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surgicalpanda

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Hi, I was really nervous about the match so I wanted some feedback on my current application status.

I'm a U.S. MD grad applying for psychiatry.
Failed step 1 and did much better the second time with an average score.
Step 2 CS and CK pending (I know I have to work hard on this)
Otherwise pretty standard grades in school, Passes, nothing exceptional.
Gap year between 4th year and residency (due to step 1 and other personal reasons). Still figuring out how best to spend that year.

What do you think my chances are at a match? Please provide me with some feedback and advice if you can!
Thanks in advance!
 

Tenk

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Apply broadly and to a lot of programs. Try to network through your home institution.
 
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DrGoon

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Hi, I was really nervous about the match so I wanted some feedback on my current application status.

I'm a U.S. MD grad applying for psychiatry.
Failed step 1 and did much better the second time with an average score.
Step 2 CS and CK pending (I know I have to work hard on this)
Otherwise pretty standard grades in school, Passes, nothing exceptional.
Gap year between 4th year and residency (due to step 1 and other personal reasons). Still figuring out how best to spend that year.

What do you think my chances are at a match? Please provide me with some feedback and advice if you can!
Thanks in advance!

How many interviews you going on?
 

DrGoon

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Oh I thought you were applying this cycle. Go on as many as you get invited to. Would be surprised if you received 30 invites
 
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Hi, I was really nervous about the match so I wanted some feedback on my current application status.

I'm a U.S. MD grad applying for psychiatry.
Failed step 1 and did much better the second time with an average score.
Step 2 CS and CK pending (I know I have to work hard on this)
Otherwise pretty standard grades in school, Passes, nothing exceptional.
Gap year between 4th year and residency (due to step 1 and other personal reasons). Still figuring out how best to spend that year.

What do you think my chances are at a match? Please provide me with some feedback and advice if you can!
Thanks in advance!

No advice will be worth much until your Step 2 results come back.

Psych has gotten much more competitive in recent years, so while a Step 1 failure may not be prohibitive it will certainly be limiting. I suggest applying to a lot of programs (80+), particularly community ones. In terms of university-based programs, you may have some luck at decent ones in the upper midwest.

If you only match prelim then you may be able to snag an open PGY-2 slot later on.
 
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surgicalpanda

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Oh I thought you were applying this cycle. Go on as many as you get invited to. Would be surprised if you received 30 invites
Yeah I was thinking of putting out 30 applications next cycle but it sounds like I should put in more.
 

surgicalpanda

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Why are you planning on taking a gap year after 4th year? That doesn’t make sense to me.
I had to take more time to take step 1 since the failure. I am also confused on that too. My dean made it sound like a gap year between 4th year and residency was not as big a deal as one between 3rd and 4th year, although I'm starting to think this wasn't such a good idea.
 
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ciestar

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I had to take more time to take step 1 since the failure. I am also confused on that too. My dean made it sound like a gap year between 4th year and residency was not as big a deal as one between 3rd and 4th year, although I'm starting to think this wasn't such a good idea.

Stats show the odds of matching decrease every year post graduation. A gap year between m3 and m4 would have been much more ideal.

Also, you need to apply to more than 30 programs. People with no red flags will apply to that many. Step 1 failures will automatically screen you out at some programs.
 

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I’m no expert but I had a red flag (no fails, no issues in med school, but 2 misdemeanors from 9 years ago, and 8 years sober now), applied to about 100, got 9 ii (hopefully there will still be a last minute wait list or 2). But apply super broadly, definitely apply to new programs as well, half of my interviews are at new programs that opened within the last 5 years. Good luck
 
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mrbreakfast

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Ahh okay so do you think the Step 1 is the major red flag here?
I think that is one red flag. If you got mostly passes in med school, particularly in clerkships, that will raise some eyebrows.

