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 Application Service (VSAS) is an AAMC application designed to streamline the application process for senior "away" electives at other LCME medical schools in the United States. This service requires students to submit one application for all schools, effectively reducing paperwork, minimizing miscommunication, and making better use of time.

VSAS 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 VSAS website and click on the Institutions tab. You will then see 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 VSAS to process elective requests. The remainder continue to use their own paper-based application system. If you are not applying to a school on VSAS, use the AAMC Extramural Electives Compendium (EEC) for visiting student application information. The AAMC web site connects you to the LCME-accredited medical schools and has the URLs for their websites.

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 Registrar's office. The registrar will work with the associate dean of student affairs to complete a cover letter and certification. Do not send blank applications. The Registrar's office keeps copies of all paper applications.

General Steps

  • Check VSAS first – if the school is using VSAS, follow those instructions. For those programs that do not utilize VSAS, 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 Registrar’s Office.
  • Immunization records will be released to you once you complete a Consent to Disclose Information from Educational Records form and return it to Student Affairs.

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 the departmental coordinator at the host school during the last week of rotation.

It is the student’s responsibility to check with the assistant dean for clinical science Y3 and Y4 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 assistant dean for clinical science.

All evaluations must originate from 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.