July: Start clinical rotations.*
March–April: Decide on career path, choose a specialty-specific advisor, consider attendings whom you could ask for letters.
You will need three letters, so if you have only worked with
one or two surgery attendings, you need a fourth-year elective
or a research project to expose you to additional surgeons
who can write letters for you.
May–June: Adjust fourth year accordingly (see section
on electives), do any surgery sub-internships in July or August
so the attendings you rotate with can write you letters
July–August: Surgery sub-I's, ask everyone for advice
on which programs are worthwhile considering.
September–October: Application process. You will get information
from your school or visit the FREIDA website, do other electives.
November–December: Start to arrange interviews. Some programs interview
in December. All surgical specialties have separate matches except
Orthopedics (they go through the regular match).
January–February: Consider scheduling free time for one of these
months as the majority of your interviews will take place in
the first six weeks of the calendar year (both you and the programs have
to submit match lists by mid-February).
March–April: Electives (see section on electives)
*If you think you want to be a surgeon, the standard recommendation
for planning your third year of medical school is to do your
rotation in the middle of the year. If you do it first, you won't
have much experience on clinical rotations and this inexperience
in and of itself can prove detrimental. If you do it last, you
often have missed opportunities (getting involved in research
projects that you might be able to conclude prior to the application