Most concerned about why you're taking a gap year after M4, particularly because you don't appear to have an explanation for why yourself. You've gotten a passing score on Step 1, have taken CK/CS, and presumably have taken your required clerkships. Why didn't you apply?
 

surgicalpanda

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I think that is one red flag. If you got mostly passes in med school, particularly in clerkships, that will raise some eyebrows.

Most concerned about why you're taking a gap year after M4, particularly because you don't appear to have an explanation for why yourself. You've gotten a passing score on Step 1, have taken CK/CS, and presumably have taken your required clerkships. Why didn't you apply?
Good point...It was a scheduling issue. I had to take more time to study for step 1 which threw off my schedule by a few months and according to my dean, my 3rd year clerkships would not have been done in time to apply for match. So I went with that.
 

surgicalpanda

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I’m no expert but I had a red flag (no fails, no issues in med school, but 2 misdemeanors from 9 years ago, and 8 years sober now), applied to about 100, got 9 ii (hopefully there will still be a last minute wait list or 2). But apply super broadly, definitely apply to new programs as well, half of my interviews are at new programs that opened within the last 5 years. Good luck
Ahhhh I see. Thank you for sharing, it's helpful.
 

evilbooyaa

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Failing step 1 is a red flag. However, unless you took > 3 months off to study for it, you should be on an acceptable graduation schedule with your school. You taking a research year between MS4 (are you going to graduate medical school at end of this year?) and residency is dumb. Research years should be taken, ideally, at latest between MS3 and MS4. If you take one after MS4 you basically tell everybody "I applied and didn't match in what I wanted and couldn't/didn't want to SOAP". Given what you wanted is PSYCH and not something research heavy, the whole concept of you taking time off for a research year is non-sensical.

Regardless, what's done is done. However, I'm still confused. Are you currently a MS3 (classmates are in clerkships) or a MS4 (classmates are interviewing for residency)? If the former, try to get off this track of "research year between MS4 and residency". If the latter, then why don't you have your Step 2 CK score yet? You need to do as well as you possibly can on Step 2 CK, with no fail on it. Same with no fail on CS. You should apply to triple digit programs, focusing on less competitive locations and programs. Psych is getting more competitive recently and you will have 2 major red flags (failed Step 1, 'research' year after MS4) against you.
 
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mrbreakfast

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I had to take more time to study for step 1 which threw off my schedule by a few months and according to my dean, my 3rd year clerkships would not have been done in time to apply for match. So I went with that.

I am also still quite confused. How many clerkships did you miss? You should've been able to make up several in M4 before MSPE release. When did you take CK? Even with a several month delay you should've had your score some time ago.

Not trying to be interrogative but any residency interview you get will ask very tough questions about how you got this far behind schedule.

As for your gap year, if I were you I'd join both a bench lab and a clinical research group, and work 60+ hours a week on research.
 
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Raryn

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I had to take more time to take step 1 since the failure. I am also confused on that too. My dean made it sound like a gap year between 4th year and residency was not as big a deal as one between 3rd and 4th year, although I'm starting to think this wasn't such a good idea.
The exact opposite is true.

A gap year between 3rd and 4th year can be explained by you needing to study for step 1, a desire to do research, or a million other things.

A gap year between 4th year and applying for residency puts you in an entirely different category of applicant - you're no longer a US student, you're a US Grad - and considered an "independent applicant". It doesn't matter what the actual circumstances are, 90% of people will assume the only reason for the existence of that gap year is you tried and failed to match prior.
 
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vernhart

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I think that is one red flag. If you got mostly passes in med school, particularly in clerkships, that will raise some eyebrows.

Most concerned about why you're taking a gap year after M4, particularly because you don't appear to have an explanation for why yourself. You've gotten a passing score on Step 1, have taken CK/CS, and presumably have taken your required clerkships. Why didn't you apply?
Idk if I would call mostly passes a red flag necessarily (not sure if that's what you meant by raising eyebrows or meant just in combo w/ a failed step1). It certainly isn't ideal but some med schools have >50% of class getting pass. If student performance was consistent (which it isn't necessarily but just for the sake of argument), then half the class would have a "red flag." Again, idk if this is what you actually meant, just clarifying for other neurotic readers haha
 
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mymembernames

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You need to apply to most if not all programs. My humble opinion based on this app cycle.
 
