High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

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High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby Anonymous7 » Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:14 pm

I'm a senior in High school and my goal has always been to become a psychiatrist but I 'm not sure what steps to take.
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby DrDave » Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:15 pm

My response:

Thanks for your question. As a senior in High School, you will be applying to colleges soon and having to make that decision. After 4 years of college, if you are successful, you will be accepted to and attending a medical school. After 4 years of medical school, you will need to complete a 4 year residency program in psychiatry.

So, the first step is to get into a good college. Hopefully, you have done well enough in high school that you will be able to get into a decent college. While it is not critical to attend a great college, the better the school, the better you look when applying. I still believe the most important factors for getting into medical school, though, are grade point average and MCAT scores, regardless of where you went to college.

Getting accepted to medical school is probably the biggest challenge that will face you (although 3rd year of medical school can be pretty brutal). While in college, you will need to take pre-med courses. You can major in any field you want, but you will need to make sure that you take the required courses for getting accepted into medical school. The basic "pre-med" requirements include:

1 year of biology
1 year of chemistry
1 year of organic chemistry
1 year of physics

You will also have to take the MCAT. You will then be ready to apply to medical schools. It's not all that different from getting accepted into college, but a lot more difficult.

Once you go through medical school, you'll need to apply to residency programs. Psychiatry residency programs are not that competitive. Graduating from a US medical school should put you in pretty good shape for all but the most competitive psychiatry residency programs. A psychiatry residency program is 4 years. Once you are done - you are ready to start working as a psychiatrist.

If you have any more specific questions, feel free to ask.

Best of luck!
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby kducos16 » Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:16 pm

I am a Junior in high school and i want to become a child psychiatrist and one day open up my own practice. I am not sure what classes i should take once i get accepted into a college to help me become a child psychiatrist and was wondering if you had some advice. Also i am not completely sure what the difference betweena therapist and a psychiatrist is so if you can clear that up it would be great ...thank you and hope to hear from you soon.
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby DrDave » Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:16 pm

In college, you only need to make sure you take all of the required pre-med courses. They are the same courses taken by anyone going to medical school whether they want to become a surgeon or a psychiatrist or a dermatologist, etc. Those pre-med requirements are what are what I listed in the first message of this thread. The general belief is that medical school admissions is not based on what courses you take (outside of the requirements) or what you major in. The general suggestion is to take the classes that are of most interest to you, as you may not get the chance to take those courses later in life.

Once you are ready to apply for a residency program in psychiatry (the application process starts near the beginning of 4th year of medical school), it really won't have mattered too much what courses you took in college. I was a chemistry major with a minor in philosophy. I had taken a few psychology courses, and I did do research that was very relevant to psychology, but that was because I was interested in those classes and in the research I did.

My own definition of a therapist is someone who uses a form of "talk therapy" or psychotherapy when working with a client. There are many different approaches to talk therapy, and some work better than others for specific types of problems. Different people can provide therapy - from social workers to psychologists to psychiatrists

A psychiatrist is someone who has completed medical school and a residency program in psychiatry. A psychiatrist is a physician who can prescribe medications as well as provide therapy. Most psychiatrists today spend a large part of their clinical time doing medication management for clients as opposed to therapy, but many psychiatrists also use psychotherapy when working with clients.
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby aaa » Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:23 pm

wht if i decide to go in oxford university nd they hv department of psychiatry there...?..

i cn do it directly frm thea' right?..i dun hv to go to ny medical school.. o college thn... do i?
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby DrDave » Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:24 pm

aaa wrote:wht if i decide to go in oxford university nd they hv department of psychiatry there...?..

i cn do it directly frm thea' right?..i dun hv to go to ny medical school.. o college thn... do i?


I am not familiar with UK medical school programs or their requirements for psychiatry in England. My information in this thread was intended for US high school students interested in pursuing a career in the US in psychiatry.
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby what to become psyciatrist » Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:59 pm

Ok so im going to be a sophmore im september 2009
I want to know what type of courses i should take throughout my last 2 years
Should i also take either physics and/or chemistry and/or biology?
Would anthropology be good?
What would be the best choice? These are the courses my school offers in social sciences: (and is social sciences helpfull in this career choice?)
-Issues in Human Growth and Development
-Individuals & Families in a Diverse Society
-Challenge & Change in Society
And last question, in university could i pursue psychology,sociology,child psychology? -are those the right courses to take?

