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Phase III: Choosing A Specialty

The schedule for Phase III covers your time as an MS3 at Penn State College of Medicine.

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March Expand answer
  • Begin clinical rotations: use AAMC’s CiMs Clinical Rotation Evaluation to reflect on your experience
  • Complete AAMC Self Assessments: Residency Preference Exercise and if undecided, Specialty Indecision Scale
  • Update your CV
  • Plan activities with Student Organizations/Student Interest Groups
April Expand answer
  • Register for ERAS (tokens provided by OSA)


July Expand answer
  • Assess specialty competitiveness and discuss with advisor/society heads
  • Meet with your advisor
September Expand answer
  • Start thinking about Letters of Recommendation for residency application
  • Town Hall regarding Residency process
  • Meet with your advisor


November Expand answer
  • Phase III and IV Schedule Process begins
  • Review 4th yr. schedule with your advisor
December Expand answer
  • VSAS Opens
  • Begin to solicit letters of recommendation (based on specialty interest, if known)


January Expand answer
  • Register for ERAS (tokens provided by OSA) (reminder to anyone who has not done so already)
  • Phase III and IV Schedules released
  • Meet with your advisor
February Expand answer
  • Start studying for USMLE Exam (Step 1)
March Expand answer
  • Take USMLE Exam (Step 1)