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DrGoon

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You need to apply to most if not all programs. My humble opinion based on this app cycle.
Agreed. I applied to 48 programs with decent board scores/no red flags and only got 10 invites.
 
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W19

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You need to apply to 100+ programs and have FM as back up... Don't listen to anyone at your school. Listen to what people here are saying!

Failing step1 is a huge RED FLAG.
 
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surgicalpanda

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Failing step 1 is a red flag. However, unless you took > 3 months off to study for it, you should be on an acceptable graduation schedule with your school. You taking a research year between MS4 (are you going to graduate medical school at end of this year?) and residency is dumb. Research years should be taken, ideally, at latest between MS3 and MS4. If you take one after MS4 you basically tell everybody "I applied and didn't match in what I wanted and couldn't/didn't want to SOAP". Given what you wanted is PSYCH and not something research heavy, the whole concept of you taking time off for a research year is non-sensical.

Regardless, what's done is done. However, I'm still confused. Are you currently a MS3 (classmates are in clerkships) or a MS4 (classmates are interviewing for residency)? If the former, try to get off this track of "research year between MS4 and residency". If the latter, then why don't you have your Step 2 CK score yet? You need to do as well as you possibly can on Step 2 CK, with no fail on it. Same with no fail on CS. You should apply to triple digit programs, focusing on less competitive locations and programs. Psych is getting more competitive recently and you will have 2 major red flags (failed Step 1, 'research' year after MS4) against you.
I'm a MS4 and I didn't apply to the match this year (classmates interviewing). My dean gave me the impression the gap year after 4th year wasn't as big a deal as sdn is telling me haha. What do you think about just taking more classes and have a "5th year" in med school to keep up my clinical skills and show that I'm still technically a "US senior."

Also would programs really assume that I tried to match and SOAP and didn't match/didn't want to do SOAP? Wouldn't I tell them on my application I took a gap year?
 

surgicalpanda

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You need to apply to 100+ programs and have FM as back up... Don't listen to anyone at your school. Listen to what people here are saying!

Failing step1 is a huge RED FLAG.
My dean and advisors are giving me such chill vibes...Don't know who to listen to haha. But sdn is making sense...Idk why my advisors are more chill about it.
 

surgicalpanda

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Idk if I would call mostly passes a red flag necessarily (not sure if that's what you meant by raising eyebrows or meant just in combo w/ a failed step1). It certainly isn't ideal but some med schools have >50% of class getting pass. If student performance was consistent (which it isn't necessarily but just for the sake of argument), then half the class would have a "red flag." Again, idk if this is what you actually meant, just clarifying for other neurotic readers haha
Yes I didn't honor any clerkships. I thought the school had pretty high Honors requirements. It was either Honor or Pass.
 

surgicalpanda

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The exact opposite is true.

A gap year between 3rd and 4th year can be explained by you needing to study for step 1, a desire to do research, or a million other things.

A gap year between 4th year and applying for residency puts you in an entirely different category of applicant - you're no longer a US student, you're a US Grad - and considered an "independent applicant". It doesn't matter what the actual circumstances are, 90% of people will assume the only reason for the existence of that gap year is you tried and failed to match prior.
Ahhh I see good points, they would not think it was because I didn't apply at all? Couldn't I just tell them that?
 

surgicalpanda

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I’m no expert but I had a red flag (no fails, no issues in med school, but 2 misdemeanors from 9 years ago, and 8 years sober now), applied to about 100, got 9 ii (hopefully there will still be a last minute wait list or 2). But apply super broadly, definitely apply to new programs as well, half of my interviews are at new programs that opened within the last 5 years. Good luck
Thanks =).
 

surgicalpanda

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An update:

Thank you everyone for your thoughts. They have been really insightful. Idk why my dean is so much more chill about my current status and the gap year than other people haha. I'm a little torn at the moment on who to listen to but SDN is making a lot of sense.

