dakinibean

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... but not matching probably feels worse.

I have completed three interviews, and already found two programs I would be delighted to devote four years to. I would consider myself a strong applicant in terms of grades, scores, letters, and activities.

At one of the places I liked most, the PD and several members of the committee told me they were very enthusiastic about my application, and that I would be a great fit. I know that this isn't binding, but not being reassured by this feels a little neurotic.

I still have two more interviews at places I would be excited to attend. I've cancelled two already. What this leaves is

* 2 completed interviews at places I think are fantastic
* 2 pending interviews at places with promise
* 2 remaining interviews at places I don't expect will blow me away, but who knows?

Given that it costs about $300 - 400 per blind date, and that $800 could pay for a great vacation after graduation, is it dangerously bold to cancel my two so-so interviews, leaving me with a potential rank list of 3-4 places? I've met residents who matched at their 5th choice, but my credit card bill last month wasn't pretty, and I've already been a victim of delayed flights and airline whimsy.

Is it most sensible to start my psychiatry career assuming PDs and residents don't mean what they say?
 

colleezfascia

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... but not matching probably feels worse.

I have completed three interviews, and already found two programs I would be delighted to devote four years to. I would consider myself a strong applicant in terms of grades, scores, letters, and activities.

At one of the places I liked most, the PD and several members of the committee told me they were very enthusiastic about my application, and that I would be a great fit. I know that this isn't binding, but not being reassured by this feels a little neurotic.

I still have two more interviews at places I would be excited to attend. I've cancelled two already. What this leaves is

* 2 completed interviews at places I think are fantastic
* 2 pending interviews at places with promise
* 2 remaining interviews at places I don't expect will blow me away, but who knows?

Given that it costs about $300 - 400 per blind date, and that $800 could pay for a great vacation after graduation, is it dangerously bold to cancel my two so-so interviews, leaving me with a potential rank list of 3-4 places? I've met residents who matched at their 5th choice, but my credit card bill last month wasn't pretty, and I've already been a victim of delayed flights and airline whimsy.

Is it most sensible to start my psychiatry career assuming PDs and residents don't mean what they say?

More importantly, what is a good idea of a great vacation for 800? It's cold here and I wanna start thinking about the summer!
 
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happyshrink

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Please be careful to those who say they will rank you higher.

It is unethical and is in breech of contract.

If they are cheating Match process, they may cheat you too. Honesty is the bedrock of our porfession.

I went to a program that tp;d me I was superterrific candidate and I should come to their program. So I did. And it turned out to be worst decision of my whole life.
 

atsai3

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Is it most sensible to start my psychiatry career assuming PDs and residents don't mean what they say?

Hard to say. So far I haven't encountered any PDs or faculty who would deliberately mislead an applicant. If a PD tells you that they are enthusiastic about your application, s/he probably means it. The problem is that some programs often get more applicants than they can accommodate.

At our program, for example, 60-70% of the applicants we interview would probably be fine for our program. So when our PD tells all of those applicants "we feel like you would be a good fit for our program", our PD is not being disingenous. However, when it comes down to it, only perhaps 15-20% of those we interview can be 'ranked to match'.

-AT.
 

masterofmonkeys

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Please be careful to those who say they will rank you higher.

It is unethical and is in breech of contract.

If they are cheating Match process, they may cheat you too. Honesty is the bedrock of our porfession.

I went to a program that tp;d me I was superterrific candidate and I should come to their program. So I did. And it turned out to be worst decision of my whole life.

match violations only occur in situations of conditional ranking or coercion.

You are free to tell them you'll rank them number 1. They are free to tell you they will rank you in their sure-match spots. They cannot, however, tell you that they'll rank you high IF you rank them high.

The former is just being open. If they plan on ranking you number 1 regardless, does telling you REALLY change anything? If anything, it can hurt the program since, knowing they'll rank you high might lead you to think of them as a safety. It is a no-pressure statement. The match is in many ways about avoiding pressured decision-making. The latter, however, is a match violation. It puts pressure on you to change your ROL not based on an individual assessment of how well you fit into the program (which is the real ideal of the ROL), but rather to choose a sure thing over what might possibly be your dream program, a program you may very well have matched at if you'd ranked THEM number 1.

