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Away Electives

Students are allowed to participate in away electives at other LCME medical schools in the United States or teaching hospitals. Away electives can expose students to new educational experience and allow students to explore residency opportunities.

When to consider an Away Rotation

Away rotation experiences can be negative as well as positive. They may or may not provide you an advantage for entry to your desired residency program.

Your purpose for taking part in an away rotation could be to

  • obtain the necessary letters of recommendation
  • to see and be seen by a particular program
  • so that you can say you've rotated at a place that has a residency

Most specialties do not require an away rotation, including

  • Family Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Obstetrics/Gynecology
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry

Some specialties require an away rotation, including

  • Anesthesia
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Neurosurgery
  • Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Radiology


The Visiting Student Learning Opportunities (VSLO) is the AAMC program designed to streamline the application process for M4 "away" electives at other LCME teaching hospitals in the United States. This service allows students to submit one application, effectively reducing paperwork, minimizing miscommunication, and making better use of time.

VSLO also provides a centralized location for managing offers and tracking decisions. To see when schools begin accepting applications for the current academic year, go to the VSLO website and read the Review Host Institution Information section. Activating the link in that section will provide the list of participating institutions, the dates they begin accepting applications, fees, and any required documentation. Each program is different, so read their instructions carefully.

The majority of medical schools use VSLO to process elective requests. The remainder continue to use their own paper-based application system. If you are not applying to a school on VSLO, use the AAMC Extramural Electives Compendium (EEC) for visiting student application information. 

Any program still using a paper application requires a “dean’s statement or cover sheet." You must fill out the application in its entirety and bring it to the Office of Enrollment Management and Registrar. The Senior Director of Enrollment Management and Assistant Registrar will work with the Senior Dean of Student Affairs to complete a cover letter and certification. Do not send blank applications. The Office of Enrollment Management and Registrar keeps copies of all paper applications.

General Steps

  • Check VSLO first – if the school is using VSLO, follow those instructions. For those programs that do not utilize VSLO, contact them or download their visiting student application from their web site.
  • Carefully read and fill out your portion of the application.
  • Transcripts, letters of good standing, and proof of liability insurance will be provided by the Office of Enrollment Managment and Registrar.
  • Immunization records will be released to you once you complete a Consent to Disclose Information from Educational Records form and return it to the Office of Enrollment Management and Registrar.

Grades and Evaluations

Students registered for an away rotation must have an evaluation of performance prepared on the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Assessment of Student form. This electronic form will be sent to a representative at the host institution.

It is the student’s responsibility to check with the associate dean for clinical science, years 3 and 4 to be sure that the evaluation form has been received. The student must continue follow-up action on the evaluation until it is received by the associate dean for clinical science, years 3 and 4.

All evaluations must be completed by the host institution. You will not get credit for the course unless and until we receive this verification.

Once the evaluation/grade is received, the away elective course and grade will appear on your Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine transcript. is a student-run website that helps medical students find and post sublets while doing away rotations at hospitals around the country. The website improves upon existing methods such mailing-list spam or Craigslist postings by being designed specifically for students.