SO instead of taking a gap year, I am now considering taking more classes and remaining a student to retain that "US Senior" status and keep up my clinical skills as one of my advisers pointed out. It would be easier to obtain research as a student I would think.

Any thoughts???
 
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surgicalpanda

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I am also still quite confused. How many clerkships did you miss? You should've been able to make up several in M4 before MSPE release. When did you take CK? Even with a several month delay you should've had your score some time ago.

Not trying to be interrogative but any residency interview you get will ask very tough questions about how you got this far behind schedule.

As for your gap year, if I were you I'd join both a bench lab and a clinical research group, and work 60+ hours a week on research.
No this is helpful! Thank you.

I missed two clerkships. Yeah, from what I remember, my dean told me that I just missed the cut off to make it to MSPE and I kind of took her word for it. I think at another point she told me I could make it if I took no vacations and rushed step 2 a bit (was concerned about rushing with my history of step 1), but I was under the impression it was too late for all that. I'm really not sure what happened there. Maybe I wanted to take more time since step 1 put me at such a low point in school.
 
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surgicalpanda

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Why are you planning on taking a gap year after 4th year? That doesn’t make sense to me.
This is info coming from my dean. I finished my requirements to graduate, but wasn't ready for the match application this year so didn't apply. What do you think about just remaining a student for another year?
 

Raryn

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Ahhh I see good points, they would not think it was because I didn't apply at all? Couldn't I just tell them that?

Can only tell them things if you're not filtered out in the first place.

An update:

Thank you everyone for your thoughts. They have been really insightful. Idk why my dean is so much more chill about my current status and the gap year than other people haha. I'm a little torn at the moment on who to listen to but SDN is making a lot of sense.

SO instead of taking a gap year, I am now considering taking more classes and remaining a student to retain that "US Senior" status and keep up my clinical skills as one of my advisers pointed out. It would be easier to obtain research as a student I would think.

Any thoughts???
I think this is a much better move, but nay cost you some $$$.

I'd recommend reaching out to your schools program director in your intended specialty and discussing it with them. Probably a more trustworthy source than internet randos anyway.
 
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surgicalpanda

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Can only tell them things if you're not filtered out in the first place.


I think this is a much better move, but nay cost you some $$$.

I'd recommend reaching out to your schools program director in your intended specialty and discussing it with them. Probably a more trustworthy source than internet randos anyway.

Ahhhh I see, makes sense. Would they still filter me out if I had like a leave of absence and was still technically enrolled as a student during my supposed "gap year?" Like instead of the gap year I take a "leave" and don't graduate officially under after interviews?

Yeah, it does seem to make more sense to stay on as a student and I have a classmate friend who did the same thing as well and basically took a "5th year" in med school. She seems to be getting a decent number of interviews on the trail this year.

More money on my already growing monster of a loan, but better than not matching I suppose haha.
 

Raryn

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Ahhhh I see, makes sense. Would they still filter me out if I had like a leave of absence and was still technically enrolled as a student during my supposed "gap year?" Like instead of the gap year I take a "leave" and don't graduate officially under after interviews?

Yeah, it does seem to make more sense to stay on as a student and I have a classmate friend who did the same thing as well and basically took a "5th year" in med school. She seems to be getting a decent number of interviews on the trail this year.

More money on my already growing monster of a loan, but better than not matching I suppose haha.
If you have not graduated you are technically still a US student and will not be filtered by that particular one.
 
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evilbooyaa

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I'm a MS4 and I didn't apply to the match this year (classmates interviewing). My dean gave me the impression the gap year after 4th year wasn't as big a deal as sdn is telling me haha. What do you think about just taking more classes and have a "5th year" in med school to keep up my clinical skills and show that I'm still technically a "US senior."

