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Tips on getting into a psychiatry residency

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twentyfour

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I'm a third year med student looking to apply to psychiatry residencies and would like to go to competitive ones, like John Hopkins, U of Michigan, etc. Can anyone give me help as to what board scores I should have, if I need to honor any clerkships, research, AOA or what I need to do to be a competitive applicant?
 

OldPsychDoc

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twentyfour said:
I'm a third year med student looking to apply to psychiatry residencies and would like to go to competitive ones, like John Hopkins, U of Michigan, etc. Can anyone give me help as to what board scores I should have, if I need to honor any clerkships, research, AOA or what I need to do to be a competitive applicant?

Have somewhat-better-than-average numbers, but most importantly, be a decent human being with a sincere interest in mental illness. This, of course, is best proved by doing well and working hard on your psych clerkships and getting good letters that will attest to that fact.

Honors, research, and AOA are just gravy--unless you are putting yourself forward as a future high-powered academic. Good research experience backing up that kind of claim will let you write your own ticket for the residency of your choice. It's still a buyer's market for US medical school grads choosing psych.
 

Big Lebowski

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twentyfour said:
I'm a third year med student looking to apply to psychiatry residencies and would like to go to competitive ones, like John Hopkins, U of Michigan, etc. Can anyone give me help as to what board scores I should have, if I need to honor any clerkships, research, AOA or what I need to do to be a competitive applicant?

Generally, psychiatry values quality people over performance on USMLE, AOA, etc. But don't get me wrong, all this helps and any failures will raise a red flag. Doing well particularly in the third year clerkships will benefit you greatly by showing you are able to provide good patient care and are generally well-rounded. For many programs, simply passing Step 1 and 2 is sufficient.
 

RustNeverSleeps

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Big Lebowski said:
Generally, psychiatry values quality people over performance on USMLE, AOA, etc. But don't get me wrong, all this helps and any failures will raise a red flag. Doing well particularly in the third year clerkships will benefit you greatly by showing you are able to provide good patient care and are generally well-rounded. For many programs, simply passing Step 1 and 2 is sufficient.

I have a question related to clerkship grades. I am in the midst of my clerkship year and am finding that most clerkships in my school weigh the shelf very heavily in determining the grade for the course. This is unfortunate because I go to a school with reduced basic science time -- as a result we have less preparation and it is harder to do well on the shelf. Long story short, I consistently screw up the shelf exam to the extent that I get high pass as my clerkship grade rather than honors. However, my clinical evaluations are very good. Will this hurt me when I am applying for a psych residency? (I would like to go to a good program, but am not interested in anything like Harvard, etc. because I don't want to live in the NE.)

Thanks!
 

Doctor Wyldstyle

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Passing is the first point. However, if you can honor the course then it is icing on the cake. Still, the comments made on the clinical evaluation are very important and shouldn't be underestimated.

I think the person who ends up with the straight pass on transcript with outstanding evalutation comments that eventually show up on your Dean's Letter during the application process is as strong if not better than the person who achieved the Honors transcript grade but with moderate or even fair clinical evaluation comments.

With regards to the actual shelf, at my school the mean score is highest for Psychiatry. If your attempts at other shelves are solid, then its quite likely you will score high on the Psychiatry shelf especially because amount of shelf material covered is not as enormous as some other specialties. What will be an obstacle for you is if your school takes into account the standard deviation. Thus your high score may translate into just a "pass" once again.

It's still a buyer's market for Psych although the numbers are likely up this year again. "Top" schools don't necessarily mean top for you. There is tremendous research taking place at many if not most of the traditionally regarded "top" programs which is a heavy criteria for alot of ranking methodologies. You really need to see how each program fits in with your goals of being a strong "clinician" and/or "researcher.
 
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