Grand Rounds

SMHS Student Affairs & Admissions News

What I wish I would have known

MS 1

What I wish I would have known: Take the time to get to know your classmates, and go out on a limb. Because you will meet some truly great people and develop lifelong friends AND get into a good studying habit as early as possible.


What I wish I would have known: Secondhand stress is a thing. Try your best not to stress others out with Step studying talk, and vice versa. Start studying early if you’re worried about it.

Also, second year can be very expensive; it is the time when you will likely be buying study materials and question banks in preparation for the USMLE Step 1 Examination. And then of course you have to pay for the examination itself. So be prepared. But if you find yourself in need of additional money you can file a budget appeal to help take out some of the sting. The budget appeal must be done in the semester where the costs were incurred, so come in sooner rather than later.


What I wish I would have known: Get to know your preceptors, they will write your letters of recommendation. Think about this when you are on rotation–

  • It is easier to ask for letters of recommendation while on the clerkship.
  • Give your potential letter writer a CV and a personal statement at the time that you ask.
  • Make sure to ask if they feel that they can write you a good letter of recommendation.
  • You cannot see your letters of recommendation, it is against the rules and could lead to sanctions.
  • If your letter writer is “technologically challenged” we have folks available to help you or your preceptor with uploads:

Letter of Recommendation Upload Designees

Campus or Department Designee for uploading
Family Medicine Mona Shilling
Geriatrics Rebecca Maher or Shae Carlson
Internal Medicine Carla Mosser
Neurology Errin Jordan
Obstetrics/Gynecology Tracey Steffes
Pathology Rebecca Maher or Shae Carlson
Pediatrics Kathy Kraft
Psychiatry Maxine Johnson
Radiology Deb West
Surgery Marlys Peterson
Northeast Campus Rebecca Maher or Shae Carlson
Northwest Campus Pat Bergen
Southeast Campus By department designees
Southwest Campus Deb West

It is important for you to get to know your campus dean as well. Make an appointment, talk to her or him about your thoughts on specialty choice (or indecision). They are the “Student Affairs Office” on your distance campus, so they take care of many of the same functions as Student Affairs in Grand Forks, as well as scheduling and other matters. They are a great resource–get to know them.

Cindy passed out tokens for MS3 students the week of June 10. Once you receive your token you can register it so you’re able to have Letters of Recommendation (LoRs) submitted. Third-year medical school tokens will only allow applicants to update the personal information section and upload LoRs in preparation for the following season. The rest of the application material will become active at a later date.


What I wish I would have known: You may have a lot of vacation time, but be aware that you will be very busy with residency interviews. Enjoy fourth-year; you begin to feel more like a doctor.

And do you know about the HOST program? It can save you money on the interview trail and can be a great deal of fun for those who thrive on (nearly) constant interactions with others. Some of us need down time to be ready for the interview day, but others really do better with more interaction. It is also a good way to get to know the city where you are interviewing. It is also a great way to get to know one of our alumni and their families. Follow this link to learn more.



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