American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Medical School Timeline

Third Year

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

Fourth Year

JulyAugust: 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).

MarchApril: Electives (see section on electives)

May: Graduation!

*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 process).