Hope that makes sense.
 

mathilda25

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Hard to say. So far I haven't encountered any PDs or faculty who would deliberately mislead an applicant. If a PD tells you that they are enthusiastic about your application, s/he probably means it. The problem is that some programs often get more applicants than they can accommodate.

At our program, for example, 60-70% of the applicants we interview would probably be fine for our program. So when our PD tells all of those applicants "we feel like you would be a good fit for our program", our PD is not being disingenous. However, when it comes down to it, only perhaps 15-20% of those we interview can be 'ranked to match'.

-AT.


So what do programs usually do when they like more candidates than can be highly ranked? Do they go back and compare grades/step1 scores or do they just decide who they really liked the best from the interview itself? Or maybe it varies by programs...
 

atsai3

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So what do programs usually do when they like more candidates than can be highly ranked? Do they go back and compare grades/step1 scores or do they just decide who they really liked the best from the interview itself? Or maybe it varies by programs...

Resident selection varies by program. At our program, all aspects of the application are considered: grades, scores, letters, interview, etc etc.

-AT.
 

wolfvgang22

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I'm just an applicant, and maybe these interviews are going to my head, but it seems to me that once you are invited for an interview, it's essentially a popularity contest at the end of the day - do you fit in to the programs culture? Are you as fun and intriguing in person as you are competent on paper? After all, if they absolutely had to have a Harvard grad with 24 first-author articles they wouldn't have invited me, would they? Worst case scenario is I'm Plan B, and odds are some great program is going to have to go with Plan B or even C or D. Odds are in our favor if you rank enough places is all I'm saying here, so no worries in psych. ;_
 

kstotes

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I agree with the popularity contest sentiment to some extent, place like Maryland who had 15 minute interviews x3 could not have solidified anything from that experience. I will say that I experienced the same disdain for having to question the merit of any compliment I was given. Bottom line is that PD's have to fill spots. So any vague thing they can tell you is fair game if it helps keep someone they like interested.

I remember receivind christmas cards and even a note saying "Look forward to working with you"... i was psyched (no pun intended)... that's a really solid statement of interest... then I found out every applicant got that. I did end up going to that program but another applicant I knew, got the same letter, same feeling that she was tops on their list, and she isn't here.

So to parlay, don't trust anything anyone tells you. I know people will say that PDs don't lie to applicants, etc etc. Fine, they are really interested. But don't let that lull you into a false sense of security. Yeah $800 for a vaca would be sweet... but when match comes, if you don't match and scramble to Oklahoma, that $800 is going to stare you in the face.

Call it a pessimistic view, but the match process is one of the works sociologic experiments in the world and if you don't cover all ends you could get left out. Thats just how I approach things, others may be more relaxed but the way I see it... approach it my way and worse case scenario you start residency without a tan... approach is liberally and you could be starting your career somewhere you don't want to be.
 

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...place like Maryland who had 15 minute interviews x3 could not have solidified anything from that experience...

Is that the Maryland-Sheppard Pratt program?

If so, does the *applicant* even have a good chance to get a feel for the program on interview day?
 

Still Kickin

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If a PD tells you that they are enthusiastic about your application, s/he probably means it. The problem is that some programs often get more applicants than they can accommodate.

At our program, for example, 60-70% of the applicants we interview would probably be fine for our program. So when our PD tells all of those applicants "we feel like you would be a good fit for our program", our PD is not being disingenous. However, when it comes down to it, only perhaps 15-20% of those we interview can be 'ranked to match'.

To the OP: Personally I "second" atsai's opinion. Even if they can very honestly say you are a great applicant and would be a great fit, it doesn't necessarily mean they will have space for you at the end of the day.

But only you can know what's best for you. Personally, I'd rather play it safe and have more (vs. fewer) programs to put on my list. But if you have awesome stats and feel really confident about your app, maybe you don't need to have that "security blanket".

(I know there's some stat floating around out there that people who rank ?7? or more programs are much more likely to match... Does anyone know that stat? [Is the "magic number" actually 7?] And is this a stat for all residency applicants in all specialties? [If so, the "magic number" might be different for psych?])

