Quantcast

Making the most of HPSP

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

Loudster

Full Member
Joined
May 15, 2011
Messages
139
Reaction score
0
I'll be starting medical school in Florida this fall and I've taken the Army HPSP scholarship. I've spoken to some past recipients and noticed that a lot of them have advice/tips about making the most of the scholarship. I'm hoping that some past recipients here on SDN would also have some advice they'd be willing to share.

Thanks in advance everyone!
 

J-Rad

Full Member
Moderator Emeritus
15+ Year Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2003
Messages
3,333
Reaction score
21
What do you mean by "making the most of it"? HP(Loan)P is what it is. It doesn't change much for individuals. Understand the downsides and upsides of milmed and the program and hope you are both good and lucky. That's how you make the most of it.
 

Perrotfish

Has an MD in Horribleness
10+ Year Member
Joined
May 26, 2007
Messages
8,224
Reaction score
4,540
I'll be starting medical school in Florida this fall and I've taken the Army HPSP scholarship. I've spoken to some past recipients and noticed that a lot of them have advice/tips about making the most of the scholarship. I'm hoping that some past recipients here on SDN would also have some advice they'd be willing to share.

Thanks in advance everyone!

The military match is slightly different than the civilian match. Most importantly, at least in the Navy GME-2 match, its based on a point system that weights published research very heavily relative to the civlian match and which has no ability to determine the quality or relevance of that research. So find an advisor with a reputation for pumping out articles and attach yourself to him unitl you have a public or two for much better odds in the Match. Army people will need to confirm if this is actually true for their match, of course. I've only seen the form for Navy GME-2


Other things: look military (i.e. stay in shape), use all of your ATs to rotate at the programs that you want to work for, and physcially fly to and interview at every program that you're ranking in the Army, even if its your fifth choice. Besides that just be a good medical student, there's not much else to it.
 
Last edited:

Loudster

Full Member
Joined
May 15, 2011
Messages
139
Reaction score
0
Thanks Perrotfish! That sort of advice is exactly the type I was hoping to hear.

I'm not so much looking for a discussion about the pros/cons of HPSP. There's already plenty of threads about that. What I'm really looking for is insight about making the best of HPSP from those in the program, geared towards those who are just starting out. Anything really that made your life better/easier as an HPSP student is fair game.

For example, one of the things that I wouldn't have thought too much about is being able to lease a laptop. Here's the thread where it was brought to my attention: http://mobile.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=908781
I didn't know that was in the program, but when school starts I'll be leasing a new laptop.
 

bobbyseal

Boat boy
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2003
Messages
663
Reaction score
14
Here's my advice:
1) get the list of all required books and buy them all. HPSP will refund your money for this. Later on you might be able to sell the books used.
2) When I did it, there was a limit on the amount they would fork out for a computer lease. I couldn't find many places outside of rent a center to do that. But I had a desktop and so I rented a notebook while on my annual training.
3) Try to start saving money. I wish I was more disciplined with this as a student, but I thought I was poor. I wasn't with HPSP. Honestly, find your favorite dividend paying stock and initiate and automatic stock purchase plan with them with dividend reinvestment. I do this with a utility currently @ $25/month, but should honestly increase it. There are no transaction fees for purchases with this company; though some stocks do have a purchase transaction fee. Anyway, at 4 years of medical school plus internship plus gmo plus residency and now you're potential 9-10 years down the road doing this. The compound interest on the dividends adds up. I'm not advertising a particular stock and I'm not going to say which company I invest in. But my point is that investing now at age 22-24 is a good idea.
 

AhoyMateys

New Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2011
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
3) Try to start saving money. I wish I was more disciplined with this as a student, but I thought I was poor. I wasn't with HPSP. Honestly, find your favorite dividend paying stock and initiate and automatic stock purchase plan with them with dividend reinvestment. I do this with a utility currently @ $25/month, but should honestly increase it. There are no transaction fees for purchases with this company; though some stocks do have a purchase transaction fee. Anyway, at 4 years of medical school plus internship plus gmo plus residency and now you're potential 9-10 years down the road doing this. The compound interest on the dividends adds up. I'm not advertising a particular stock and I'm not going to say which company I invest in. But my point is that investing now at age 22-24 is a good idea.

