The Financial Cost Of Applying To Medical School

If you are currently applying to medical school you are probably encountering a harsh reality: it is not cheap. So what sort of expenses will you be looking at?

In this post I will break down exactly how much I spent during the entire med school application process from the MCAT to deposits holding an acceptance. This will give you an idea of the costs to apply and then plan accordingly. I’ll also toss in where I saved money, some of which I mentioned in this post.

The MCAT

  • MCAT Test Fee: $225
  • MCAT Practice Exams from the AAMC (3 at $35 each): $105
  • Lost wages due to giving up shifts to study: $360

Total MCAT Cost: $690

How I Saved Money

  • I chose to self-study as opposed to taking an expensive review course. $1500-$2000 in savings.
  • I borrowed the Examkrackers MCAT Complete Study Package from a friend. $110 in savings.
  • I used practice tests and material from the local library. $35 per test.

Primary and Secondary Application Fees

  • Applications to 7 MD schools through AMCAS: $346
  • Applications to 8 DO schools through AACOMAS: $390
  • Secondary application fees to 13 different medical schools: $1,110

Total Application Fees: $1,846

How I Saved Money

  • I chose not to complete secondary applications for 2 MD schools. Approx. $200 in savings.

Interview Costs (7 Interviews)

  • New Suit, Shirt and Tie: $220
  • Flights to 4 cites for 5 interviews: $823
  • Hotels (2 nights): $140
  • Rental car for one interview: $100
  • Gas money to the other 2 interviews: $50

Total Interview Costs: $1,333

How I Saved Money

  • One flight was free as I earned a voucher on a previous flight. $300 in savings.
  • At three interviews I stayed with student hosts instead of hotels. $210 in savings.
  • I turned down interviews to 2 DO schools and 1 MD school. Perhaps $1200 in savings.
  • I scheduled back-to-back interviews saving another flight. $400 in savings.

Miscellaneous Costs

  • Nonrefundable deposits to hold acceptance spots at two osteopathic schools: $2,000
  • Deposit to confirm acceptance at Creighton University: $100
  • Thank you notes with gift cards for everyone that wrote me a letter of recommendation: $55

Total Miscellaneous: $2,155

Grand Total: $6,024

Wow, that’s a lot of money. No doubt about it, applying to medical school is expensive. I feel like I did a lot to cut down on costs too. Adding up my potential savings comes to approximately $4,290.

Hopefully you can use this post to gauge how much you will spend to apply to medical school. I recommend planning ahead and saving that money, unless you’re lucky enough to have parental support.

Have I missed any other costs? Does this compare to your experience applying to medical school?

Med School Update, Home Sweet Home Edition

It has been a busy past few months! After traveling in Peru for nearly three months I’m now back in the states enjoying the beautiful northwest summer. The transition back has been smooth, save for a minor illness (which thankfully was not some strange tropical disease).

Now I’m in full preparing for med school mode. Right now, this mostly means spending time with friends and family. Soon it will mean working out all the details for a move halfway across the country. I’m also going over the “DMU Primer” which is reviewing some basic science stuff.

I hope you have enjoyed the more frequent posting the last couple months. In case you’ve missed some of the newer posts, here are a few highlights:

My review of the Examkrackers MCAT Complete Study Package

10 Great MCAT Study Tips

How To Save Money During The Medical School Admissions Process

Thanks for reading and commenting. The blog has been growing in readers lately and it would be great for this to continue. Tell your friends and share articles you find useful!

How To Use Google Docs To Streamline The Secondary Application Process

Sending primary applications to fifteen medical schools means you will like receive fifteen secondary applications from those schools, provided you meet some minimum requirements for those schools. I used Google Docs to streamline getting these applications done for three reasons: I could work on the essay questions at any computer with internet, the work is constantly saved and I did not have to worry about accidental deletion.

Getting fifteen secondary applications within the span of a few weeks is naturally overwhelming. Each school is different. Most have web-based applications, some do not. Some want pictures. Most have additional essay questions. All need varying amounts of application fees varying from $50 to $250.

All this amounts to a staggering amount of information to keep track of. In this post I’ll describe how to organize all that information and keep it in a secure place using Google Docs.

Here’s what to do.

First, create a separate folder for secondary applications. Then, create a unique document for each school. I titled the documents with the name of the school and when I got the application. This document will be where you collect any and all information pertaining to that application.

Here are 4 examples of what you might might put in it. Keep it simple.

1. A To Do List. May include sending extra transcripts, paying the application fee, uploading or printing a picture, finalizing references and completing essay questions.

2. Address to Send The Application (for paper applications).

3. Application Fee Amount.

4. Essay questions.

Most of the time I used these documents to work on essay questions. Having all the information in one place was handy too, especially keeping track of when I received the application. When I finished the essay questions I would print and edit them, then copy and paste them into the application. Easy as pie.

That’s it. It’s a simple system but it works and it cuts down on a lot of paperwork. Hope it’s useful to those currently in the application process.

Waiting

I had just cleared the security checkpoint at the airport after a hectic three days. I paused for a moment. A few hours prior I left my seventh and final interview for medical school. This needed to be celebrated!

Sitting down to a delicious beer and Philly cheesesteak I reflected on where I had been. Seven schools. Five DO, two MD. Seven different states. Four trips that involved flying. A bunch of money (I’ll break it down for you all soon, applying is expensive).

I realized I was done with all the hard work of the application process. No more essays, no more prepping for interviews, no more smiling all day long. Now I get to sit back, relax, and wait. The relaxing part is the hardest.

I have heard from every school except one which is a state MD school. I’ve narrowed my choices down to that MD school and a DO school. And I’m waiting. Waiting to hear from the state school. Waiting to hear if a scholarship is possible at the DO school.

Waiting.

Waiting

My First Deposit to Medical School

I just put down my first deposit for medical school. $1000 to hold my place at my top choice so far.

One thing I didn’t realize about osteopathic medical schools is that they have early and expensive deposits. They want deposits 2-3 weeks after you are accepted.

This was tough to do, but I didn’t really have a choice. I have three more upcoming interviews but the deposit was due today. If I didn’t pay it I would lose my spot in the class.

It is essentially a $1000 insurance policy in case I do not get in anywhere else (assuming I would want to go to another school). While a grand is tough to swallow if I end up going somewhere else, in the big scheme of things it’s not a huge deal. And if I end up going to the school it goes towards tuition anyway.

Man, this process is long and financially costly. Hopefully I’ll know where I’m going within the next month though. I’m not complaining though, I’m going to be a doctor!

An Update on my Application to Med School

I submitted both AMCAS and AACOMAS July 10th. I applied to fourteen schools- seven MD and seven DO.

I’ve received four secondary applications, all from MD schools. I’ve completed one, with goals of finishing the remaining three by the end of the week.

Some secondary applications are simple, some are annoyingly complicated. The most time consuming aspects are the essays, but a few applications just have some busywork that takes time and effort.

I’ve heard that DO schools take a while longer to process the primary application and send out their secondaries. Has anyone else heard the same thing?

Where are you in the application process? What do you find to be the most frustrating aspect?

Good luck to all applying! To those of you who will apply in the future, take heart, it’s a long process but not incredibly difficult.