The Cost of Applying to Med School (5 Digits)
by Rebecca Ross
Premedical classes, $29,348 (and growing because most of this is loans)
Most medical schools require one year plus lab each of General Chemistry, Biology, Organic Chemistry, and Physics. Some schools require more. I took some classes as an undergraduate, but not all, so I had to take Physics and Physics lab, Calculus, General Chemistry, and one semester of Biology in a post-baccalaureate program. It’s rather high because I did my classes at a private university in New York with good success rates for getting students into medical school — super expensive.
MCAT Class, $1,999
You certainly don’t have to take an MCAT class, but it definitely helps. I’m not sure what sort of back alley deal the College Board has with The Princeton Review and Kaplan, but there are a million tricks that you learn in MCAT class that I would never have known had I not spent two nights a week there for three months. To be fair, both Kaplan and TPR have financial assistance programs that you can apply to. TPR’s requires a bunch of essays about why you want to be a doctor, while Kaplan’s is need-based.
MCAT Registration, $240
Required to take the test, although there are fee waivers available.
AMCAS Application Fees, $1,196
$160 initial fee plus $37 for each additional school. I applied to 29 schools, which, I am told by my advisor, is fairly average. There is a need-based fee assistance program available through an application, to which I did not apply.
Transcript Fees, $14
My undergraduate institution charges $7 per transcript. I ordered two, as you’re advised to send one to AMCAS and to have one on hand yourself just in case.
Secondary Fees, $1,930
These are additional fees that you pay to each school to submit your secondary application and be considered as an applicant. I only submitted secondary applications to 23 schools, as one school screened me out before the secondary stage, and when push came to shove I couldn’t motivate myself to submit the remaining five for reasons of geography and time. Most schools will waive or reduce the fee if you have qualified for the AMCAS fee assistance program.
I was lucky to get a handful of interviews. With the exception of one school that provided me with overnight accommodation, I found that schools provide food while you’re at the campus and help to arrange lodging with a current student, but that for the most part you are on your own for transportation and other meals. I spent the following:
Bus from New York City to Boston: $50
Rental car for three days to attend two interviews in New England: $199.74
Bottle of wine to bring my student host: $15
Rental car for two days to attend two interviews in New York State: $199.74
Airfare from New York to North Carolina: $169.00
Room rental in North Carolina (thanks, Air BnB!): $45
Vacation time to attend two interviews in New York City: two days (not monetary, but hard won!)
Acceptance Deposit, $202.75 An applicant is allowed to hold multiple acceptances until May, when you have to make a decision as to the school that you want to attend. However, to hold your place, many schools require a (sometimes refundable) deposit of around $100. I’ve made two, one for $100, and another for $102.75.
Total cost of applying, being accepted, to med school: $35,668.23
Rebecca Ross looks forward to tabulating the cost of going to medical school.