Find a source of income. Oh…and I passed CK!

September 27, 2013

🙂 Hi readers!

Very excited to report that I got good news about CK on Wednesday. I had fully prepared myself to see the glaring word FAIL written in the gray box on my score pdf (no, I didn’t think I would fail but there’s always that doubt in the back of your mind) but I scrolled down, saw PASS, blinked, refreshed the page and still PASS came up again, so that was proof enough for me. Almost everyone I know has had trouble with a test in the recent past–comp, step 1, shelf exams, cs–so it has made me extra nervous. I was worried that I would go down from my Step 1 score, but I did not! Which is great!

So now that that’s done, I’ve applied to programs and am waiting for news. Which brings me to an important topic: Clinicals are EXPENSIVE. Holy cow, take a look:

ECFMG certification (so you can take Step 1): $50
IMG Step 1 cost: $790
IMG Step 2 CK cost: $820
IMG Step 2 CS cost: $1440
ERAS token fee (so you can send out residency program apps): $100
NRMP fee (so you can enter in the match): $60 (+ $50 late fee if after November)
Application fees: $638 (and that’s apparently conservative–some spend as much as $7k)

Plus tuiton, fees, housing, transportation, food.

I bring this up because it seems like over the past 3 months I’ve been shelling out more money for school than I ever dreamed of. I got my check back from the school for Semester 9 of 10–they send me back what I have to live on for the semester after they take out tuition and fees, and the check has dwindled down to $1005.00. Are you kidding? They expect us to live an entire semester, paying the fees I mentioned for exams and applications and traveling to interviews on $1000? The problem is that they keep raising tuition–understandable–but they will not increase the amount of money we are allowed to request of the private bank who fulfills our loans, so we get less and less back each semester. We’re forbidden from getting jobs so what are you to do? In my case, lean very heavily on my folks. I think other classmates are having to take MBA classes on-line to get more loan money from that just to be able to make it. Not good. If you’re not Canandian (with large province loans), your parents aren’t doctors, you don’t have a rich uncle, or a hefty savings account from a previous career, you’re running out of luck at MUA.

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6 Responses to “Find a source of income. Oh…and I passed CK!”

  1. anh said

    Hi Jenningers, Congratulations on your exams! You’re almost there!
    I’ve been following your blog since earlier past summer, and am looking forward to your new entries.
    Best!

    • jenningers said

      Hello, Anh,

      Hope you’re well. Glad you’re enjoying the blog. Thanks for keeping in touch. Busy times studying for CS and in adolescent medicine elective, but I will try to write soon!

      -J

  2. noura.mahdi@yahoo.com said

    Hi Jenningers, I have been obsessively reading your blog because I am entering Jan 2014 class. I have a few questions: the stores on the island, do they carry small appliances such as irons, blenders, pots, pans, etc.? I have read about some students not getting loans on their 3rd or 4th semester despite passing all their classes, how did you maintain your loans through all the semesters? Are the grocery stores within walking distance from the schools or do they require a taxi? I am sorry I have a lot of questions, but nervousness is kicking in! Thank you so much!!!!

    • jenningers said

      Hello, Noura,

      Congrats on your acceptance to MUA! I’m so excited for you that you’ll be a part of the Jan 2014 class! I hope the blog has been helpful and I encourage you to send me any questions you have about island life!

      So the stores on the island DO have small appliances but they are historically of lower quality and VERY expensive compared to prices you would expect in the US and Canada. One option is if you think you can go without a particular small appliance for your first semester, there is a semesterly yard-sale put on by the out-going 5th semester students where you can get things like George Foreman grills and irons for cheap prices.

      The loan issue is definitely a problem–you’ve been reading valuemd, eh? It’s true, I’ve had classmates who have suddenly been unable to qualify for the Ed Invest loans and have had to either pay out-of-pocket for a semester or take a semester off. Qualifying for loans is complicated–firstly you need a high credit score (which is where I think most of these people had problems, with unpaid bills or increasing debt/income ratio), and then you must maintain a regular schedule in classes, meaning you do not drop or fail classes and become an irregular student “in-between” semesters where you’re taking courses from two different semesters. Now, this only applies to US students applying for the Ed Invest loans–Canadian students do their own thing with loans from their provinces and US students going the MBA route and using Davenport University for the FAFSA loan money don’t have to worry about the credit score part. I’ve had success by not carrying balances on my credit cards but keeping the accounts open, and by being really careful about making sure all of my bills are paid on time so that my credit score is not negatively impacted.

      Grocery stores are NOT within walking distance of the school–in fact almost all of them are on the other side of the island in town, aside from Best Buy Gingerland which is still about 10-15 minutes away from the school by car. There are small “convenience stores” which are within walking distance of the school for last-minute, small purchases, but I wouldn’t advise buying all groceries from these places as the selection is limited, the prices are higher, and the expiration dates are sooner.

      Please–don’t apologize for questions. Send more my way if you’d like! Congrats again and good luck!

      J

      • Noura Mahdi said

        Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions! I have a question how did you maintain your loans, were you making payments and they continue to give you loans. I ask that because I don’t want to deal with the stress of fearing my loans will be cut off in addition to the stress of medical school so right now I am searching for banks that will guarantee I will get loans for four years. I don’t know how successful I will be. Again, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions!

      • jenningers said

        Hello again, Noura,

        No, you do not make payments on the loans while you’re in school–repayment starts 6 months after graduation. You CAN make payments if your heart desires but money is so tight that I’m not sure who can afford to do that. This is, however, with Ed Invest. There are other banks used by other Caribbean schools, such as AUA’s loan provider, Bank of Lank Mills, which do require loan repayment during school, but Ed Invest does NOT require this. Just keep an eye on your credit score and you shouldn’t have a problem re-qualifying semester after semester.

        J

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