Also would programs really assume that I tried to match and SOAP and didn't match/didn't want to do SOAP? Wouldn't I tell them on my application I took a gap year?

OK. Taking a gap year (even as a 5th year within medical school) after MS4 will make residencies think you applied and didn't match (because I can't think of a situation where someone is recommended to take the path you have). Quite a few people try to match, fail, don't SOAP, then decide to do a 'gap year' to do research or more rotations and improve their chances. There's no system that PDs can access to determine if you did apply last year, but that is what people routinely do rather than graduate. However, as Raryn says, you will still be considered a graduating US senior, which is good.

So, you don't HAVE to do rotations, but you should confirm that you will be counted as a current student (meaning you will be delaying your graduation by a year) to avoid a new double whammy of negativity.
 
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Snoopy2006

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You're getting horrendous advice from your dean.

I sympathize, mine was terrible and her advice would have kept me from matching in my field if I had taken it.

Look to mentors in your home psychiatry department for better advice. Residents you've befriended, an attending you have a relationship with. Get advice from people actually reviewing med school applications rather than what sounds like a very out of touch administrator.
 
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mymembernames

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Also ask more than one PD for advice if you can. If I had listened to the one, I would’ve been toast...


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 
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surgicalpanda

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OK. Taking a gap year (even as a 5th year within medical school) after MS4 will make residencies think you applied and didn't match (because I can't think of a situation where someone is recommended to take the path you have). Quite a few people try to match, fail, don't SOAP, then decide to do a 'gap year' to do research or more rotations and improve their chances. There's no system that PDs can access to determine if you did apply last year, but that is what people routinely do rather than graduate. However, as Raryn says, you will still be considered a graduating US senior, which is good.

So, you don't HAVE to do rotations, but you should confirm that you will be counted as a current student (meaning you will be delaying your graduation by a year) to avoid a new double whammy of negativity.
Ohhh dang, didn't know that. I thought there would be like a section in the application where it asks if this is your second time. Good to know.

Hmmmm then maybe a leave of absence?? Save some money but don't graduate until after I match? I will technically be a U.S. senior on paper then right? Maybe mention the reason for my extra year in the personal statement and say that this is my first time applying?
 

surgicalpanda

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You're getting horrendous advice from your dean.

I sympathize, mine was terrible and her advice would have kept me from matching in my field if I had taken it.

Look to mentors in your home psychiatry department for better advice. Residents you've befriended, an attending you have a relationship with. Get advice from people actually reviewing med school applications rather than what sounds like a very out of touch administrator.
Thanks, that means a lot. Ah man, disappointed in my dean at the moment haha. I will do that, get more perspectives on the application.
 

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You're getting horrendous advice from your dean.

Doesn't help OP, but for all the preclinical students reading this thread, this is the take-home message. Always get multiple opinions if you are delaying things.

At my home program, I believe you can make up 3 clerkships before MSPE release. 30% of students delay Step 1 for a clerkship, and probably another 5% delay a clerkship for another reason. Other than having one or two less elective rotations, those students are indistinguishable from the rest come October.
 
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evilbooyaa

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Ohhh dang, didn't know that. I thought there would be like a section in the application where it asks if this is your second time. Good to know.

Hmmmm then maybe a leave of absence?? Save some money but don't graduate until after I match? I will technically be a U.S. senior on paper then right? Maybe mention the reason for my extra year in the personal statement and say that this is my first time applying?

Yeah, just do something useful during that time (research, MPH, whatever). I would strongly recommend not graduating until AFTER your gap year. You will still be a US Senior. You're more than welcome to mention it in the personal statement, if you get that far.
 
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H12345

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Good point...It was a scheduling issue. I had to take more time to study for step 1 which threw off my schedule by a few months and according to my dean, my 3rd year clerkships would not have been done in time to apply for match. So I went with that.
I am in the same boat as you. I am third year medical student. I'll finish my 4th year by end of may 2020 and yet my dean told me I have to take a year off and match in 2021. I want to do family medicine. What are my chances ??
 
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