On March 8, 2022, members of AACOM’s Council on Residency Placement hosted a webinar to help medical students prepare for success in their audition rotations and Visiting Student Learning Opportunities (VSLO) applications.
Watch a recording of the webinar and read our key takeaways:
Benefits of Audition Rotations
- During an audition rotation, you will be able to determine whether you fit in well with a residency program.
- Audition rotations give you the opportunity to showcase your clinical, interpersonal and other relevant skills as a potential applicant to their residency program, giving you an opportunity to enhance your candidacy as an applicant.
- If you are unfamiliar with the city or location of the program, an audition rotation will make it easier for you to gauge whether you would want to live there for the next three to seven years.
- Residency programs can evaluate you in a clinical setting and see if you are a good fit for them.
- Residency programs often offer interviews based on your performance during an audition rotation.
Which Audition Rotations Should I Pursue?
- Always refer to your college of osteopathic medicine (COM)’s clinical education guidelines for specific rules and regulations regarding audition rotations (and how they distinguish between away rotations, audition rotations and sub-internships), as each COM sets its own regulations and guidelines for these.
- Prior to applying to an audition rotation via VSLO, visit its elective page in VSLO to understand the application requirements (e.g., application deadlines, required documents, dates offered, etc.).
- Come up with a master list of all residency programs to which you wish to apply.
- Make sure your board scores meet their minimum scores.
- Make sure the programs are DO-friendly and do not have a regional bias.
- Look at the program websites as well to make sure that you will likely be a good fit for their program.
- The culture and overall “fit” of a program should be an important factor in your selection process.
How Many Audition Rotations Should I Complete?
- Cost: First, determine how many audition rotations you can afford to do, as there can be a financial burden associated with audition rotations.
- Specialty-specific: Some predominantly allopathic specialties, such as orthopedic surgery, will require you to complete more audition rotations, as many of these programs will only offer interviews to those applicants who completed an audition rotation with them.
- Burnout: Make sure that you have the time and energy to perform at the highest level possible during each of your audition rotations.
- A good number to start with is two to three audition rotations within the specialty you wish to pursue.
Important Considerations for Scheduling Audition Rotations
- Be cautious of applying to multiple audition rotations for a single set of dates. If you receive multiple offers, you can only accept one, and turning down an offer to audition at a program will negatively impact your candidacy as an applicant to that program and hurt your chances of interviewing.
- Avoid scheduling audition rotations back-to-back, as they are very taxing and exhausting—physically, emotionally and mentally. Take breaks after each one to ensure you are fully prepared to perform well for the next one.
- Minimize the likelihood that you will either need to leave an audition rotation for an interview at a different program or decline an interview at a different program to maintain satisfactory attendance during your audition rotation.
- When communicating with programs, respond to any of their questions or inquiries (e.g., requests for documentation or application materials) in a timely manner.
- When offered an audition rotation, respond to the program with your decision within 48 hours.
Preparing for an Audition Rotation
- Utilize different resources to coordinate your housing during audition rotations (and for away rotations in general), such as:
- Housing information provided by the program (via the program’s welcome packet or by asking the program directly)
- Study any specialty-specific information, skills or topics prior to arriving at the site on your first day.
- If provided beforehand, have the schedule for your audition rotation in hand when you arrive at the site for your first day.
- Explore the residency program’s website and faculty or resident biographies.
- Have a contact person (email and phone number, if possible) to notify should you experience an emergency.
- Reach out to any alumni of your COM who did their residency at the program for which you are auditioning (if there are any) to see if they can give you any resources, assistance or advice.
Tips for Success in an Audition Rotation
- Always arrive early! Especially on your first day.
- Have enthusiasm and demonstrate good teamwork skills every day you are at the audition rotation. Be teachable and open to learning.
- Always be professional to every single person you meet during your audition rotation, including your preceptors, fellow students, residents, nurses, housekeepers, etc.
- Always be honest. Admit when you do not know something and say that you will be sure to look it up later.
- Establish what is expected of you in the first day or two. Ask questions to preceptors and residents (or other students) to make sure that you have a firm understanding of what you need to do to meet the preceptors’ expectations.
You are much more likely to match into a residency program at which you auditioned successfully than into a program at which you only interviewed, so you should preferentially select audition rotations at residency programs that you intend to rank the highest.