3 things you need to know about the AAMC’s new traffic rules for 2019
A native of Indianapolis, Stephanie Asdell is a first-year medical student at Indiana University. In 2018, she graduated from Duke University with a major in cultural anthropology and double minors in biology and global health. In addition to medical school, she plans to later pursue a Masters in Public Health to further her interests in community and women's health. In this article, Stephanie explains the recent changes to the AAMC’s traffic rules for 2019.
1. What are traffic rules?
Your AMCAS was sent in months ago, your interviews are complete and you’ve been accepted or waitlisted by several schools. It’s exciting to imagine yourself in this scenario, but there’s one final hurdle to jump: choosing among your options. How will you stay on top of communication with the programs that have accepted or waitlisted you? Because the folks at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) understand this difficulty, they’ve created something called the Choose Your Medical School Tool — your best friend during the final phase of the process.
The Choose Your Medical School tool is a new part of the guidelines, informally called traffic rules, recommended by the AAMC to streamline communication about admissions decisions and matriculation, (or enrollment and commitment to a school), between applicants and MD or MD/PhD programs. Cooperation between these parties ensures that all spots are filled by the end of the application cycle and the beginning of the school year. For applicants, the new guidelines centralize and standardize communication about enrollment and interest in programs in the spring of the application cycle.
Traffic rules replace the Multiple Acceptance Report (MAR). Through this old system, MD and MD/PhD programs were given a list of applicants every February who were accepted into at least one medical school. In April, programs also received a list of applicants with more than one acceptance. Medical programs might have used this list to make sure they were not competing with other schools over the same students and to extend additional acceptance offers to fill all seats in their programs.
The Choose Your Medical School tool, first made available in February 2019, is intended to replace this list. Made available to applicants with 1+ acceptance offers through the AMCAS portal, it requires applicants to communicate according to a specific timeline during the spring of the application cycle.
Keep in mind that the new tool is intended to supplement communication between applicants and schools, not replace it. The AAMC can only recommend traffic rules, and program-specific guidelines through the MSAR are still the ultimate governing body over applicant-program communication about matriculation.
Traffic rules are the new AAMC guidelines for communication between applicants and MD or MD/PhD programs regarding enrollment and waitlists.
Applicants with 1+ admissions/waitlist notifications should utilize the Choose Your Medical School between February – April 2019.
Traffic rules are not the official communication system between applicants and programs; defer to program-specific timelines and rules for enrollment and waitlists.