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Not long after beginning medical school, students begin the process of exploring and eventually deciding upon the area of medicine in which they would like to practice. There are many ways in which the Medical Student Counseling Center (MSCC) can help guide students through this process.
Individual career counseling is one way that the MSCC can assist. Early in a student’s medical education it is important to start building a strong sense of ones values, interests and career-related skills. But as early as the first year, counseling can help students begin examining and prioritizing their values, and start recognizing skills and interests. Throughout their basic science and clinical experience, students will continue to gather information about their likes and dislikes, and abilities and limitation. MSCC counselors, in addition to discussing and exploring career related issues, can provide students with self-assessment tools and/or personality inventories that can help to further identify or clarify characteristics that may or may not make a particular student a good fit for a specific area of medicine.
While the first step of the career decision process is to gather information about one’s self, it will eventually be important for the student to gather information about the various medical specialties, and/or non-clinical careers available for the M.D. While the journey through the clinical years will provide much information about numerous areas of medicine, the MSCC can provide students with other sources for this information as well. For instance, counselors can connect students with material on the Careers in Medicine (CiM) program developed by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). This program not only provides students with further self-assessment tools, but also describes the different areas of medicine in great detail on their web site.
We can also provide students with specific names and contact information for clinical faculty advisors within each department of the hospital. These professionals have agreed to offer career guidance to medical students and prove to be invaluable resources for students throughout their clinical years as they train, prepare for residency and move toward a career/specialty choice. The list of faculty career advisors is also a link included in the Helpful Links section of this web page.
In addition to working with students individually, counselors at the MSCC offer career related workshops throughout each of the four years. Late in the first year, programs aimed at assisting students in identifying and prioritizing career values and interests are offered. Visit MSCC's Programs and Workshops for a listing of the many programs scheduled thus far.
Finally, as students enter their fourth year, the MSCC staff is available to help with preparation for the residency application and interview process. Early in the fall semester a program describing the entire process (from travel, dress and financing, to preparing personal statements, curriculum vitae, and interviewing) is offered to all students applying for residency. OSAC's Writing and Humanities Program offers individual student conferences and group workshops on preparing personal statements and curricula vitae. All students are also invited to meet with counselors individually to discuss the content of vitae, personal statements, and go through a mock interview.
Former students located this helpful web site related to career decision: University of Virginia Health Care System Medical Specialty Aptitute Test
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