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Away Rotation Primer
In years past determining whether to do an away rotation and how to go about getting an away rotation has been confusing at best. That is why AΩA and the Liaison program have teamed up to help you decide whether to do an away rotation and how to find and apply for one. This is by no means comprehensive, but instead a place to start. Along with this primer, your specialty specific advisor and 4th years who have already gone through the process are great resources.
Step 1: Should I do an away rotation?
There are no easy answers, but below are some pros and cons.
Start looking early! While some programs do not look at applications until late spring, many programs begin accepting applications in February on a first come, first serve basis. To start you will need a tentative list of programs you are interested in and a sense of how competitive you are at the programs you are considering. Remember a specialty specific advisor, other physicians in the field you are interested in and 4th years applying in that specialty can help in creating a list and determining your competitiveness. Most medical schools will have a "visiting students" webpage where you can research an away rotation.
There is no easy answer. For most programs if applied to early you will be able to secure a rotation in your specialty though perhaps not in your preferred elective. But keep in mind for more competitive specialties, especially at competitive programs you may not always be accepted and should consider applying to additional programs. As for how many away rotations to do keep in mind your goals for those rotations, the cost and your willingness to "be on the road." Also keep in mind that turning down multiple invitations to rotate could affect your prospect of interviewing at that school.
Every program will have different requirements, but below is a check list to help you organize requirements from each program you are considering.
Last year a pilot program was instituted at 10 schools to create a universal visiting student on-line application called VSAS (Visiting Student Application Service). This program has been expanded to over 75 institutions. However, keep in mind some schools who participate in VSAS continue to have additional requirements beyond the common VSAS that must be completed in order to be considered. To learn more about schools participating and to apply using VSAS please visit http://www.aamc.org/programs/vsas/.
Last updated: 3/10