Back when I was a part of the pre-med crowd and when I was a med school matriculant, I worried a lot about how to pay for medical school. As a relatively traditional student, I didn’t have money saved up from a career I left in pursuit of medicine and I wasn’t going into an MD/PhD program. I knew that loans would always be available, but I wondered if there were other sources of aids that I could tap into. As a third year, I am grateful for all the scholarship aid I’ve been given and wanted to share some tips that I have found to be helpful when looking into non-loan financial aid. My best piece of advice is to apply for as many scholarships as you can, even if you think there is absolutely no chance of getting a certain one. It’s an automatic rejection if you don’t apply and I find that the process of applying helps me reflect on myself and gets me into the habit of updating my CV and maintaining good relationships with my mentors.
1. Your school: Fill out the FAFSA and any school-specific financial aid forms or school-specific applications. Whatever school you end up going to will most likely have merit and financial need based scholarships.
2. National Health Service Corps: In exchange for serving as a primary care physician in an underserved area designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) by HRSA, aka the federal government, you can receive a full tuition and fees scholarship as well as a monthly living stipend for each year of service.
3. Health Professions Scholarship Program: If you want to serve the US through the army, navy, or air force, you can receive a ton of scholarship support in exchange for each year of aid. Although I am not personally in this program, a few of my classmates are and they are excited for their upcoming military away rotations and the military match!
4. Local medical societies, community foundations, etc.: Your hometown or state may have medical societies or community foundations that sponsor essay contests or scholarships for medical students.
5. Specialty-specific organizations: These organizations have an invested interest in students who want to go into their field, so it makes sense to apply when you’re already set on a specialty. For instance, the Pisacano Scholarship is awarded to rising fourth year medical students who are committed to family medicine.
6. National companies: Sometimes a Google search can be fruitful, but beware of scams! One scholarship that I had the honor of receiving was the Tylenol Future Care Scholarship, which awards 40 students across the country in various health care disciplines. Although I thought it was going to be a long shot, I took the time to write essays that reflected my career goals and path toward medicine and it paid off in the end.