Frequently asked Questions by MS1s and MS2s

Pediatrics incorporates both the physical and developmental health of children from birth to young adulthood. Consider shadowing a Pediatrician, either during preclinical years or during the summer between 1st and 2nd years. The Pediatrics Student Interest Group at the University of Arizona is another great opportunity to get involved and make connections in the community.

Research is not required, but it may help show interest. If a student is interested in pursuing research it would be optimal to have one or two projects where the student played a major role rather than several projects with minimal involvement.

There are many areas which are growing in pediatric research, from the basic sciences, to translational, to epidemiological and population based research. When considering research, start by thinking about what questions interest you. Your Career and Professional Advisor can help provide you with local Pediatrics Specialty Advisor contacts who may need help with ongoing projects. These Mentors, as well as Dr. McEchron, can provide great resources. Work with your peers, recent graduates, local Residents and Fellows as well as Pediatric faculty and express your interest in getting involved.

Volunteer work is not required. If a student feels they can adequately balance academics while participating in community service or extracurricular activities it may help to develop a well rounded application and positively contribute to the community. The Community Health Initiative and the Wesley Health Clinic are both excellent opportunities to become involved in the medical care of the Phoenix community.

Learn more about the Community Health Initiative here

Learn more about the Wesley Health Clinic here

The National Residency Matching Program tracks statistical trends for students matching into each specialty. Learn more about Pediatrics match trends here

Frequently asked Questions by MS3s and MS4s

It is fine to ask for a letter of recommendation (LOR) during your Pediatric Clerkship during third year. We recommend that MS4 students do a Pediatric sub-Internship to facilitate professional relationships and obtain letters of recommendation. They may also do an away pediatrics rotation in Blocks 1-5 if they desire for exposure to a program in another part of the country. For the Critical Care Selective, many fourth year students elect to rotate through the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit to gain further exposure to pediatrics.

You should have your CV updated and your personal statement available for reference. If you are asking for a LOR during a clinical rotation, consider asking for it about three weeks into the rotation from a faculty member with whom you have worked closely and your performance is fresh in the letter writer’s mind. When asking for a Letter of Recommendation it is ideal to do it in person. It is appropriate to ask specifically if they would be comfortable writing a “strong letter of recommendation.” Letters should be uploaded to ERAS directly by the letter writers by the beginning of September of your fourth year, so make sure to give your letter writers ample time to write their letters, and be sure to thank them for their effort.

You will need a minimum of three, and at least two should be from Pediatricians.


No, most programs seem to focus on obtaining letters from a physician with whom the student has worked directly.

An away rotation is not required. Some of the benefits of doing an away rotation include networking in an area of the country where you would like to end up, as well as figuring out if a particular residency program is a good fit. We recommend working closely with your Career Advisor and Specialty Advisor to help with this decision.

Specific Information for Pediatrics

The American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) is separate from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which is a membership organization that advocates for children and pediatricians in the US. The AAP is the largest provider of educational materials for pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists in the world.  Pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists are either board-certified general pediatricians who are subspecialty boarded through the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) or physicians who are initially board certified in another discipline who then seek pediatric training to apply their skills in the care of children and adolescents.  A list of board-certified subspecialties is posted on the ABP Web site.

Pediatrics Student Interest Group

Click here to visit the Pediatrics Interest Group website

Pediatrics Specialty Newsletter Report

Additional Resources:

Check out the American Academy of Pediatrics "Path to Pediatrics" here
Learn more about the Pediatrician Life and Career Experiences Study