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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for Electives at Boston Children’s?

Please visit the HMS Registrar‘s website for more details.

What housing options are available for visiting students?

Visiting students are responsible for their own housing. HMS does have a residence hall, and inquiries about room availability can be sent to: Vanderbilt_Hall@hms.harvard.edu. The Vanderbilt website includes links to alternative short-term housing options: Vanderbilt Hall Website. There is also a medical student-run (non-HMS or BCH- sponsored) website for sublets: Rotating Room that may be useful.

What about transportation and parking?

Students are responsible for their own transportation while on elective rotation. Unfortunately, parking in Boston is quite expensive and options are limited, so we would encourage you to stay within walking or biking distance of the hospital if possible. The city also has an excellent public transportation system (the MBTA) and several subway and bus stops near the Longwood medical area.

How can I increase the chances of getting an elective at Boston Children’s?

Be as flexible as possible! Because we often have more requests for rotations than there are slots available, we would advise that you include several options for each month. Our busiest months are typically May through October, so if your schedule allows it may be easier to get your top choice rotation in the winter months. The registrar will tell you whether you have been scheduled for a rotation approximately 4-6 weeks prior to the start date.

If I am not assigned a rotation through the Harvard Registrar, may I participate in an observership?

Observerships are not offered at Boston Children’s Hospital through the Department of Medicine.

What happens after I hear that I’ve been assigned to an elective rotation?

Approximately 3-4 weeks before your rotation is scheduled to begin, we will send an email with information regarding an orientation session and preparation for your elective. Included in the email is paperwork that you will need to submit for clearance by Human Resources and Occupational Health. Please make sure to complete the paperwork fully and send back in before the deadline to ensure that you are cleared to start on the first day of your rotation. We will also include required training modules on PowerChart, our Electronic Medical Record.

What will my rotation be like?

Detailed course descriptions are available through the HMS Registrar’s website. In addition to your elective-specific educational conferences, students participating in an elective rotation administered through the Department of Medicine at BCH are invited to attend the daily resident noon conferences. Additionally, each week the chief residents run a case-based discussion session specifically for visiting fourth year students.