Also, OP, I can totally relate to the financial situation. Mine is about the same, and I have often found myself debating things like "Do I *really* need this overpriced $60 textbook?" But I usually figure when you compare it to the OVERALL expense of med school, it's "just a drop in the bucket". I don't know what your tuition runs, but in my situtation I would think to myself: Well, I've already owe around $250K in student loans, and I've spent even more than that when you factor in the cost of licensing exams and even the pre-med/applying to med school expenses, I would hate to possibly "throw it all away" at this point over $800. (I mean, I'm in debt up to my eyeballs & am going to be paying this off for decades anyway. Another $800 on my credit card or whatever is not going to significantly affect the "big picture" in the long run. But not matching might...)

OK, just my 2-cents. (I hope you can find a way to go on interviews AND have your vacation, too. You deserve it after all the hard work you've done over the past 3.5 [and more!] years.)
 
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espaceLumiere

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I'm in the same situation, I already have a bunch of places I like and the motivation for interviewing is gone. But I'm still going to go on ahead and interview at 10-11 places. Better to leisurely get a spot and pay than to scramble for free. I want to party on match day with my class.

I'm just being really picky now with the final interviews.

So far, I've had a interviewer subtly hint that he liked me by saying this like, "Next year when you're here you'll..." Or at one program I had all 3 interviewers say that they hope I rank them highly. I had the PD of another program say the same thing to me.

It doesn't bother me because what matters is match day. I guess that's because I have 4 programs that I really like and I don't really know how to rank them. Right now there is no one Jesus program that I must go to.
 

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ive also encountered the opposite problem. what do you do when you get the sense that they just dont like you? one of my interviews was at a strong community program, within the tri-state area of where i grew up. i was truly excited to check it out and i thought i conveyed it well. but i got asked, repeatedly, why i wanted to go there, how would i handle living in that state, would my fiance like living in that state, etc. now i know these are all reasonable questions, but how many times does a single person have to ask you them? this is all we talked about during my 30 minute interview. i ran out of things to say. :oops: and it happened again with my next interviewer. what gives. if i wasnt interested i wouldnt have shown up to the interview.
 

masterofmonkeys

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Yeah $800 for a vaca would be sweet... but when match comes, if you don't match and scramble to Oklahoma, that $800 is going to stare you in the face.

As I mentioned before, I would be very surprised if Oklahoma scrambles this year. 12 people from this class going into psychiatry. The majority planning on ranking it number 1. And the majority being in the top half to top quarter of the class as well as high step scores. For 4 spots. In fact, I don't know the last time they scrambled, but it was a while back.

You do the math.
 

YOOOUK09

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match violations only occur in situations of conditional ranking or coercion.

You are free to tell them you'll rank them number 1. They are free to tell you they will rank you in their sure-match spots. They cannot, however, tell you that they'll rank you high IF you rank them high.

The former is just being open. If they plan on ranking you number 1 regardless, does telling you REALLY change anything? If anything, it can hurt the program since, knowing they'll rank you high might lead you to think of them as a safety. It is a no-pressure statement. The match is in many ways about avoiding pressured decision-making. The latter, however, is a match violation. It puts pressure on you to change your ROL not based on an individual assessment of how well you fit into the program (which is the real ideal of the ROL), but rather to choose a sure thing over what might possibly be your dream program, a program you may very well have matched at if you'd ranked THEM number 1.

Hope that makes sense.

I like this way of thinking of things. In another post I mention how I interviewed at my #1 or #2, not a "big name" program, and they showed me no love, while "big name" programs are telling me all sorts of nice things. Maybe that smaller school I really like is just playing hard-to-get. . . . . . just like the perpetually happy brunette recreational therapist!
 

masterofmonkeys

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ive also encountered the opposite problem. what do you do when you get the sense that they just dont like you? one of my interviews was at a strong community program, within the tri-state area of where i grew up. i was truly excited to check it out and i thought i conveyed it well. but i got asked, repeatedly, why i wanted to go there, how would i handle living in that state, would my fiance like living in that state, etc. now i know these are all reasonable questions, but how many times does a single person have to ask you them? this is all we talked about during my 30 minute interview. i ran out of things to say. :oops: and it happened again with my next interviewer. what gives. if i wasnt interested i wouldnt have shown up to the interview.

I have been asked that question at most of my interviews. I had the same reaction. It was hard to bite off a reply along the lines of "You know what? I actually DON'T plan on ocming to the northeast, that's why I have spent several thousand dollars interviewing mostly at programs in this area!"
 

masterofmonkeys

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Hard to say. So far I haven't encountered any PDs or faculty who would deliberately mislead an applicant. If a PD tells you that they are enthusiastic about your application, s/he probably means it. The problem is that some programs often get more applicants than they can accommodate.

