Medical Student Selection

Historically, eligibility was based on being in the top 25% of the class academically. Since transitioning to a P/F phase 1 curriculum, UF had relied solely on the 3rd year GPA to determine eligibility. However, based on input from a student task force (AOA and non-AOA members) on expanding AOA eligibility, we now also consider peer evaluations, CLG leader recommendations, and CSE 3 performance when determining eligibility. The task force recommended maintaining a minimum GPA requirement of being in the top 50% of the class*. In 2020, the national AOA organization increased the percent of students who can be eligible for AOA. Thus at UF, students in the top GPA quartile are automatically eligible and students in the 2nd GPA quartile are eligible if they are in the top 20% of peer evaluations, are a top performer on the final CSE 3C exam, or are recommended by their CLG leader (who is allowed to recommended up to 2 students). Once determined, eligible students are reviewed by the Dean of Student Affairs and/or Dean of Medical Education to insure there are no professionalism concerns as this would disqualify a student from consideration.

The Alpha Omega Alpha constitution prohibits self-nomination. For UF students, this means any request to CLG leaders to nominate you is not allowed and may result in your being excluded from eligibility.

Eligible students are notified and invited to submit information about their service to the school, local community, and broader organizations; leadership roles- local, regional, and national; evidence of future potential such as research, program development, awards; and professionalism. Information provided by eligible students is summarized for each student on a slide and particularly noteworthy achievements are highlighted. Examples of highlighted activities include national leadership role, local leadership with major time commitment, 70+ hours of service to a single organization, major awards (e.g. Gold humanism, NIH T35 grant), invitation to serve on important school committees (e.g. Academic Status Committee), peer-review publications, and national presentations. Grades and step scores are NOT considered by the AOA Selection Committee.

The AOA Selection Committee was formed in 2012 to address concerns about poor election turn out and members voting without being present to review the candidates. Any AOA faculty or resident member can apply to serve on the committee and so far all volunteers have been accommodated. The Dean is an ex officio member. Up to 20% of the graduating class may be elected to AOA. (This was changed in in the national AOA bylaws in 2020 after UF’s student selection process.) At the selection meeting eligible students are presented de-identified in tiers based on the depth and breadth of accomplishments they provided to the committee. The top tier of applicants typically submit numerous accomplishments in at least 3 of the major categories and within each category at least one is noteworthy enough to be highlighted. These applicants are usually voted in unanimously with little discussion or need for secret ballot. Discussion of other applicants is limited solely to clarifying the nature of the accomplishments. Though applicants’ names are removed from all presented materials, the nature of some accomplishments makes it impossible to completely de-identify some applicants. Committee members are not permitted to speak up on behalf of individual students as this would give students who know or have worked with committee members an unfair advantage. Members are also asked to disclose any potential conflicts related to eligible students. A secret ballot may be used to vote on candidates who were not unanimously approved.

COVID 19 Update for 2020
There was not a separate junior and senior AOA election in 2020 as most students were pulled from their final clerkship and thus had an outstanding grade when the senior election was held. Electing some students early is primarily a way to promote increased leadership and engagement with service projects. At UF, we have not noticed a change in engagement since resuming an early AOA election in the junior year. It is unlikely we will resume junior AOA once the pandemic ends. The MSPE letter can denote whether a chapter makes the junior AOA distinction as fewer schools have early (junior) elections since the trend to P/F grading.

*Class ranking is determined as soon as the final grades have been submitted (typically 5 weeks after the final clerkship). Students who are off-cycle and only missing one clerkship grade, will be considered for eligibility but students missing more than one clerkship grade at the time of the class ranking, will not be eligible.