Pre-Med Myths & Tips: The Financial Burden of Applying to Med School

by Petros Minasi, Jr., Sr. Director, Pre-Health Programs | March 9, 2021

With spring right around the corner, and the glimmer of normalcy in the distance, there is one thing that hasn’t changed, and that is that MCAT® and medical school application season is in full swing! This year, even more so than before, students are concerned about the financial investment applying to medical school carries with it, so we thought we focus this month’s edition of “Myths and Tips” on ways students can reduce that burden.

Myth: Applying to medical school has to be expensive.

Tip: With a little careful planning, students can minimize the impact to their savings account.

The AAMC has a wonderful financial assistance program which reduces the cost of the MCAT and the AMCAS; however, it requires that students apply for it early, and unfortunately, every year students that would otherwise have benefited from the program do not because of poor planning. So, we highly recommend that students start the process now. 

For this year’s cycle, students were given a reprieve with interviews being conducted virtually, and depending on the outcomes of the next couple of months that may continue. But in the event that schools conduct in-person interviews this year, students should try to minimize their travel to save on the associated travel costs. 

For example, if a student lives on the West Coast, and is applying to schools on the East Coast, they should try to schedule their interviews in clusters so they don’t find themselves bouncing from coast to coast multiple times. Schools are understanding of this, but students need to plan accordingly as well. 

Myth: All free resources for the MCAT are created equally

Tip: Use trusted resources when preparing for one of the most important exams of your academic career.

There is a lot of free information out there about the MCAT, and unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation as well. By now, I hope you know that your students can always trust the information that Kaplan provides, as we spend countless hours researching and validating everything that we put forward for students. We also have a wealth of free resources available to students―from study plans, to questions, practice tests, and sample classes. 

Furthermore, the AAMC provides resources for students to use in preparation for the MCAT. Forums and threads, unfortunately, are not the best place for students to get advice about the MCAT, because often they are written from the perspective of one student―and while their plan may have worked well for them, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to work for everyone!

Myth: There are no scholarships or tuition assistance programs available for the MCAT.

Tip: Kaplan has got students covered!

The core of Kaplan’s mission is to help students achieve their academic and career goals―this stems from Stanley Kaplan’s vision to create access to all students regardless of background as he himself was denied the opportunity to attend medical school because of quotas that were in place in the late 1930s. 

Each year, we award thousands of full scholarships to students through the advisor community’s conferences, and the same will be happening this year. So, regardless of which regional conference you will be attending, be on the lookout for the Kaplan scholarships. One of my favorite parts of my role is hearing about the student’s whose lives were changed after receiving a scholarship for free MCAT prep, and I look forward to hearing many more this year. 

In addition to scholarships, we also have a robust tuition assistance program, which grants up to 60% off the tuition of our courses. So, while not every student can receive a full scholarship, we do want every student who demonstrates need and academic achievement to have the opportunity to excel on their MCAT.

To learn more about MCAT® test dates and score releases for 2020-2021, visit our website.

Want to learn more about when to take the MCAT®? Visit our blog

After more than two decades at Kaplan, I am often asked, “What keeps you here?” The answer is simultaneously simple and complex, but for now, I will keep it simple: it’s the people I interact with―advisors, students, and my colleagues, and the opportunities our programs and services open for students. 

See more posts by Petros Minasi, Jr., Sr. Director, Pre-Health Programs