If you receive an acceptance, you will generally be given a time frame in which to respond. Depending upon the school, you may either have to send a deposit to hold your place or simply give a written confirmation that you will accept the offer of admission. If you receive multiple admission offers, you will have to select one of these multiple offers no later than April 15 and inform all other schools about your withdrawal. You are allowed to continue to be on wait lists at other schools. Most medical schools will allow you to withdraw from their entering class without losing your refund if you meet the deadline. Similarly, medical schools must make decisions on all applicants by April 15 (see AAMC Traffic Rules). Other health profession schools with centralized application processes will have similar "traffic rules"; check with their application services for specific dates and deadlines.
In general, you are not supposed to hold more than one acceptance at a time for a significant period of time, although it is fine to be strategic. However, many applicants choose to hold multiple acceptances (usually not more than two) until the deadline. Note that by holding multiple acceptances, you may be delaying admission decisions for others in the process (maybe even a fellow Brown student or alum!). Because most schools work on a rolling admission process, acceptances can come at any point in the process.
Placed on Wait Lists
Most health profession schools have wait lists, and the majority of applicants to medical school can expect to be placed on at least one wait list. Most wait list decisions are not made until June and July.
If you are wait-listed at a school you would like to attend, send a letter that thanks them for their consideration of your application and expresses your continued strong interest in their school. If your first-choice school wait lists you, tell them that you will definitely attend if you are admitted. It is generally okay to send an additional letter later in the process to update schools about new activities and to reiterate your continued interest. If you have new course work with strong grades, have a transcript sent along as well.
Placed on Hold
Medical schools will sometimes postpone making a final decision about an applicant until later in the process. In such cases, they will send a letter notifying an applicant of their hold status. As with wait-list status, if you are placed on hold at a school that you would like to attend and the admission office invited you to submit additional information to help them review your application, you can send a letter that provides an update about your activities and accomplishments since your secondary application, indicating your continued strong interest in the school.
Given the competitive nature of the admission process, all applicants will receive rejections, no matter how strong an applicant they are. As with acceptances, rejections can come at any point in the process.
If you receive no acceptances and would like to apply again, you would need to address the areas of your your application that prevented you from being accepted the first time. In many cases, this may necessitate additional coursework, standardized testing, clinical work, research, or service activities, which means that you will need to wait at least one year before applying again. Dean Vassilev can help you assess the strengths and weakness of your application and/or whether or not it would be appropriate for you to consider other career choices. We urge you not to apply immediately following an unsuccessful application but to work closely with our office so we can assist you with your planning and the strengthening of your re-application.