Criteria for Selection for Class of 2018

Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Selection Criteria for Class of 2019

Texas Gamma Chapter, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School

Written February 7, 2008 | Last Revised August 23, 2017

Reviewed by:
Dr. Kevin Klein (AOA Faculty Sponsor, Councilor)
Dr. Angela Mihalic (Associate Dean for Student Affairs, AOA Faculty Sponsor, Secretary/Treasurer)
Dr. Jim Wagner (Associate Dean for Student Affairs)
Sara Lindsey (AOA Chapter President 2008)
Josh Mitchell (AOA Chapter Vice President 2008)
Cason Pierce (AOA Chapter President 2009)
Chan Nguyen (AOA Chapter Vice President 2009)
Evan Walgama (AOA Chapter President 2010)
Blake Gregory (AOA Chapter Vice President 2010)
Patricia Purcell (AOA Chapter President 2011)
George LeBus (AOA Chapter Vice President 2011)
Thomas Heyne (AOA Chapter President 2012)
Sarah Stack (AOA Chapter Vice President 2012)
Nasim Sobhani (AOA Chapter President 2013)
David Brown (AOA Chapter Vice President 2013)
Ryan Thorpe (AOA Chapter President 2014)
Swalpa Udit (AOA Chapter Vice President 2014)
Samantha Sirignano (AOA Chapter President 2015)
Travis Miller (AOA Chapter Vice President 2015)
Samuel Parnell (AOA Chapter President 2016)
Elise Rasmussen (AOA Chapter Vice President 2016)
Lorel Huelsmann (AOA Chapter President 2017)
Christopher Leba (AOA Chapter Vice President 2017)

The following selection criteria were developed in the spirit of the AOA Constitution. The Constitution states that, “Scholastic achievement should be the primary but not sole basis for election of a student. Leadership capabilities, ethical standards, fairness in dealing with colleagues, potential for achievement in medicine, and a record of service to the school and the community at large should be criteria in addition to the academic record.”


Junior AOA Members: The top 12.5% of the junior class (determined by cumulative UTSW GPA) will be made candidates for induction into AOA in the spring of their MS3 year, and approximately 6.25% of the class will be selected for Junior AOA membership. Candidates will be evaluated by the 3 categories listed below (UTSW Grades, USMLE Step 1 Score, and CV Review). Junior candidates will be evaluated for acceptance using the cumulative grades reported from graded core clerkships up until the date that applications are called in the Spring of 2018. Elective courses receiving pass/fail designations will not be counted.

Senior AOA Members: The top 25% of the senior class (determined by cumulative UTSW GPA) will be made candidates for induction into AOA in August of their MS4 year. Up to one-sixth of the class can be selected for AOA membership (including Junior and Senior AOA members). Students eligible for Senior AOA will be evaluated by the same 3 categories as Junior AOA (UTSW Grades, USMLE Step 1 Score, and CV review). Senior AOA will be selected after all clinical grades have been recorded.

Students who anticipate delaying graduation to complete additional educational opportunities (research, IMEP, MBA, MPH, etc.) should apply for Jr. and Sr. AOA in the spring and summer of their MS3 year so as to be considered alongside their peers.  Students in this circumstance elected to AOA will be provided the option of attending the induction banquet in either the spring following selection or in the spring in which they graduate.

Evaluation of candidates

All candidates will be evaluated according to the following three categories: UTSW Grades, USMLE Step 1 Score, and CV review.

1.      UTSW grades

Rank Points Rank Points
1 20 31 10
2 20 32 9
3 19 33 9
4 19 34 9
5 19 35 8
6 18 36 8
7 18 37 8
8 18 38 7
9 17 39 7
10 17 40 7
11 17 41 6
12 16 42 6
13 16 43 6
14 16 44 5
15 15 45 5
16 15 46 5
17 15 47 4
18 14 48 4
19 14 49 4
20 14 50 3
21 13 51 3
22 13 52 3
23 12 53 2
24 12 54 2
25 12 55 2
26 11 56 1
27 11 57 1
28 11 58 1
29 10 59 0
30 10 60 0

Using a rank order list based on cumulative UTSW GPA obtained from the Registrar’s office, candidates will receive points based on their class rank. Any person tied for first in class rank will be assigned 20 points. Any student tied for last in class rank out of those in the first quartile will be assigned 0 points. All other assigned points will be spread evenly among the remaining candidates. For example, if there are 60 class ranks, there are 20/59 = 0.338983 points per class rank. Points for each class rank are rounded to the nearest whole number. An example with 60 ranks is shown to the right.

