"How much can I expect to spend on interviews?"

The answer to this question will vary widely depending on factors like where you're living, what schools you apply to, and whether you receive aid from the AAMC Fee Assistance Program. While these may not be fully representative, below are a few example budgets spent by different FLI students during their application cycle to give you an idea of what to expect.

*NOTE: The costs per primary and secondary application vary every year. These values reflect the fees associated with the medical school application cycles between 2018 and 2020.

Student 1: 10 interviews from Maryland/BWI-Baltimore Airport

Primary and secondary applications covered by FAP

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Student 2: 7 interviews from Maryland/BWI-Baltimore Airport

Primary and secondary applications covered by FAP

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Student 3: 21 applications, 5 local interviews (no flights)

Primary and secondary applications NOT COVERED BY FAP

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Student 4: 17 applications, 7 local interviews (no flights)

Primary and secondary applications covered by FAP

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Although it may be difficult to know how much you'll end up spending during your application cycle, there are ways you can estimate a rough budget. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did you qualify for the AAMC Fee Assistance Program (FAP)? 

    • If not, expect to spend $2000-3500 just on primary and secondary application fees​

  • Where do you live, and where are the schools you are applying to?

    • It will be much cheaper for a New Yorker to attend 5 interviews in New York City than someone from Minnesota who has to board a flight for every interview.​ 

    • If you are applying to several schools outside of driving distance from the area you live, you can estimate travel costs by searching for flights (be mindful that med schools will often only give you 2-3 weeks notice before your scheduled interview date, and so flights may be more costly than they would be buying further in advance).

    • If you are budgeting for interviews already scheduled, make sure to factor in costs of other transportation (ie. taxi/uber/lyft from the airport in areas without regular shuttles and public transport).

  • Do you have somewhere to stay in the locations you may be interviewing?

    • On this note: Don't be afraid to ask medical schools for a student host, even if they don't explicitly offer. Schools that don't openly advertise still may have student hosts available to accommodate a few applicants. It never hurts to try, and staying with student hosts is a huge money-saver if you don't have any friends or family in the area (hotels are expensive and the costs really add up!)

Depending on whether your application fees are waived from FAP, your number of interviews, who you stay with, and the relative distance from your location to your interview sites, the medical school application cycle may cost anywhere from $100 to $8000 (very rough estimates). If at all possible, it is helpful to save what you can, whether through part-time jobs during undergrad or taking on a paid gap-year job. Some medical students report optimizing their application cycle through credit card benefits, sending in-the-area requests to try to coordinate more than one interview per flight, and reaching out to medical schools to see if there is any aid for students unable to finance their travel.