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Career and Residency Advising - General Resources

Choosing a specialty and transitioning from medical student to your future careers are important milestones in your professional journey. At UMSOM, our goal is that you feel supported, informed, and prepared to make career decisions at all stages of your medical education. The process of applying to a residency training program, while exciting, can also feel overwhelming and daunting at times. With this handbook, and the support of your advising team, we aim to make this process as straightforward as possible, so that you can focus on your personal and professional growth and development.

OSA Advising

The role of the OSA Advisor is to provide general advice regarding career development and specialty choice, to assist with scheduling of the Advanced Clinical Phase, and to provide general advice and expertise during the residency application process. OSA Advisors are experts on the process and procedures involved in residency applications. OSA Advisors provide the information and resources you need to make informed decisions regarding career choice and residency applicationOSA advisors prepare the MSPE (Medical Student Performance Evaluation).

OSA General Advising Calendar

OSA Advisors/Prepare MSPEs

John Allen, MD                                                                      Marissa Flaherty, MD
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs                                           Assistant Dean for Student Affairs                                    

Elizabeth Lamos, MD                                                             Kerri Thom, MD, MS
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs                                            Associate Dean for Student Affairs                                         

OSA Staff                                                                                
685 W Baltimore Street, Suite 150
PH: 410-706-6124

Adam Esselman, MA                                                               Stephanie Lee, MS
Senior Academic Services Specialist                                         Academic Services Coordinator
*ERAS                                                                                        *Extramural Rotations/VSLO                                    

OSA hosts an annual workshop series to guide students step-by-step through the Advanced Clinical Phase and Residency Application Process. See the OSA Advising Workshop Series tab for more details. 

OSA will host small-group Specialty Advising Sessions in May.  Students may attend as many different sessions based upon specialty interests as they wish.  During these sessions, OSA advisors will review specifics of applications by specialty including general application strategies, competitiveness of specialty, and unique application aspects for your specialty.

Students should schedule a 1:1 Advisory Meeting with their OSA Advisor (who is also prepares their MSPE unless otherwise requested) for May, June, or July. Your OSA advisor will reach out directly with a link to schedule. During these meetings you and your advisor will refine specialty choice, discuss Advanced Clinical Phase Schedule and review graduation requirements, review components of the residency application, discuss/review the MSPE, discuss application specifics including number of and which programs to apply to as well as contingency planning.

Students should complete the OSA Advising Meeting Checklist prior to their scheduled 1:1 meeting.

Specialty Advising

The role of the Specialty Advisor is to provide specialty-specific career advice and aid in specialty choice, to assist with selection of clinical rotations in the Advanced Clinical Phase and to provide specialty-specific guidance during the residency application process.

Specialty Advisors


Faculty Advisor(s)

OSA Advisor

Student M4 Ambassador


Stephanie Kahntroff


Chinenye Onyima


Marcia Driscoll


Hannah Cornman

Emergency Medicine

Ryan Spangler


Elsa Cornett/Heather Groves


Kami Hu


Emma Silverman

Family Medicine

Katherine Jacobson


Sean Naimi

Internal Medicine

Philip Dittmar


Asha Kodan/Mariela Trejo


Katelyn Donahue


Sara Miller

Neurological Surgery

Charles Sansur/Jacob Cherian


Robbie Flessner


Melissa Motta


Matthew Boden


Kiranpreet Chawla


Jackie Lasalo/Hannah Palmer


Moran Roni Levin


Dhurv Shah

Orthopeadic Surgery

Frank Henn


Ryan Curto


Elizabeth Guardiani


Caleb Fan


Olga Ioffe




Rebecca Carter


Steve Gercken/Sarah Curtis


Idris Amin


Annie Schindler

Plastic Surgery

Sheri Slezak






Angelique Ealy

Radiology – Dx and IR

Rydhwana Hossain


Sam Savidge

Radiation Oncology

Sarah McAvoy



General Surgery

Kimberly Lumpkins


Natalia Ochman


Minhaj Siddiqui


Zachary Brilliant

Thoracic Surgery

Shelby Stewart



Vascular Surgery

Michael Lilly




The Alumni Network

The Alumni Network is a unique resource including a network of over 350 Alumni since 2019 who have volunteered to serve as a resource to you as you begin to consider specialties and apply to residency programs. You may search the Alumni Network by specialty, location, program and graduation year directly from your MedScope Profile (Career Tab). Pay it forward and sign up to become a part of the SOM Alumni Network in the same location.

External Links and Resources

General Resources

AAMC Careers in Medicine

AAMC Residency Explorer Tool

AAMC Visiting Student Application Service (VSLO)


NBME (National Board of Medical Examiners)

USMLE (United Stated Medical Licensing Examinations)

Acuity Insights – Altus/Casper

Residency Applications and Match Systems

AAMC ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service)

ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) – ResidencyCAS

AUA (American Urological Association) Urology Residency Match Program

Military Match

Central Application – some Anesthesiology, Neurology, Plastic surgery and Urology

SFMatch (San Francisco Match) – Ophthalmology Residency

NRMP (National Residency Matching Program) – “The Main Match”

Additional Resources and Data

ERAS – Statistics

NRMP – Match Data & Reports

Glossary of Terms

APGO Residency CAS: New for the 2025 Residency Application Cycle, all applicants to obstetrics & gynecology residency programs will use the Residency CAS (Central Application Service) in lieu of ERAS. The OBGYN match will remain with the NRMP.

