Early Exploration of Careers Toolkit

roadmap to residency

Your pre-clinical years at SMHS provide a formative step in your early exploration of careers. Use this time to orient yourself to medical school, attend speciality nights, join student interest groups, consider professional development opportunities and pass Step 1. The resources below can help guide you on starting strong on your roadmap to residency.



  • Orient to Medical School
  • Start Exploring Careers
  • Summer Experience Planning


  • Continue Exploring Careers
  • Study for Step 1
  • Consider Professional Development Opportunities
MS1 to MS2 progression


  • Careers in Medicine (CiM) resources
  • Student Interest Groups
  • Specialty Nights
  • Shadowing Opportunities
  • Scholarly Concentration Engagement


  • Roadmap to Residency Sessions
  • Student Interest Group
  • Specialty nights



Resources for Early Exploration of Careers: 

Exploring Careers
  • Careers in Medicine: A comprehensive website from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to assist medical students with specialty choice and career planning. All students should establish a CIM account early in medical school and periodically visit and take advantage of the myriad resources here to explore careers. 
  • Looking for clinical, volunteer or research opportunities? Check out these sites:


  • Summer Specialty Shadowing Program:  This shadowing program allows medical students to shadow a variety of specialists during the summer between their first and second years. This program is coordinated by the OSPE, and information about the program will be disseminated to students around the end of the spring semester each year.
  • Specialty Interest Groups: Many of the major medical specialties have student-run specialty interest groups (SIGs). Many SIGs have shadowing, research, and skills nights opportunities listed on their GW Engage Profiles. A comprehensive list of student organizations can be found on the Office of Student Professional Enrichment (OSPE) website. In addition to the support of OSPE, student groups also coordinate with the Medical Center Student Council (MCSC) for official enrollment, as well as the approving and allocating of student group funding.
  • Specialty Nights: Twice each year, SMHS sponsors a specialty night where program directors and faculty, from most of the major specialties, hold meetings to discuss their specialty in detail. Although these are of particular interest for third-year students, other classes are invited and are welcome to attend.
  • Career Exploration Assessment Tools to explore specialties that are a good fit.
Research & Volunteer Opportunities


Academic Support
  • Office of Student Support Academic Support
  • Peer Support
    • Big Sib Program: Your big sibling and other upper-class students can be excellent resources to help you adjust to the demands of medical school. They can provide helpful tips regarding the most effective learning resources and study techniques. After all, they have obviously succeeded in medical school and you can learn from their experience! Be on the look-out for the many peer-to-peer advising sessions that occur each year (these are frequently referred to as "pearl panels" where pearls of wisdom are offered to other students).
    • OSPE Student Interest Groups
      • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Learn from peers with similar interests!
    • Peer Tutoring
CV Writing Tools and Resources