At our program, for example, 60-70% of the applicants we interview would probably be fine for our program. So when our PD tells all of those applicants "we feel like you would be a good fit for our program", our PD is not being disingenous. However, when it comes down to it, only perhaps 15-20% of those we interview can be 'ranked to match'.

-AT.

This is why I'm wary of noncommital praise from programs.
 

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I remember receivind christmas cards and even a note saying "Look forward to working with you"... i was psyched (no pun intended)... that's a really solid statement of interest... then I found out every applicant got that. I did end up going to that program but another applicant I knew, got the same letter, same feeling that she was tops on their list, and she isn't here.

You actually were tempted to believe something you read on a Christmas card? From someone you barely knew? Hmmm.
 

chameleonknight

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http://www.nrmp.org/data/chartingoutcomes2007.pdf

Naturally, there are different ways to interpret this data. Monkey brings up an interesting situation with Oklahoma. What are the odds of an AOA Harvard grad with 270 on Step 1 matching at OU this year? Probably very low to zero.

For US grads, even the people suicide matching are 35 to 7 for. Once you rank 5 programs, it's 53 to 2. Greater than 7 programs, only 1 person had to scramble; my gut tells me that was not a strong applicant or someone with personality issues or only ranked the 'elite' and had some bad luck. It is by far the exception and not the rule.

If you scroll down and stratify results by Step scores it becomes even more encouraging. :) Relax guys, this isn't derm. Be informed about your rank list and things will be fine.
 

gman33

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I'd go on the interviews unless you'd rather scramble then go to those programs. Based on the match data, if you have above average stats you will probably match if you rank 4 programs. I just wouldn't want to be one of the 1 or 2 guys who don't.
The $800 is nothing compared to being stuck somewhere you don't want to be for the next 4 years. Maybe I'd be more confident if one of the programs was my home program and I knew the people etc. At least than you might be in a better position to judge what they are telling you.

I worked for 10 years before going back to school. It's pretty hard to judge whether or not you will get any individual job. I was on both ends of the interview process. I'd say it's best to just give yourself as many options as possible.
 

masterofmonkeys

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granted I have gone on more interviews than 99% of psych applicants already with at least 4 more remaining, but I am only ranking programs I would be moderately happy at. Some of the programs I will probably not rank are great programs, just not for me.

I'd rather sit out a year than end up at a place that wasn't right for me personally or professionally.
 

zoomyzoomy

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My concern is the opposite, I have had 4 of 11 scheduled interviews now and I have thought they went fairly well. No "ideal fit" yet, but I have liked them. I have gotten good comments from interviewers such as "you will be able to go to whatever program you want", "you would be a good fit here", "you have fantastic letters of recommendation", however after the fact I have only had one PD get in touch with me, and it was only in response to my thank you e-mail. Other than that, nothing. I am in a good U.S. Med school, good grades, never been asked to defend anything in my app but board scores are average. Should I be concerned over the lack of communication?
Could it be that in asking honest questions about the program, I convey not being interested? Please advise, as you can tell I am getting anxious!
 

tomato

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I would try not to sweat it too much this early in the interview season. If interviewers are offering unsolicited comments on your application then you are probably in good shape, and can consider it a positive sign. As January and February roll around, my recollection is that programs and applicants begin to "flirt" with each other more seriously. At that point in time you can make your interest known to your top programs and see what/if they say anything back.

Good luck with the rest of your interviews!
 

strangeglove

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I'd rather sit out a year than end up at a place that wasn't right for me personally or professionally.

I'm assuming this means that you would prefer to skip the match if you don't get an interview where your preferences would allow. I would caution against this approach, as taking a year off will not necessarily increase the likelihood that you will receive interviews at places that didn't offer you one this year, unless you do something really great during that year. Even then, you may face the same situation again, and then what will you do?
 

masterofmonkeys

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oh no, I've gotten plenty of interviews at places I wanted to interview at. (not ALL *cough* columbia and MGH *cough*, but most).

I mean that of the programs I interview at I will only rank programs I would be a good fit at. i.e. number of interviews will not match number of ranked programs for me.
 
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