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I am a MS3 osteopathic student looking into psych residencies. I was looking for a little insight on how possible/probable it would be for me to match osteopathic/allopathic. I am currently an average student who failed his comlex step 1 once and passed the second time with an below average score. Is it still possible for me to match into psych?
 

atsai3

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Yes, you can still match into psych. The more selective programs will probably pass on offering you an interview, but that's okay. You'll still be a psychiatrist in the end.

-AT.
 

peppy

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My opinion is that psych has become a bit more competitive over the last couple of years but if you apply broadly and rank a lot of places I doubt you will have a problem.

A good rule of thumb to judge the competitiveness of a program is to try to go to the residency's website and look for a list of their current residents and the schools the residents came from. You may want to target residencies that take a lot of people from Carribean schools or foreign schools. Those programs will be more likely to look favorably on you for being an American med school graduate without regard for your scores. On the other hand, programs that already fill with American grads or that are in highly desired locations (like San Francisco, NYC, Boston, etc.) may have the view they can afford to be picky and may not be as willing to consider you. It can't hurt to apply to those places too, but jsut make sure you have enough interviews at "safety residencies" too.
 
Apr 11, 2010
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I am a MS3 osteopathic student looking into psych residencies. I was looking for a little insight on how possible/probable it would be for me to match osteopathic/allopathic psych. I am currently an average student who failed his comlex step 1 once and passed the second time with an below average score. Is it still possible for me to match into psych?
 
Apr 26, 2009
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I've heard all you need is a pulse to match into Psych. So you should be fine.
 

peppy

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I've heard all you need is a pulse to match into Psych. So you should be fine.
It used to be easier than it is nowadays. Now that there are more graduating med students, getting a residency spot isn't as easy as it used to be. So even though Psych has a reputation of being an easier match, I would definitely recommend people who have any blemishes on their records should apply to a broad range of programs.
 

smq123

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Moving to Psych forum.

(And best of luck, OP. :xf:)
 

carlosc1dbz

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Moving to Psych forum.

(And best of luck, OP. :xf:)
So a pulse huh? lol Thats kind of funny. I want to go into psych. What kind of scores for STEP 1 do you need for matching into a very competitive residency? 220? 230? Also what makes a residency program more competitive and does that mean a better education right off the bat?
 

carlosc1dbz

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It used to be easier than it is nowadays. Now that there are more graduating med students, getting a residency spot isn't as easy as it used to be. So even though Psych has a reputation of being an easier match, I would definitely recommend people who have any blemishes on their records should apply to a broad range of programs.
I hear this for every specialty, "It used to be easier but now its more competitive." Does anyone have any insight into this claim that everyone seems to be making for every specialty?
 

smq123

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I hear this for every specialty, "It used to be easier but now its more competitive." Does anyone have any insight into this claim that everyone seems to be making for every specialty?
The number of people graduating med school each year went up....

but the number of residency openings did not.

That's why it's more competitive. That and the average Step 1 score keeps climbing each year.
 

atsai3

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So a pulse huh? lol Thats kind of funny. I want to go into psych. What kind of scores for STEP 1 do you need for matching into a very competitive residency? 220? 230? Also what makes a residency program more competitive and does that mean a better education right off the bat?
The more selective residency programs are generally located in big cities (Boston, SF, LA, NYC) and attached to traditionally prestigious institutions (Harvard, Columbia, etc). Keep in mind that selectivity (percentage of applicants granted interviews, percentage of interviewees ultimately ranked) also is just a mathematical construct based on the number of applications received rather than any objective standard of quality. The range of Step 1 scores at these programs varies. At my program, there is no single objective measure or cutoff that guarantees an interview or successful match. Much as we dislike subjectivity that has a lot to do with selection and ranking. At my program, we have many residents who scored in the 260s, but there are also some residents who scored <200. Each year there are several candidates who are given the worst possible ranking by our selection committee yet they end up matching at MGH & Columbia. And it may very well be the same with people who match at our program (ie, that they received low rankings by the selection committees at MGH & Columbia).

-AT.
 

igottaquestion

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it seems that psych residencies tend to take a holistic approach in evaluating applicants. so how "good" would a really high Step 1 score be for psych (especially at the more competitive programs)? is anything over, say, 240 considered the same, or does a higher score give one a better chance at an interview?
 

masterofmonkeys

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it seems that psych residencies tend to take a holistic approach in evaluating applicants. so how "good" would a really high Step 1 score be for psych (especially at the more competitive programs)? is anything over, say, 240 considered the same, or does a higher score give one a better chance at an interview?
I'd advise all of you to look at the data the NRMP puts out, namely Charting Outcomes. As a side note, I think they're the only organization requiring mandatory participation in their service that is not out to screw us, unlike the USMLE peeps.

Just don't get too uppity about your chances. I had a 241/257, master's degree in human evolution, multiple pubs, stellar letters, middle-of-road med school, but ended up matching at my 4th. Which admittedly is still a very competitive one.
 

notdeadyet

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I'd advise all of you to look at the data the NRMP puts out, namely Charting Outcomes. As a side note, I think they're the only organization requiring mandatory participation in their service that is not out to screw us, unlike the USMLE peeps.
The "How competitive is Psych?" question usually gets responses from two camps:

"It's one of the least competitive specialties out there..."
OR
"Don't kid yourself. It's not like the old days. It's getting more competitive every year."

Both are right. Like masterofmonkeys suggests, read Charting Outcomes. Psych's average Step 1 was 210 for graduating U.S. seniors in 2007's match. It was 218 in 2009. That's a big jump.

Of couse, pretty much every specialty jumped. Family went from 211 to 214. Like smq123 mentioned, the number of med school seats went up without more residency slots opening up.

So yes, Psych is getting more competitive. As is every specialty. The top programs are going to get increasingly competitive even for very promising u.s. allopathic grads. Folks with less polished records are going to have to apply more widely.

But Psych is still one of the least competitive specialties. When folks say "Matching into Psych is hard..." what they really mean is "Matching is hard..." Psych's still much easier to match in than almost any specialty.

Best advice is to apply broadly. As Charting Outcomes highlights, every U.S. senior who ranked 11 or more programs matched (with the exception of one poor soul who was in the top category of ranking 16 or more programs and still didn't match). If you are coming from the osteopathic side of the house or internationally, applying broadly is especially wise.
 

igottaquestion

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thanks. any more thoughts on a linear vs. threshold advantage to higher board scores?
 

babel

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Okay, I can't figure out how to paste it in but check out page 245 of Charting Outcomes 2009. My interpretation is that you make the biggest gains in the 185-220 range (~90% vs. 97% matching), less of a difference in the 220-240 range (97% vs. 99% matching), and virtually no difference above 240. Of course, this concerns overall success at matching, not your chances at a particular "competitive" program. I'd like to know this info too, of course - I'd even just like to know which programs really are the most competitive (e.g. a list of #applications vs. #interviews vs. #spots for each program). Everyone always tells you to make sure you apply broadly (safe vs. reach), but how are we to know which is which? I know, I know - ask your deans, people in the field etc. I just don't know why this info has to be under lock & key, when it isn't at the medical school level.