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CAP FAQ for Applicants (updated 11/26/2013)

What is the CAP?
The CAP (Common Application Program, or Common Application Process) is a program started by the Workgroup for Coordination of Medical Physics Residency Programs (WGCMPR) to do three things.
  • Make it easier for applicants to apply for residency programs.
  • Reduce administrative burden for residency programs that have to process these applications.
  • Provide a mechanism that will allow programs to work towards a match system, putting applicants in their preferred programs, and getting preferred applicants into participating programs. The match system is currently used by medical residents, but is not currently in place for physics residents.
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Recommended Browsers include:
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Recommended minimum screen resolution: 1024 x 768

Other recommended settings:
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  • Allow Pop-up Windows from AAPM.ORG
  • Browser plugin to display PDF
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What is the fee to use the system?
The application fee is $20 for a single application, or $50 for multiple of 5 applications. You may enter your information before paying the fee, but the fee must be paid before the application can be officially submitted to any program.
Why do I have to pay to apply?
Both programs and applicants pay fees to use the system. The fees that are collected cover the cost of creating and maintaining the application system. Applicants should find that it saves them time, being able to apply for multiple programs and only entering information once.
I have a valid credit card. Why was my payment rejected?
The payment is taken care of by the bank, not AAPM. For security reasons, the bank will check the entered billing address to verify that it matches your credit card information. The vast majority of payment issues are a result of a mismatch between the billing address and the address entered on the payment form. For example, if you enter your name in the address field, it will be rejected. If your billing address is different from the address you are using for the application, you need to enter your billing address.
I registered but did not receive my activation email. Can you help me?
The activation email can get lost for a variety of reasons. If you were already logged in as an AAPM member, then you won't get an activation email. Try logging in to the CAP using your AAPM credentials, or make sure you are logged at the AAPM home page before coming to the CAP. If you were not logged in as an AAPM member when you registered, check your spam folder. If you need to resend the activation email, go to the Login page. You will find an entry blank for your CAP user ID, and a button to resend the email.
I want to apply to multiple programs and have a custom personal statement for each program. Why does the system only allow one personal statement?
We wanted to make the system easy to use and reliable. We wanted to avoid possible issues with attaching the wrong personal statement to an application.
Is there a workaround for submitting unique personal statements for each program?
The personal statement that is in your application on the day the program chooses to download applications is the personal statement that they will get. Therefore, it may be possible to have different personal statements for different deadlines. However, since you do not know when your application has actually been downloaded, you should not rely on this to customize your personal statement.
I would like to start gathering the information necessary to fill in the application form right now. Can you tell me what I will need to enter into the application form?
The application will ask for the following information.
  • personal information (name, address, contact information)
  • ABR certification status
  • disclosure of criminal behavior, academic violations, and/or licensure actions
  • employment history
  • military service history (if applicable)
  • education (undergraduate and graduate)
  • names of 3 references (including one from current advisor or department head)
  • personal statement (max 3000 characters) indicating why you want to go into medical physics, and anything else you want to communicate to the applications reviewers (this is instead of a cover letter).
  • uploaded CV (should include awards, publications and presentations)
  • Transcripts and a copy of TOEFL results (if applicable)
    • Can be uploaded (preferred), or
    • Official copies can be mailed to Clinical Medical Physics Residency Application, One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740
How are the reference letters going to be handled?
You will enter the names and email addresses for 3 references, and click a button to tell the application system to send them an email with instructions for how to upload or enter their reference letter. If you apply to multiple programs, the reference letter will be attached to each application automatically. The reference writer can only submit one letter, so it should not be specific to any particular program.
I would like to send out my reference requests right away to give my references more time to respond. How can I request reference letters if I haven't finished entering my data?
Before you can request reference letters from within the system, you first need to save your waiver choice on the References page. You can then request references to be sent on your behalf while you continue to work on your application materials. You will be able to see the status (date requested and/or received) on the Application or References page.
Does my reference writer need to register with the CAP to submit a reference letter?