I have many questions because i am VERYYY interested in becoming a psyciatriste.

Please answer me back as soon as possible! Thanks :)

my e-mail address is
miss_caitlyn_0515@hotmail.com
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby DrDave » Sat Jan 10, 2009 12:23 am

Miss Caitlyn,

As you are very early on in high school, I would suggest you focus on doing as well as you can in the classes that most people take. I would say it is important and typical to take general biology, chemistry, and physics - but the main goal should be to take the classes necessary to get into a good college. You should take classes that are of interest to you if you have elective time. I really can't comment on the specific classes you mentioned - I would go with what you find interesting.

Hopefully your school has a college counselor you can talk to, as that would be a very useful thing to do at this point. Find out what courses you should take to make sure you are prepared for college.

Once you are in college, you can major in any field you would like and take whatever courses you like, as long as you also take the required premed classes: 1 year biology, 1 year chemistry, 1 year organic chemistry, 1 year physics.
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby caitlyn » Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:56 pm

Okay thanks for your help,
yeah im very interested in psycholgy and really want to persue it.
and yes i will talk to a counseller at my school.

thanks again :)
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby Ms. Pre-Med? » Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:42 am

Hi,
I am a senior in high school and i have taken some steps to becoming a Psychiatrist. I have already applied to colleges and have gotten accepted. I have put my major either as Biology or Pre-Med but the college i really want to go to does not have Biology as a major they have Biological Sciences and/or Chemistry... While i am pretty good in Chemistry i really love Biology more. My question is... Is there a difference between being a Chemistry major verses a Biology major? And if so should i just chose another school that has my major or just suck it up and take Chemistry as my major? Please help i'm lost...

Alesha
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby DrDave » Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:07 am

Ms. Pre-Med? wrote:Hi,
I am a senior in high school and i have taken some steps to becoming a Psychiatrist. I have already applied to colleges and have gotten accepted. I have put my major either as Biology or Pre-Med but the college i really want to go to does not have Biology as a major they have Biological Sciences and/or Chemistry... While i am pretty good in Chemistry i really love Biology more. My question is... Is there a difference between being a Chemistry major verses a Biology major? And if so should i just chose another school that has my major or just suck it up and take Chemistry as my major? Please help i'm lost...

Alesha


Alesha,

A major in biological sciences would be the same as a biology major - it sounds like the school just has a different name for it. You will need to take general chemistry and organic chemistry as part of the pre-med courses, and if you don't like chemistry then I'd suggest you don't major in it. There is a difference between a biology major and a chemistry major.

I would suggest you call the college and see if they have a guidance counselor - ask them if they have experience with students that are pre-med. If so, ask them your questions. If they dont' have any guidance counselors experienced with pre-med students then you may want to consider a different college. If it is a major university, I'd be surprised if they don't have someone who can answer you questions about the pre-med curriculum.

Best of luck and let me know what you hear.
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby Alesha » Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:20 pm

Thanxs I'll let you know :D
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby Ketski » Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:52 am

Hello Dr.Admin, I came up with a few questions.

1. How long would it generally take for someone who is post-residency to pay off their student loans? (Considering that the student went through college and then straight to medical school and residency)
1a. How long did it take you to pay off your student loans and at what rate?

2. As a psychiatrist, what do you normally do every day?
2a. What kinds of patients do you generally see - and what problems do they have?
2b. How do you respond to your patient's needs? Is talk therapy involved? How long does a session usually take?

3. Although I am more interested in clinical/counseling psychology, I am considering psychiatry for "higher education" and ultimately higher pay. Is it worth the time and effort to go through medical school/residency for this?

Thanks
~Kevin
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby DrDave » Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:29 pm

Student loans are a big issue as you'll likely have loans from both college and medical school. It can vary significantly based on your family's financial situation, the cost of the schools you go to, whether you qualify for financial aid, and whether you get any scholarships. I think most people view their school debt as if they had a mortgage on a second property, and they pay it off over 20-30 years.

