Students have approximately 42 total weeks in Year 4 to complete requirements. The remainder weeks are of discretionary time. Students must adhere to the 28 day notice add/drop policy for scheduling changes in Year 4; thus, planning your schedule carefully will ensure that you both meet the graduation requirements and stay on track in your career path.
- Take a sub-I (if one is offered) or elective in your chosen specialty early and plan on obtaining 1–2 letters of recommendation (depending on the number of attendings you work with) during that rotation. For more on letters of recommendation, see the Residency Application section.
- In terms of selecting electives, think about your specialty choice and areas in which you might feel uncomfortable. Then meet your fears head on – take electives that address your weaknesses! You will feel more prepared to start your residency if you do this.
- After your sub-I (or elective) in your chosen specialty, plan to do your away rotation(s), if you are going to do any.
- Interview Season is typically mid-October through January; ensure the elective director/coordinator is aware of your interview schedule.
Obtain a Specialty Advisor who can review your preliminary selections about electives and discuss with you the best options relative to your medical specialty choice. After you select your elective lottery preferences, you are strongly encouraged to meet with their Societies mentor to get their approval of your selections. The mentor may also review the CiM Advising M4’s Checklist* (CiM > Advisors and Liaisons > Advising Students) with you. Your Societies House Dean and/or Assistant Dean for Career Advising can also provide you advice on course selection and availability / timing of courses.
*Access to advising tools via the AAMC Careers in Medicine website is free to our students. You must follow the link from your email to sign in for the first time. If you haven’t already received this email, contact one of the UA COM – Tucson Careers in Medicine liaisons.
Away Electives - VSAS
Away rotations are an option for our Year 4 medical students, and a great way to learn more about prospective institutions and training programs where you would like to apply for residency. Conversely, it is also a means in which program leadership to get to know you as a potential resident.
The two primary resources for students interested in participating in away electives are the specialty advisor and the Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS).
The Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS) is an online application service offered through the AAMC. The service allows students to complete only one short standardized application for students to complete that allows them to apply to as many participating medical schools as they wish. See the VSAS Information for Students FAQ for details.