Resources and Advice from DO Students: Rotations

Fourth Year Audition Rotations and VSAS


  • Apply early, always have a backup option for an audition rotation (but realize you might have to cancel one – sometimes it could hurt your chances at residency).
  • Apply early. You don’t need to do many auditions if you go ACGME for residency.
  • I didn’t use VSAS for any of my electives but used affiliated hospitals and made my own arrangements directly with hospitals that don’t use VSAS.
  • Stay on top of emails, when/who you need to call. Early bird gets the worm.
  • Schedule them early, and don’t be afraid to have multiple requests out at the same time. On auditions, be on your game. Take an active role in your team.
  • Contact/research programs early in your 3rd year to show interest, ask questions, and to gain more information about scheduling audition rotations. Spots fill up rapidly at some programs versus others due to high demand/low volume.
  • Do VSAS early!
  • Just relax and be yourself. They know you are smart, they are probably more interested in whether or not they can put up with you for the next 3 to 5 years.
  • Have a clear idea of where you want to be for residency and do everything you can to rotate at that institution, particularly do an audition rotation within the field of interest. Look up the program’s rotation information and apply as directed either via VSAS or private application.
  • Do as many as you can. When you are on rotation, make sure that you schedule a meeting with the program director.
  • For EM the best resource for advice regarding VSAS, audition rotations, residency applications, ERAS is the advice column from Dr. Overton at Western Michigan EM program
  • If you are an average/above average applicant, audition at places you want to get an interview at, especially at competitive programs. I made a mistake of auditioning at lower tiered programs just for the sake of auditioning, only one of them ends up in my top 7. If your board scores are not too stellar, audition at lower ranked programs to ensure your chance to match. Try to audition in June, July, August if you need a solid LoR.
  • A lot of AOA programs are not on VSAS. Call them in December to inquire about their rotation application process. If you are going to be travelling, note that every rotation will cost more than you anticipate (housing, flights, rental car) AND you will also need to be aware you will have travel expenses for interviews, and many residencies do not help with the expense associated with going to an interview.
  • Email the site first!! I wasted so much money applying for rotations that were not truly open. Start applying in Jan/Feb. I waited way too long (ie April when applying for October)
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