10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2004
Buffalo NY
To future surgery hopefuls, I just wanted to get your opinion....

I've been going kinda crazy lately listening to my fellow classmates plan away electives for 4th yr. I don't know if I should believe all the hype I've been hearing lately. I realize that if you have a certain program in mind, it can be extremely helpful. But what if you have no idea where you would like to go for residency? If you do end up applying to competitive programs in places like Chicago, Boston, or NYC, will not doing an away rotation come back to haunt you? (Let's assume hypothetically that you're a fairly competitive applicant). I've also heard that if you do an away rotation, the program may be more apt to grant you a courtesy interview, but after that, you're in the same pool as every other applicant who didn't rotate through the program. What are your thoughts on this? Is it true that certain programs in these cities only grant interviews to rotators?


dry dre

All hat, no cattle
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2003
Attending Physician
eilis721 said:
To future surgery hopefuls, I just wanted to get your opinion....

Reasons to do an away (not complete):
1) Face time, show off, work hard, earn an interview etc
2) Make up for an otherwise weak app
3) Learn about the program/hospital/city/other programs in the area by word of mouth
4) Get a letter from someone famous (can help your app at any program)
5) Some programs are biased towards their rotators (find out which)

I think #4 should be a strong consideration if you don't know where you want to go.

Understand that you may be asked why you did a rotation at Hosp X which may mean "and not with us?". Also, if you do 2-3 rotations at various County Bumpkin Memorials, this may raise questions with powerhouse places you may apply to.


Resident Objectivist
15+ Year Member
Jan 29, 2001
Fellow [Any Field]
I think it matters at some programs more than others. Last year, Northwestern matched 3 of its own students and a fourth who did an away there. Those of us at the interview who didn't do an away were like, "So, why are we even here?" Then again, my program director says more people end up not matching where they do their away rotation (for whatever reason) than those that do, so I'd look at dry dre's suggestions as for reasons to do an away.