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finances - i'm drowning and worried

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by saiyagirl, Aug 23, 2002.

  1. saiyagirl

    saiyagirl Guest

    Aug 23, 2002
    hey everyone,
    i'm new to the sdn thing....hi :)

    anyway, i have a quick question. Though I don't qualify for fee assistances (my parents have a stable, decent income), we are VERY deeply in debt and really struggle day to day. i'm trying to earn enough to send out my secondaries by early september. is this too i hurting my chances?

    i received the first one august 12th (i submitted amcas aug 9th--late for the same reasons--i needed the cash to send it--and it wiped me out!). should i send out secondaries without the checks (does it count for anything)?

    i can't really ask my parents for money because they don't have it, and i've already asked some of my amazing, generous friends..but i can't ask them for everything.

    finally, is there a way i can tell adcoms about this so they don't penalize that even advisable?

    thanks for your help.

    for reference: 3.5 sci/3.6 overall, 34R (10V, 12B, 12P)

    ps: i have one more unrelated question. how can you tell which schools AMCAS transmitted to or not? do you have to be verified to know that? thanks!
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  3. tBw

    tBw totally deluded 7+ Year Member

    Oct 6, 2001
    infront of an iMac
    well, unfortuantely it will harm your chances to send things in later. How much is hard to say. The bigger concern that occurs to me is that the biggest cost in all of this is, when you get an interview, you need to fly to them, handle accomodation if there are no students willing to host etc. If you can't afford $80 for a secondary, how will you afford $400 for a flight? I only bring this up, as you should bare this in mind when making financial plans. I would suggest you send 2daries in as soon as possible to hopefully maximize your chances of getting in, and maybe minimize the # of interviews you end up therefore having to fly to....

    good luck
  4. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat 7+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2002
    I disagree about the timing of sending in your secondaries somewhat. It is certainly still possible to get in later in the cycle. Last year I didn't even submit my AMCAS until early October, did most of my secondaries (11) around December, and had most of my interviews (7) in Feb/Mar. Now, I did get only waitlists (4), but I got pulled off of 2 of them, including my favorite school. So in the end, I applied late and got into my top choice. And I'm not the best applicant (bad/few med related ECs).

    That being said, if money is an issue, maybe do the secondaries from your top realistic choices first, and then work your way to reach and less desirable schools. Also you could work your way through them in order from nearest to farthest, because travel costs balloon if you have to fly all the way across the country. If I recall correctly, my 4 interviews in CA cost as much in travel expenses combined as each of my 3 interviews back east.
  5. TysonCook

    TysonCook Senior Member Physician Faculty 10+ Year Member

    Aug 19, 2002
    Carolinas Medical Center
    Two things that I see in your post that I can respond with.

    The first being do you have a job? If not, why not? There are plenty ways to make money during the school year, and even more during the summer. Not to sound like a dick, but why not- a)take some time off after you graduate to earn $, or b)get a job on the side.

    The second is credit cards. Lots of schools accept cards, and the ones that don't you can get a cash advance for. I know that last year when I was applying I used my card for a lot, then during the summer I worked three jobs to pay it off. Being a few thousand in debt isn't going to kill you, and in the long run (being 100-200k in debt) this is just a drop in the barrell.

    I personlly wouldn't even try to say "hey, I have no money, look at my app differently", I think that there will be an amazing lack of sympathy and it looks a little immature.

    On an even brighter note, how do you plan to fly to interviews, rent a car (or taxi), get a suit, and pay for your miscellaneous expenses? This is all not to piss you off, and I apologize if it does, but you haven't even gotten close to your real expenses.

    Do a search for Cost of Applying, and Total Cost, you'll see that plenty of people have spent btw. $5,000 and $10,000 for the whole cycle.
  6. jonquille

    jonquille Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 4, 2002

    Are there are other possibilities other than the credit card route? Have you definitely TRIED for the fee waver? Can you ask relatives to lend *you* the money? That would get you some cash without the unreasonably high interest rate that credit cards apply to cash advances.

    The reason that the credit card, or any debt, is worrisome, is that you may have trouble when you actually GET to med school in terms of how the financial aid office views you. They expect you to have no credit card debt -- that you have paid it off. The amount of money they give you to live on is meager as they try to keep your debts down (still adds up to approximately $50,000/year for private schools). There is NO WAY you could pay off a credit card or auto loan while under this budget.

    If you think you can work off ALL of YOUR debt by working during the year and summer and be debt free by entering med school (keeping in mind that it does cost between $5,000 and $10,000 to apply to med school, never mind the interest that you'd accumulate if you used a credit card/cash advance) then go ahead. But I have to say that it sounds like a very stressful plan. If you are still in school, working, studying and applying all at once will make you a basket case, and very unhappy.

    Can you delay applying for a year? Schools like students who have taken some time off. You can work off any debts you already have and also get money to apply to school so that you won't have debt when you start school. Time away from school can allow you to have some fun, gain some perspective, some maturity, and also some essential medical exposure/experience if you do it right -- increasingly ESSENTIAL for getting in.

