Budgeting to Live in Chicago

I know budgeting is a big factor for the MD3s, MD4s, and the upcoming MD5s. By now MD5s are probably settled, but I hope any advise I give will be helpful. Now the reason students from SJSM needs to settle in Chicago is because they need to complete 8-weeks of USMLE review and 8-weeks of introduction to clinical medicine. So those 16 weeks will be subtracted from the 96-weeks of rotations SJSM requires students to complete in order to finish the MD program.

Keep in mind, living in Chicago is expensive but if you spend smart then you will save a lot of money. The following is an idea of how much you should spend per month if you live in Chicago.

Rent, Utilities -> $600 (You will get that price if you live near Hyde Park)
Public Transportation -> $86 for Unlimited Rides for 30 days
Food -> $150

Now if you drive in Chicago then transportation will be a bit more expensive because Chicago is one of the cities with the highest gas prices in America. By this summer gas prices will reach $5.00/gallon for regular gas in Chicago. Also, most SJSM students live near Hyde Park, which is where President Obama’s house is located. Hyde Park is where a lot of students from University of Chicago stay. There is also the medical library which is free to access for SJSM students as long as they show their hospital ID. Most SJSM students study in the library because it’s clean, resourceful, quiet, and it’s free to all medical students.

Also, please include the AICM requirements of paying $180 for 3 months of a Qbank. Most students signed up for 6 months to a year because they refused to do the Qbank questions during rotations because they don’t get enough time to rest and study. Also include the $50 per NBME exam which must be taken at the beginning of AICM and at the end of AICM to measure your improvement. The NBME exams will not count for the certification to take USMLE Step 1 that SJSM requires which a score of 650 or above. A third NBME exam with a 650 or above is required by SJSM along with 75% or above in ExamMaster final. Keep in mind the ExamMaster exam is included in the tuition but not the NBME exam. So basically you will be spending $150 for the NBME exams.

So for food, living, and traveling with public transportation, a monthly expense will come out to $836; now multiply that by 4, the total comes out to be $3,344. In the 4 months of AICM also add $330 on top of the total; it comes out to be $3,674.

I know it’s a lot but if you gain a lot of connections in Chicago, your spending could be lower; good luck.

4 thoughts on “Budgeting to Live in Chicago”

  1. Is a $600 apartment nice?? Also, how I'm assuming the $150 for food is if you ate at home everyday, right?
    Also, your blog is really useful for us students. It's great that you publish all your advice and recommendations!!

  2. Yes, the $600 apartments are nice…it has like 3 bathrooms and 5 bedrooms..they have so much room. Yes $150 is for one person and it's more than enough food if one eats at home.

    And I hope this blogs helps you guys out even more when you guys are in clinical clerkships.

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