Acuity Insights:  A select few residency programs in Anesthesiology, Internal Medicine, Interventional Radiology, OB/GYN, Ophthalmology, Surgery, and Urology require Acuity Insights Assessments (e.g. Casper/Duet); confirm with your OSA Advisor if this is relevant to you.  Casper/Duet are situational judgment and alignment assessments aiming to improve your fit/match to a particular program. 

Central Application: The Central Application is a common application for students applying to some anesthesiology, neurology, plastic surgery programs, and urology (separate from ERAS).  Some programs use the Central Application only, some ERAS only, and some a combination of both. For plastic surgery, specific information regarding application system by program is available from the American Council of Educators in Plastic Surgery.

Couples Match: The NRMP Couples Match allows two residency applicants (participating in the Main Match) to link their Rank Order Lists for the purpose of obtaining residency positions in the same geographic location.

Early Match: There are several specialties that participate in an Early Match process, not affiliated with the NRMP. These include the Military Match (Joint Service Graduate Medical Education Board), Ophthalmology (SF Match), Preventive Medicine (American College of Preventive Medicine Standardized Application Process), and Urology (AUA Urology Residency Match Program). Each of these have their own unique timeline different from the Main Match/NRMP.

ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service):  A AAMC centralized online application service which aims to streamline the application process by delivering the residency application and all supporting documents (including the MSPE and Letters of Reference) to residency programs. 

Extramural Rotations: Also known as “Aways”, Extramural Rotations are any course taken at another institution and not in the UMSOM Course Catalog. Extramural rotations may be a part of the residency application process or simply an opportunity for a student to participate in a unique opportunity outside of UMSOM. Most host programs participate in the AAMC VSLO application system; students should check individual program requirements for specific information.

Geographic Preferences: The Geographic Preferences section of the MyERAS application allows the application to communicate preference (or lack of preference) for geographic divisions (based on US census) as well as urban, suburban, and rural settings. Applicants may select up to three geographic divisions and one setting, or they may indicate “no preference”.

Match Week/Match Day: Match Week for the Main Residency Match (NRMP) is the third week in March. It begins on Monday at 10 am EST, when applicants learn if they are matched, and ends with Match Day on Friday at 12 pm EST, when applicants and programs learn the results of the match. 

The Main Match and the NRMP (National Residency Match Program): The Main Match is administered by the NRMP and is the match for all specialties not listed above as an “early match”.  Through the NRMP Registration, Ranking and Results system, programs and applicants enter their preferred programs through a rank order list. The NRMP uses a mathematical algorithm to match applicants and programs to their most preferred ranked choices, resulting in final placements for residency.

MSPE (Medical Student Performance Evaluation): A summary statement of evaluation intended to provide residency programs with an honest and objective summary of a student’s salient experiences, attributes, and academic performance.  The MSPE is neither a letter of recommendation nor a self-evaluation. It is a required component of the residency application.

OSA Advisor/MSPE Preparer: One of the four OSA Deans will serve as your primary residency advisor and prepares the MSPE. The OSA Advisor works closely with your Specialty Advisor providing advice and guidance in all aspects of the residency application process. An OSA Advisor/MSPE Preparer will be suggested based on specialty choice; however, students may select the OSA advisor who prepares their MSPE, The Associate Dean for Student Affairs will review and sign all MSPEs.

PGY (Post Graduate Year): Terminology used to indicate the year post graduation. PGY-1 indicates the intern position; while PGY-2 or higher is a resident position.

Program Signals: Program signals are sent through ERAS, SF Match, and ResidencyCAS applications as a means of indicating an applicant’s sincere interest in specific programs. Signals are sent at the time of application. Specifics regarding signaling vary based on specialty and program. Consult with your OSA advisor for more information.

Residency Positions:

              Advanced (PGY-2): An Advanced position begins 1-2 years after the match and requires completion of one or more years of preliminary training. The following specialties offer advanced positions (some have both advanced and categorial): Anesthesiology, Dermatology, Neurology, Ophthalmology, PM&R, Radiation Oncology and Diagnostic Radiology. 

              Categorical: A Categorical position is one that offers full residency training required for board certification in that specialty. A preliminary year is not required for these programs.

              Preliminary (PGY-1): A Preliminary position offers 1-2 years of generalized training prior to entry to Advanced specialty programs. Many Internal Medicine and General Surgery training programs offer preliminary positions in addition to categorical positions. Transition year programs are also considered preliminary programs.

Rank Order List: Rank Order Lists are the list of programs, in order of preference, submitted by applicants to the NRMP at the end of February (or to Military, SF Match, AUA Match programs earlier). Applicants may rank all programs at which they interviewed. Applicants are encouraged to rank all programs and to rank in their true order of preference. Matched applicants consistently have longer rank lists than unmatched applicants.

SOAP (Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program): SOAP, administered by the NRMP, is a program designed to aid un-matched applicants identify and apply to (via ERAS) unfilled residency programs to obtain a residency position. SOAP begins the Monday of Match Week.

Specialty Advisor: A faculty member from the specialty to which you will apply. Your OSA Advisor and your Specialty Advisor will work closely together to provide guidance and advice throughout the residency application process.  The Specialty Advisor provides “specialty care” in the match process including aiding in constructing a list of programs for possible extramural rotations and residency application, identifying letter of recommendation writers, and reviewing rank lists for depth and breadth.

VSLO (Visting Students Learning Opportunities): VSLO is a AAMC service helping to streamline the process of applying for Extramural (“Away”) rotations.  VSLO also provides a centralized location for managing offers and tracking decisions.