It’s a happy problem to receive multiple acceptances to medical school, but you must manage them carefully to retain your spot. Allopathic and osteopathic medical schools handle acceptances differently, so familiarizing yourself with their admissions policies can help you successfully manage your acceptances properly.
Following the instructions and deadlines for individual schools is essential to ensure that you don’t risk losing your spot. Schools may have policies and deadlines that differ from those recommended by the AAMC and the AACOM, so rely on the school’s instructions as your primary source of information.
How AAMC programs (MD schools) handle acceptances
In general, the following guidelines apply for Association of American Medical Schools (AAMC) programs:
Prior to May 15, accepted applicants get a minimum of two weeks to respond to an offer of admission.
You may hold acceptances at multiple schools until May 15. After May 15, you may hold an acceptance at only one school.
Deposits to hold a place in the class are typically $100 and are usually refundable until a certain date (often May 15).
Therefore, if you have offers from more than one AAMC school prior to May 15, you can put down a deposit at each of them, take some time to think about your decision, and then withdraw from all but your top choice school by May 15 (and usually get your deposit money back).
You may remain on waitlists for other schools even after May 15. If you’re accepted off a waitlist at a school you prefer to the one where you already have a seat, you may opt for a place at the second school instead and withdraw from your spot at the first school.
The AAMC recommendations for policies governing admissions are known as the AAMC traffic rules. You can find the complete list on the AAMC site.
How AACOM programs (DO schools) handle acceptances
Managing multiple acceptances at American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) schools is a bit more difficult than it is for AAMC schools. At AACOM schools
Deposits are usually $1,000 to $2,000 and either nonrefundable or only partially refundable.
The amount of time you have to decide about an offer varies depending on how late it is in the admissions cycle. An applicant offered an acceptance in September may have three months to make a decision, whereas someone accepted in February may have 14 days.
You can find detailed guidelines in the Osteopathic Medical College Information Book on the AACOM website; the link is on the homepage.
You don’t have to be holding only one acceptance after a specific deadline.