Before Applying to Medical School

Get Organized, Analyze Your Costs and Resources

Develop a System

It's easiest to manage your financial aid documents if you have a strategy to track and store your communications, financial information, academic records, scholarship materials and other financial aid resources.

Below are some suggestions for preparing for your search:

  • Copy important documents and store the originals in a separate, secure location. Keep in mind that you will need to refer to the materials for years to come.
  • Secure sensitive information that includes personal and financial information about you or your family. If you must throw away copies of information, be sure to shred sensitive documents.
  • Establish a relationship with an experienced financial aid officer from your college and/or the medical school(s) to which you plan to apply.

Analyze Your Expenses

Before you apply for medical school and start looking for financial aid, it's helpful to know how much it it will cost. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • MCAT/AMCAS Fees - To apply for medical school, you must first take the MCAT. If you don't have the financial ability to pay for the test, some financial assistance is available through the Fee Assistance Program at the Association of American Medical Colleges(www.aamc.org).
  • Living Expenses - Use an online budget calculator like the one at Bankrate.com(www.bankrate.com) to plan your living expenses. If you'd have to move to attend medical school, you may want to contact the city's chamber of commerce or the medical school's financial aid office to get an accurate estimate of the cost of living (rent, utilities, etc.)
  • Medical school related expenses - Many school Web sites provide information about how much you can expect school to cost. Don't forget that you'll also need to budget for the USMLE(www.usmle.org) and residency application fees.
  • Loan Organizer and Calculator - The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has developed FIRST for Medical Education(www.aamc.org) (Financial Information, Resources, Services, and Tools) that can help students manage their student loans (AAMC members only).

Analyze Your Resources

Now that you have determined how much medical school will cost, you will need to determine how much you and/or your family can contribute financially. From a medical school’s perspective, the cost of medical education is primarily the student’s responsibility. However, few families have the means to allocate sufficient resources to cover the entire costs of a medical education so it is up to the student to find loans, grants, or scholarships that can help with the cost.