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Traffic Rules

Application and Acceptance Protocols - Admission Officers

The AAMC recommends the following guidelines to ensure that MD and MD-PhD applicants are afforded timely notification of the outcome of their applications and timely access to available first-year positions and that schools and programs are protected from having unfilled positions in their entering classes. These protocols are often referred to as “Traffic Rules” by admissions officers and pre-health advisors. These recommendations are distributed for the information of prospective MD and MD-PhD students, their advisors, and personnel at the medical schools and programs to which they have applied.

The AAMC recommends that each MD or MD-PhD granting school or program:

1. Comply with established procedures to:

a. Annually publish, amend and adhere to its application, acceptance and admission procedures.

b. Abide by all conditions of participation agreements with application services (if using).

2. Promptly communicate admissions decisions:

a. By October 1, notify Early Decision applicants and the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) of Early Decision Program (EDP) admission actions.

b. From October 15 to March 15, notify AMCAS within 5 business days of all admission actions, either written or verbal, that have been communicated to an applicant.

c. From March 16 to the first day of class, notify AMCAS within 2 business days of all admissions acceptance, withdrawal, or deferral actions, either written or verbal, that have been communicated to an applicant. All admission actions are listed and defined on the AAMC website.

d. An acceptance offer is defined as the point at which a medical school communicates a written or verbal acceptance offer to an applicant.

e. An acceptance offer to any dual degree program that occurs after an initial acceptance should follow the above timelines.

3. Notify all Regular MD program applicants of their acceptance on or after October 15* of each admission cycle, but no earlier. Schools and programs may notify applicants of admissions decisions other than acceptance prior to October 15.

4. By March 15 of the matriculation year, issue a number of acceptance offers at least equal to the expected number of students in its first-year entering class and report those acceptance actions to AMCAS.

5. On or before April 30, permit ALL applicants (except for EDP applicants):

a. A minimum of two-weeks to respond to their acceptance offer.

b. To hold acceptance offers or a waitlist position from any other schools or programs without penalty (i.e. Scholarships).

6. After April 30, implement school-specific procedures for accepted applicants who, without adequate explanation, continue to hold one or more places at other schools or programs.

a. Each school or program should permit applicants:

1. A minimum of 5 business days to respond to an acceptance offer. This may be reduced to a minimum of 2 business days within 30 days of the start of orientation.

2. Submit a statement of intent, a deposit, or both.

b. Recognize the challenges of applicants with multiple acceptance offers, applicants who have not yet received an acceptance offer, and applicants who have not yet been informed about financial aid opportunities at schools to which they have been accepted.

c. Permit applicants who have been accepted or who have been granted a deferral, to remain on other schools' or programs' wait lists. Also, permit these applicants to withdraw if they later receive an acceptance offer from a preferred school or program.

7. Each school's pre-enrollment deposit should not exceed $100 and (except for EDP applicants,) be refundable until April 30. If the applicant enrolls at the school, the school should credit the deposit toward tuition. Schools should not require additional deposits or matriculation fees prior to matriculation.

8. On or after May 15, any school that plans to make an acceptance offer to an applicant who has already been accepted to, or granted a deferral by, another school or program, must ensure that the other school or program is advised of this offer at the time it is issued (written or verbal) to the applicant. This notification should be made immediately by telephone and email by the close of business on the same day. The communication should contain the applicants name and AAMC ID number, the program being offered (ex. MD only, joint program), and the date through which the offer is valid. Schools and programs should communicate fully with each other with respect to anticipated late roster changes in order to minimize inter-school miscommunication and misunderstanding, as well as to prevent unintended vacant positions in a school's first-year entering class.

9. No school or program should make an acceptance offer, either verbal or written, to any individual who has officially matriculated/enrolled in, or begun an orientation program immediately prior to enrollment at an LCME accredited medical school. Medical programs should enter a matriculation action for students in AMCAS immediately upon the start of enrollment or the orientation immediately preceding enrollment.

10. Each school should treat all letters of evaluation submitted in support of an application as confidential, except in those states with applicable laws to the contrary. The contents of a letter of evaluation should not be revealed to an applicant at any time.

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

Approved: AAMC Council of Deans Administrative Board, September 2014