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Do high school seniors wanting to do pre-med realize how much medical school costs?

ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77078 replies671 postsRegistered User Senior Member
Do high school seniors wanting to do pre-med realize how much medical school costs?

It looks like four years of medical school costs around $200k to $300k for in-state public medical schools and could be over $400k for private medical schools. Since most pre-meds get no admissions, and most who do get admitted get only one, choosing between admissions based on cost is not usually possible -- take it (and whatever costs) or leave it.

But if the student needs to borrow the entire amount (i.e. no wealthy parents helping with medical school costs after college costs), how long would it take to pay it off, even on a physician's pay (not assuming a higher paid specialty, as these are the most competitive to get into)? Do any high school seniors consider these financial implications before deciding that they want to do pre-med in college?
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Replies to: Do high school seniors wanting to do pre-med realize how much medical school costs?

  • aunt beaaunt bea 9801 replies62 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Good question. I really don't think kids know how much money that amount is until they start working a part-time job. My kids didn't realize how little they would make, earning minimum wage, to make a couple of thousand dollars. Once they realized how hard they had to work, to earn what they made, they realized what they were asking of us.
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  • MoonKnightMoonKnight 377 replies9 postsRegistered User Member
    I initially wanted to go into medical school but I never looked into how much that would actually cost. I only thought about getting a degree. As a student, I think most kids don't really look at the costs of the education if they are expecting their parents to pay it. If they come from low income and know their parents can't afford it, then it would be a different story.
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  • AlbionGirlAlbionGirl 816 replies92 postsRegistered User Member
    edited June 28
    But if the student needs to borrow the entire amount (i.e. no wealthy parents helping with medical school costs after college costs), how long would it take to pay it off, even on a physician's pay (not assuming a higher paid specialty, as these are the most competitive to get into)?
    Another good question to ask is, if "Medicare for all" or "single payer" is enacted, what would be the ratio of debt-to-income for a prospective physician?
    edited June 28
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10108 replies200 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I seriously doubt that hopeful pre-meds at the high school or college level actually think much about the cost of a medical education. Until that first acceptance arrives, no one actually knows if they are going to be accepted or what their medical education is going to cost. COAs are extremely variable with tuition at some state medical schools costing as little as $15k/year to OOS tuitions running over $100K/year.

    Here's a website that helps medical students (or hopeful pre-meds) manage their finances
    The White Coat Investor's Guide to Managing Student Loan Debt

    See also The White Coat Investor: A Doctor's Guide To Personal Finance And Investing

    There are ways to minimize educational debt, including accepting state or federal scholarships-for-service that pay for med school tuition (up to $40K.year for 2, 3 or 4 years) in return for working after residency in medically underserved areas as a primary care doctor for each year of scholarship received. Or participating in federal loan forgiveness programs that forgive up to $40K/year in federal student loan debt for each year of service as a primary care physician in a federal designated medically underserved area.
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  • BeangoalsBeangoals 41 replies1 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Hi,
    I'm currently a junior in college but also just graduated from high school last month. I've known from my freshman year of high school that I wanted to pursue the pre-med route. I also knew how much medical school costs. Even as an exceptional admissions student, the cost of college really weighed down on me. I began earning money from my online resale business while I was a freshman in high school to pay for my college courses. Now that I'm a junior, and have officially graduated from high school, I'm able to receive scholarships. I do not have wealthy parents, or even well to do parents, I have a single parent that earns a lower-middle class income and cannot put any money towards my education. I know that realistically I will have to take out a loan for medical school. Right now, I have my eye on the most affordable medical schools, just as I've decided to attend a very affordable college to complete my undergraduate degree. There are some scholarships for medical students, as long as I keep my GPA up, work hard at scoring high on the MCAT, keep a lookout for opportunities, participate in some community work, and maintain focused on my dream of becoming a doctor, I'll be fine.
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  • saillakeeriesaillakeerie 2226 replies0 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you go to senior nights at various high schools across the country, you would think the country will be overrun with doctors. Huge numbers of kids say they are pre-med/going to medical school. But ultimately, we know that isn't true. For a lot of kids, the first college chemistry class dashes those plans. Its easy to say you are going to med school and sounds great. Kids tend to do the same with respect to engineering as well.

    All of the doctors I know have more than made up for whatever costs of medical school they incurred. And the majority of them came from families with no money so they had huge loans. High incomes can right a lot of wrongs in terms of debt.

    And all of the doctors I know who have kids have at least one either in medical school or who plan to go to medical school. They do not appear to be too concerned about medicare for all or pay decreases going forward.
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  • crankyoldmancrankyoldman 589 replies52 postsRegistered User Member
    It's also important to keep costs in perspective. On a year to year basis, all professional schools cost pretty much the same, be it law or dental or medical; the primary issue is employability after graduation. If someone truly wants to be a physician, gets accepted and graduates, s/he is guaranteed a job in their chosen profession, and at current salaries it is possible to pay the loans back. That isn't true in law, for example.
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  • HRSMomHRSMom 4605 replies50 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Good question. They probably assume, as I did, that it was roughly the same as undergrad. And boy am I wrong!
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  • saillakeeriesaillakeerie 2226 replies0 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I agree. Vet school costs are about the same as med school. But the salaries for vets pale in comparison to doctors.
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