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Gathering Information

Choosing a specialty is one of the biggest decisions you'll make in your career, so it's important to gather information that might impact your choice.

Everything you do during medical school can have an influence on your decision. Whether you're just starting coursework in your first year, planning your clerkships, or researching specialties, there are a number of opportunities for you to learn and grow. Explore the articles below to find some strategies for getting the most out of your experiences.

Doctor using a laptop
  • Doctor checking watch

    I’m only a first year and still in my basic sciences coursework, but I feel pressure to start thinking about specialties. Why do I need to worry now about choosing a specialty?

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  • Hand holding a pen over a piece of paper labeled positives and negatives.

    I’m more than halfway through my third year, and none of the specialties I’ve rotated through have really excited (or dissuaded) me. Is there a specialty that’s right for me, and how do I find it?

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  • Woman using a laptop

    You may have entered medical school with a specialty already in mind, completely undecided, or somewhere in between. Regardless of where you find yourself on the continuum of this decision, here are seven steps you can take to learn about, evaluate, and validate your options.

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  • Meeting at a cafe

    Conducting informational interviews is a networking strategy to help you obtain more detailed and nuanced specialty and residency information. Learn about the benefits and how to conduct an information interview.

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  • Question mark and FAQs

    Use this list of questions to learn more about specialties, residencies, and physician careers as you conduct informational interviews.

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  • Characteristics of entering residents chart

    To help you understand the competitiveness of many of the major medical specialties, CiM provides data about the most recent cohort of residency applicants to 26 specialties. We examine how to interpret the data, why it’s helpful, and how to use it for determining your competitiveness and making good decisions.

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  • Stethoscope wrapped around a piggy bank

    Loan repayment programs are willing to help pay off your medical school loans in exchange for something they want: public service.

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  • A Purple Heart medal leaning against a stethoscope

    Scholarship programs, such as the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship Program, Indian Health Service (IHS) Health Professions Scholarship Program, and Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) are willing to pay for your medical school education in exchange for something they want: public service.

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  • Medical class

    What are the advantages of getting a joint degree such as an M.P.H. or M.B.A., and how can a physician use these in their career paths?

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