Saving Money on Residency Applications

6 min



How to Save Money While Applying for Residency

The cost of interviewing for residency can be a very expensive process for many applicants. Not only are there fees for the submission of ERAS, but additional costs include: 

  • Registering for NRMP
  • Transportation to the interviews (flight, taxi to/from the airport, bus, cost of gas (if driving), renting a car, etc.)
  • Accommodation during the interview (hotel, Airbnb)
  • Cost of eating out (at airports when on-the-go, finding a restaurant in a new city)
  • Buying an interview outfit and paying for dry cleaning of the suit

….and various other miscellaneous ones. This can amount to a surprisingly large fare! In fact, the median cost of interviewing in recent years was roughly $3,900, with a range of $1,000 to $7,500!


Of course, the costs of interviewing will be different for every applicant, and they revolve around ~3 main things: 

  • The number of programs the individual applies to (ie: once an applicant applies to more than 30 programs, each additional program costs $26!…see chart below for detailed ERAS fees)
  • The number of interviews the applicant attends
  • The location of each interview (an applicant interviewing on both coasts will likely spend more than someone targeting programs only in a specific region)


Because of these climbing costs, it is important to spend your money wisely and decide when to splurge vs save during interview season. We’ve compiled a list of ways you can save money while on the interview trail:



    • If possible, try to schedule your interviews regionally (when you fly to a certain city and know you will have >1 interview in the area, try to schedule them around the same time so that you don’t have to fly there twice).
    • Don’t book your flights too far in advance because the start/origin may change as you get more invites, and you will end up having to change your flight or possibly even have to buy a new one. Luckily, Southwest Airlines allows you to change your travel dates/times free of charge if you end up needing to reschedule an interview date (if the flight you are switching to is more expensive, you have to pay the difference)


  • Sign up for an airline credit card. The “signing bonus” is often large enough where you can get several free flights with the points



  • Check if your medical school offers an alumni host program. 
  • If you know the current interns/residents at the institution, ask if you can stay with them. They often live close to public transportation options/walking distance.
  • Look into Airbnb options rather than hotels, but remember if the city/town doesn’t have great public transportation, the cost of cabs/Ubers may end up negating the savings of getting a cheaper hotel or airbnb far from the interview location

Public transportation

  • Check to see if there are public transportation options from the airport to the program/your hotel – this will likely be less expensive than a cab/Uber
  • Depending on how large of a field you are applying to, you may see the same applicants over and over again – try to share contact information and then arrange to split Ubers (or even hotel rooms at future interviews)

General travel tips

  • Pack light so that you don’t need to pay extra for a large carry-on or checked bag
  • Bring granola bars/snacks so you don’t always have to rely on overpriced airport food

Additional details and a video on this topic can be found at:

Need additional
help with your exam?

Enter your info to hear from a member of our team and discuss if 1-on-1 tutoring is right for you.

About the Author

Elite Medical Prep

The Elite Medical Prep team consists of MD and MD candidate tutors from the top medical schools and residency programs, our founders, Dr. Brus-Ramer and…

Read More

Never Miss an Article!

Sign up to our newsletter and get the best of Elite Medical Prep, tailored for you.