How do acceptances/wait lists/ etc. work?

Chris’s post about acceptance brings up a few questions I’ve had about the end of the process (Congrats, again, Chris!).
I was under the impression that if you were accepted by a school, and accepted the acceptance (bad terminology, I know), that you were supposed to withdraw from other schools you had applied to. I gather that’s not the case?
In other words, is it acceptable to accept an offer from school B (not your top choice), but remain in the running for other schools, hoping that you will get into the school of your choice? Does it look bad to remain on someone else’s wait list after accepting an offer somewhere else?
Perhaps someone who has been accepted multiple schools could shed some light on how the procedure works.
Amy - who can only hope to be so lucky as to have the problem of getting accepted to one school and waitlisted to another.

Amy you can start getting accepted as early as October 15th of this year for those applying for the incoming class of 2005. You can hold multiple acceptances UNTIL May 15th of 2005. At that point you can hold one acceptance at a time but you CAN still be on waitlists. If for example on June 1st you get off your top choice school waitlist then you have to decline the one acceptance that you were holding to then be able to accept your number one choice. I hope this helps!

Amy, it definitely does not look bad to keep your application “alive” at other schools even after you’ve received an acceptance. The long application season makes it pretty much a given that there will be lots of people in that situation … you might have interviewed at one place in September and gotten an acceptance in October, but still be waiting to hear ANYthing from your first choice school in December. So juggling multiple applications, with multiple possible outcomes, is part of the game.

It can get complicated. I have heard of people who held multiple acceptances even past May 15 because they were still trying to get their financial aid packages in order at the various schools - and this had a bearing on which offer they were most likely to accept.

Furthermore, holding multiple acceptances for an extended period of time seems to be something that is more commonly part of the allopathic tradition. Our osteopathic pals seem to have much shorter time periods before they must slap down a non-refundable deposit… I don’t know if that’s universally the case with osteo schools but it’s been discussed often enough on these boards. Maybe Chris will tell us if he forfeited some princely sum to KCOM by taking the TCOM offer - which would still be worth it to him, because TCOM is cheap tuition and NO move for him, and that’s probably worth a $2-3K deposit forfeiture (gulp).

You can hold onto an acceptance and also hang onto wait list positions for some period of time. I was on two wait lists - got one acceptance shortly after May 15 and gave up on the other wait list at the end of June, when my $3000 deposit to GW became non-refundable if I backed out.

In other words… there are few constants in the acceptance / wait list game and lots of variables.


AS Mary and Judy have said, you can have many acceptances up until May 15th. But after May 15th you have only one acceptance but can still stay on the waitlists.
Oh and after the 15th, the medical schools will get a list that has the acceptances on it so people that are holding more than one, will have some explaining to do.
As to the DO schools, you usually only have 2 weeks and then you have to pay your deposit which is usually over $1000. And if you change your mind, you lose the money.
I was accepted to VCOM October 10th and had till November or December 1st (I can’t recall when exactly) to pay my money, which was $1000. As you get further along in time you have a shorter amount of time to pay your deposit.
The MD schools don’t expect as much in terms of deposit. It was only $100 if I was going to go to the MD school. I didn’t pay it because I was certain I wanted to go to VCOM, but if I recall I had 2 weeks to send in my money or lose the acceptance.

Thanks for the clarifications. As my application is going to be late going in, and will be submitted without knowing my MCAT results, I will probably only apply to a few schools (mostly the ones I would prefer to attend). So, I probably won’t have this problem this year. If I don’t get in this year (which is very possible), I will apply to more places next year.
I just wondered how that worked. Obviously, I would hate to turn down any offer, and then not get an offer from the school I really wanted, but at the same time, I would hate to accept an offer and then later be offered a spot at my top choice school.
Clear as mud . . . .much like the entire application proces. LOL!


Maybe Chris will tell us if he forfeited some princely sum to KCOM by taking the TCOM offer - which would still be worth it to him, because TCOM is cheap tuition and NO move for him, and that’s probably worth a $2-3K deposit forfeiture (gulp).

Yep, I lost $2K in holding my seat at KCOM, but as Mary alluded to, it doesn’t hurt so bad to lose that $2K seeing how I will save well over $100K in medical school expenses after four years and the fact that I will be with my family, and the fact that I will not have to move for MS-3 & 4, and the fact…well…I could go on. I’m sooooooooo lucky! Orientation starts in less than 10 hrs…YIKES!!!