The Cost of Applying to Medical School

Published on
December 06, 2020
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I wish someone would have told me how much applying to medical school was going to cost. If I had known, I would have started saving on Day 1.

When I was applying to medical school, more than anything, I wish someone would have told me how much it was going to cost. If I had known, I would have started saving on Day 1. Instead, I ended up paying for most, if not all, of my applications using a credit card.… thousands of dollars — as if the debt incurred for my pre-medical education weren’t enough.

Once I left for college, I had almost no financial support. I was thousands of miles away from home. I worked my way through school in order to pay for anything the scholarships couldn’t cover - clothes, sometimes food, and plane tickets home for the summer & holidays. Even after graduation, I moved to New York City and started working full-time so that I could send money home whenever possible. When I decided to enroll in a postbac program, I continued working to survive the high costs of living in the city. I paid for rent and transportation and groceries.

You’d think the postbac would have prepared me, but despite being one of the oldest postbac premedical programs in the country, despite being renowned for premedical advising, I made it through the entire two-year program without a single mention of how much it would actually cost to apply to medical school.

While I certainly encountered Postbacs in similar situations, I was overwhelmingly surrounded by people who didn’t have to think about what it costs - who had doctors in the family, financial support from back home, places to stay rent free, people who could supplement their educational and living expenses so they could just focus on applying.

Yes, it’s incredibly fortunate for them to have had this privilege, and at times I’d wished I’d been blessed with the same (opportunities). No, I wouldn’t ever wish those students had struggled more for my benefit. And yet, it’s also incredibly frustrating to feel like the system wasn’t built for me. More generally, it wasn’t built for people who didn’t already have the resources and connections needed to apply easily.

Here are some cost (and resources) to keep in mind:

In the following posts, I will break down each of these topics, discussing where I was able to cut costs and which fees were unavoidable.