smokie

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Hey everyone,
I'm currently a MS3 and I'm pretty sure I'd like to pursue a career in psychiatry. My stats are pretty average (step 1 - 210, so far B's in surgery and medicine, pretty unknown US med school). I was wondering what sort of opportunities are out there that I might partake in to show programs that I'm serious about my interest in psychiatry.

I know research is definitely a big one, but I don't know if I have time, given that I'm in third year. I've heard of some people doing case reviews (?) but I'm not really sure what those are or how to go about pursuing those.

Any ideas or input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

masterofmonkeys

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Hey everyone,
I'm currently a MS3 and I'm pretty sure I'd like to pursue a career in psychiatry. My stats are pretty average (step 1 - 210, so far B's in surgery and medicine, pretty unknown US med school). I was wondering what sort of opportunities are out there that I might partake in to show programs that I'm serious about my interest in psychiatry.

I know research is definitely a big one, but I don't know if I have time, given that I'm in third year. I've heard of some people doing case reviews (?) but I'm not really sure what those are or how to go about pursuing those.

Any ideas or input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

find out who's researching what in your school. Get started talking to faculty early. I had three strong letters when I applied. One stemming from a 3+ year long history since I came into med school knowing I wanted psych. This was mentioned at every interview I've been to so far.

There is almost always someone doing something with too much data on their hands. If not, find a topic you want to write a review article on. Even better if its something you plan on researching in your future career. That's what I did.

Also find out about opportunities to work as a mental health worker or something ike that in the community.
 

atsai3

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Hey everyone,
I'm currently a MS3 and I'm pretty sure I'd like to pursue a career in psychiatry. My stats are pretty average (step 1 - 210, so far B's in surgery and medicine, pretty unknown US med school). I was wondering what sort of opportunities are out there that I might partake in to show programs that I'm serious about my interest in psychiatry.

I know research is definitely a big one, but I don't know if I have time, given that I'm in third year. I've heard of some people doing case reviews (?) but I'm not really sure what those are or how to go about pursuing those.

Any ideas or input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Marginal board scores are not the kiss of death. That being said, it's difficult to substantially alter your trajectory late in your third year unless you are actually willing to take some time off. 'Research' is commonly mentioned as an application-booster, but simply being able to fill out an extra line in the CAF (or even list a 'poster presentation' at some random conference) actually doesn't net you any bonus points in the application process. Good grades and board scores help. Strong letters help. Evidence of deep and abiding interest in any niche (be it research or some type of leadership activity like AGLP) helps. In the end, it's really all about the package.

Cheers
-AT.
 
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Writing for publication doesn't necessarily mean research. You mentioned case reports/series - a good place to start writing. If you saw any novel cases on medicine/surgery with psychiatric overlay they can always be written up with the assistance of an attending/resident. It's frequently astonishing what hasn't been written about yet.
 

YOOOUK09

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As a current applicant, with very high scores (much higher than 210 on both step 1 and 2), demonstrated interest in psych, Honors in psych, OB/GYN, Medicine, some research, two medical school awards, I did not get interviews at Columbia, NYU, MGH, Stanford, or UCSF.

However, I did get interviews everywhere else I applied, and I think I'll match someplace great and be happy there. I might even be happier at some place other than those schools above (I probably wouldn't have ranked any of them besides maybe MGH anyway). Honestly, even if you want to go into academics you don't need to go to one of these schools. There are TONS of great spots to go around.

I have a feeling that these "elite" schools where I didn't get interviewed might have interviewed me if I had done a full research year and gotten some pubs, OR an away there, or gone to BMS or something like that. Unfortunately, I've only gone to some other "top 40 NIH funded" med school.

So I guess the point of my post is that if you definitely want to go to MGH, then you might need to do a research year AND an away there or something like that. But if you think you'll be happy at a Yale or a Duke or a Longwood or an Emory just keeping doing the best you can and you'll be fine.

I might think about taking Step 2 earlier enough to improve your 210, but most places don't care too much.

Get good letters - esp if faculty have a connection with one of those fancy schools you might want to go to.

If you were just going to do one thing, I think that writing a good personal statement is high yield. (every interviewer I've had has commented on mine).
 

smokie

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Thanks everyone for the quick responses! It's nice to get a wide variety of opinions from different people. Gets the gears in my own head turning.
 

masterofmonkeys

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As a current applicant, with very high scores (much higher than 210 on both step 1 and 2), demonstrated interest in psych, Honors in psych, OB/GYN, Medicine, some research, two medical school awards, I did not get interviews at Columbia, NYU, MGH, Stanford, or UCSF.

Columbia won't let us know till 11/21 apparently. I just got an MGH rejection though. Otherwise, I'm pretty much where you're at.

I have a feeling that these "elite" schools where I didn't get interviewed might have interviewed me if I had done a full research year and gotten some pubs, OR an away there, or gone to BMS or something like that. Unfortunately, I've only gone to some other "top 40 NIH funded" med school.

I didn't even go to a top 40 NIH school. That no doubt is part of the problem, never mind the graduate degree and undergrad from elite institutions...

So I guess the point of my post is that if you definitely want to go to MGH, then you might need to do a research year AND an away there or something like that. But if you think you'll be happy at a Yale or a Duke or a Longwood or an Emory just keeping doing the best you can and you'll be fine.

I might think about taking Step 2 earlier enough to improve your 210, but most places don't care too much.

Get good letters - esp if faculty have a connection with one of those fancy schools you might want to go to.

If you were just going to do one thing, I think that writing a good personal statement is high yield. (every interviewer I've had has commented on mine).

Concur with everything else. Based on my own experience here are the things that most often have come up in my interviews this year (7 so far):

1. Personal statement
2. Strong letters
3. Research.

Best of luck. Don't get all freaked out at the disillusioned tone we've taken. Elitism exists, has always existed, and will always existed, nothing you can do about it. But at the same time, merit for its own sake is still highly valued. And that's the rule, not the exception. Prove that you're a solid student. Show that you're dedicated to psychiatry. Demonstrate that you're a hard worker. You don't need to be the next Aaron Beck to get into an excellent psychiatry program.
 
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