gstrub

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I am in the process of selecting places for a 1 month away rotation. I am wondering about how much value rotating in a geographical region can have on one's application in that region.

Say I am on the east coast. I've been accepted to Stanford and Hopkins for my away rotation and need to pick one. Will rotating at Stanford demonstrate to other west coast programs that I am interested in living out there? Or is the name recognition on a strong LOR from Hopkins enough to do the same?

I really just don't know how I'm going to decide. All 4 programs I am applying to (MUSC, Vandy, Stanford, Hopkins) are so strong.

Someone try to advise me on this issue!
 

neutropeniaboy

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I really just don't know how I'm going to decide. All 4 programs I am applying to (MUSC, Vandy, Stanford, Hopkins) are so strong.
Someone try to advise me on this issue!
My advice is this.

Of the four programs you have selected, MUSC is the best. If you do an away there, it will be good for that institution, show interest in southern institutions and the east coast.

Rotating at Stanford will probably not help you much on the east coast, but it would show some willingness to perform for 5 years on the west coast, especially if you have no attachments.

Vanderbilt is a good place to rotate and train, but a few of the people there are overrated.

Hopkins is VERY overrated as a place to train; however, a set of good letters from Hopkins will carry you far.

If you want good letters, then go to Hopkins for your sub-I, but I wouldn't go there for residency. If you want a solid chance at a great east coast program, stick with MUSC.
 

resxn

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As someone who interviewed a lot of applicants, I'll tell you I couldn't care less where they did their away rotation. Just because you do it somewhere has no effect on whether I think you're a good candidate for my program. You certainly have the advantage of saying "I rotated through Stanford because I really want to come out West for residency." But I don't think that it will make a hill of beans to who interviews you.

What they're looking for is a potential resident who will work hard and ultimately be a success. Particularly they hit a homerun when they get a resident that is an asset and not a liability to a program.

Assets are measured in
1 - How hard and well you work while you're a resident
2 - How much prestige you bring to the program once you graduate
3 - Alumni contributions to the dept funds (not a huge factor, but certainly every chair is concerned about their budget). I obviously wouldn't mention anything at all like this when you're trying to get in--this isn't an opportunity to bribe your interviewer.

Most programs are quite aware that geography matters little in the ultimate location of a physician.
 

Leforte

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Agree with Resxn. Could care less where you did an away at. Do care about the letters of recommendation you get, though. Would rather see a stellar letter from one of the faculty than a cursory one from a department chair.

Something along the lines of "Leforte spent 4 weeks on out service and during that time, I spent a significant amount of time with him to fully evaluate his strengths. The residents frequently commented that he was always in early and had seen the patients on the service and formulated preliminary plans for them. He always had supplies needed for the patients, which allowed the team to move through rounds quickly and efficiently. He was consistently prepared for his cases in the operating room, having read about his patients and reviewed their disease processes. He was engaging with patients, residents, attendings and support staff and an asset with his communication skills. His motor skills were at the level of an intern and perhaps an early junior resident level. He asked questions appropriately which was not distracting to those around him. He was always willing to stay late and assist in assuring the patients were fully tucked prior to the end of the day. During his month with us, we worked on a case report that I had collected and was able to finish a manuscript for my review prior to his returning to his home medical school. Amazingly, he was able to do this while working more than anyone else on his team. The residents have approached me many times and asked if I could advocate for him when we interview and make out rank list. I can assure you that he will be an asset to any program and it is our hope that he will continue his post-graduate training with us. He is one of the brightest and hardest working students I have come across and recommend him exceptionally high without reservation" --Signed Associate Professor

versus: "Leforte spent 4 weeks on our service. I observed him in clinic and the OR on a few occasions. He scored well on his USMLE step I. He was on time for rounds. The residents did not speak poorly of his communication skills. He was quiet in the operating room but did seem to know his anatomy when asked. He did start a chart review project while he was here, but was not able to finish it due to time constraints. He was appropriate with patients and would make a good otolaryngologist. I recommend him for a house officer position." -- Signed Well Known Department Chair

Of these two letters, who would you choose?
 

neutropeniaboy

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Well, I guess it would depend on which chair wrote it...

Obviously, those are two very different letters. I think this is where the student has to really work hard to get to know the chair. Most don't.

Don't under estimate the importance of regions. There are many programs, including mine, that (right or wrong) feel being from a certain region is important.

Honestly, I always fall back on my original sentiment: don't do an away rotation; 9 times out of 10 it will hurt you. Everyone says that they'll work his butt off to impress everyone at the program, but honestly, hardly anyone ever does. 1 out of 10 will.