Apr 26, 2009
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Medical Student
I want to do an away rotation in Ophthalmology in addition to a rotation at my home institution. This raises a few questions I would love input from

1. I plan on doing my rotation at my home institution in June/July of my 4th year. That is the earliest I can do it at my school, they won't let 3rd years do it.

2. I am more interested going to residency at a particular away institution, and would love to do an away rotation there in August/September (I would have a decent grasp on at least some Ophthalmology things because I would have just finished my home rotation, so I won't look like a complete idiot). However, I want to get a letter of rec (hopefully) out of a physician there, and I think that may be too late because I want to get my application in earlier than September. I have the option of doing this rotation in April/May of my 3rd year as well during a 6 week break that i have. I could do it then, but then at my away rotation I might look like a fool because I don't know too much about Ophthalmology. Any advice on that?

3. Has anybody gotten letters of Rec from an away rotation? Most people I talk to have gotten letters of rec from people they have done research with and know very well, and not just a physician they met and worked a few times on a rotation.

Any advice would be appreciated!
 

MstaKing10

7+ Year Member
Aug 17, 2009
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Attending Physician
All things equal, doing a rotation at your home institution first will likely yield a stronger letter of rec from your home faculty and will also give you the experience you need to go on to an "away" program. I would thus favor your home institution. Keep in mind that no matter where you do an away, their expectations in terms of fund of knowledge and exam skills are pretty low. You can make a big impression by being a friendly, hard working student. I've seen plenty of away rotation students come to our program that have such blatant personality flaws that they really hurt their chances. I have never seen a student "shunned" from the program because they couldn't use fundus lenses or couldn't diagnose macular edema! Finally, when I applied, we could submit 4 total letters of rec and I asked one of the attendings from my away rotation to do this. I worked with them almost daily and they wrote a great letter. So it is possible. However, I think an equally strong letter from your home institution may carry more weight.

Best of luck.
 
Apr 26, 2009
114
0
41
Status
Medical Student
All things equal, doing a rotation at your home institution first will likely yield a stronger letter of rec from your home faculty and will also give you the experience you need to go on to an "away" program. I would thus favor your home institution. Keep in mind that no matter where you do an away, their expectations in terms of fund of knowledge and exam skills are pretty low. You can make a big impression by being a friendly, hard working student. I've seen plenty of away rotation students come to our program that have such blatant personality flaws that they really hurt their chances. I have never seen a student "shunned" from the program because they couldn't use fundus lenses or couldn't diagnose macular edema! Finally, when I applied, we could submit 4 total letters of rec and I asked one of the attendings from my away rotation to do this. I worked with them almost daily and they wrote a great letter. So it is possible. However, I think an equally strong letter from your home institution may carry more weight.

Best of luck.
Thanks for the advice! I think I agree with you that the home rotation should be more important. I just need to figure out when I want to do my away rotation. I'm leaning towards April/May of next year instead of August/September just because i want to get my application in early.