How Do I Determine Residency?

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ADG 165: How Do I Determine Residency?

Session 165

This premed has moved around a ton- how can they determine what state they’re a resident in?

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[00:26] Question of the Day

“I’ve been moving a lot in the past year. I’ve lived in a lot of states and I’m just wondering, which state I’m in-state for. I’m from Connecticut. Then I went to college in New York City and I moved back to Connecticut after college. And now I’m going to move to Los Angeles. I’m applying in June for this cycle.” 

[01:08] The State Says It!

You will probably technically be a Connecticut resident, though you won’t be a Connecticut resident, because you’ll be living in California. And you’ll have to follow whatever the rules are for being a California resident.

The question is really simple to answer. It depends on the state. Each state has its own rules on what qualifies as residency for voting, for driver’s license, etc. And so, it depends on what the state says, in terms of what it takes to be a resident of that state.

For instance, I had a student who moved from Kentucky to Texas in the middle of an application cycle. She called the schools in Kentucky based on me telling her to call. They said that since her parents live in Kentucky and she went to high school there, they consider her as an in-state, even though she’s not technically a resident anymore.

“It really just depends on the school, and more specifically, usually on the state residency requirements.”Click To Tweet

Our student is planning on applying to California schools and wondering if he should reach out to every school to see which box he might fit into. Now, I don’t think you need to reach out to each and every school. The state of California says they need you to do XYZ to be considered a resident.

Oregon, for instance, OHSU will consider at least a couple of years ago. They said as long as you live in Oregon for a year to establish your residency, before starting medical school, they will consider you as in-state. And so, there are a lot of nuances.

When you call UCLA, very likely, one school will be the blanket answer for every school. But if you have the time and you want to just ask, go ask. But do the research on what California says specifically, and then reach out to the schools.

[04:38] Why Residency Matters for Schools

There are two different questions at play here. One, what does it take to be considered a resident of the state? Again, check out the rules in California and what you have to do to establish residency in the state. That’s on the state level such as voter ID, driver’s license, etc.

For medical school admissions and residency determination, if you’re considering in-state vs. out-of-state tuition, those rules are going to be typically set up by the state. 

That being said, you can ask the school whether you need to be in the state for one year prior to application or one year prior to matriculation, whatever that looks like.

The University of Washington has a very robust verification process of your residency status. They don’t play games. This is a big deal because taxpayer money goes to support the school to support tuition. That’s typically why out-of-state tuition is so much higher than in-state tuition.

They’re not just charging high because they’re out-of-state students. Typically, the difference is paid for by the state. 

For instance, if the University of Connecticut charges $75,000 for out-of-state, and $50,000 for in-state, it means the state is paying that $25,000 difference. It’s not like the school is just getting an extra $25,000 for out-of-state students. And so, it’s not a game to play.

[12:30] Applying Early Decision

Q: When is it a good idea to apply for an early decision because you can only apply to that one school, right?

A: I highly recommend checking out my book, The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Application Process. I have a chapter in there about early decision. And my general advice is that typically, the risks far outweigh the benefits. Basically, you are putting all of your eggs in one basket and the school doesn’t have to tell you anything until late September.

'Early decision works very well for students who have strict requirements on where they want to be and they have strong ties to that institution.'Click To Tweet

[14:50] Looking for Other Alternatives

It turns out this student wanted to go to a school in California because of love. At the end of the day, when you are restricting yourself like that, it’s hard.

Getting into any medical school is hard enough. And getting into California medical schools is also hard because there are just so many many California residents who want to go to medical school.

But if that’s where life is leading you, you just have to make it work and have conversations. Be open and communicate this whole time.

Now, there are alternatives that won’t force you to change your residency. Look for some potential opportunities that will give you some flexibility that will allow you to see your significant other.

Maybe, you can be in California for a month. Then come back to Connecticut for a couple of weeks. Then go back out to California for a few weeks, and come back. That way, you’re still able to keep your in-state residency in a state where you’d be happy.


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