Student Affairs (Sept/Oct)

  1. Review content to be included in MSPE.

  2. Discuss creation of rank list

  3. Have mentee discuss priorities of what is driving their decision:  geography, family, program, competitiveness.  You match their insight with their competitiveness to best facilitate their decision.

  1. While they requested a mentor because they likely have an interest, don’t automatically assume this is the right specialty for them.

  2. Have the student explain why they’ve formed an interest in your they have insight?

  3. Have the student discuss the role of your specialty in the healthcare they have insight?

  4. Make sure you give them a real-world perspective of what your specialty ‘really’ is. Be very positive and realistic with them so they understand your field.

  5. When discussing other specialties, be as un-biased as possible. Why?  Many students are uncomfortable telling their mentors that they’ve changed their mind.  MAKE IT EASY AND COMFORTABLE FOR THEM to make their final decision...your specialty or not!

  1. If you are unsure about the competitiveness of your specialty, or the IU program specifically, discuss this with your specialty Program Director. The Residency Explorer is an additional tool that students use to evaluate competitiveness

  2. The most current national statistics regarding successful and unsuccessful applicant attributes in the Match can be found in the NRMP report Charting Outcomes in the Match for 2020, published by the NRMP.

    1. Diagnose the learner: Why did they choose your specialty? What specific are of interest? Is there another specialty that draws upon those interests?

    2. What are the student’s strengths and weaknesses? Is there another specialty that better matches the student’s strengths?

    3. Assess other specialties that potentially interest the student (i.e., procedure-oriented specialties, outpatient vs inpatient, more or less patient contact specialties).

    4. If other specialties are identified, facilitate working with a faculty member from that department for supplemental advising. The student can request a mentor from an additional specialty via the career mentoring page on Mednet.  (

    5. If they really want to pursue your specialty, are there other avenues the student could pursue enhance their education? (i.e., research path, Master of Education, Master of Business Administration, Master of Public Health, fellowship training)

  1. Program directors were asked to provide recommendation for MS4 scheduling. These documents can be found on the Mednet Career Mentoring page. (

  2. Discuss need, numbers, and program selection for away rotations.

  1. There is no magic number of program applications to be successful in the Match.

  2. Assess student competitiveness and make recommendations based on strength of programs. Students should be encouraged to apply to a few “reach” programs (those programs recognized as being the most competitive in the field), many middle tiered programs, and several “safety net” programs.

  3. The AAMC has recently developed a tool to assist with guiding program application numbers.  This tool has many shortcomings and is based solely on USMLE step 1 scores.  This should be used only as a guide and may be most useful as an indicator of the minimum number of programs for application.

  4. The student will be looking to your expertise in choosing programs for application.

  5. At risk applicant should be encouraged to apply to newly accredited programs. You can find the list here. Please notify the student’s Lead Advisor and the Assistant Dean for Career Mentoring if you believe the student is at risk for not matching.

  1. Well known, stable leadership, no residency probation by the Residency Review Committee (RRC), consistent ACGME accreditation.

  2. Reputation

  3. Geographic location may play an independent factor

  1. Less than 10 years old, located in community (non-academic) settings, inexperienced program leadership.

  1. Programs less than 5 years old

  2. Academic citations

  3. Current resident composition includes many international medical graduates

Debra Rusk, MD

Assistant Dean, Career Mentoring and Professional Development