Common Misconceptions

Myth: Some students think they can only do one type of activity – like just an elective, or just research.

Fact: The Clinical Distinction Specialty Track is what you make it- you can do almost anything and you certainly can do clinical activities with other types of activities.

Myth: If a student does clinical activities it’s a clerkship track

Fact: What makes a Specialty Track NOT a clerkship is that it is student-directed, includes a contract and evaluation form, and is featured in your MSPE. The activities can absolutely be clinical.

Myth: Some students think Clinical Distinction is a period of independent study.

Fact: While the Clinical Distinction Specialty track may include independent study, the course always includes collaboration with a sponsor whose critical evaluation is featured in your MSPE. If you spend the month studying alone and don’t engage your sponsor they can’t give you an authentic evaluation

Myth: When choosing their activity, many students think: I must do something in the area of residency I’m interested in.

Fact: The best-designed course demonstrates self-reflection and growth in the CORE COMPETENCIES OF MEDICINE – these apply to every specialty so the specialty area of medicine is secondary.

Myth: Some students think they must have research to be competitive. All specialties are different. Be sure you speak with a mentor or course director who can tell you if your “research” plan will actually make your project distinctive.

Fact: Demonstrating how you are uniquely passionate and creative about something is often more interesting to a residency director than a month of research.