best timing for away rotation or international elective?

Discussion in 'Internal Medicine and IM Subspecialties' started by spacemanspiff, Apr 23, 2007.

  1. spacemanspiff

    spacemanspiff ASA Member
    5+ Year Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Medical Student
    I am trying to sign up for electives and I was wondering if anyone of you have any advice on when to schedule away rotations? Before ERAS applications, before interviews?, or anytime before the match?

    I'm asking because away rotations will require a lot of effort with matching schedules between my home school and the away school, so I want to maximize the amount of time that I can do away rotations, yet have something to talk about at the interview or do it in time to get letters of recommendations for away sites that I'm interested in for residency.

    Thanks everyone!
  2. atsai3

    10+ Year Member

    May 15, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    Depends on your goals with respect to the elective.

    If you want a letter of recommendation to be considered with your application to all programs, then schedule the elective to complete sometime before October. If your attending takes the customary 3-4 weeks to get your letter of recommendation into your file, then it will be out around the same time the Dean's Letters go out; of course, many programs do not wait for the Dean's Letter to issue interview invitations, so if you are able to schedule your elective earlier, by all means do so.

    If you are a good candidate and you want the elective to help you with respect to getting considered at a specific program, then probably any time before February should be fine. Assuming you get an interview with that program, doing the elective any time prior to when the rank lists are due will give your attending time to provide verbal feedback to the program director about your performance.

    If you are a marginal candidate and you want the elective to help you with respect to getting considered at a specific program, then you should probably schedule the elective for earlier in the fall. Many programs do not automatically grant interviews to visiting students. If you do well in your rotation, then that may be what you need to boost your application sufficiently to get an interview.

  3. labrynth79

    labrynth79 Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Aug 12, 2001
    Likes Received:
    I agree with the above poster, but here are some additional points.

    #1: Program-specific LOR: I did an away rotation at a program between Oct-Nov, and was able to have an attending write a letter of rec on my behalf. I had him specifically write a letter for the program only (and not a general LOR to send out with all my applications). It worked well and I think that it helped my application. :) Even though the LOR wasn't uploaded until the beginning of December, it was STILL discussed during my interviews.

    #2: International Electives: On a whole, I tend to avoid these until AFTER residency interviews are over so that you can spend ample time on any project (ie, >4 weeks) if needed. However, if you want it as a selling/discussion point, then it can be done before interview season begins. Just make certain that your LORs are uploaded BEFORE you leave the country (you can always submit your personal statement later or even when you are in the other country).

    I had 2 friends work on International projects before interviews, and didn't have a problem. They are great candidates and did well during medical school, so I'm not sure if the international experience really altered their application that much. One is now a PGY1 at Brigham & Women's in Internal Medicine, the other a PGY1 at UCSD for Head&Neck Surgery.

    Have fun with the electives! I hope that you enjoy your 4th yr. :)

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