In addition to the substantial costs of tuition and fees for medical schools once you are accepted, there are several costs associated with the application process itself. These include taking MCAT preparatory courses, MCAT study guides, registering for the MCAT, AMCAS online application, fees for secondary applications, and travel and lodging costs for interviews (see cost of applying to medical school.)
MCAT preparatory courses (e.g., Kaplan and Princeton Review) can help improve your performance on the MCAT if you take them seriously, devote sufficient time to them, and take full advantage of the many practice exams they offer (see Standardized Exams). Their costs may seem high but are not significant when viewed relative to the overall costs of your undergraduate and medical education. MCAT study guides are available at most book stores. Practice exams are available on the AAMC website.
The MCAT and the AMCAS online applications are both administered by the AAMC. The AAMC offers a Fee Assistance Program (FAP) to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who would otherwise be unable to take the MCAT or apply to AMCAS-participating schools. Applicants who receive FAP waivers may also be eligible for waivers from secondary application fees (see Application Process).
Medical school tuition costs and fees vary greatly depending primarily on whether the school is public or private, and whether you are an in-state or out-of-state resident. The most reliable way to investigate tuition and fee costs is to consult the MSAR or websites for individual schools (see Health Profession Schools). Medical students generally supplement personal or family resources with federally subsidized or private loans to cover these costs. Medical school financial aid offices generally provide all the information you will need on available sources of loans. Much more information on financing medical school is available on the AAMC website. After graduating from medical school, you will most probably have incurred a substantial debt.
Three things should be emphasized relative to incurring these debts: 1) you must have a good credit rating to be eligible for the loans in the first place, so be very careful to pay your credit card bills on time; 2) after establishing a successful practice as a doctor, you will most likely be able to pay off these debts without sacrificing other priorities; and 3) if you drop out of medical school or fail to pass the licensing exams after graduating from medical school, you will have incurred substantial debt and may not have the means to pay it off (see What if I’m not accepted?).