Managing the Costs of Applying to Professional School

Looking for scholarship and financial aid info? Check out our “Paying for Medical and Professional School” resource!

You probably know that the cost to attend medical, dental, and other professional school programs is high, but are you aware of how expensive applying to these programs can be?

Sample 2023 Allopathic Medical School Application Costs:

Sample Application Expense Typical Range Sample Cost 
MCAT preparation Varies $294 (AAMC MCAT Prep Bundle) 
MCAT registration $330 $330 
MSAR – Medical School Admission Requirements $28 – 1 yr. subscription $36 – 2 yr. subscription $36 (2 yr. subscription) 
AMCAS  $175 for the first school $45 for each add’l school $1,030 (20 schools) 
Secondary Application Fees Approx. $30 – $220 per school $1,200 (20 schools @ $60 per app.) 
Transcript Fees Varies by institution, $5-15 $10 (Grinnell) 
CASPer Fees $85 for up to 8 schools $85 
AAMC Preview Test $100 (all AAMC schools) $100 
Interviews may include travel, transportation, lodging, food, clothing Varies by location, format $500 for 1 in-person interview + $200 for attire 
Deposits Varies/may be non-refundable ??? 
2nd Look/Admitted Student Visits Varies/Optional ??? 
Sample Total  $3,875 (+/-) 

Applicants who also apply to osteopathic medical schools and/or schools in Texas would have additional fees for the AACOMAS and/or TMDSAS applications.

Applicants to programs for other professions have similar fees, although they often apply to a smaller number schools. For example, the DAT exam for dental admissions costs $525; the AADSAS application fee is $264 for one school and $115 for each additional school, with 10 being the average.

How can I control my application costs?

It’s important to be aware of the costs without allowing them to discourage you from pursuing your prehealth ambitions. The sooner you begin preparing and saving money, the easier it will be to manage application expenses. Remember, many applicants take gap years in order gain additional experience, but gap years also allow you to pay down undergraduate student loans and save money towards application expenses. More ideas to help control your costs:

  • If you are eligible, use fee assistance/waiver programs. Once you have been approved for a waiver, many schools will also waive fees for their secondary applications. Links to fee assistance programs are included for each profession on the “Exploring the Health Professions” page.
  • Utilize free online test prep materials. Borrow resources from older students and the CLS or split costs with friends. Some online resources are single-user products, so read terms and conditions carefully to avoid violating your user agreement.
  • Be realistic when scheduling your admissions exam and allow yourself enough time to fully prep. If you need to move or cancel your test date, fees typically increase as you get closer to the test date so be mindful of deadlines for making changes. At the same time, do not be afraid to move your test date if your practice test scores are lower than you would like them to be. It’s better to lose money rescheduling than to sit for an exam knowing you are unprepared. 
  • Utilize CLS grants to assist with costs of applying, testing, travel, interviewing and attire. 
  • Consider the costs and benefits of participating in virtual vs in-person interviews.
  • Be creative in finding additional ways to gain insights about a school’s culture and programs beyond campus visits. For example, speak with Grinnell alums who have attended a school, ask whether the admission office has student ambassadors who can share their experiences, and seek out social media channels that share information for current or prospective students. 
  • Don’t apply before you are ready. Make sure your GPA, test scores, and resume are competitive to reduce the odds of having to reapply. Meet with the Health Pros Career Community director to discuss the strength of your candidacy 9-12 months before you intend to apply. 
  • Be mindful in creating your school list and be sure to research beyond test scores and GPA data. Review residency eligibility and prerequisite courses. Make sure you are a good fit for the institution’s mission. 
  • Apply early in the cycle. Due to rolling admissions, applicants have a better chance of being interviewed and accepted when they apply relatively early in the cycle versus near stated deadlines.