How to pay for medical school
Hello aspiring physicians!
I hope your 2021 is starting out great or at least hopeful. Your questions and comments are well received. I am happy that this site is providing clarity, knowledge, hope, and encouragement as you make your way through the medical journey. Please continue with your questions. I will get to each and every question and attach them to the end of that respective blog so that others can benefit as well.
So this is a question that I often get asked and it is a biggy. How do you pay for medical school? There is a lot of content on this subject and I encourage you to take a look at all the information that is out there. Let’s be honest though. Medical school is expensive and that’s not going away. The question really becomes how can I minimize the amount that I pay for medical school. Some physicians come out debt free from medical school and kudos to them. I, unfortunately, was not in that group. It has been shown that the median debt for physicians in 2018 coming out of medical school was approximately $200,000. That’s a lot but let’s talk about some resources that might help you minimize the cost.
Student loans: Anything that ends with “loans” means you have to pay it back at some point. Most students will opt for student loans to help pay for medical school and residency and realize that they have to pay it back later. This is how I did it and yes I am slowly chipping away at those loans. But I realize I got a great medical education and I am in a specialty that I love. There are different types of loans. The big two are federal versus private loans. I prefer the federal loans as they have different repayment options, there is debt consolidation and there are forbearance options if needed. The nice thing about the repayment options is that you can request monthly payments that are affordable for you. Forbearance is a request that you can make for a month or a year where you don’t have to make any payments during that time. It can be helpful if you get into a bind financially.
Scholarships: There are so many scholarships available to medical students but you have to do your research and sometimes you have to put in some extra work, whether that is filling out an application, getting reference letters or writing an essay. There are military scholarships available too. They will pay for your medical education which is awesome but you will need to serve as a military medical doctor for a couple of years when you are done. There are national health service corps scholarships which will help pay for your medical education if you have aspirations to practice in underserved areas.
Hard work/Side job: Get a side job during medical school? I have seen people do it and it can happen but the amount of studying you need to do in medical school is unheard of. Honestly, I would recommend just focusing on your studying.
Parents/relatives: Never leave out the ones who love you. This is always an option. Unfortunately, many of us do not have a trust fund and do not have parents or relatives who can help monetarily. That’s okay. I sure didn’t but I did have their unwavering support during my medical journey and that was enough for me.
Again, do some research. I really think scholarships are the way to go. Sometimes you just need to bite the bullet and get the student loans and then make a plan to pay them off incrementally. I forgot the other option is that during medical school and residency you need to watch what you spend. Go get those cup o noodles over going out to eat. You’ll survive.
As always study hard and take care of yourself.
Your Med Mentor