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Residents answer top student questions about away rotations

A national survey of more than 1,000 medical students found that coordinating away rotations consumes a significant amount of time during their fourth year of training. That’s why it’s important to prepare early. And we have insights from the right people to help you. Here’s a roundup of the top advice from residents on how they prepared for away rotations and strengthened their chances for a successful match.

Students asked a panel of residents in anesthesiology, orthopedic surgery, cardiology and obstetrics/gynecology their top questions about preparing away rotations as part of a special presentation filmed for the AMA’s Succeeding from Medical School to Practiceresource. Their top questions and responses included:

How do I set up my away rotations?

The panel says: Generally, you’ll want to start researching potential programs where you’d like to pursue away rotations in your third year. If you begin researching them as a first or second year student—even better. Once you’ve identified the potential programs at which you’d like to pursue away rotations, contact your school and programs of interest to receive the proper approval to attend the rotations. Also give yourself time to arrange housing and other accommodations. It’s best to complete this process before the beginning of your fourth year. 

Insider tips: “I did a lot of away rotations, but that’s because I finished most of my required courses [in my] third year, so I had a lot of free time. I even used some of my vacation time to do electives. I think I did four externships. You have to contact programs early enough, so you’ll want to start thinking about it maybe toward the end of your third year. I had to get a letter from my dean and the person in charge of [my] grades [for approval].”—anesthesiology resident

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