Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine | Nutley, NJ | Individualized Learning Plan   

The Individualized Learning Plan

The HMSOM has an intensive Academic and Career Advising system designed to support students’ academic progress, career development, and wellbeing. You will meet your advisor during orientation and begin a series of required sessions designed to help you:

  1. Customize curricular and career exploration experiences
  2. Draft and refine your Individualized Learning Plan (ILP), and your Phase 3 Plan
  3. Assist with goal setting and tracking around the core competencies
  4. Connect you to physician mentors to explore specialties of interest and career options
  5. Connect with resources for professional development and personal wellbeing
  6. Assist with the residency application and Match process

The Academic and Career Advising system consists of 12 – 16 required advising meetings with the assigned advisor, and numerous optional activities, workshops, speakers. Additional advising meetings are always available as desired, and advisors have office hours each week. Meetings range in length from 30 minutes to an hour.

The required meetings take place twice a semester for the first 3 years of the curriculum, with additional meetings during Phase 3. Students will fill out and review a customized ILP form once each semester, and the second meeting will focus on Career Development and specialty choice. Information for the ILP will be taken from evaluations, assessments, and feedback from all aspects of the SOM curriculum, with a focus on supporting and encouraging reflection and lifelong learning. Each advising meeting will include a general academic review, and career exploration and overall wellbeing discussions, topics specific to the stage of the curriculum, and connection to resources for academic success, wellbeing, and other support services.

The advisor will reach out when it is time to schedule each meeting and it is the student’s responsibility to schedule, prepare for and engage in those meetings, and follow through with any recommendations. In Phase 2 and Phase 3, meetings may take place by videoconferencing or phone as necessary and convenient.

Specific additional topics for ILP meetings will include:


Year 1:

Meeting 1 (August):

  • Advisor introductions
  • Initial specialty thoughts
  • Transition to program

Meeting 2 (Oct – Dec)

  • The initial ILP form
  • Co-curricular activities and student needs

Meeting 3 (January-March):

  • Introduction to Specialty Mentoring & how to maximize your mentoring relationship

Meeting 4 (April- June):

  • AAMC Careers in Medicine Assessment Results • Clerkship scheduling
  • Phase 3 Residency

Year 2

Meeting 5 (August/September):

  • CSBSE results

Meeting 6 (October/November)

  • Preparing for Clerkship


Year 2

Meeting 7 (January – March)

  • Transition to clerkship
  • P3R decision-making

Meeting 8 (April – June)

  • P3R application support

Year 3

Meeting 9 (August/September)

  • Initial Phase 3 Planning

Meeting 10 (October – December)

  • ACR Scheduling
  • Step 1 Study Planning

Meeting 11 (January – March)

  • Final Phase 3 Plan

Meeting 12 (April – June)

  • Residency Application Planning

The ILP is a private document intended only for use in advising sessions, for the student’s individual academic success and career development. Specific information in the ILP (except for the Phase 3 Plan, which is a curricular document) will not be shared beyond the Advising and Student Success Team and the Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Wellbeing. The advising team may share general information with academic program staff information about compliance, specialty interest and whether or not a certain activity (research, specialty idea, Phase 3 activity) is a part of the ILP, as necessary for graduation and accreditation requirements. For example, the following information may be shared:

  • attendance at required advising meetings and status of completion of ILP forms
  • selection of Phase 3 activities
  • implementation of career development activities
  • pursuit of a specific residency specialty

The advisor collaborates on the MSPE letter for residency. This will not include specifics from the ILP form but may include details about the student’s professionalism and engagement with the ILP and career development process.

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