Interviewing for residency is not a cheap affair. When you factor in travel arrangements, accommodations, meals, and interview attire, the costs add up.
Most fourth-year medical students will spend between $1000 and $7,500, or a median of $3,600 when interviewing for residency programs. For students who are couples matching, students spend between $2,000 to a whopping $15,000, or a median of $7,200, when interviewing for residency programs. And this is in addition to the hundreds to even thousands of dollars spent applying for residency positions.
Obviously, the cost of applying to and interviewing for residency positions as a fourth-year medical student is nothing to be taken likely. Here are some tips that may help you keep that cost as low as possible. Happy interviewing!
- Make your schedule work for you. Fourth-year scheduling often offers more flexibility for electives and vacation than the schedules in other years of med school. I have a friend who is interviewing primarily at programs in California where he is from, so he chose to take his vacation block in November. This will allow him the flexibility to interview at those programs during that busy month of the interview season without the worry of missing too much clinical time for required clerkships. When registering for fourth-year classes, keep interviews in mind, especially if you think you will be interviewing far away from your home institution.
- Group your interviews geographically. If you go to school on the west coast and you’re interviewing at primarily east coast programs, the easiest way to save on travel costs is to group interviews that are nearby each other around the same period of time. Don’t be afraid to make a phone call to a program to see if they might be able to accommodate you on a day that is better for your schedule. Program coordinators are often reasonable people, and it never hurts to ask!
- Be creative with your accommodations. If you’re lucky enough that the residency program you’re interviewing at will cover your hotel cost, take advantage of it! But if you’re not, get creative. Programs will often provide lists of hotels that are close by and offer discounts to students coming for interviews, but also consider staying with family or friends if possible or scoping out the city on Airbnb for a cheaper place to stay.
- Research transportation. Whether you choose to rent a car, take a cab, call an Uber or Lyft, take public transportation, or reserve a shuttle service depends on the city you’re interviewing at, but do yourself a favor and research your options ahead of time!
- Pack food with you. Oftentimes, residency programs will offer dinner with its residents the night before the interview, but snacks are always a good idea to have on hand and a lot cheaper than the hotel vending machine or airport store.