Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Office of Student Affairs & Career Counseling
Years One & Two


Year One

Start your decision making process. Making a career decision is a complex process. How do you find your fit? As you begin the process of exploration during your first year, you need to reflect on your own skills, personality, values and influences and to learn all you can about the different specialties open to you.

Decision Factors

  • Reflect on what you are naturally good at/comfortable with. Do you prefer talking to people, working through complex problems or taking quick action? Are you comfortable taking risks or do you avoid them? Are you comfortable with ambiguity? Are you more of a "doer," a "thinker" or both?
  • Compare your personality to others already in the field. Are you more like the pediatrics residents or the orthopaedic residents? Helpful resources at this phase are the Pathway Evaluation Program for Medical Professionals and the University of Virginia Medical Specialty Aptitude Test.
  • Ask for advice from mentors (deans, faculty, residents, other students). Every SKMC student has a mandatory "get to know you" meeting with his or her assigned dean during the first semester of the first year to talk about career decision making. You are strongly encouraged to return during the second semester for career counseling and discussion of your profile on the Find Your Fit section of Careers in Medicine.
  • Shadow physicians in different specialties to gather as much information as possible about different specialties beginning in your first year at SKMC. First-year students are encouraged to begin shadowing after November and throughout the summer.
  • Take advantage of research opportunities. In particular, consider our Summer Research Program, including basic and clinical research, public health and global health opportunities.
  • Use available career planning resources.

Log in to BBLearn using your Campus Key and password to view our "First-Year Career Choice" presentation.

Year Two

During this year, SKMC students continue the career exploration processes, but in greater depth. Students meet with their OSACC Dean and discuss their AAMC Careers in Medicine (CiM) profile in light of summer and shadowing experiences. The OSACC offers small group career guidance sessions for students throughout the year. Students discuss the competitiveness of different specialties, and talk about scheduling clerkships during the third year. The hope is that by this time a student will have established a relationship with a faculty member as well, whether through the Introduction to Clinical Medicine Small group, a learning society, Clinical Observation and Practice Program (COPP) visits or through the Clinical Mentor program.

The first semester of the second year represents a great time for continued shadowing. Students are encouraged to choose different specialties to broaden their horizons.

Second-year students who feel comfortable enough with their academic work may choose to serve in leadership positions of different student groups.

Affiliates Day

Affiliates Day occurs in the spring of second year. Students have the opportunity to speak with clerkship and residency program directors from different specialties.

Career Day

Career Day gives you an opportunity to interact with SKMC alumni and residents in a variety of fields. If research is your passion, you may wish to continue working with a summer mentor, but be aware that there is very little time available for this. 

Building Your Curriculum Vitae (CV)

As you progress through medical school, be sure to document your achievements in your Curriculum Vitae (CV). A CV is necessary when asking for letters of recommendation and when applying for interviews. (Note: a CV is not the same as a resumé.)

Please do not hesitate to contact your assigned Student Affairs Dean with any questions or concerns. We are happy to review your CV and provide feedback.

Preparing for Clinical Clerkships

Students will be prepared for the next year through meetings with their OSACC Dean, class meetings sponsored by both the OSACC and the Registrar's Office, an Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) panel and the AOA Guide to the Clinical Years.