Seriously good advice here.

The financial costs and benefits of HPSP have been discussed countless times on this forum, usually with the conclusion being that HPSP is a terrible move financially (with the exception of certain specialties like peds). However, in most of these discussions, people ignore the fact that the $$ from HPSP's sign-on bonus and monthly stipend provides the opportunity to save and INVEST substantial sums of money as a student.

So if you really want to "make the most out of HPSP", my advice is you should try to live frugally and invest whatever's left over. Regardless of how the markets perform over the next several years, a consistent strategy of dollar-cost averaging in index fund ETFs (or individual stocks if you enjoy gambling :p) while in your 20's will pay off big in the long term.

Obviously, how much you can save depends on lots of factors. If you're supporting a spouse/kids, going to school in an expensive city, driving a car with terrible gas mileage, etc., then maybe there won't be much left over. Just don't make the mistake that so many HPSP students make and spend every penny of your stipend on unnecessary luxuries simply because you can "afford" them.
 

J-Rad

Full Member
Moderator Emeritus
15+ Year Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2003
Messages
3,333
Reaction score
21
When you go on active duty for >30 days (your ADT orders are for 45 days), you can enroll in Tricare Prime. For those 45 days you can use an MTF for medical care (you need to enroll at the Tricare office. You may want to send a copy of your orders ahead of time). If you're young and healthy (you generally should be if you're in the program) you might not have a whole lot of need for it, but it can come in handy. More useful is the fact that you will be eligible for dental care. Most schools either don't have or have crappy dental coverage. Your time on base is a great time to get some routine dental care done. If you are doing a school tour, you can still sign up for Tricare (Tricare Prime Remote) and use the coverage. There is dental coverage for those on AD who are remote from an MTF as well. If you have a family you can enroll them in Tricare for the time you are on AD (>30days) by enrolling them in DEERS. There is an active duty family member dental insurance program, but I don't know if it would kick in fast enough for your family to be able to use it during the eligibility period (but it never hurts to ask).

If you wear glasses, go to the base optometry clinic and get a free pair of specs. The new styles are fairly fashionable, and it's always good to have a spare pair. They say only one per year, but when I got to my base I got a pair of specs, gas mask inserts, and a pair of inserts for some sunglasses I bought at clothing sales (the impact resistant tactical kind. You don't buy the inserts at clothing sales; you just tell the optometry clinic what brand/style of sunglasses you bought). You might also be able to schedule an annual eye exam, but they won't do contact lens exam/rx.

Sign up for a USAA bank account and insure your car(s) through them if they insure in your state. Don't buy their roadside assistance, though. AAA is a better deal. When you are getting ready for residency and are thinking of buying a house, strongly consider NOT buying and renting. If you just can't bring yourself not to buy, also be a member of a good FCU (Navy FCU is good) and apply for home loans through them. Long story short, USAA is great for banking and insurance. They suck for home loan processing. But, please, consider renting over buying come residency time.

Uniforms are best bought at a clothing sales store on base or online through AAFES. The same is not true for footwear. You can usually find much better prices on the websites of civilian retailers (I had a good experience with uspatriottactical).

You're going to a branch DO school. When it comes time for picking your rotation sites, try your best to get a site in which most rotations are done at teaching facilities with residencies. I know people will talk about their great preceptor based experiences where they were doing all sorts of stuff as the right hand of the doc, but for every one of those there is at least one story of precepting with docs that really didn't let you do jack. Your residency is an academic environment with a certain structure and hierarchy. By its very nature it will bring in at least some degree of more complexity than that routinely seen by most community based preceptors. If almost all your learning was done in a community based preceptor model, there is a high likelihood it will be debilitating to you to some degree.

I believe, as Perrot stated for the Navy, that all the services use the point system which gives points for published research (I know this for the AF). If you can swing doing some research and can get published do it. Not just for the JSGME, but even for down the line. Establishing (or further establishing) the skill set may help in residency and if you ever desire a fellowship, research experience is a great thing to have. Unless it affects your grades negatively, there really isn't a downside, other than time commitment.

