How a food blog paid for medical school tuition


Three years ago I left my medical school interviews thinking I was not going to be accepted.

“You seem like a businesswoman. Why do you want to be a doctor?” I was asked. I had spent my undergraduate years devoted to building an online food blog with over 200,000 views a month and created a company of organic, local concession food for the largest football stadium in the South. I had done it all in the name of health and with the dream to become a doctor one day. Little did I know these endeavors would later pay for the majority of my tuition.

Once I started to gain a following of readers, I wanted to create an income stream that would continue to bring in revenue even when I was not actively working on it. I did this through an ad network, an eBook, and working with brands like Blendtec and Amazon. The ad network required a minimum of 100,000 views and a thorough application process to see if I was a fit with their company. For the eBook, I wrote a short meal plan and video series for meal prep and sold this for $12 on my site. I also promoted products in exchange for set fees per blog post. Some products could be incorporated into a new recipe, and others were general pantry items or appliances I used often.

It was important for me to set my site up to be “timeless” in a sense, so that a post from years ago could still be relevant and useful. My topic itself, Recipes, are timeless, unlike many health sites which talk about the most up to date research or trends. I have had old recipes resurface three years later and bring in thousands of new page views.

I did get accepted into medical school after those non-reassuring interviews, and I have found there are three main ways people pay for medical school tuition. One group takes loans for all their expenses, a second group has a parent or grandparent that is willing to help them, and a third group saved a substantial amount of money beforehand. This is a generalization, and I do believe most people fall into more than one category. But what we all have in common is the need to come up with between $35,000 to $80,000 a year to attend our institutions.

Medical school debt can be one more stressor to a very stressful training process. Even after four years of medical school, students are looking at 4 to 10 more years of training without a true “doctor’s” salary. If I could give pre-med students advice, I would suggest taking the time to realize the financial commitment medical school is. Be creative with how you approach it, and remember your schooling is an investment that will surely pay off.

Monica Bravo is a medical student who blogs at Bravo For Paleo.

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