As far as psychiatrists go, I think my practice is a bit different from most. Most people do mostly outpatient work with some inpatient work. I'm doing 100% inpatient work, working at a state psychiatric hospital with a medium security forensic population. I mostly work with individuals who were found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI). I am essentially the team leader along with the other psychiatrists for my unit. We head a multidisciplinary team including social workers, psychologists, nurses, and activity therapists. We evaluate, treat, and make recommendations to the court. I mainly work with medication management issues, but also do some talk therapy. Even when I'm doing medication management sessions, some talk therapy is involved. When I do talk therapy, I usually spend between 15 and 30 minutes with the individual, as I tend to do more focused types of therapy. Some individuals I meet with several times a week, and some people once a week. Because the individuals I work with have been found NGRI, they tend to have very serious mental illnesses. The majority of the people on my unit have either schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder with psychotic features. Many of the individuals also have personality disorders and substance abuse disorders.

It's hard for me to say whether it's worth the time, money, and effort for you to pursue psychiatry over psychology. If you really only want to provide talk therapy, going to medical school and doing a residency is a HUGE undertaking. In my case, I never really considered being a psychologist. I knew I was going to be a physician before I knew I would be a psychiatrist. While I had been doing research in psychology through college and medical school, I hadn't seriously considered being a psychiatrist until I did my clinical rotation my 3rd year of medical school. I loved the experience, but I also really liked internal medicine. I wound up doing a combined residency in both internal medicine and psychiatry. It just so happens that the opportunities that were of interest to me after residency were in psychiatry and I really like the work I'm doing now.
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby Fathi » Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:08 pm

hi im a junior in highschool im not quite sure what colleges to apply for to become a psychiatrist my GPA is below 75
i also want to know how many years it takes to become a psychiatrist.
thnkz :D
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby DrDave » Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:18 pm

Fathi wrote:hi im a junior in highschool im not quite sure what colleges to apply for to become a psychiatrist my GPA is below 75
i also want to know how many years it takes to become a psychiatrist.
thnkz :D


Most US high schools have grade point averages that are on either a 4.0 scale or a 5.0 scale. I'm guessing that you mean a 75 is C average (equal to a 2.0 on the US scales). Unless you have a good explanation for why your grades are not better in high school, you likely will find the path to being a psychiatrist a particularly difficult one. Your best chance for getting into medical school would be to get into the best college possible.

In order to be a psychiatrist your path after high school would typically be:

4 years undergraduate college
4 years medical school
4 years of psychiatry residency

so a total of 12 years after high school.
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby Guest » Sun Jul 12, 2009 9:59 pm

okay, I am going to be a senior in August 2009. I haven't taken any classes to prepare for a degree in any sort of medical field. I just recently became interested in the thought of going to medical school eventually. My GPA is about 85/100. So my question is, where would be the best place to look for a school to go to? What is generally the price of Med. School?
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby DrDave » Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:14 pm

Guest wrote:okay, I am going to be a senior in August 2009. I haven't taken any classes to prepare for a degree in any sort of medical field. I just recently became interested in the thought of going to medical school eventually. My GPA is about 85/100. So my question is, where would be the best place to look for a school to go to? What is generally the price of Med. School?


Are you coming from a US high school? If so, you can look at any 4 year college that offers basic premedical level science classes. I would try to go to the best college (for you) that you can get into. You don't need to have taken any classes to prepare for a specific degree until college, and even then it isn't necessary to select a major until your sophomore or junior year. The only issue with college is you'll want to make sure you take the required pre-med courses. Anything else you choose to do is fine. You'll also want to get the best grades possible. High school grades really don't mean much when applying to medical schools. Your high school grades are only important for getting into a good college.

You also asked about the prices of medical school. Medical schools can vary significantly in price between public and private schools. For a state school, tuition and fees for 2008-09 had an average cost of $23,581 if you are in state and $43,587 if you are out of state. For a private school, tuition and fees for 2008-09 had an average of around $42,000. You still need to add housing and living expenses. The cost for medical school and how to finance medical school may merit its own thread.
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby ayanepi » Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:06 pm

Hello!

I am a senior at a high school in Minnesota (graduating class of 2010). I have been working on my college applications throughout this summer, and am having difficulty trying to decide which colleges I should apply to... I assume that you would get this question quite often, and I understand that there are no such schools that are 'perfect for pre-med majors'... but please read!
I am very, very interested in becoming a psychiatrist. Helping people has always been one of my most 'feeling accomplished' activity, and I also find psychology fascinating. I had discovered the world of psychiatry recently, and realized that the occupation is very fitting for my personality and is a perfect chance for me to pursue my hope to serve for the betterment of others.

