The high cost of the application process- Suggestions on what can be done

Petek

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I am just finishing up the application process and waiting on a few decisions and I was thinking about how much this process costs. I know everybody raves about how a deposit is a lot to lose but its worth it in the end.... I am a believer as well that the way the current system is setup that is the best choice, but can the system be changed?
The high cost of the application process immediately excludes those don't come from money, don't have student loans to cash in, or just can't take on 5,000 dollars in debt for a chance to get to medical school. I think the process has grown too expensive and something needs to be done to allow a poor qualified applicant and a rich qualified applicant the same opportunities.

Here are some thoughts, please add more
1. Include the secondary fee's into the cost of tuition but limit the number of schools student can apply to to 12-15.
2. Setup a program where the medical schools go together and have buying power with airline tickets.
3. Either pay for a students hotel room on an interview or allow students to stay on campus with other students.
4. Run a shuttle from the interview back to the airport. That way the students would only be responsible for getting to the school that morning.
5. Lower the ACCOMAS/ AMCAS application fee's- someone is making bank here to be a middle man. I do all of the work to fill out the form, why do I need to pay someone 75 bucks to send it to a school.
6. Deposits.... Who has 1500 dollars they can afford to loose within 2 weeks of acceptance. I understand they want to make sure their class is filled, but milking student for their last few dollars after they have just gone though a very expensive application process is not the best way.


I would appreciate any more suggestions! I want to do something about this, at least let them know of the difficulties that students face affording the process. What would be the best way to go about informing the schools?
 

NickRiviera

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I am just finishing up the application process and waiting on a few decisions and I was thinking about how much this process costs. I know everybody raves about how a deposit is a lot to lose but its worth it in the end.... I am a believer as well that the way the current system is setup that is the best choice, but can the system be changed?
The high cost of the application process immediately excludes those don't come from money, don't have student loans to cash in, or just can't take on 5,000 dollars in debt for a chance to get to medical school. I think the process has grown too expensive and something needs to be done to allow a poor qualified applicant and a rich qualified applicant the same opportunities.

Here are some thoughts, please add more
1. Include the secondary fee's into the cost of tuition but limit the number of schools student can apply to to 12-15.
2. Setup a program where the medical schools go together and have buying power with airline tickets.
3. Either pay for a students hotel room on an interview or allow students to stay on campus with other students.
4. Run a shuttle from the interview back to the airport. That way the students would only be responsible for getting to the school that morning.
5. Lower the ACCOMAS/ AMCAS application fee's- someone is making bank here to be a middle man. I do all of the work to fill out the form, why do I need to pay someone 75 bucks to send it to a school.
6. Deposits.... Who has 1500 dollars they can afford to loose within 2 weeks of acceptance. I understand they want to make sure their class is filled, but milking student for their last few dollars after they have just gone though a very expensive application process is not the best way.


I would appreciate any more suggestions! I want to do something about this, at least let them know of the difficulties that students face affording the process. What would be the best way to go about informing the schools?

My thoughts...
1) Schools would battle over where this money goes as some schools get more applicants. It also wouldn't be fair to hit incoming students with a tuition fee for other's applications. Keeping this part cheap may allow for unqualified applicants to apply because it's not financial loss to them. The school would need to give these applications diligence and the incoming students would take the financial hit.
2) Do you mean giving student's breaks on airline tickets? I'm not too sure the airlines would be game for this. I can see local hotels giving 10% breaks but not airlines.
3) Paying for hotels may not be fair as schools are in different locations and thus one school might have to fork out a lot more money to fund this than another school with a similar number of applicants. Staying with students seems like a good idea but maybe the school doesn't want to burden their students with this (as the students are so busy) and the school might not want to take on the responsibility of something happening between the student and applicant.
4) Sounds like an OK idea but I'd think most applicants would be staying overnight in a hotel. If a flight is delayed in the morning you'd miss the interview and you can't really spend the night in an airport if you fly in early.
5) AMCAS/AACOM is verifying grades and keeping every application in a common format to make them fair. I don't think much can be done to reduce cost here.
6) Deposits might be the only spot to reduce cost. However, it would be difficult for schools if they were in limbo until the end of the process. If acceptance fees were cheap you could accept at many schools and then just bail at the end.

I really don't mean to contradict everything you suggested but there are lots of factors to consider here. I don't know how to reduce cost off hand, but I don't think this is where schools are making their money. Reducing cost might bring about unwanted factors as I mentioned, such as allowing many unqualified applicants to apply, which burdens the schools even more. Yet, it would allow qualified/poor applicants to get more school choices. There is an option, I believe, through AMCAS that truly poor students can apply for and save a great deal of money on this process. The big problem I see is that you can't take out student loans to apply to schools (is this the same for when you apply for residencies and need to fly to interview?)

Yes, it's very tough on the applicant to deal with this; maybe there is a different route to reducing the overall burden of the application process while keeping the individuality in each school's review process.
 

Petek

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Thanks for your thoughts. I don't know any answers either, I just believe there has to be a better way. When other grad students go to interviews everything is paid for but when medical school students go they get a 10% discount on a hotel room. I know schools are not out to get the students money but I think the process has grown prohibitively expensive.

The process that is setup right now seems to work out best for the schools but not necessarily the students. I want to propose some ideas to the powers that be so keep the ideas comming!
 
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NickRiviera

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Thanks for your thoughts. I don't know any answers either, I just believe there has to be a better way. When other grad students go to interviews everything is paid for but when medical school students go they get a 10% discount on a hotel room. I know schools are not out to get the students money but I think the process has grown prohibitively expensive.

