Clinical students should begin looking for electives during the 3rd-year of their clinical program. Elective sites that students may apply to fill up rather swiftly. Many sites have filled all possible slots for electives at the beginning of the year. Therefore, students should begin researching possible options and sites, keeping in mind the specialty of choice they’d like to consider for residency. Students are highly encouraged to select two specialties and pursue options for electives in both areas to gain as much experience as possible in preparation for residency. “Audition” electives or application-based electives are a great benefit to any student who is accepted into their elective program. However, there is work required by the student as well as the Clinical Department. To increase chances for acceptance into these programs, it would be in the best interest of the student to begin these processes at least one year before the preferred start date. When researching elective opportunities, please pursue sites that are IMG friendly and do not require that you apply via the VSAS (Visiting Student Application Service) to increase your chances of acceptance as well.
Ultimately, students want to invest their time in sites they would consider for residency and at sites that have proven to be beneficial for IMG students. It pays to develop relationships with current residents and program directors within a residency program. Networking is an essential trait and tool to utilize in Clinicals because while you as a student may have met the requirements of a given program, the relationships you have established through networking will prove to be very beneficial for you when it comes time to apply for a residency position. Therefore, invest time into researching elective opportunities at sites that will pay off in the long run. However, don’t feel defeated if, by chance you are not accepted, the clinical department has resources available as well to ensure your placement. In the event, you have questions regarding this blog, feel free to contact me via email or phone.