As a senior at my high school, I will be part of the Post Second Education Option program at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. This is a program dedicated for high school juniors and seniors who are interested (and are qualified) to take the college level courses at the university to challenge themselves with more opportunities. I have decided to take couple pre-med requirement courses to start off with my dream of becoming a psychiatrist.

When it came down to choosing colleges to apply to, I found myself facing a dilemma...
there are two choices for me to choose from when thinking of where to go.

1. Since I will have two years worth of the required credits for pre-med at the U of M (university credits as a PSEO student combined with the credits from AP tests), I will be allowed to graduate from the University of Minnesota a year or possibly two years early... then, I will apply to a medical school (I am thinking of Johns Hopkins, Washington University in St. Louis, etc.)
The bright side of this option is that:
a. I will graduate a year or two early to save money
b. If I do NOT decide to graduate early, I can take an advantage of my opportunity to do study abroad/take more advanced courses/possibly triple major (since I will be done with most of the basic requirements by the end of my sophomore year at the university)
The down side of this option is that:
a. I will not be attending a so-called 'higher level elite university' such as Duke, University of Chicago, Northwestern, etc.

2. I will apply to every other colleges, enroll in a higher ranked university than U of M, graduate in four years, and apply for medical schools.
The bright side of this option is that:
a. Since it is a more 'recognized,' 'highly ranked' university, it may possibly increase my chance of getting in to a medical school
The down side of this option is that:
a. I will be paying very high tuitions for four years.

Those two are my options so far as far as my future plan goes... but my questions to you are the followings:
1. Would the medical school admissions consider the name of your undergraduate school as an important part of you application? In another term, would the so-called 'higher ranked university' help me out in anyways when applying for a medical school? (other than my GPA and MCAT... .I understand that those are the two most important part of the application) Ex: going to University of Minnesota vs. going to Washington University in St. Louis, Wisconsin Madison, etc.
2. Would graduating from your undergrad institute earlier than every other student your age help you with your chance in getting into a medical school? Meaning, would the admission officers be impressed by this at all?
3. If you could possibly come up with a list of schools that would be fitting for a student like me (GPA:3.93, within top 10% class rank, ACT:27, SATII's: not taken yet, many activities, volunteering hours and leadership credits, good essay [or so I will make it to be!] no preference for the size of the school, place of the school, etc.) who is extremely interested in pursuing a goal to become a psychiatrist, it will be wonderful.... I am having a hard time trying to decide on which colleges to apply (I simply want to go to a place that will increase my chance to get into a medical school)

Thank you for your advice in advance.... and have a nice day! :)
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby DrDave » Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:31 pm

ayanepi,

First I'll give brief answers to your specific questions as best as I can.

1. The undergrad university you go to does matter for medical school applications, but mostly if you are looking at really top tier medical schools (Harvard, Hopkins, etc). It sounds like you would be considering those options, so you may want to take that into account. I can't really say how important it is, but I have heard of some outstanding applicants from decent (but not elite) colleges not getting into these top tier schools. The only factor I've heard people suggest was their undergrad school. This is obviously just based on stories I've heard and people I've come across, but it makes sense. I have known plenty of people who went to state schools and gotten into very good medical schools. Occasionally people from state schools do get into elite schools, but I couldn't tell you what it was about them that got them accepted. As long as you have a good explanation as to why you chose the school you did, you can have a lot

2. A medical school application committee probably won't care either way that you graduate a year or two early. While it does show some initiative, it also means you are coming into medical school 1 year less mature compared to most college grads. Having said that, I did graduate from college in 3 years because of AP credits from high school and I managed to get accepted to many very competitive programs and medical schools. Not all of them, but many. As to which ones accepted me and which ones wait-listed me, I have no clue. It likely has as much to do with the fact that I had to apply a little later than most 4 year grads as I had to take the MCAT in the fall of my third (and final) year rather than the spring of my junior year. Most medical schools won't make a decision on your application until it is complete. Overall, it worked out as I got accepted to the programs I was most interested in.