If a tie occurs for a position that would change the number of awarded points, the individuals involved in the tie will each receive the points awarded for that rank number. For example, if two students are tied for a class rank of 10, each student would receive 17 points based on the above table. The next student in the rank order list would then be considered as class rank number 11.

Although only the top 12.5% are considered for Junior AOA, points will be awarded during Junior AOA selection as if the entire first quartile were eligible for selection. For example, if there were 60 class ranks in the first quartile, but only 24 class ranks are being considered for Junior AOA, points 12-20 would be assigned to the students based on the table shown here.

Selection for Junior and Senior AOA will include graded MS1 courses and MS3 core clerkship grades. Pass/fail pre-clinical courses are not included in cumulative GPA calculation. However, students must pass all pre-clinical courses in order to be eligible to apply for both Junior and Senior AOA.


Due to the new curriculum which has implemented pass/fail for pre-clinical courses, USMLE Step 1 scores will be used as an additional assessment of pre-clinical performance.  USMLE Step 1 scores will be evaluated on a scale of 1-5 using the following ranges to quantify performance.  Students must have a USMLE Step 1 score reported by the time the student applies for Junior and Senior AOA.

*Please note that medical students on the committee will not be assigning points for this section or for UTSW grades, only Dr. Mihalic and Holli Holbert will have access to this information and will assign these points*

USMLE Step 1 Score Range Points Awarded
> 264 5
256-264 4
247-255 3
238-246 2
230-237 1


All candidates will be given a two-week deadline by which they must turn in a CV that covers the leadership, community service, research, and personal categories. The CV is meant to generally answer the question, “What have you done outside of class work?” All information must pertain to the student’s time in medical school. The only exception to this rule is research conducted the summer immediately prior to matriculation. Candidates should be as specific as possible in noting their activities and should provide a brief description, the number of hours involved, and the duration of involvement. Please note that involvement in a certain activity cannot be listed in more than one category. An example CV will be provided. Students who fail to turn in their completed CV by the specified deadline forfeit their candidacy for induction into AOA.

The current AOA student members and AOA faculty sponsors will review blinded CVs of each candidate. Groups of three to four selection committee members will review and assign points for an individual section of the blinded CV (for example, one group will review the leadership section for all applications). The more involvement and excellence a student shows in each category the more points he/she will receive. Zero points may be given in a category if the candidate has no qualifying activities in that category. The maximum number of points for the leadership, community service, and research categories are five points each, whereas the maximum number of points for the personal category is two points.

Points from each category will be added together to calculate a student’s total points for the CV review section, for a maximum total of 17 points. These points will be added to the points obtained from the other two sections: UTSW Grades and USMLE Step 1 Score.. Points are awarded as outlined below.

If outside commitments are not listed in the tables below, the Board may vote on assigned points.


A maximum of 5 points can be awarded, based on your single best point category, though years as leaders of different organizations can be additive (i.e. one year leading the United Gospel Mission clinics, one year as Monday Clinic manager, and one year as United to Serve Health Fair Chair is the equivalent of three years as an organization leader).

To qualify as a class-president equivalent position, you should be a leader on the organizing committee for a campus or community organization and spend at least 100 hours per year on that project.  For example, one could get 5 points for spending at least 100 hours as a second year leading United to Serve Health Fair as well as serving 100 hours per year for two years as a TMA or AMA officer.   An example of an equivalent community position would be serving in an organizing position in the local Nelson-Tebedo Clinic, or organizing events for the American Red Cross.  Judgment for an equivalent position will be at the discretion of the leadership scoring committee.   Overall requirements for specific role will be taken into account when determining points.  For example, 2 years as president of an organization requiring minimal work could be deemed to be equivalent to 1 point.