No. Your reference writer will receive an email with instructions for submitting the reference letter. In addition, you will receive an email confirming that you requested the reference letter. When the reference has been submitted, both of you will receive an email confirming that the letter has been saved, and you can check the status on the Application or References page.
I would like to have a different list of references for each program that I apply to. How can I do this?
That is not possible at this time, and there are no plans to change this in the future. Please ensure that the references that you name in the application are prepared to provide a reference letter for you.
I am enrolled in a CAMPEP certificate program. Should I list that as a graduate program?
Yes, if you are enrolled in a CAMPEP certificate program, then add it as a "Cert" degree graduate program, and indicate that it is CAMPEP accredited.
I am taking courses in a CAMPEP-accredited graduate program, but I am not officially enrolled in the degree program. How should I list my coursework?
You can list this under graduate education, but you should indicate "N/A" for degree. You can then list the individual courses that you are taking on the CAMPEP page.
The title of my thesis is too long for the entry form, what should I do?
Truncate or abbreviate the thesis title as best you can. The full title should be in your CV.
The CAMPEP page does not have any entry blanks. How can I enter my course pre-requisites?
If the CAMPEP page does not have any entry blanks, then one of your education records indicates that you have a CAMPEP-accredited graduate degree. If that is true, then there should be text indicating that you don't need to enter anything on this page. If that is not true, you will need to go back and correct your graduate degree records to indicate that your graduate degrees were not from a CAMPEP-accredited program.
I am an AAPM member, but did not register for the CAP as an AAPM member. The application is showing that I am not an AAPM member. How can I change it to show that I am an AAPM member?
AAPM and other society memberships are being tracked primarily for summary demographics, so that we can see where our applicants come from, and should have no bearing on your qualifications for a given residency position. As a workaround, you can enter your AAPM membership on the Experience page, where you can enter your other professional organizations.
I have applied for AAPM membership. Can I get my AAPM ID activated so I can use that?
Unfortunately, if your AAPM membership is pending, you will not have an AAPM ID available to copy into CAP. You can register using an email address that is different than the one you used in your AAPM application (very important) or you can wait until your membership is approved. Since we have no control over the approval timeline, we suggest that you register as a non-member. You will need to continue to use this ID for CAP since we are unable to merge your AAPM ID into CAP afterwards.
I've entered all of my information, how do I actually send in my application?
You will need to bookmark a program before you can apply to the program. You can bookmark programs on the Programs page, or you can bookmark them on the Openings page (if they have a current opening). Then go to the payment page and pay for application credits. When you are sure that the application is complete, go to the Bookmarks & Apply page to apply for the program (provided they have a current opening). Further information can be found on those pages.
Do I have to wait until transcripts and references have been uploaded before I apply?
You need to have uploaded transcripts (you can do this yourself) before applying to a program. You do not have to wait for references to be uploaded. Programs may download your application at any time after submission to begin their evaluation, but they are aware that references may not be attached to the application until the deadline date. As references are received, they will be added to your data, and will be available when the program downloads your application after the deadline date. It is your responsibility to ensure that your application materials are accurate and complete when the program retrieves the application.
Can I change my application data after submission?
You can update your application data at any time. When the program downloads your application, whatever you currently have in the system will be included. Since you do not know when each program will be downloading your application, you should not customize the application for each program. If you have updated information (e.g., updated transcript showing newly completed courses), you can update the data in the CAP, but you may also want to contact each program that you applied to and let them know about the updated information.
I don't see my personal statement and CV when I preview my application pdf on the Application page?
Your CV and transcripts are uploaded on the Documents page. Your personal statement is also entered on the documents page, but you will need to convert your personal statement to a pdf (using the button on the Documents page) to be included in your application.
The program I want to apply to is not listed in the Programs List, but their ad indicates they have an opening. How do I apply to that program using the CAP?
Not all programs participate in the CAP at this time. If the ad indicates that they are going to use the CAP, they are probably in the process of registering. Please contact the program directly to indicate that you are waiting for them to register their program in the CAP so that you can apply.
