Our student today is wondering if she should move to Texas to increase her chances of getting into a state school, and lesson her tuition costs? Will it work?
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[01:36] OldPreMeds Question of the Week:
“I’m a Virginia resident with the average stats of around 3.7 and 511 MCAT. I started premed requirements two years after getting a degree in Economics after enjoying volunteering as an EMT. I plan on taking a gap year when I finish classes next Spring to ensure I’m fully prepared for the application process.
During this time, I plan on working as a scribe and/or doing research. Since I’ll be working for a year before applying, I began to consider establishing residency in a better state for medical school applicant. Texas, in particular, stands out to me due to their lower tuition and number of students with average stats that are admitted. My brother lives in Texas and I could stay with him while looking for work. But other than that, I have no ties to the region. I have visited Houston, Dallas, and Austin several times each, and could see myself living and practicing there. But it’s far from most of my family. I’d like to hear other people’s thoughts on this matter.
My concern would be that I move there, the admissions committees see that I don’t have ties to the state which raises a red flag and I don’t get in. But at the same time, I’ve heard from people applying to schools in my state, which makes me believe that I’d be just as much of a toss up if I don’t get in anywhere in state here. So I don’t know what to do. I’ll apply broadly to MD and DO, regardless, but I want to put myself in the best position for tuition and admittance purposes if I can.”
[03:15] The Risk of Moving
Moving to establish residency is a risk. You move and what if you have to move again if you don’t get in? That’s always the risk, but it’s not a huge risk. It just means you’re moving. It’s sometimes expensive and just a pain. But moving doesn’t guarantee admission. It’s something you have to be careful of. If you’re moving with the thought of going to get into a Texas school and because you’re only applying to Texas schools, then that’s where you risk everything. So you still need to apply broadly.
[04:00] The Risks of Moving to Texas
You have to understand the risks of moving to Texas. First, you lose your state residency for Virginia, which only have two medical schools. So just moving to Texas increases you chances, since there are 10 schools in Texas or maybe more at this point. Baylor University is outside of the TMDSAS, while there are about 9 public schools including DO schools as your options. Tuitions is lower. The application process is cheaper and it starts a little bit earlier. As long as you’re okay with the chances of moving to Texas and then getting in somewhere else outside of Texas and being okay with moving, then go for it.
[05:00] Not Having Ties
About not having ties, they don’t care as long as you’re a resident. If you’re a non-resident, then ties to the state matter. If your brother lives there, do you visit him? Do you have other family in the state? So those ties matter much more when you are a non-resident. But if you move there, you establish residency. Also, be careful with living at your brother’s house. Check with the state what their rules are. This means you have to check with each state to determine what the residency requirements are. You may need to pay for his cable or his electric or put one of those bills in your name to set up residency status and meet the residency requirements for that state. Every state is different with how that works.
It’s okay to call the schools and ask about residency status or look at the state website to look it up. But then again, if you’re a resident, they’re not going to ask you about your ties to the state.
[06:18] Call the Schools
I’m working with students who moved to Texas. One of them was from Kentucky and moved to Texas. Her boyfriend moved there so they wanted to go there. And she got into a Kentucky school. I have another student who is moving to Oregon. She called the school and they told her if she moved to the state before the application process, you’d have to establish residency at some point. So before you matriculate, you are considered an in-state applicant for the application cycle. She’s not even a resident before the application cycle and they’re going to consider her as an in-state applicant. Again, call the schools and check with the states and see what they say.
All this being said, there’s really no risk, other than you’re losing the residency of the state you’re moving from and you’re setting up in a new place. Don’t move during the application cycle otherwise this may raise a red flag. But moving a year before for a gap year is fine.
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