Medical School Housing and Accomodation

August 17

Table of Contents

Finding quality medical school housing is a crucial component of a successful medical school experience for students. Without any added stressors, the four years of medical school are already demanding and challenging enough. A medical student should therefore have a cozy, handy place to call home throughout this time.

To aid their new medical students, many medical schools provide choices for cheap accommodation. This article outlines the various housing options available to medical school students and shows you how to pick the best option.

What are the Types of Medical School Housing and Accommodation?

Most students will graduate from medical school with substantial debt because of the high tuition costs. Their top aim is to find affordable medical school housing that meets their demands to keep the rest of their expenses as low as feasible. 

We have provided a rundown of the various possibilities for medical students to choose from when it comes to living at the medical school below.

Keep in mind that not all schools provide these choices. To learn more about the types of housing that medical schools offer, visit their housing or accommodations page on their websites.

1. Housing Owned by the University

Although many medical schools provide university-owned housing alternatives for their students, each has different rental prices, housing supply, and locations.

Medical school students in large cities have access to many university-owned housing alternatives. This is primarily due to the high expense of living in cities and the challenges students frequently face in obtaining suitable homes near their campuses.

The two types of housing owned by universities are:


For the purpose of housing students, dorms are structures with single or shared rooms. 

Dorm rooms often come with a shared bathroom and are compact and sparsely furnished. Although the amenities vary, most dorms have a kitchenette and some canteen.

This comes to mind when considering conventional student living, particularly at the undergraduate level. 

However, students in professional or postgraduate programs frequently do not want to live in dorms. This is likely why just a few medical schools provide dormitories for their medical students.

Although some medical schools also feature off-campus residences, dorms are often found on campus. 

The medical schools that do feature on-campus housing typically only allow first- and second-year student medical students access to the rooms, with a preference for the former group.

After their second year, students may even be requested to vacate their dorm room to make room for the incoming class. 

Students must be on campus daily during the first two years of medical school, which generally involve on-campus lectures and lab work.

While medical students in their junior and senior years spend most of their time on clinical rotations, which typically require them to go outside of campus to hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. 

Schools want to give the students who need them more access to the few available dorm rooms.


University-owned homes and apartment complexes surrounding the campus are only available to students. This comprises family-sized housing for students with dependents and studio apartments, communal apartments, lofts, and tiny houses.

The only significant difference between living in this accommodation and owning a home is that your "landlord" is the institution. 

Many colleges provide their students with rent assistance that is significantly less expensive than what they might spend if they rent a privately owned apartment in the same neighborhood.

For instance, numerous highly subsidized flats are offered to medical students by New York City's medical schools, such as the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. 

Since the rent for nearby privately owned residences in New York City is so high, most medical students would be unable to afford it, so this is more out of necessity than kindness.

Due to the severe real estate shortage in large cities like New York, universities frequently have to search far and wide for apartment complexes to rent. 

Therefore, there is no assurance that you will receive on-campus or even close-to-campus housing if you choose university housing. This implies that you need to budget extra for everyday transportation costs.

2. Private Housing 

Many medical students opted to live off-campus in residence halls. They made arrangements for their own homes off campus. There are several potential causes for this.

For instance, nearby students might already be settled in their living circumstances. 

Students with families might not want to move because it might end their family members' lives. In contrast, if medical schools provide housing choices, students are allowed to look for private lodging.

Most medical students choose basic living arrangements like studio apartments or compact one-bedroom apartments to conserve money while attending medical school. Rent can be reduced by living in an apartment with roommates if you want to cut costs.

In fact, with careful planning, this alternative might become less expensive than government-subsidized university accommodation, particularly in small towns or rural places where local rentals are less expensive.

For medical students looking for accommodation, various online services are available, such as rental or real estate websites and forums. Use these resources to streamline your search if you are looking for private housing close to your medical school.

Students frequently use these portals, particularly in their third and fourth years when they may require several short-term rentals close to where they would be doing their clinical rotations.  

Choosing the Right Housing and Accommodation: Factors to Consider

So how do you choose the ideal housing for medical school? The first step is to look into all the accommodation alternatives your medical school offers online.

Once you are aware of your possibilities, think about the following:

1. Size and Type

Your specific needs regarding the style and size of housing you wish to live in, and any non-negotiable living conditions should come first while looking for accommodation.

