Getting Into Medical School: The “Hidden Fees” You Need to Consider

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Think back to your junior and senior years of high school.  You were likely getting ready to apply to college, and along the way, you realized that you’d already kicked out a serious chunk of change even before stepping a foot on campus.  Applying to medical school is no different, except that the costs and stakes are higher.  Consider the expenses you’ll face even before you begin studying to become a full-fledged doctor:

1. The MCAT:  This required test costs $275.  If you register late, add another $65 to that number.  If you are an international student, you pay an additional $90.  While you are likely to find a number of free practice tests (especially if you borrow prep books from the library or other med-school bound friends), you likely pay an additional $35 for every practice MCAT you take.  For most people, an MCAT test prep class is in order, so add another $1000 to the MCAT section of your medical school application fees.

2. Applications Fees:  Fortunately, there is a primary central online location through which you will apply to medical school; that is the American Medical College Application Service.  Unfortunately, this service is not free.  The first school you apply to will cost $160; each additional school will cost $35.  If your school requires a secondary application, as many do, you’ll put out another $50-$100 per school.  Sending in those undergrad transcripts, at $10-$20 per request, can add up as well. Depending on how many medical schools you apply to (and over 20 is an average number), your cost for submitting the applications themselves can be well over $1,000.

DSC_0005.jpeg3. Interview Expenses:  This is an unknown expense variable.  If you already have a nice wardrobe, a new pair of shoes or tie might be the only attire expense you’ll incur.  However, if you are like many college students who’ve spent years in jeans and sweats, you’ll need to purchase a fresh interview outfit.  In addition, depending upon to which schools you’ve applied, travel and lodging expenses could be dramatic.  Don’t forget that you’ll need to eat at some point too. Know that, if a medical school is seriously considering your application, its admissions officers will want to meet you first.  Be prepared to get there and wow them.

4. After Acceptance: The medical schools that accept you will expect a deposit to hold your spot.  Depending on the school, you’ll be paying anywhere from $100 to $1000 to reserve your place in their incoming class.  Sometimes, these deposits are refundable, but prepared to say goodbye to this money if you put down a deposit at more than one school.

Medical schools will also run background checks and credit checks.  If you’ve run into legal or financial troubles as a young adult, these mistakes can cost you the most – the ability to pursue a rewarding career in the medical field.  So as you can see, it’s never too early to start planning and saving for medical school! Your bank account (and your parents!) will thank you. — Post by Madelaine Kingsbury.

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