Department Website: med.unc.edu/pathology
Faculty Member Contacts
Siobhan O’Connor, MD
Associate Professor, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Associate Program Director
FAQs / Additional Info
How do students get assigned a career goal advisor?
We do not assign specific career advisors to students. After students meet with the head career goal advisor, they will be given the names of other advisors and their specific area of clinical interest. Students are invited to meet with the other advisors, and they may elect to choose an alternative advisor based on personal preference/fit.
What should my Individualization Phase schedule look like?
Medical students going into Pathology should plan to complete one or two Pathology rotations. Residents planning to enter an anatomic pathology or combined anatomic/clinical pathology residency should complete a surgical pathology rotation.
Do all my rotations need to be in Pathology?
No. As Pathology residents don’t do a general intern year, it is important to diversify your clinical training during medical school.
Should I do an away rotation? What in?
Away rotations are generally not necessary in Pathology. If students would like to learn more about a specific program, it may be reasonable to schedule a rotation. However, most UNC students who match into Pathology have not done an away rotation.
Do I need a rotation at UNC if I spent my time in Charlotte/Asheville/Wilmington?
While not absolutely required, it is strongly encouraged. Academic Pathology departments provide an experience that is a more accurate preview of what students can expect in their residency.
When do I need to meet with my career goal advisor? How do I prepare?
Students are encouraged to meet with their career goal advisor (1) prior to finalizing their Individualization Phase schedule, (2) prior to submitting residency application, and (3) additional times, as helpful to the student.
How many letters of recommendation do I need? From whom should I get them?
Students need at least 3 letters of recommendation. One and ideally two would be from a pathologist who the student worked with clinically.
When do I ask for my letters? What do they need?
Students are encouraged to contact letter writers at least 4 weeks and ideally 6 weeks prior to the due date. Plan to set-up a short call/visit to make this request and provide a CV to the letter writer.
How do I determine the best programs I should apply to?
The pre-residency application meeting with the career goal advisor(s) is a great time to review potential programs, based on the student’s interests, geographic restrictions, and medical school performance.
I just got this great piece of news…do I need to notify programs
It never hurts to share news that highlights your successes!
My LORs aren’t in and ERAS just opened!
If contacted with appropriate advance notice, most letters writers will submit LORs in a timely fashion. If a LOR hasn’t been submitted when ERAS opens, it is reasonable to send an email politely reminding your letter writer. If the letter is still not submitted after this nudge, reach out to your career goal advisor.
I am waitlisted for an interview at X and I’d really like to see that program. What do I do?
If you are wait listed for an interview at a program of high interest, it’s reasonable to reach out to the program director to let them know that you are especially interested in the program. It may not lead to an interview, but it’s reasonable to communicate your enthusiasm and interest.
I didn’t get an interview at X program. Should I send them a “letter of intent”?
If you are wait listed for an interview at a program of high interest, it’s reasonable to reach out to the program director to let them know that you are especially interested in the program. However, “letters of intent” communications aren’t necessary and shouldn’t be an expected aspect of the Match process.
Should I send thank you letters to programs?
Emails to your interviewers are a nice gesture but not an expectation.
Should I send a letter to the program I am planning to rank #1?
It is acceptable for a student to let a program know that you will be ranking them #1. You are not obligated to do so, and programs should not penalize an applicant who does not indicate they will rank them highly. Programs are instructed that they cannot require such a “letter of intent” and the Match works best if programs simply rank applicants from strongest to weakest. However, some programs do continue to rank interested applicants more favorably.
How do I respond if a program reaches out to me after my interview?
If a program contacts you to thank you for interviewing, it is appropriate to respond in kind. However, programs should not pressure applications to provide assurances, verbal commitments, etc after an interview. If a program is making contact that feels out of bounds, contact your advisor for input on how to handle this situation.