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PURPOSE: Early-decision (ED) medical school applicants express a clear preference for attending a particular medical school. The present study assessed whether ED graduates would demonstrate similar geographic preferences in their choices of undergraduate institutions and selections of in-state residency sites and practice locations. METHOD: The study was conducted at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. Uniform academic and nonacademic criteria were used to evaluate the applications of ED and regular-admission students who matriculated from 1974-75 to 1984-85. The student variables assessed were class year, gender, age, county of residence, and undergraduate college, as well as undergraduate science and cumulative grade-point averages (GPAs) and Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores. Specialty choice and locations of residency programs were obtained from the medical school's commencement programs. Specialty types and practice locations were obtained from practicing physician records maintained by the alumni office. RESULTS: Of the 1,243 matriculants, 193 (15.5%) gained admission to the school through the ED plan. The ED graduates were significantly more likely to have completed their undergraduate studies at the University of Kentucky than at other public or private schools, in state or out of state, and had significantly higher GPAs and MCAT scores. As a group, the ED graduates were somewhat (though not significantly) more likely than the regular-admission graduates to remain in state for their residencies and practice in state. CONCLUSION: The authors suggest that medical schools should work closely with their undergraduate admission offices to attract academically outstanding high school students. Such students are likely to stay in state for the eight-year span of their undergraduate and medical educations and may have a greater tendency to practice in state.