How To Land A Spot At One Of These Tuition-Free Medical Schools – Forbes

Almost everything about medical school is stressful, from submitting stellar applications to landing a desirable residency to racking up hundreds of thousands in student loan debt.
Going to medical school can be expensive — however, these top medical schools offer a way to get a … [+] high-quality education for free.
The average debt for the class of 2020 was $207,003, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). On average, medical school students at private medical schools paid nearly $60,000 in tuition and other fees, whereas in-state residents attending public medical schools paid $41,438, and non-residents paid $58,246. And the cost for medical school keeps rising—for in-state residents attending public medical schools in 2020-21, tuition, fees, and health care costs increased more than 10% from the previous year. 
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Several medical schools offer tuition-free programs to help students earn a medical degree debt-free. 
A medical degree without a hefty price tag is appealing to countless students looking to begin their careers in medicine. “All medical schools are competitive, but tuition-free programs are especially competitive,” says Moon Prep Counselor Lindsey Conger. “In 2018, when New York University (NYU) School of Medicine pledged to cover the tuition for all students, they saw nearly a 50 percent increase in applications the following year.”
Overall, the acceptance rate for NYU School of Medicine has dropped from a competitive 1.6% in 2017 to 1.08% in 2020, receiving more than 9,200 applications for just 102 spots. To put that into perspective, to get accepted as an undergraduate to NYU in 2021, you had a 12.8% chance of securing one of the approximately 5,700 seats
Some prospective students may, in the back of their minds, wonder if schools providing free tuition offer the same quality education as paid-tuition schools.
“Students will still be able to match into competitive residency programs and have similar hands-on opportunities as their counterparts  at paid medical schools. And, the colleges will still have the same certifications and accreditations (or be in the process of acquiring them if they are newly-formed schools),” said Conger. 
Some schools, like Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine, have offered free tuition to its first five classes because its program is somewhat untested. “Some students might be more hesitant to enroll in a newly-formed medical school because the curriculum is new and there is no history of success just yet, such as where students have secured a residency.” Conger says. “Free tuition helps alleviate those concerns.”
The tuition-free programs are legitimate — and legitimately tough to get into — but Conger has some tips for those wanting to stand out from the rest in pursuit of their free degree.
It stands to reason that the best and brightest applicants get noticed, but a simple tip that anyone can do, regardless of credentials, is apply early in the cycle.
“There is a limited number of interview spots. Even though you might be highly qualified, if you apply too late, you place yourself at a disadvantage since the majority of interview spots already went to equally qualified students,” said Conger. “To secure those spots, I recommend students prioritize applying as soon as the applications open in May.”
Applying early in the cycle can be a key component to a successful application. According to The Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS), only 10% of applicants who applied after August 1 received an interview spot. 
Conger also encourages her students to study the school’s mission statement. “See what they are prioritizing in their students, and use those values and characteristics to help drive the content of your admissions essay and to help prepare for your interview,” she said.
If you’re ready to apply to medical school — and avoid the stress of repaying student loans — check out these medical schools that offer free tuition.

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