Points Description
5 3 years as class president or an equivalent
3 year commitment to campus or community organizations
4 2 years as class president or equivalent positions
3 years serving as one of these class officer positions: vice president or curriculum committee
3 1 year as class president or equivalent position
2 years serving as one of these class officer positions: vice president, test committee, curriculum committee
3 years as president/vice-president of UTSW organization, not qualifying as equivalent to class president
3 years as a tutor for OME
2 1 year serving as one of these class officer positions: vice president, test committee, curriculum committee or leadership positions in organizing school events such as Pre-Op Committee member and Multicultural Show
2 years as president/vice-president of UTSW organization
3 years as other officer of UTSW organization
1 year as a clinic manager for a community clinic (eg. Monday Clinic)
2 years as tutor or TA during the academic year
Full-time summer tutor or TA (eg. SEP, Summer Anatomy TA)
1 1 year as president/vice-president of UTSW organization
2 years as other officer of UTSW organization
1 year as tutor or TA during the academic year or part-time summer tutoring
Election to one of these class officer positions: college rep, volunteer coordinator, computer guru, elective coordinator, convergence coordinator

Community service

A maximum of 5 points can be given based on your maximal involvement in service.  CVs will primarily be graded based on hours of service (averaged over the first three years) and participation in organizing service projects.  Please provide a detailed description of your role.  Involvement in activities requiring prolonged commitments such as summer programs may be used to decide between two point values if on the borderline.  A point award of zero may be given to those who participate less than 5 hours per year. Total number of years in school should be listed in this section of the application to account for MSTP students or students with gaps in their education.  The total time in school (including additional degrees such as PhD and MPH) will be factored in to determine average service hours per year. Please note that students should not list more than 12 hours per day of service for any reason including medical relief trips or summer programs.  In addition, traveling time should not be included as service hours.

Points Description
5 Organizes service projects/chairperson (for example, committee chair for United to Serve) and consistently demonstrates commitment to serving school/community throughout medical school (>150 hours per year and organizes projects)
4 Organizes service projects but community service involvement is more interspersed throughout medical school
3 Volunteers for projects regularly but less time commitment than the people planning and organizing the events; Participant in summer program dedicated to service (such as Camp Sweeney) (> 50 hours per year or summer program)
2 Occasional volunteer work; Other summer service activity (such as medical mission trip or Pre-Op Counselor)
1 Seldom volunteer work


Any articles listed must have been published or accepted for publication. Please note that articles that have been submitted but not yet accepted do not qualify. Please state the number of weeks and number of hours worked on each research project (as a general rule, 1 full time week implies at least 40 hours of work).  Please also specify the TYPE of publication (i.e. a paper in a (non-)peer reviewed journal, abstract, poster, oral presentation) and specify if you, the applicant, presented the abstract or poster.  PMID should be included for all first-author papers and any other time they are available. Authorship should be listed in order as written on the publication.

Points Description
5 MD/PhD
4 MD with distinction (completed)
Year-long research fellowship (eg: Doris Duke, Howard Hughes)
Combined 4 year MD/MPH
First author of a peer-reviewed original research article
3 MD with distinction in progress
First author of a case report, review, or commentary
Second author of a peer-reviewed original research article
Presentation at a national meeting
20 weeks of full-time research (beyond required scholarly activity)
2 10 weeks of full-time research (beyond required scholarly activity)
UTSW Summer research program
Authorship besides first/second author of a peer-reviewed original research article
Presentation at a non-national meeting
1 4 weeks of full-time research (beyond required scholarly activity)
Authorship of an abstract in a peer-reviewed journal or national presentation

Personal Points

Up to two additional points may be awarded for extraordinary hardship or personal circumstances that limited participation in formal leadership/service/research activities during medical school. Examples include but are not limited to death of a spouse or being the primary caregiver for an ill child. All personal point considerations will be presented anonymously to the selection committee for review.  Please note that it is extremely rare for points to be awarded in this category.