    Also, I don't know how true this across the board, but most people applying to med school and going through med school are entirely paying their own way. Your parents being heavily in debt shouldn't really impact your life (except that maybe you'll get more financial aid once you're in school because they'll see that your parents aren't a source of potential contribution). So this is a time to start being financially independent ANYWAY.

    Good luck, this sounds really tough. Please make all attempts not to put yourself in debt!!! I worked and made money for a few years before school. It was fun, I was independent and confident, and now I'm in school and love the time I had before school -- I feel much more ready and stronger than some of my classmates coming out of school immediately.
  7. athena21

    athena21 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 20, 2002
    frigid cold place
    i'm charging most of my stuff to a credit card that has gives me 1 year interest free...just make the minimum monthly payments of 20 should check out those credit card offers as they'll help you with travel expenses and what for now, I agree with Diogenes on how to tackle the secondaries...good luck!
  8. ckent

    ckent Banned Banned

    Jul 31, 2000
    I would not take the year off and work for purposes of keeping yourself out of debt. One year off means that you will work one year less as a physician when you will be making far more then you would in your year off now. I like the idea of the credit card that doesn't have any interest for a year or so. Just put it on there and then pay it off when your student loans come in or when you work full time over the summertime.
  9. GoodMonkey

    GoodMonkey sproutmobile 7+ Year Member

    i hear you on this issue! i've worked 2 jobs all summer (like 70+ hrs/week) to pay for the app process and i'm soooo burned out. i've gotten in all my 2ndaries, but the potential travel expenses are really looming. however, i'm without credit card debit to this point and sooo soooo tired of all the working right now that i think i'm just going to stick to one job and do the best i can to budget for the upcoming year. i'll also be taking advantage of some 0%apr credit cards for flights (we're assuming i'm getting interviews, here!) :) it's just a frustrating feeling knowing how expensive everything is, but like someone said earlier, compared to the 100-200k overall debt, this is just a drop in the bucket. doesn't make it any easier, tho, does it? :rolleyes:
  10. CoffeeCat

    CoffeeCat SDN Angel 10+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 2001
    Is there any way you could get a loan? Maybe your parents could co-sign with you since their income is okay. Good luck and I'm sure I'll be feeling the same way come my application time!
  11. saiyagirl

    saiyagirl Guest

    Aug 23, 2002
    hey guys,
    thanks for your input thus far. a lot of you have made me feel a lot better :) i do want to say i do have a job...and i've had jobs since freshman year (and high school) to support myself. it was my goal to go through college without ever having to ask my parents for money, and until recently I was able to do that. these applications however have pushed me over the edge!

    I am working a summer job right now that pays quite a lot, but their payroll system is all messed up and so I havent actually gotten a paycheck yet. i will get one huge check on sept 6th...and so when I do I'll hand in secondaries and probably have a decent amount left over to contribute towards travel expenses. i'm not too worried about getting money once school starts up again--i have an educational award that takes care of a lot and that i can use to pay for these expenses. also, i will have a job during the year as i always have.

    I want to avoid getting a credit card for as long as possible.

    i just hope sept 6th isn't too late in the game, that's all.
  12. tBw

    tBw totally deluded 7+ Year Member

    Oct 6, 2001
    infront of an iMac
    don't worry, it;s not that late, and it's also only a week and a bit away. I don't think that much time will make a difference. You'll still have your file complete before many of us do that are waiting on the August MCATs...
  13. SMW

    SMW Grand Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 12, 2001
    anchorage, ak
    Another option would be to get the credit card, charge those scondary fees (being as early as possible is to your advantage), and then pay it off immediately when you get your check. Then, just cut up the card and cancel the account.
    Your MCAT score is so good, you'll be fine no matter which way you do it. Welcome to SDN, and best of luck to you.:)
  14. chopsuey

    chopsuey miss independent 7+ Year Member

    Jun 13, 2002
    good question.... ;)
    you could use a credit card for the on-line ones....and about half of mine were on-line.

    i'm with ya on avoiding credit cards, saimagirl....but you don't seem like the type to get into trouble with it. ONLY use it for apps. i think committees start looking at apps over labor day, so it might be good to get everything in this week as opposed to next week.
  15. kaos

    kaos Web Crawler 10+ Year Member

    Jun 13, 2002
    Really? That makes me feel a lot better about not hearing anything as of yet...thanks!

    BTW saiyagirl, I'm in the same boat with ya. Luckily, I've used plastic to pay for my applications, and my job pays just enough to cover travel expenses just in case I get interviews!
  16. SolidGold

    SolidGold Florida winters are the best! 10+ Year Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    You have awesome stats and you WILL get interviews if you can send in your secondary applications.

    I know people who were in a similar situation and they ended up getting a student loan from our financial aid office. Instead of using the money for "living expenses" they used it for secondaries and interviews. These loans are really quite easy to obtain and the good thing is that you will not have to start to pay them back until you are finished will "ALL" schooling and then you will have 10 years to pay it. It is also usually quite low in interest. If you can get a loan like this, it would be better than credit cards IMO.

    PM me if you want more details.

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