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Advisor Q&A: MD & DO Webinars

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Q: What should students consider when creating an application strategy? 

A: Students are encouraged to consider the specialty, the fit of the Host institution environment, and their own strengths and skills as an applicant. In 2021, MD students submitted an average of 13 applications, and DO students submitted an average of 30 applications. Currently, in the 2021-2022 academic year, the Coalition for Physician Accountability (Coalition) guidelines continue to be one elective per learner per specialty. 

Q: How do Home institutions collect feedback about rotations? 

A: Some Home institutions facilitate and centralize feedback on away rotations from students. As an example, Baylor has a central repository for student feedback on all away rotations in which students can document their experiences for other students. 

Q: How can a student make their application stand out to Host institutions? 

A: There are a few ways an applicant can share their unique qualifications for a particular rotation, including a Letter of Recommendation from the department as well as a student’s own letter of interest. These can make a difference in the review process for a Host institution. 

Q: How can advisors access VSLO? 

A: We encourage you to connect with the VSLO Home or Host administrator at your institution. The primary points of contact are often part of the Registrar’s Office or Student Affairs Office. If you are unsure who your point of contact is, please reach out to the AAMC’s Client Technical Support team at 202-478-9878 for assistance. 

Q: What should students know about Affiliation Agreements? 

A: Many institutions support the use of Affiliation Agreements. When this process hasn’t been completed, it can impact a student’s opportunity to attend a rotation. Learn more information about the AAMC Uniform Clinical Training Affiliation Agreement

Q: Has there been any further discussion regarding the one away rotation per learner per specialty policy for next year? 

A: The Coalition for Physician Accountability guidelines issued in April 2021 remain in place for the 2021-2022 academic year. Access the Coalition guidelines for more details

Q: Are there any other resources that students should be aware of? 

A: Your students may find the VSLO URiM Database helpful. To date, there are 124 opportunities across a variety of specialties and geographic areas. 

Q: With Step 1 moving to pass/fail, what impact do you foresee this change having in terms of how applications are evaluated by Host institutions? 

A: None of us yet know how moving Step 1 to pass/fail will impact the transition to residency but we recognize that this change may impact Host institutions' decision-making process in the future. We will monitor the impact as the transition to pass/fail becomes the standard in 2022. For more information regarding Step 1, please refer to the NBME: https://www.nbme.org/

Q: How do Host institutions communicate a decision about a student’s application? 

A: Host institutions have different approaches to evaluating applications and to communicating their decisions. VSLO encourages and reminds Host institutions to render a timely decision on student applications and to communicate their decisions accordingly. 

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