• Benefits of Having a Mentor

    A physician mentor is a valuable source of information and guidance to help you:

    • Achieve your short-and long-term education and career goals
    • Attain clinical knowledge and skills, and find research opportunities
    • Develop your professionalism and communication skills through constructive feedback
    • Learn from a positive role model and network with other physicians

    Step 1: Research Potential Mentors

    • Contact the dean’s office early in your first year of medical school. Find out if the school provides a formal mentoring mechanism for medical students. Identifying a mentor (trusted counselor or guide) early in your medical education ensures that you have a personal advocate and resource throughout medical school.
    • If your school does not offer a formal mentoring program, seek out opportunities to meet physicians and other faculty. If a special lecturer impresses you, find out from the dean’s office how to contact him or her. If you are excited about a journal article or research project, track down the author. If you have a favorite preceptor, tell this individual how much you enjoy working with him or her. Get involved in special interest groups on campus. Contact state medical societies to help you identify potential mentor candidates.


    Join an AAFP Member Interest Group

    Connect with members of these groups to discuss topics such as direct primary care, emergency medicine, and global health.

    Connect With Your State AAFP Chapter

    Your local AAFP chapter  might be able to provide you with a list of physicians who are willing to serve as mentors.

    Participate in Doctors Back to School 

    Work with minority physicians and other minority medical students to inspire the next generation of physicians. Tell kids in your community about the benefits of a career in medicine. You’ll connect with potential mentors while serving as a role model yourself.

    Step 2: Know What to Look For in a Mentor

    • When considering a physician as a possible mentor, look for certain characteristics. Seek out an individual who has 1) a diverse background and interests that are similar to yours; 2) a good rapport with students; 3) an open mind and appears committed to student development; and 4) knowledge in the areas you have the most interest.
    • Once your specialty choice is determined, it is valuable to have a physician mentor from your specialty area to advise you through the Match. Your ideal mentor will be 1) one who knows you well; 2) understands the Match process and possibly has connections at residency programs.

    Step 3: Build a Relationship with a Mentor

    • Once you have identified a physician that you would like to have as your mentor, ask if he or she would be willing to advise you. You and your mentor should agree upon the nature of the relationship early on.  Use time with your mentor to discuss expectations of the relationship, goals, concerns, career interests, grades and big picture issues.
    • You may have more than one mentor. The dynamic nature of the curriculum and your evolving interests may necessitate that you change mentors or have more than one mentor during the course of your medical education.