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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 able to reasonably anticipate accepted applicant matriculation in order to avoid unfilled positions in their entering classes. 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.

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, and are offered in the spirit of undertaking the admissions process with the high degree of integrity expected of the medical profession. These guidelines are not intended to supersede the policies, timelines, or discretion of the individual schools or programs. 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.

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 five business days of all admission actions, either written or verbal, that have been communicated to an applicant.

c. From March 16 to April 30, notify AMCAS within two 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. From May 1 to the first day of class, notify AMCAS of all admissions actions within 24 hours. 

e. Notify AMCAS of each student’s matriculation within 24 hours.

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

g. 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 –

a. Permit all applicants:

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

2. To submit a statement of intent, a deposit, or both.

b. Recognize and respect 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.

7. In addition to any condition included in a school’s offer letter, after April 30, each school may exercise its school-specific procedures to confirm an accepted applicant’s intention to matriculate to ensure that it fills each seat in its entering class.  If a school is unable to confirm an applicant’s intention to matriculate, the school may choose to rescind the acceptance.

8. Each school's initial deposit(s) should not exceed $100 and (except for EDP applicants), should be refundable at least until April 30. If the applicant enrolls at the school, the school should credit the deposit toward tuition.

9. Making an offer of admission to an applicant who has already matriculated at another school could result in the other school having an unfilled slot in its class.  Each school is encouraged to take reasonable measures, including asking applicants under consideration whether they have already matriculated at another medical school, and carefully consider that information when deciding whether to make an offer to an applicant.

10. Each school, consistent with its own privacy policies, should appropriately safeguard information related to an individual’s application for admission or financial aid.

11. 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 by the Council of Deans Advisory Board, May 7, 2018