Election to AOA, the national medical honor society, is based on scholastic achievement, service to the school, qualities of leadership, integrity and fairness to colleagues. Students are elected at the end of their junior year or the beginning of their senior year.
The national organization mandates that the top 25% of the class is eligible. Up to 1/6th of the class, picked from this top quartile, may be voted in by current members.
AOA was formed in 1902 to "foster honesty and formulate higher ideals of scholastic achievement." At University of Maryland, the organization is responsible for several service projects annually. These include the Theodore Woodward Lecture, the History of Medicine Lecture Series, Medical Student Research Day, medical school applicant tours, and Junior-Senior Night.