I really don't know about the whole COMLEX +/- USMLE thing. I think it is all going to depend on what specialty you end up applying for. If you have a strong sense for a competitive specialty early on, talk to some of the PDs in that specialty for a sense of whether you should take both exams.

Back to financial related topics: TurboTax is great.
 

bobbyseal

Boat boy
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2003
Messages
663
Reaction score
14
I think J Rad's advice is pretty good, and if you can do it, make the most of your military healthcare benefit while in annual training.

Here's my cautionary advice: These rotations are auditions for you. If you impress the program director, they may want to select you for residency. If you are the student who is never around because of various medical appointments, tha'ts probably not going to look so good compared to a student who is always around and ready. Work the system as best you can. But, be mindful that you are on these rotations to learn, work hard, and impress people to help you in your career.
 

Loudster

Full Member
Joined
May 15, 2011
Messages
139
Reaction score
0
Thanks guys for the great advice! I kinda wish there was a like button... There's a lot of good advice here and I really do appreciate you all taking the time.

Financially speaking I completely agree about living frugally off less than the stipend. I have some student loans I want to pay off that I'll use a chunk of the sign-on bonus as well as paying it off a couple hundred per month for the first year to get it all squared away. I hadn't given much thought to what I was going to do with the rest of my stipend other than just putting it into savings. It seems like investing would be a good place to use at least a portion of that. Thanks for the advice. I've been chatting with my parents for the last few days and am going to get in contact with their investor and talk more about my options.

Also, a question about the military match, does published research from undergrad count toward the point system?
 

Zulu451

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2007
Messages
45
Reaction score
4
One other item that I would suggest:

For every ADT you do in medical school, get a DD214 for that rotation. Likely, in HPSP there is a greater chance that you will stay in for a career at 20. I swore up and down that I was going to punch out ASAP. Plans have changed. With the DD214 from your ADT's you can push up that retirement by a couple of months. May make a difference with terminal leave and timing of trying to get a job in the civilian world.

Pretty good advice here though.
 

J-Rad

Full Member
Moderator Emeritus
15+ Year Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2003
Messages
3,333
Reaction score
21
I think J Rad's advice is pretty good, and if you can do it, make the most of your military healthcare benefit while in annual training.

Here's my cautionary advice: These rotations are auditions for you. If you impress the program director, they may want to select you for residency. If you are the student who is never around because of various medical appointments, tha'ts probably not going to look so good compared to a student who is always around and ready. Work the system as best you can. But, be mindful that you are on these rotations to learn, work hard, and impress people to help you in your career.

I have to really highlight this. bobby is correct, be cautious with trying to cram a bunch of appointments during your rotation. For those wanting specs, no appointment is needed. Just walk into the optometry clinic and give em an Rx or your old glasses if your rx is stable. Then pick your lenses. That shouldn't actually take time away from a rotation. Then also remember that you are on orders for 45 days, but most rotations last 4 weeks. You can use that overlap time. Some people even change their plane tickets to a different date and hang around after the rotations for a bit (if it's a nice place and it doesn't conflict with school obligations). BTW (tangentially) if you have plane tickets that were bought for you for a rotation and you take a voluntary bump and get comp tickets, you do get to keep them.
 

backrow

60% of the time it works everytime
Lifetime Donor
15+ Year Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2005
Messages
1,787
Reaction score
404
One other item that I would suggest:

For every ADT you do in medical school, get a DD214 for that rotation. Likely, in HPSP there is a greater chance that you will stay in for a career at 20. I swore up and down that I was going to punch out ASAP. Plans have changed. With the DD214 from your ADT's you can push up that retirement by a couple of months. May make a difference with terminal leave and timing of trying to get a job in the civilian world.

Pretty good advice here though.

Umm, a dd214 is for when you are discharged from service not for every time you finish an active duty for training period. You don't need a dd214 to prove you did the reserve time.
 

Kingfisher

Active contact
10+ Year Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Messages
374
Reaction score
44
Umm, a dd214 is for when you are discharged from service not for every time you finish an active duty for training period. You don't need a dd214 to prove you did the reserve time.
Yes, you may get some pretty strange looks if you try getting a DD 214. I'm not sure if they would accommodate this. :idea:
 
This thread is more than 9 years old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.
Top