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100+ page excerpt of

The Successful Match

Psychiatry (Preclinical Years)


The preclinical years are important for students considering a career in psychiatry. 


With so many highly qualified applicants to choose among, psychiatry residency programs also look for involvement in extracurricular activities, community service, and research. According to the 2016 NRMP Program Director Survey:


  • Leadership qualities are cited by 62% of programs as a factor used to make interview decisions.

  • Demonstrated involvement or interest in research is cited by 33% as a factor used to make interview decisions.

  • Volunteer/extracurricular activities are cited by 55% of programs as a factor used to make interview decisions.


The preclinical years are an excellent time to build these credentials.



3 Ways To Build Your Credentials In Psychiatry As a Preclinical Student



1 The Summer Medical Student Fellowship sponsored by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry allows students to explore the field, gain clinical or research experience, and meet leaders in the field by attending the AACAP Annual Meeting.



2 For students interested in conducting mental health and substance use disorder projects in underserved communities. the American Psychiatric Association Foundation offers the Helping Hands Grant Program. "Funded projects are created and managed by medical students and can be conducted in partnership with community agencies, or in conjunction with ongoing medical school outreach activities."



3 Several national organizations have established mentor programs. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) has started a program for medical students interested in child and adolescent psychiatry. The American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry also makes geriatric psychiatrists available to students for mentoring. 



For more information on how to stand out in Psychiatry as a preclinical student, turn to our book Success in Medical School: Insider Advice for the Preclinical Years