Moving for in-state residency before applying and comparing opportunity costs

Hey! I’ve been thinking about moving to another state a year+ in advance of applying to med school in order to establish in-state residency and increase my chances of getting accepted. What are your thoughts? What factors should I weigh when making this kind of decision?

Those are the broadly applicable questions, but I have some specifics that are making my personal decisions tougher. I’m 32 years old and currently finishing the second semester of my DIY post-bacc. I had a previous BA in the humanities and worked on the administrative side of healthcare before deciding I wanted to pursue med school myself. I moved to a southern state with a partner, who’s now a second year med student, and since we were planning to be here for four years, I bought a condo and established my residency in this state. I have in-state tuition for the school where I’m taking my pre-reqs and my living expenses are very low.

BUT my partner and I broke up. Now I’m pretty miserable in this southern city and have virtually no local support within a day’s drive. I have no interest in staying in this state or attending the in-state med schools here. If money wasn’t an issue, I’d move either to LA, where I have a number of close friends and a ton of acquaintances, or to somewhere in NY state, where I have both friends and family. Obviously, though, money is a factor! Moving to another state is expensive and the cost of living will be higher, especially in LA. I’ve considered selling my condo, but since I haven’t lived here for two years yet, I’d owe a lot in taxes (to the tune of a year’s worth of tuition!!); if I kept it and rented it out, my property taxes would go up substantially and the rental income wouldn’t cover my rent in a lot of other cities.

For my circumstances, it kind of comes down to whether a year of improved mental health, social support, and increased chances of getting into my dream school are worth somewhere around $40-55,000. My pre-health advisor recommends doing the whole process (pre-reqs and med school itself) as cheaply as possible. People I know who are in med school say it’s probably worth being out that much money to attend a better school in a city that’s a good cultural fit for me, where I’d have a lot of local support. How should I weigh these substantial opportunity costs?

Thanks for any insight you can offer!

This is a fairly complicated question, given your situation in regard to owning a condominium in the state you want to leave and the financial implications of not being able to sell it. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this but California is the most competitive state to be a resident of when it comes to medical school admissions. I have no idea what your credentials/stats are but you should be aware of this (if you aren’t already). New York is more favorable/less competitive. So if you have support systems in both places, from a medical school admission standpoint New York is better/easier.

I hope this helps!