Ranking and Voting

Students will be ranked based on their total point score, which is calculated by adding points from each of the three categories outlined above. Available AOA membership positions will be filled by the students with the highest total points.

Total points (42) = UTSW grade (20) + CV REVIEW (17) + USMLE Step 1 Score (5)

Rank Ties: Any ties between students in the process of ranking from highest to lowest total points will be handled as described in the table shown to the right.

Rank Explanation
1 Student with highest total points
2 Student with second highest total points
3 Student with third highest total points
4 Three students tied with fourth highest total points
7 Student with next highest total points

In the event that a tie in the overall ranking creates a problem in deciding who to induct into AOA, the student with the highest points in the UTSW GPA category will be inducted. If the tie persists, the USMLE Step 1 Score will be considered next. If the tie persists further, CV Review and individual points in each of the CV Review sub-categories will be considered, in the order of Leadership, Research, and Community Service.

Voting: All members of the AOA chapter are allowed, encouraged, and expected to participate in scoring blinded CVs.  Junior AOA members will assist in selecting Senior AOA members from their class in July. Both Junior and Senior AOA members will assist in selecting Junior members the following Spring (from the matriculation class one year behind them).

Timeline of application process

Students who are candidates for Junior AOA induction will be notified in the Spring of the MS3 year. Notification of selected candidates will depend on when fall semester grades are available to the Registrar’s Office and when CVs are received for evaluation.

Students who are candidates for senior AOA induction be notified in July of the MS4 year, with the top 25% of the Senior class being asked to submit a CV for consideration. Selected Senior AOA candidates will be notified in August of that year.

Additional information

Student Officers: Each year, a chapter President and chapter Vice President will be chosen from the Junior AOA members by the Executive Committee, based on the above criteria. The officers will serve a one-year term and will act as members of the Executive Committee. The officers will be expected to attend the Spring Induction Banquet during their junior year, but will be formally inducted during their MS4 year with the rest of their classmates.

Induction: All AOA members, whether elected as Juniors or Seniors, will be formally inducted during their MS4 year at the Spring Induction Banquet, typically held the evening before Match Day.

Professionalism: All candidates must be cleared by the Office of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. If the candidate has a record of a serious or concerning professionalism offense, the AOA selection committee and/or the Dean may remove the student from consideration.

MD/PhD Students: MD/PhD students will be candidates for induction into AOA based on the same criteria as MD students. These students will be evaluated with the other AOA candidates and all selection criteria, including the AOA application deadline, shall apply to these students.

Incomplete Third Year Courses: AOA candidates who have not completed and received a grade for all MS3 clerkships by the AOA Application deadline will be evaluated based on the grades available from the Registrar’s Office at that time.

Conditional AOA Membership: Any AOA membership that is offered to a student who has not completed their MS3 year coursework is considered a conditional membership until all such courses are completed with a passing grade. If an inductee fails any of the remaining MS3 clerkship courses, that student forfeits the conditional AOA membership and the membership will be transferred to the AOA candidate who has the next best overall rank.

Final Notes

The criteria for induction into AOA are deliberately designed
to favor students who demonstrate excellence in all of the following areas – leadership, community service, research, development of professional relationships with peers, and grades.

It is possible that a student with high grades could fail to be chosen for AOA if their application is weaker in the areas of leadership, community service, research, and/or the peer vote. Similarly, it is possible that a student with superb leadership, community service, research, and peer votes could fail to be chosen for AOA if their UTSW grades are lower than other applicants.

Extraordinary circumstances not specifically addressed in these guidelines will be evaluated by the AOA Faculty Sponsors and Chapter Officers, who will determine an appropriate response in accordance with the spirit of these guidelines and the AOA Constitution.

In an effort to be as fair and objective as possible, the point system outlined above will be followed for reviewing and ranking each applicant, but the Executive Committee reserves the right to make changes at any time.



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