For instance, mature students who have lived independently for some time could find it extremely difficult to adjust to living in a small dorm room with a roommate! 

On the other hand, students with families and children would require a residence that can accommodate their family members and is handy in terms of schools, daycare facilities, their partner's commute to work, etc.

Or you are an out-of-state student looking to meet people and create a network of peers for support, in which case you genuinely enjoy having roommates. Decide what you need, then rule out any solutions that don't fit your needs. 

Even if it is true that medical students cannot afford to live a life of luxury, it is still crucial to be aware of your own requirements and make decisions that will promote your long-term health and happiness.

2. Distance From Your Campus

It would help if you also considered how crucial it is for you to live in or close to school. There are a few considerations in this situation. 

First, remember that for the first two years of medical school, when you must spend most of your time on campus, on-campus accommodation or an apartment close to the school would be the convenient alternative.

You will not have much free time with the demanding class schedule, your own self-study schedule, extracurricular activities, community service initiatives, and all the other med school duties. Students on campus undoubtedly value not losing time on arduous daily commutes.

Furthermore, transportation is expensive. Whether you drive yourself or take public transit, you must factor in the expense of everyday transportation when creating your medical school budget.

3. Cost

Medical students, who already have to pay astronomical tuition, would look for affordable lodging that would enable them to save money while attending medical school. 

Before making your final choice, consider your personal budget and contrast it with the rent you would have to pay for the various medical school housing possibilities.

Remember that most private and federal student loans for medical school provide money to pay for tuition, school fees, and living expenses like rent. 

You may have little left to pay rent after subtracting the cost of your loan, the amount of tuition you are paying, and the cost of living in the area where you attend school. At most, you will be able to afford a modest apartment.

That's okay; medical school is a time for learning and preparing for the future; making a few sacrifices now can help you achieve success and happiness in the future.

4. Scholarship Grants

Many scholarships and grants for medical school include a stipend for rent and paying for medical school expenses. 

The most sought-after and difficult-to-get scholarships are "full-ride" ones, many of which are particular to one medical school, state, or area.

For instance, the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine provides the "Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program," which pays tuition and offers a USD 2000 monthly stipend. The David Geffen UCLA School of Medicine, Emory School of Medicine, and Perelman School of Medicine offer numerous full-ride scholarships.

Remember that many of these scholarships have specified requirements for candidates, including residency status, socioeconomic or cultural background, gender, prospective medical specializations, and devotion to volunteerism or a particular cause. 

Before applying, be sure to check your eligibility and the application requirements.

Should I Live Alone While in Medical School?

This is undoubtedly a personal choice. Nevertheless, it might be a fantastic option if you have the money and genuinely value your privacy.

In medical school, you will already spend a lot of time with other students. So perhaps having a safe haven to return to every so often is a good idea.

Furthermore, you also have to consider other factors, such as:

  • Are you self-sufficient and accustomed to living alone?
  • Are you in a relationship and desire frequent visits from your partner?
  • Do you typically not feel lonely or require company after a difficult day?

Living alone might be best if your answer to most of these is no. 

The year you are in medical school is the final factor to consider. In the US, M2s (second years) will be preparing for the USMLE Step 1 exam

Do you want to share a home with someone else just before such a significant event?

Overall, living alone while in medical school is entirely up to you. But before you decide, you have to consider a lot of factors. Think it through, as attending medical school is already a challenging experience.

Additional FAQs – Medical School Housing and Accommodation

Do You Live in Dorms During Medical School?

Dorms are typical at medical schools. They can be single, shared, or occasionally even family-sized and are a more affordable form of lodging. They are widespread in large cities and other areas with high expenses for private housing.

However, dorms are not available for all students, so be sure to check in advance.

How Do You Pay to Live While in Medical School?

Medical students might pay rent through loans, employment, or family or spousal support. 

Usually, rent is paid monthly, and rental agreements might last for the entire time or only one year of study.

Where Should I Live as a Medical Student?

Before deciding where to reside during your medical school years, learn more about the housing alternatives offered by your medical school.

Next, decide if you want to live on campus, what size and style of housing you're comfortable with, and the upper limit of your rent budget. 

Determine which housing option is ideal for you based on these considerations: private apartments, university-owned apartments, or dorm rooms.

You're no longer alone on your journey to becoming a physician

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