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Budgeting For Aways

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by Lacheln, 07.25.10.

  1. Lacheln

    Lacheln Cavorting in the Hills

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    I realize that as a 2nd year it's early for me to be thinking about this, but my budget each year is very tight, making it difficult to save up money. I do know already that I will want to do at least two aways that will require flight travel and alternate housing during 4th year. Does anyone know how much an away typically costs (not counting airfare). Is housing usually provided? Do schools typically increase COA for 4th year with this in mind?

    I realize that there is probably variation, just hoping that there's maybe a norm to go on since I don't know the specific programs I'd be thinking about at this point. I just want to know how hard I need to work on saving. I'm also nervous because there will be all those residency interviewing costs, but I don't want to limit my options because of a few Ks if I have a choice.

    TIA for the help. :)
  2. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet

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    do you already know what field you're going into? In some specialties it isn't customary to do aways unless you have a s/o oos.

  3. smq123

    smq123 John Singer Sargent Administrator SDN Senior Moderator SDN Advisor

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    It depends. Almost all away rotations will charge you an application fee (typically ~$100). If they participate in VSAS (a central application service, similar to AMCAS), you will be charged per program that you apply to, and the school may charge you an extra "processing" fee.

    As to how many programs you need to apply to, that will depend on where you want to go and when you want to go. If you want to rotate in radiology at UCLA in September, I would not hold my breath with the expectation that you'd get a slot. You would probably have to apply for numerous away rotations, because competition will be tight.

    No. Housing is almost NEVER provided. You either have to swap apartments with a med student at that school, sublet, or browse Craig's List.

    I don't remember if schools increase the COA for 4th year. If they do, it's not because of away rotations, since aways are largely seen as optional.

    My question is - why have you already decided that you want to do two aways?

    Away rotations in many specialties are seen as indifferent-to-bad things, since they can actually HURT your chances of being interviewed at that particular place. Programs do not have to offer you a courtesy interview, and it is surprisingly difficult to shine on an away rotation. I would think long and hard before concluding that doing an away rotation is necessary or even advisable.
  4. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet

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    I'd def consider doing your home rotation in your field of interest before you do aways in it as well.
  5. jackieMD2007

    jackieMD2007 ***MVI***

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    agree!
  6. lrkoehle

    lrkoehle

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    Really? I feel like I've always heard that away rotations ARE advisable. I know that doing poorly on an away can definitely destroy your chances at a particular program, but if you do well, wouldn't you be more likely to get an interview? As you said, programs do not have to grant interviews as a courtesy, and in competitive specialties don't they typically receive far more applications than interview spaces? This has always been the logic I've seen presented for why people would want to an away (ie they know who you are already). This is why even as an MS-I I'm figuring I'll benefit from an away rotation or two (maybe 3?).
  7. smq123

    smq123 John Singer Sargent Administrator SDN Senior Moderator SDN Advisor

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    - Doing "well" is much harder than you would expect. MUCH harder. I went from being a stellar clinical student to being mediocre-to-disappointing when I did an away. It's actually quite difficult to impress.

    - I know a lot of people who did away rotations and worked very hard....and then never got an interview invite from the place where they did the away. That's a slap in the face. Many places will tell you to your face that doing an away here doesn't help you get an interview if your Step 1 is less than their average, if you're not AOA, etc.

    - 3 aways is excessive, unless you're going into a competitive field and your home school does not have a department in that field.

    A lot of people claim that an away will help, but they're going mostly on word of mouth, I think. The anecdotal evidence I've seen from my own classmates isn't quite as convincing.
  8. lrkoehle

    lrkoehle

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    Cool, thanks for that different perspective.
  9. southernIM

    southernIM

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    Disagree on this point, agree with the rest of your advice. But I don't think it is AS hard to impress as you are making it out to be. Good med student is good med student; it just takes a couple of days to get used to the system at a new place and that is expected.
  10. smq123

    smq123 John Singer Sargent Administrator SDN Senior Moderator SDN Advisor

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    It probably depends somewhat on which rotation and where. I did an OB away, and their L&D was so different from my home school's (especially in that most of their patients were private, and the private attendings didn't look at med students particularly favorably) that I just felt like I was constantly pissing someone off. Then again, people have said that that was just par for the course on OB in general, but that is a different story for a different day.

    And, when you read many of the forums (derm, ENT), I think that med students are less impressive than they think that they are. I've found that to be true when precepting med students as an intern as well.
  11. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet

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    in certain fields, it's unusual to do aways, so doing them raises eyebrows.
  12. 2012mdc

    2012mdc Enjoying the Dark Side

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    Which fields are those?

    How many aways should you do if you do not have a home program in that specialty? 1 or 2? Even 3?
  13. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet

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    IM, Fam Med, stuff like that, I have heard that about OB as well. People may do away rotations in IM if it's at a top program.

    I would ask in the SDN forum specific to your specialty as it's quite specialty dependent.
  14. 2012mdc

    2012mdc Enjoying the Dark Side

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    Thanks. It was more out of curiosity than anything. Haven't decided my specialty yet (start my 1st rotation Monday)
  15. Doctor4Life1769

    Doctor4Life1769 **tr0llin, ridin dirty**

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    Thats interesting - but I suppose it makes sense too. Not terribly competitive unless you want elite programs. Good thing, b/c I'm not doing aways in any of those fields and I'm considering one of them as a backup.
  16. Lacheln

    Lacheln Cavorting in the Hills

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    Hey guys, didn't see this thread had been moved, I appreciate your responses.

    The reason I'm thinking I will need to do away rotations is because I'm pretty sure that I'll be applying for residencies far away from my med school, and I had heard that aways were more important when you are looking to switch things up geographically. I figured that's because the programs you are applying to might be less familiar with your med school?

    On the other hand, the faculty at my school are pretty diverse in terms of where they themselves trained, so maybe familiarity won't be much of a problem.

    Personally, I think audition aways sound very stressful, not to mention potentially expensive, so I guess I'd prefer not to do them if they aren't necessary. SMQ thanks a bunch for the specific info.

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