Arguably one of the most important components of the residency application, the audition rotation is your opportunity to express interest in a program, showcase your abilities, and obtain a Standardized Letter of Evaluation (SLOE). These experiences can be referred to as audition rotations, away rotations, or externships. For third year medical students, now is the time to begin planning – the process of securing audition rotations is becoming more competitive every year. The more informed you are regarding this process and the earlier you begin thinking about it, the better off you will be!
Here are some important things to ask yourself as you begin preparing for your audition rotations.
What type of residency program is right for me?
Residency programs come in all different shapes and sizes. There are academic, county, and community programs. There are 3-year programs and 4-year programs. There are programs on the East Coast, West Coast, and everywhere in between! Use your audition rotations to explore these differences and find out what type of program aligns best with your career goals and interests. Need a place to start? Visit EMRA Match for a searchable and updated database of residency programs.
How do I apply for an audition rotation?
Not every program has the same requirements or timeline for applying for audition rotations. Once you have identified the programs you want to apply to, it is important to find out what their application process entails by visiting the program website and searching for visiting student electives. Many programs use the Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS), which allows you to search electives, review application dates and requirements, upload documents, and track your application status. Note that VSAS is not currently available for international students. Other programs have independent applications, so make sure to find out how each program's process works. Refer to your medical school for details regarding approved states and affiliation agreements for your specific eligibility.
What documents will I need to provide with my application?
This is very program-specific. In general, most programs require you to submit your contact information, core clerkship completion dates, a curriculum vitae, transcript, photograph, and immunization form. Additional requirements may include USMLE Step 1 scores, BLS/ACLS certification, health insurance cards, results of criminal background check and drug testing, N-95 respirator fit testing, OSHA training, HIPAA training, and malpractice/liability coverage, as well as letters of recommendation and personal statements. Some of these may take more time to acquire than others, so know your specific program requirements!
When should I schedule my audition rotation?
This is a personal decision. Some students choose to do a “warm-up” emergency medicine rotation at their home institution prior to auditioning at another program. The earlier in your fourth year you can schedule this rotation, the better. The SLOE is an integral component of your residency application and can be submitted as early as Sept. 15. Pay close attention to the dates of the audition rotation and figure out whether they correspond with your medical school's rotation dates. July and August are very popular months, so keep this in mind as you begin scheduling. This all depends on the flexibility you have with your fourth-year schedule, so understand the policies and procedures in place at your medical school.
This process is all about taking the initiative to research programs and staying on top of deadlines. Remember to check your email regularly, because important correspondence from programs may require a prompt response. Continue to be an informed applicant, and you will set yourself up for success!