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The Cost of Applying to Medical School. Spoiler Alert: It’s Expensive!

Written By: Alina Nguyen - MCAT Director

While most students are aware of the high price tag associated with attending medical school, the cost to simply apply may come as a surprise. On average, it costs far more to apply to medical school than any other graduate or professional program, and expenses can easily reach several thousands of dollars. There’s the cost of primary and secondary applications, travel, and accommodations. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect:

Primary Application

The AMCAS application costs $170 initially and $39 for each additional school you apply to. While the median number of schools that students apply to is 16, it’s not uncommon for more ambitious students to send applications to 30 schools. This means that an applicant can expect to spend an $755 on average and up to $1,301 on the high end just on primary applications.

Secondary Applications

After your primary application is received, medical schools will send you secondary applications with questions and essay topics specific for their school. While the cost of each secondary application can range between $0 and $200, the average cost is roughly $100 per school. Most schools send secondaries to every applicant, so you can expect one from nearly every school to which you apply.  In 2017, the median matriculant completed 15 secondaries, while an applicant that applies to 30 schools can reasonably expect to complete 27 secondary applications. All in all, the average applicant can expect to pay $1,500 in secondary application fees, while a more ambitious applicant will be looking at costs of around $2,700.


In the final stage of the medical school application process, schools will invite the most promising applicants for an interview. Students are often expected to pay the full cost of attending the interview, including travel, accommodations, and food costs. After factoring the average cost of a round trip plane ticket ($340), 2 nights at a hotel ($280), and meals ($40), each interview will likely cost around $660. Since the average matriculant gets 4 interview invites, you can easily expect to spend around $2,640 on travel costs alone. A particularly successful applicant might be looking at $5,280 for eight interviews.

In Total…

After adding all these numbers up, we estimate that the average applicant will spend about $5,000 to apply to medical school, while a more ambitious applicant could be looking at costs upwards of $9,000.

What does this all mean?

All of this underlines the importance of applying to medical school at the right time. If something in your application is holding you back — your MCAT, GPA, or extracurriculars — you could end up wasting thousands of dollars applying, not to mention an entire year spent writing essays and preparing for interviews. In a process where 60% of applicants in a given year are left empty handed, it pays to maximize your chances of success.

Contact us to find out how!

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