What is the relationship between the AAPM careers site and the CAP?
The AAPM careers site is primarily an career advertising and search site. They do allow job seekers to store files (e.g., CV) to send to employers via email. They also allow employers to specify whether applications can be sent via email or via a website. Sending residency applications via email does not meet residency program needs, so the CAP was created to meet the needs of programs that did not already have an online application system.
I found a residency position that I want to apply for on the AAPM careers site. When I click on the "Apply For This Job" button, it doesn't take me to the CAP. Why not?
The AAPM Careers site is not the same as the CAP, even though you can access both of them through the AAPM website. Individual programs are responsible for the content of their ads, and also for specifying what happens when that button is clicked. Most program that have a home page will send you to their home page when you click that button, and you should find application information on that page. If the program is planning to use the CAP, it should state that on the program home page, and in the body of their ad. Most will also have a link to the CAP.
I found some ads that say to send an application via email or an online application, and also say to use the CAP. Do I have to apply both ways?
To repeat the previous answer, the AAPM Careers site is not the same as the CAP, and individual programs are responsible for the content of their ads. If the ad is not clear, you should contact the program to get clarification. Doing so will let them know that their ad is not clear, and they can go in and edit the ad.
There are a lot of programs that don't mention the CAP in their ad. Am I going to be able to apply to those programs via the CAP?
The CAP is available for any program to use, but is not required. Many programs have existing application systems that their institutions require them to use, or may not want to use the CAP yet because they want to see how it works out. If the program provides explicit application instructions that do not mention the CAP, you should assume that you need to follow those instructions to apply.
The CAP wants me to combine all of my transcripts into a single file, but I don't have a program that can do this. How can I combine the files?
Adobe online services (http://www.adobe.com/products/onlineservices/) has web-based tools that can help with manipulating pdf files. There are also other web-based services, but Adobe is one of the best known. We do not endorse the Adobe (or any other) product, and do not guarantee that the output will be compatible with the CAP. After uploading your files, you are responsible for previewing the application to check for data integrity.
I am in the process of completing my MS or PhD degree, so I do not have final transcripts. What should I do?
Upload your current transcripts. On the application, there is a place where you can indicate what courses are yet to be completed. Make sure your expected graduation date is indicated in your CV.
Do I need to upload official transcripts?
When transcripts are uploaded into CAP, they are not official since we are unable to verify that they are true and correct. Therefore, unofficial transcripts are OK to upload, provided they look like they are real transcripts. If it looks like a transcript to the person that is evaluating your application, it is OK. Please be aware that you may be required to provide official copies as a condition of employment, and that lying on your application is grounds for dismissal. It is also possible for a program to require applicants to send official transcripts (or anything else for that matter) directly to them, if it is indicated in their listing.
My CV is in Word format, but the CAP requires pdf. What should I do?
Recent versions of Microsoft Office (and other open-source Office programs) can save to pdf using the Save As command. You can also use Adobe online services (see previous FAQ entry).
What does "incomplete data" mean?
Incomplete data has not been very well defined yet. The CAP does basic checking of applications to see that major data elements have been filled in, but we are unable to check things like whether all transcripts have been uploaded. The original intention was to let applicants know whether applications would be considered if a reference was missing (for example). Some programs are going to be very strict on this aspect, and some will let it slide. Applicants should not really pay too much attention to how this is set (at this time) and should strive to make the application as complete as possible.
What does CAMPEP GRAD mean?
In the Openings list, there is a column labeled CAMPEP GRAD. It is intended as a way for programs to indicate whether a CAMPEP degree or certificate is required for the position. Applicants can sort the list of openings based on this criteria, and programs are encouraged to use it that way. Please see the description of the opening as well, and if you still have questions about specific program requirements, please contact the program.
I have a question that is not answered here. Who do I contact to find an answer?
You can click the Contact Us link in the sidebar at any time to send us a question. If appropriate, questions and answers will be added to this page.