Decisions To Be Made


Student-Centered Career-Advising Decisions To Be Made 1

Student has…


  • Affirm for student that uncertainty is all right (OR PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE) and is part of the decision making process.
  • Identify if student lacks self-knowledge and decision-making commitment.
  • Assess for difficulty with narrowing down options.
  • Assess if student is attempting to please an authority figure.
  • Encourage student to discuss what made them want to attend medical school.  Reflect on this with student.  What has changed since beginning medical school?
  • 1st and 2nd Years: Talk with student about what they enjoyed and did not enjoy about Student Continuity Practice (SCP).
  • 3rd and 4th Years: Talk with student about what they enjoyed and did not enjoy about clerkships.
  • Direct student to Careers in Medicine (CiM) sections on self-assessment and career exploration.


  • Encourage students to explore each of the specialties and create a decision-making matrix to help rank aspects of each; schedule a time to discuss matrix with student.
  • Suggest practitioners from each specialty who the student can contact for more detailed information.
  • Suggest that the student attend specific departmental activities for each specialty area to gather more contacts and information.
  • Meet with faculty (sub-specialty chairs) in all areas of interest with the goal of collaborating to assist student with counseling on career choice.


Clinicians are encouraged to use this list as a way to stimulate conversation and networking opportunities for students. Similar information can be found at other institutions.

To assist the student, the clinician needs to:

  • Affirm student’s decision.
  • Suggest practitioners who are in this specialty area with whom student can meet and discuss career path.
  • Direct student to talk with residency director and other key faculty in specialty for guidance and advocacy in the application process; (discuss with student possible ways to gain experience in specialty area and help identify research opportunities in specialty area.