Applying to Medical School (2) : The Cost of Applying

The cost of applying to medical school can be financially prohibitive for many. Even if the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) grants an applicant a fee waiver, which is honored by almost all medical schools, applicants still have to shell out for the MCAT (medical college admissions test), and costs associated with interviewing.

I am fortunate to be employed by University B, full time, so I will not qualify for a fee waiver. But before we get to the costs associated with actually applying, lets first discuss the costs necessary for me to become a qualified applicant.

Premed Cost

Prerequisite Coursework – A small number of medical schools across the nation (less than 10) have eschewed firm prerequisite course requirements in an effort to diversify the academic backgrounds of applicants (someone who studied music theory might have an equally interesting mind as someone who studied biology). However, most medical schools still require you to complete eight (8) courses in the basic sciences to be eligible to apply: biology+lab (2 semesters), inorganic chemistry+lab (2 semesters), physics+lab (2 semesters), organic chemistry+lab (1 semester), and either a second semester of organic chemistry or biochemistry. Additionally, some medical schools require a semester of statistics or calculus.

While it would be possible to calculate how much I have spent in the past, making myself an eligible candidate, I think it would be much more pertinent to the purposes of this blog to calculate how much it has and will cost me since I started my premed journey here.

As of January 1, 2021, I still needed to complete four courses to gain admission to most medical schools (although, not all coursework needs to be completed at the time of application…more on that later). For the spring 2021 semester, I am taking organic chemistry+lab and physics+lab. The classes plus associated college fees for this semester cost me: $1,324.00. However, because I work for University B, which has a very flexible employee tuition reimbursement policy, I will be reimbursed for the full cost of tuition ($780.00) which means my out-of-pocket cost for the coursework will end up being the $544.00 in college/university fees. Not…terrible. If only college were as cheap the first time around…

Universal Applicant Costs

While the cost of prerequisite coursework varies by where, when, and how you complete it, the following costs are universal for all applicants to U.S. allopathic medical schools unless you have a fee waiver.

MCAT – The Medical College Admissions Test is required by all American medical schools and many non-American medical schools. The importance of this exam in the application process cannot be overstated and it is a make or break for most applicants. The costs to take the MCAT and have your scores shared with the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) is $320.00. This does not include the cost of test prep services which are pretty ubiquitous to the medical school applicaiton process.

AMCAS – The American College Application Service is an application service required to apply to almost every medical school in the United States (except Texas as they have their own service and Puerto Rico). There are two sets of cost associated with this service:

1) Primary application fee – “Most medical schools use the AAMC’s American Medical College Application Service® (AMCAS®) to process applications. Through this service, you are able to submit a single set of application materials and have them sent to the schools you specify. The 2021 application fee is $170 for the first school and $41 for each additional school.” – Pulled straight from their website, cause why both restating it? It is important to note that most applicants to medical school apply to between five (5) and ten (10) schools.

2) Secondary application fee – “The majority of medical schools require a secondary application. Those fees range in cost.” Again, ripped from the site. The cost of a secondary applications generally ranges from $50.00 to $100.00.

Interviews – Assuming you make it through these hurdles, traditionally, most medical schools have required an in person interview. This can be a very expensive process if you are applying to medical schools out-of-state, or even across state, due to the costs of flight and hotel stay. Most medical schools for the 2020-2021 application year moved to a virtual interview process which significantly decreased the cost of interviewing. It is my hope that they don’t entirely eschew this process for the upcoming year.

So…yea. A lot of red. The cost of applying to medical school isn’t going to be cheap. However, I am determined to be as frugal as possible, and to cashflow the entire process. In an effort to try and keep myself “honest” about what this process is costing me, I plan to keep a log on this post that I will consistently update.

AfroPenny’s Medical School Application Costs

DateItemCost
1/1/2021Prerequisites – organic chemistry + lab and physics + lab($1,324.00)
Total($1,324.00)

2 thoughts on “Applying to Medical School (2) : The Cost of Applying

  1. This is a lot of money just to gain admission to medical school, but when you break it down the way you did, it seems more manageable and less overwhelming, at least to read. Your approach of cash-flowing it as much as possible makes a lot of sense, and I bet it will feel satisfying to start medical school with less debt than you have now.

    Like

    • Right?!? I will be honest and admit I wanted to make this decision earlier…like last summer. But just couldn’t get over the idea that if I had to cashflow the medical school admissions process, I would have less money to put towards debt. I just, couldn’t get over it. Then I had a email chat with C, she dropped some knowledge, and I realized that in addition to disqualifying myself over my past financial mistakes, I was also being shortsighted.

      That is the plan! The hope right now is to start medical school with only my federal and university student loans left.

      As always, thanks for the support. – AP

      Like

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