The process that is setup right now seems to work out best for the schools but not necessarily the students. I want to propose some ideas to the powers that be so keep the ideas coming!

It's all about money for the institution. Companies are usually for profit so they can handle flying applicants out and covering their costs. Grad schools may make money from the publications the student will get, so the cost is offset there. MSTP students get tuition breaks for similar reasons. Most med schools, from what I know, aren't for profit so they would need to justify the cost of paying for applications/interviews. Med schools are also mostly training institutions so they may not have direct means of making up for the money from students, such as publications or cheap slave labor (that's what residencies are for).

Something else to think about is these med schools have an obligation to the public to choose qualified future physicians. Since attrition rates are so low, it would be especially important to review an applicant completely to determine their ability to become a competent physician. Just looking at number might work and save lots of money, but if it doesn't the public will be angry about the quality of physicians and maybe come down on the schools.
 

Dr.Inviz

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My thoughts...
1) Schools would battle over where this money goes as some schools get more applicants. It also wouldn't be fair to hit incoming students with a tuition fee for other's applications. Keeping this part cheap may allow for unqualified applicants to apply because it's not financial loss to them. The school would need to give these applications diligence and the incoming students would take the financial hit.
2) Do you mean giving student's breaks on airline tickets? I'm not too sure the airlines would be game for this. I can see local hotels giving 10% breaks but not airlines.
3) Paying for hotels may not be fair as schools are in different locations and thus one school might have to fork out a lot more money to fund this than another school with a similar number of applicants. Staying with students seems like a good idea but maybe the school doesn't want to burden their students with this (as the students are so busy) and the school might not want to take on the responsibility of something happening between the student and applicant.
4) Sounds like an OK idea but I'd think most applicants would be staying overnight in a hotel. If a flight is delayed in the morning you'd miss the interview and you can't really spend the night in an airport if you fly in early.
5) AMCAS/AACOM is verifying grades and keeping every application in a common format to make them fair. I don't think much can be done to reduce cost here.
6) Deposits might be the only spot to reduce cost. However, it would be difficult for schools if they were in limbo until the end of the process. If acceptance fees were cheap you could accept at many schools and then just bail at the end.

I really don't mean to contradict everything you suggested but there are lots of factors to consider here. I don't know how to reduce cost off hand, but I don't think this is where schools are making their money. Reducing cost might bring about unwanted factors as I mentioned, such as allowing many unqualified applicants to apply, which burdens the schools even more. Yet, it would allow qualified/poor applicants to get more school choices. There is an option, I believe, through AMCAS that truly poor students can apply for and save a great deal of money on this process. The big problem I see is that you can't take out student loans to apply to schools (is this the same for when you apply for residencies and need to fly to interview?)

Yes, it's very tough on the applicant to deal with this; maybe there is a different route to reducing the overall burden of the application process while keeping the individuality in each school's review process.

that is a VERY relative statement. who exactly are these so-called "unqualified" applicants? :idea:
 

toothless rufus

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Yeah, can't think of anything yet; but if I can get a retro-refund on this application cycle, I would work on it most diligently!
 

NonTradMed

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Setting up a system to allow interviewing students to stay overnight without extra charge would be very nice. This is one aspect of the interview process which would save money for the interviewee without penelty to the school. I would like to see a reduction in the deposit as well. $2000 within two weeks, after spending hundreds already on an application is quite ridiculous IMHO. Some schools don't have deposit fee, others charge $100k, which I think is more reasonable. $2000 seems to be milking students for extra cash methinks.
 

NickRiviera

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that is a VERY relative statement. who exactly are these so-called "unqualified" applicants? :idea:

Might be relative. However, I know I don't have a shot at a top ten MD school but I sure would apply to every single one of them if it were free. Having the school cover that extra financial burden in the tuition of students who actual get accepted seems unfair. That's all I'm saying.
 

toothless rufus

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$2000 seems to be milking students for extra cash methinks.

Ding Ding Ding! We have a winnah!

And if you can't pay the deposit? Well, that's ok; the spot will be givien to someone who can!!

Which is pretty lame.

Even in preparing for all this, someone is bound to get screwed through no fault of their own. That's why it should change.

But I really believe that as long as they fill their seats, for the most part it doesn't matter who with, as long as its a qualified applicant. Which makes sense; but I would feel real bad if someone lost their seat due to an unforeseen difficulty.

I would like to think that the school would offer an extension, and maybe they would. But what if they didn't? Someone's dream is shattered, and maybe someone learns something from Drop Kick Murphy's avatar. ;)
 

Petek

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I was just thinking, why do the deposits have to be nonrefundable. If they left the deposits hight (in the 1000-2000 range) but made them refundable they would achieve the same effect of limiting the number of acceptances you could hold. I think that If I had to pay a deposit of 1000 dollars and it was refundable I would still only be able to hold at the most two acceptances at the same time. Keeping the deposits just seems like a source of quick cash. Anyone want to play devils advocate? Why do school keep the deposits other then the obvious answer of "because they can."
 

DrBowtie

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Thanks for your thoughts. I don't know any answers either, I just believe there has to be a better way. When other grad students go to interviews everything is paid for but when medical school students go they get a 10% discount on a hotel room. I know schools are not out to get the students money but I think the process has grown prohibitively expensive.

The process that is setup right now seems to work out best for the schools but not necessarily the students. I want to propose some ideas to the powers that be so keep the ideas comming!
Grad schools have to pay due to supply and demand for grad schools vs. medical school.
 
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