How to Use VSAS
Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS®) makes it easier for medical students to apply to senior away electives. With VSAS, you'll only need to complete one application for all participating institutions. This reduces paperwork, saves time, and facilitates communication between applicants and institutions.
The steps for applying to away electives with VSAS are outlined below.
1. Request VSAS Authorizations
To access VSAS you must first be issued authorizations. The number of authorizations you receive determine how many elective applications you can submit.
- Ask the office or person who assists with your 4th year schedule (e.g., student affairs office/visiting student coordinator) to issue you authorizations to use VSAS.
- When they are issued, you will receive a "VSAS: New User Instructions" e-mail containing the information you need to sign in to VSAS.
2. Review Host Institution Application Dates and Requirements
Review the host institutions' application requirements, fee information and dates on which they will begin accepting and processing applications through your VSAS "Institutions" tab.
3. Complete and Certify Your VSAS Profile
Once you've signed in to the software, you will complete the Profile section of the VSAS application. This includes the following information and your certification of a number of statements .
- General and emergency contact information
- Dates you finished (or will have finished) your core clerkships
4. Upload and Assign Supporting Documents
You will be able to upload three of the four standard VSAS documents as well as any number of supplemental documents. Not all standard documents are required at each institution and only standard documents will be tracked through VSAS (for application completeness), it is the student's responsibility to track the required supplemental documentation at each host institution. Students must assign documents to a host institution or application before VSAS will make those documents available for host review.
- Curriculum Vitae
- Immunization Records* (these may only be uploaded after applications have been submitted through VSAS)
- Transcript (your school will upload)
- Students and home schools can upload any additional documentation in PDF, TIFF or DOC formats up to 3MB in file size.
Documents must be assigned to a host institution or application in order for the corresponding host institutions to have access to these documents. Students can assign documents during the document upload process, during the application checkout process, or at any time post-submission through their "Documents" tab.
5. Search for Electives
Utilizing the VSAS search form, you can use any of the following search criteria to locate just the electives you are interested in:
- Institution and/or location
- Start Month of an elective
While reviewing your search results you may save the electives and dates in which you are interested. You may save the same elective multiple times with different dates. The 'Save' button will only be available on electives that the institution is currently accepting applications for and that you are eligible to apply for.
Note: all host institutions will not have their electives available for viewing or application at the same time. Use your VSAS "Institutions" tab to review when electives will be made available to you by the host institution.
6. Apply to Electives
To complete the application process, select one or more of your saved electives and arrange them in order of preference at each institution.
During the checkout process, you will be given the opportunity to upload additional documentation. This is the first opportunity you will have to upload an Immunization Form. Documents can also be assigned to host institutions/applications during this step. Please note that documents will only be made available to host institutions after your application has been submitted and the document has been assigned to them.
Enter your credit card information to pay the VSAS fees and submit your applications.
Once submitted, the applications are transmitted to your home school who will verify data about you and, optionally, upload your transcript. The home school will then release your applications to their respective host institutions for processing.
Additional Requirements: Some host institutions may require additional documentation to supplement the VSAS application. We recommend you use the "Institutions" tab in VSAS to review each host institution's application requirements.
7. Track Your Offers
You can track each submitted application by clicking on your "Applications" tab in VSAS. Each submitted application will be listed here and its current status displayed. The following actions, if necessary, can be done from this tab:
- Accept or decline offers received from host institutions. If you don't respond to an offer within a timeframe set by the host institution, it will expire.
- Modify submitted applications by changing your preferred dates, reordering your applications or uploading and attaching additional documentation.
- Drop your accepted offers.
- Withdraw pending applications.
8. Read Your Emails
Make sure the e-mail address in your VSAS profile is current, as you will receive e-mails notifying you of:
- Offers for electives.
- Electives applied for, but which are not available.
- Scheduling conflicts between offered and/or already-scheduled electives. These conflicts must be resolved 30 days before the start of the first elective.
- Offers made by host institutions with impending expirations.
- Cancelled electives to which you have applied or been scheduled.
- Document notifications alerting you when your home school has uploaded or modified a document for your application.