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FAQs / Additional Info
How do I pick a specialty?
Visit the Careers in Medicine and complete the assessments that can help you know yourself better and pick a specialty that suits you. Talk to those who know you well and obtain their input. Think about the clinical experiences you have had: What has excited you? What has made it easy for you to get up early and go to work? What experiences would you feel incomplete as a physician if you left them behind? Do you like the OR? Do you need to go to the OR in your career? What could you do for 30+ more years?
How do students get assigned a career goal advisor?
Please contact the head career goal advisor. If you are considering different specialties, when you have narrowed it down to 2 (maybe 3), then reach out to the head career goal advisor listed on the website. You will be assigned your own career goal advisor at the beginning of Individualization Phase. If you have questions before then, you can ask the head career goal advisor, your college advisor, your campus advisor, or Dr. Chuang. All these individuals form a system of advising to help you navigate this process and optimize your Match success. Once you have finalized your specialty choice, be sure to thank the other career goal advisors and let them know of your final choice.
How do I pick rotations if I’m not sure?
You still need to have AI’s but choose with an eye towards one that will help you move forward on your decision as early as possible in Indy Phase. For example, if one of the specialties you are interested in is Ob/Gyn and you know you love OB but am less sure of the GYN, then you should choose an AI in GYN so you can revisit the clinical area you are less sure of. You don’t need to revisit OB because you have a sure opinion about it as a career. You may need to schedule more than one AI if you are deciding between 2 specialties. Once you have finalized a specialty, you may need to alter your course schedule, but never fear, there is add/drop.
Should I do an away rotation? What in?
This will ultimately depend on what specialty you decide upon. Generally, you should not schedule an away AI until you are certain of your specialty choice.
Do I need a rotation at UNC if I spent my time in Charlotte/Asheville/Wilmington?
You don’t need a rotation, but sometimes it’s good to expand your network of faculty and residents who can give you advice and share their experiences with you.
When do I need to meet with my career goal advisor? How do I prepare?
Your career goal advisor, college advisor, campus advisor can help you decide on a specialty and help you with your application. You can expect to meet with your career goal advisor the spring before you apply, about a year before the Match. You should meet with your career goal advisor(s) a minimum of 1 time, but most students meet with their advisors more than that. During the application and interview season, UNC holds many sessions that can help you: class meetings, ERAS Application Workshops, Mock Interviews, group meetings, individual meetings and more.
How many letters of recommendation do I need? From whom should I get them?
This depends on the specific programs to which you are applying as each program asks for slightly different numbers, usually 3-4. You should ask faculty with whom you’ve worked closely. This can be faculty from Application Phase or Indy Phase. For some specialties, you will need to set up an appointment with the Chairperson of the Department in Chapel Hill who will write each student a summary letter of support. This letter counts as one of your letters of recommendation. Your career goal advisor can help you figure out their assistant’s name so you can set up an appointment.
When do I ask for my letters? What do they need?|
Ideally you will have finalized your specialty choice before asking for a letter, you want to ask for a letter when you believe you have performed well enough to obtain a letter (use your evaluations or feedback as a guide) or if the attending offers to write you one. It is always helpful for a letter writer to have your CV and your personal statement. If you think the attending may have trouble remembering you (because some time has passed since the rotation), it is helpful to remind them with an anecdote of your time together, maybe a specific patient case or a specific experience you had together.
How do I determine the best programs I should apply to?
You should use online resources that are available to explore programs: FREIDA, Doximity Residency Navigator, APGO Residency Directory, and others. Then you need to use Texas Star to see how good a fit you are for these programs. This takes some work, but it will help you apply more effectively and efficiently.
If I haven’t decided by the application deadline, can I apply in more than one specialty?
This can be done and has been done but takes significantly more resources. You would have to apply to more programs, craft 2 personal statements, obtain 2 sets of recommendation letters, attend more interviews and all of this requires more energy and more money. Ideally, you would decide before the application deadline. Very occasionally, (and I mean very, very occasionally), a student lets the Match decide for them. Please consult your advisors (career, college, campus) and Student Affairs if you find yourself in this position as this requires significantly more strategy than applying in one specialty.
Once you have finalized your specialty choice, see FAQ’s for that specialty.