The residency interview season brings excitement, anxiety and more often than not, a great deal of expense. From hotels, flights and other travel-related costs, the figures can add up quickly. But with proper planning and budgeting, the interview process doesn’t have to break the bank.
So, what can you do to save money during the residency interview season?
Travel Tips: Lodging
Look into IU School of Medicine Alumni Association’s Help our Students Travel (HOST) program. Through HOST, alumni provide free housing, meals, and/or transportation for fourth-year medical students interviewing in their community. By participating in the HOST Program, not only will you save a couple of bucks, but you will also gain valuable insight into the local community and the residency program. To be matched with an alumnus, you must apply online. Be sure to apply after you have confirmed dates and locations of your residency interviews.
If you are flying, choose your airline wisely. Before booking the cheapest flight, check out what the airline charges for add-ons such as checked and carry-on baggage. Investing in a solid carry-on bag will allow you to avoid checked bag fees as well as the baggage carousel and lines. You’ll also want to steer clear of airlines that charge exorbitant change or cancellation fees in case of your interview schedule changes on short notice. Save frequent flyer miles in hopes of getting a free flight or two, especially if you are traveling extensively. Applying for an airline credit card is another way to rack up frequent flyer miles.
Drive if you can! Try to schedule your interviews by region so you can visit more than one interview on the same trip. Know your driving threshold though, for most people it’s typically six hours or less in one day.
Please share with me any other saving’s tips that I can pass along….and remember, while saving money is important, don’t forget that your ultimate goal is to secure the best residency position for you. Avoid getting so focused on penny-pinching that you sacrifice your ability to make a good impression. Sometimes it makes sense to spend a bit more on a particular interview if the opportunity is exactly what you’re looking for.
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
Jose Rivera Espada is the director of financial aid at IU School of Medicine, a nine-campus allopathic medical school in Indiana. Jose’s experience includes working as an assistant director of financial aid at Butler University and a financial aid coun...