All pre-med students know that completing medical school is an investment. But as you weigh the various tuition and non-tuition expenses that lie ahead, don’t forget to consider that the actual application process itself comes with its own set of fees.
So how much does it cost to apply to medical school and what other fees can you expect? Keep reading for these answers and more.
The cost of applying to medical school: Expenses to consider
At this phase in your journey toward becoming a physician, you likely have several questions about medical school applications. For starters, how much can you expect to spend during this process? From medical school application cost and exam fees to some administrative costs you may not have considered, there is a range of admissions-related charges to account for.
Primary application fees
Most medical schools use the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) as the primary application method for incoming students. This centralized medical school application processing service allows pre-med students to apply to a range of different MD programs in one place.
The 2023 AMCAS application fee is $170 for the first school, with an added charge of $43 for each additional school you choose to apply to. Data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) indicates that aspiring med students apply to an average of 16 schools in an application season.
You can also submit applications directly to your medical schools of choice. Most medical schools have online applications that can cost anywhere from $75 – $150 to submit. If you’re interested in the School of Medicine at St. George’s University, however, there is no application fee for students using the online application.
Secondary application fees
Many MD programs require some sort of secondary application. Medical school “secondaries” are secondary applications schools use to solicit additional application materials from applicants—some consist of a handful of yes/no questions, while others ask for multiple full-length essays.
Fees for these secondary applications can range in cost, so if you’re in search of concrete numbers, you’ll want to do some school-specific research.
College service fees
Although most candidates are prepared for medical school application fees, they often forget about the charges related to obtaining copies of your undergraduate records. There’s often a small fee associated with transmitting your transcripts, and students occasionally also run into fees for transmitting letters of recommendation. For a clearer understanding of what to expect, check in with your undergraduate institution’s registrar’s office.
MCAT exam fees
The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a core component of the medical school admissions process. All aspiring MDs must sit for the exam, which will assess the knowledge and skills that have been identified as prerequisites for medical school success.
The 2023 registration fee for the MCAT is $330. It is possible to retake the exam if you’re unhappy with your score, but keep in mind that you’ll be expected to pay the full exam fee each time.
Other potential expenses & financial assistance
Finally, it’s worth considering any additional costs you may come across in your medical school application journey. Many pre-med students opt to purchase tools, guidebooks, or other prep materials related to AMCAS applications and/or the MCAT.
You may also be expected to arrange your own travel and overnight accommodations when it comes time for your medical school interviews.
The AAMC does offer some financial relief to students in need. The organization’s Fee Assistance Program aids med school hopefuls who, without financial assistance, would be unable to take the MCAT or apply to MD programs using the AMCAS application platform. Eligible students receive discounted fees, as well as complimentary access to a range of AAMC resources, including official MCAT prep products.
Prepare for your medical school applications
As you look ahead and prepare for your post-graduate journey, you now have a better understanding of the costs related to applying to medical school. You can use this information to budget your finances accordingly, but it’s worth remembering that the application process also requires a sizable investment of your time.
For more information and guidance on the medical school application process, check out our other articles on the topic: