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Application and Acceptance Protocols for Applicants

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Recommendations to help ensure that all MD and MD-PhD applicants receive timely notification about the outcome of their AMCAS® application. These guidelines are not intended to supersede the policies, timelines, or discretion of individual schools or programs. Each applicant is expected to become familiar with the procedures and requirements of each school to which they apply.

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The following steps are recommended to help ensure that all MD and MD-PhD applicants receive timely notification about the outcome of their applications, and to protect schools and programs from having unfilled positions in their entering classes. These protocols are often referred to as “Traffic Rules” by admissions officers and prehealth advisors. Prospective applicants, their advisors, and admission staff at medical schools and programs should all be aware of these Application and Acceptance Protocols for applicants. An applicant's actions during the admissions process should be conducted in the spirit of professionalism and ethics expected of a future physician.  

These guidelines are not intended to supersede the policies, timelines, or discretion of individual schools or programs. Each applicant is expected to become familiar with the procedures and requirements of each school to which they apply. The AAMC understands that an individual’s circumstances (e.g., delays in receiving financial aid offer or other compelling personal reasons) may warrant exception from one or more of the following protocols, and defers to each school’s judgment in such cases.  Below are AAMC recommendations for applicants to an MD or MD-PhD program:

  1. Understand, and comply with these Applicant Responsibilities as well as with the application, acceptance, and admission procedures at each school or program to which you apply.
  2. Provide accurate and truthful information in all aspects of your application, interview(s), acceptance, and admission processes for each school or program to which you apply.
  3. Submit all application documents (e.g., primary and secondary application forms, transcript[s], letters of evaluation/recommendation, fees, etc.) on or before the school or program's published deadline date.
  4. Notify all relevant medical school application services of any change, permanent or temporary, to your contact information (e.g., mailing address, telephone number, and email address).
  5. If you will be unavailable for an extended period of time (e.g., during foreign travel, vacation, holidays) during the application/admission process:
    1. Provide instructions regarding your application, and if applicable, delegate the authority to respond to any offers of acceptance to a parent or other responsible individual in your absence.
    2. Inform all schools or programs at which your application remains under consideration of this person's name and contact information, and authority to act on your behalf. Include dates of your unavailability and inclusive dates for the designation of authority to act on your behalf.
  6. Respond promptly to a school's or program's invitation for interview. If you cannot appear for a previously scheduled interview, notify the school or program immediately that you need to cancel.
  7. Begin promptly the steps necessary to determine your eligibility for financial aid. This may include filing need-analysis forms early, and encouraging your parents (when required) to file the appropriate income tax forms.
  8. In fairness to other applicants, if you have decided before April 30 not to attend a medical school or program that has offered you an acceptance, promptly withdraw your application from that school(s) or program(s).
  9. Out of respect for other applicants, if you receive an offer of acceptance from more than one school or program:
    1. Withdraw your acceptance from any school or program you do not plan to attend as soon as you have made that decision;
    2. On or before April 15, narrow your selection(s) to no more than three schools or programs, and withdraw your acceptance(s) from all other schools or programs; and
    3. On or before April 30, choose the school or program to which you plan to matriculate and promptly withdraw your acceptances from all other schools or programs.
  10. If you receive additional acceptances following April 30, it is your responsibility to promptly notify any school(s) you have decided to not attend. Your decision should be made by the deadline established by the medical school(s).
  11. To the extent you have not already done so in furtherance of paragraphs 9 and 10, above, withdraw your acceptance(s) from all other schools or programs as soon as you matriculate at a U.S. or Canadian school or program. For the purposes of these protocols, matriculation means that a student has begun a pre-matriculation program, attended orientation immediately preceding enrollment, or enrolled in classes at a medical school.

*If any date falls on a weekend/holiday the recommendation(s) will apply to the following business day.

Access the Application and Acceptance Protocols for Admission Officers here.

Approved by the Council of Deans Administrative Board, May 7, 2018

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