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Expert Medical School Admission Consulting and Post-Bac Program Admission Consulting

Medical School Waitlist Movement


Being on a medical school’s waiting list offers the prospect of an acceptance but it can also be agony waiting for that acceptance to come through. Waiting to be accepted can be a time of stress as you wait to hear, fingers crossed.

For guidelines and tips on med school waiting lists check out another blog post. Here’s how the med school waitlist process generally works, although policies vary from school to school.

  • Schools fill their classes by March 1st, accepting at least the number of applicants to fill the class—this is required by the AAMC traffic rules.
  • Medical schools create waiting lists throughout the application cycle, with a firm waitlist in place by the spring.
  • Some waitlists are ranked while others are not. Most schools don’t reveal whether their list is ranked; if they are ranked, schools rarely, if ever, reveal an applicant’s ranking.
  • Some schools group those on a the waitlist into categories:  high priority, medium priority, and so forth. If this is the case, schools typically reveal where you fall in the category.
  • April 30th is the date by which all applicants who have been accepted at multiple schools must make a decision about which one school they will attend; they must withdraw offers at all other schools.
  • Leading up to April 30th spaces become available at various medical schools as applicants decline offers. As a result, there is shuffling in medical schools’ rosters as the deadline approaches and spaces become available.
  • After April 30th schools know exactly where they stand in regard to filling their class. If they have vacancies they go to the waitlist.
  • If an applicant is given an acceptance after April 30, schools do not have to give him or her much time to make a decision (prior to this date, schools must give applicants two weeks to decide whether to enroll).
  • If you’re on a waitlist, your contact information should be up to date at every medical school where you are waitlisted; the schools will want to contact you quickly if they decide to offer an acceptance.
  • Most movement from waitlists occurs from late April to mid-June. Occasionally spots open up after this time but the openings become much less frequent.
  • For advice about being accepted to medical school from a waitlist please read my other blog post referenced above.

Please feel free to contact me via email at to discuss your particular situation or to ask questions.

–Liza Thompson, Expert Medical School Admissions Consulting

Originally posted in 2014 and updated in 2016, 2017, and 2020.

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