Psychiatry Program Application List Recommendations?

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applyingpsych25

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Hi!
I am applying to psychiatry residencies this fall. Decided on the specialty in M3. Prior to, had interests in IM subspecialty and derm. I decided after my rotation last year and have focused on rotations. Also had the opportunity to attend APA 2024 and am so excited to enter this field.

That being said, I have no idea about what programs to apply to. I got my Step 2 score back yesterday and it was much better than expected, which may open my options.

About me:
MD student in SE US. Went to undergrad and med school here. Grew up in Midwest.
3.65 GPA - As in psychiatry, pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, Bs in surgery, neuro, obgyn
Step 1: pass
Step 2: 26x
Involved in state and national medical advocacy 3 years
Involved in volunteering (food pantry, elementary education, free clinic) 3 years
Involved in medical education officer position and worked with admin 3 years

Research
7 publications - medicine and derm (mostly case report, QI, retrospective review)
6 posters - medical education, derm
3 presentations - adverse childhood experiences, medical education
a few abstracts

4th year schedule: 3 psychiatry electives/sub-Is, medicine sub-I at VA. Plan to have at least one IM letter and 3 psych, 1 research letter

Professional interests: substance use disorders, PTSD, global mental health. Interested in working with veterans, first responders, and refugees. Have personal reasons for entering psych which I will dive into in PS.

Priorities in a program:
- Location: open to most places, not looking to go to California. Open to expanding outside deep south. Particularly like TX, FL, NC, SC but super open
- Program: global health opportunities, consult liaison and/or addiction exposure/fellowships, VA training, night float (no 24s)

Open to any and all suggestions! Family is in southeast, but they are supportive of me going anywhere. Would love to be in a city with nice outdoor spaces, good food scene, gets concerts, relatively large airport. Living in a safe area with proximity to hospital would be a plus. I've lived in cold and hot places so I am impartial. Thank you!

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It's nice that your family is supportive of you going anywhere (at least that they are supportive in general) and you are on the right track in figuring them into the equation, but you're off a bit on how exactly to do that. Please remember that where you go to residency, statistically, is going to be where you live the rest of your life. Again, statistically, if you aren't partnered yet, this is where you're going to meet a partner. (If you are partnered, you didn't mention their needs, so I'm assuming not.) Where you match is where your future partner's family is likely to already live and where their job will be. I'm not saying you won't match in Texas and move to open a ritzy private practice in NYC after graduation. I'm saying...statistically...you will not. So at this point you need to figure out how far away you are okay living away from your family for the rest of your life. That's not really about their thoughts on the matter, it's yours. All residencies will have CL and have addiction exposure. Those are core requirements. The large majority of psych residencies have VA affiliations. Global mental health is kind of more an advertising term than something that I see many residencies actually do anything in. Call is soooo light in psych that I'm not sure I would put that on a list unless it is absolutely egregious. I don't know much about the South. I sure do about CA, but you knocked that out right away (very fortunate that you don't care about snow and humidity), so I can't help much with specifics, but in general, focus on GEOGRAPHY and then apply to a wide range of competitiveness in that given area. Your last couple of sentences are most important because you're only going to be in residency four years, but you're going to be in that area for more than more than 10x that.
 
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It's nice that your family is supportive of you going anywhere (at least that they are supportive in general) and you are on the right track in figuring them into the equation, but you're off a bit on how exactly to do that. Please remember that where you go to residency, statistically, is going to be where you live the rest of your life. Again, statistically, if you aren't partnered yet, this is where you're going to meet a partner. (If you are partnered, you didn't mention their needs, so I'm assuming not.) Where you match is where your future partner's family is likely to already live and where their job will be. I'm not saying you won't match in Texas and move to open a ritzy private practice in NYC after graduation. I'm saying...statistically...you will not. So at this point you need to figure out how far away you are okay living away from your family for the rest of your life. That's not really about their thoughts on the matter, it's yours. All residencies will have CL and have addiction exposure. Those are core requirements. The large majority of psych residencies have VA affiliations. Global mental health is kind of more an advertising term than something that I see many residencies actually do anything in. Call is soooo light in psych that I'm not sure I would put that on a list unless it is absolutely egregious. I don't know much about the South. I sure do about CA, but you knocked that out right away (very fortunate that you don't care about snow and humidity), so I can't help much with specifics, but in general, focus on GEOGRAPHY and then apply to a wide range of competitiveness in that given area. Your last couple of sentences are most important because you're only going to be in residency four years, but you're going to be in that area for more than more than 10x that.
I appreciate this! My family currently lives in the state I attend medical school and would like to move where I do for residency. I am partnered and they plan to come with me as well. It's good to know that most programs should have these!
 
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You'll be solid for a lot of programs, just make sure you're not applying to only reach programs (ie, T20s). There are many solid programs in the states you listed and keeping options open will only help.

Biggest question I would have about your app is unironically "why psych?" Your app sounds like it was built for IM or derm, so you're going to need to make sure that psychiatry programs know why you want to enter our field and that it's not just a back-up. There's nothing wrong with changing your specialty choice as most people do, you just need to make it clear why you're picking psych. Sounds like you're doing this in your PS but make sure you're prepared to answer questions about it too.

Global health opportunities may be tough to find, but plenty of places you can work with refugees or immigrants. Where I went would fit all your points except the global opportunities, but we had some very large immigrant populations from 2-3 places that a lot of cities probably don't see much of.

One thing I'll add to what Comp1 said, ACGME has many "requirements" but that does not mean you will get specialty training in those areas. Where I went I rotated through a geri-psych unit, but when COVID hit they ended that rotation and the geri requirement was fulfilled because the percentage of geri patients seen out our VA was high. There were no dedicated geri rotations when I left. So if there's things you're specifically interested in you should ask about them directly as there can be a big difference between fulfilling the ACGME requirements and getting strong training in a specific area.
 
You'll be solid for a lot of programs, just make sure you're not applying to only reach programs (ie, T20s). There are many solid programs in the states you listed and keeping options open will only help.

Biggest question I would have about your app is unironically "why psych?" Your app sounds like it was built for IM or derm, so you're going to need to make sure that psychiatry programs know why you want to enter our field and that it's not just a back-up. There's nothing wrong with changing your specialty choice as most people do, you just need to make it clear why you're picking psych. Sounds like you're doing this in your PS but make sure you're prepared to answer questions about it too.

Global health opportunities may be tough to find, but plenty of places you can work with refugees or immigrants. Where I went would fit all your points except the global opportunities, but we had some very large immigrant populations from 2-3 places that a lot of cities probably don't see much of.

One thing I'll add to what Comp1 said, ACGME has many "requirements" but that does not mean you will get specialty training in those areas. Where I went I rotated through a geri-psych unit, but when COVID hit they ended that rotation and the geri requirement was fulfilled because the percentage of geri patients seen out our VA was high. There were no dedicated geri rotations when I left. So if there's things you're specifically interested in you should ask about them directly as there can be a big difference between fulfilling the ACGME requirements and getting strong training in a specific area.
Can I DM you about your program?
 
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