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How Much Does It Cost To Apply To Medical School?

  • by Fehbe Meza
  • Oct 23, 2020
  • MCAT Blog, Med School Admissions, Pre-Med Support

It’s almost Halloween, so it’s only fitting that we discuss a topic that sends a chill down some people’s spines: finances. Today, we’re focusing on the costs of applying to medical school. It’s common knowledge that medical school itself is expensive, but many overlook how financially straining the application process can be too. From registering for the MCAT to application fees and interview invitations, there’s a lot you need to budget for when you’re applying to medical school.

How much does it cost to apply to medical school?

MCAT Exam Fees

Before you even start writing your medical school personal statement, you’ll need to take the MCAT. There are a few fees associated with the MCAT, although most people will only have to worry about the registration fee. The current MCAT exam fee is $320. If you’re taking the MCAT outside of the U.S. or Canada, you’re required to pay an International Registration fee of $115 on top of the normal MCAT registration fee. You’ll also have to pay fees if you decide to reschedule your MCAT or change your test center—Note: as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, AAMC has temporarily removed all test date/center change fees until further notice. MCAT exam fees can increase yearly, so it’s important to double-check them when AAMC releases MCAT dates.

If you are unable to pay the MCAT exam fees, you might qualify for the AAMC Fee Assistance Program (FAP).  Test takers that qualify for the FAP can register for the MCAT at a reduced fee of $130, in addition to reduced application fees when you start applying to schools and other benefits. 

You’ll also need to consider the cost of MCAT prep. This will look different for every student. Some might borrow materials from friends and purchase practice MCAT exams to prep on their own, while others will need an MCAT prep course or private MCAT tutor. If you qualified for the FAP, you’re in luck—Blueprint MCAT offers scholarships on the Blueprint MCAT online course for FAP recipients!

Medical School Application Fees

While the MCAT might seem expensive, the bulk of medical school application costs goes towards application fees. If you’re applying to M.D. schools, the American Medical College Application Service® (AMCAS) primary application fee is $171 for the first school and $41 for each additional school you apply to. To apply to D.O. schools, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS) charges $196 for the first school and $46 for each additional school. 

Once you submit your primary application, schools will send you secondary applications, which come with their own sets of fees that vary by school. If you qualified for the FAP, your AMCAS primary application fees are waived for up to twenty schools; some schools will also waive their secondary fees. The AACOMAS has their own fee assistance program to cover the first application fee for one school, but certain schools will also waive secondary application fees for qualified recipients. 

Once you’ve applied to medical school, you will (hopefully) receive interview invitations. These are usually in-person interviews held on-campus at the schools you applied to. If you applied to out-of-state schools, budget for the travel expenses (flight and hotel) to attend these interviews. Not to mention, you might have to buy new interview clothes or “professional” attire, especially if the past four years have been spent running around your undergrad campus in leggings or sweatpants. However, most schools moved to virtual interviews during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing many applicants to cut down on their expenses. 

Aside from medical school application fees, there are other incidental costs to factor in. It’s strongly recommended to understand the medical schools you are applying to—AAMC collects all this info in the Medical School Admission Requirements™ (MSAR®) online database, which costs $28. Some universities charge a fee to send your transcripts to medical schools. You’ll also need to decide how you want to collect and send your Letters of Recommendations; many students use services such as Interfolio, which costs around $50/year. Certain medical schools require applicants to take the CASper test (fees are small, but vary by test date). 

How do I pay for medical school application costs?

With fluctuating fees, it’s hard to know what the average cost of applying to medical school is. However, it adds up. If you know, or think, you might want assistance paying for the MCAT or medical school applications, make sure you apply to fee assistance programs as soon as they’re open. They can dramatically reduce the cost of applying to medical school and remove this obstacle from your path so you can focus on your MCAT prep and crafting a competitive application!

Free MCAT Resources

Don’t overlook all the free MCAT resources available to you to help you prep on a budget. 

  • – Sign-up for a free Blueprint MCAT account to build a free MCAT study plan, take a diagnostic test, and receive a free MCAT full-length exam with access to answers, explanations, and powerful performance analytics.
  • – Sneak some MCAT prep into your daily routine by signing up for our free MCAT Question of the Day emails.
  • – Join in on some free MCAT review sessions and get medical school admissions advice during our free pre-med webinars.

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