3. I don't think I can come up with a list of schools for you. There are no schools that are better or worse for someone interested in psychiatry. I think that you should consider colleges that have a strong pre-med program and a college that has strong departments in areas you also have an interest (psychology for example). You may also want to factor in colleges where you can get scholarship dollars, which was a factor in my decision.
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby DrDave » Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:44 pm

ayanepi,

It sounds like you'll have a decent selection of colleges from which to pick. As I said above, I wouldn't put too much weight in trying to find a college that is good for someone interested in psychiatry. It's hard to pick a medical school that would be good for someone going into psychiatry, let alone a college. Select a college that has at least a decent pre-med program and also is strong in subjects you may be interested. I went to Emory and I wasn't even sure I wanted to be pre-med. I selected Emory because it is a good college (has gotten a better reputation since I went there), had a good pre-med program (I knew I was considering medicine), and also had good departments in chemistry, psychology, and philosophy. I also had gotten a scholarship at Emory so it was not going to be pricier than other colleges I considered, and was going to cost less than some other comparable colleges. Other factors in my mind were going somewhere with warmer weather (I hate the cold Chicago winters) and that wasn't too large.

I decided part way through my second year that I was probably going to go to medical school. I had enough credits from AP classes in college to graduate a year early. I had similar concerns about how medical schools would look at that. It turns out it really was a non-issue. I don't think it made my application any stronger, nor any weaker. The only potential drawback is that you miss out on an extra years worth of classes that you'll probably never take again in your life. I was at a point that there weren't a lot of other classes that I wanted to take, and I was ready to move on to medical school. Taking a year to study abroad is definitely a great option. I wasn't interested in that option at that time in my life.

Good luck and let me know if you have more questions.
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby ayanepi » Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:45 pm

Thank you for the fast reply!

just out of curiosity, if you don't mind... may I ask which medical school you attended?
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby DrDave » Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:05 pm

University of Chicago - Pritzker School of Medicine.
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby ayanepi » Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:20 pm

I am actually very interested in going to the University of Chicago as an undergrad student next year... I might have the chance of getting in, depending on my application essay since they are well known for that (which will be a great one... I hope!). I know that you did not attend U of Chicago as an undergrad, but do you think that they have a good pre-med program? Also, could you possibly list off some universities with great pre-med programs? I have been trying to do some research on this, but still haven't gotten to the point where I can make a list of my own...

Thanks!
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby DrDave » Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:49 pm

ayanepi,

University of Chicago was great for medical school, especially as it was a pass/fail system which greatly reduced the competition amongst highly competitive students.

From the medical students who went there as undergrads, it sounded like the undergraduate program is a whole different story. I got the impression that the undergrads don't have much of a social life, and they spend a lot of time studying. It sounded like many of the professors grade very harshly and the students feel a lot of pressure. The reports I got were from only a handful of students, so others may view things much differently. Don't take my report for much more than one view. Compare it to what you hear from others. University of Chicago is a very highly regarded college, so definitely consider it if you are interested.

I'll need to put some more thought into coming up with a list of colleges with good pre-med programs, and it's probably best suited to me starting a separate thread just for that topic. I'll try to put some thought into that topic this weekend.
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby ayanepi » Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:25 am

Thank you so much! And please let me know if you come up with the new thread regarding a list of good pre-med program schools....

Have a nice day!
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby obiwookie » Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:44 pm

Hi

I am a senior this year and have wanted to become a Child Psychiatrist for about 8-10 months now. Psychology has allways interested me and my mom suggested taking anything related to it. I took the Career Direct test and scored high on counseling and working with kids. Around the same time I watched the movie "The Sixth Sense" and decided I wanted to do that. (bad reason I know). So I need to know if their are certain ways to become a child psychiatrist. I plan on attending Liberty University in Virgina and one of it's highest majors is Psychology. It also has Pre-med and a course set for Child/Adolescent Psychology. Is one of those better than the other? And is it possible to major in Psychology and work as a Psychologist and then go to medical school after that with out and Pre-Med courses?

Any help with this will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby DrDave » Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:55 pm

You need to take the pre-med courses to go to medical school. You can be a psychologist without med school but not a psychiatrist.

You can be a psychology major and still take the required pre-med courses, but you can be have any major and still go to med school and become a psychiatrist.
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby obiwookie » Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:05 pm

So do you think double majoring in Psychology with a focus in child & adolescent and Pre-med, be a good way to go? And will it be advantageous to be fluent in a second language like Spanish when applying to Med School or the Psychiatrist residency thing, or while working as a Psychiatrist?
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby DrDave » Fri Jan 08, 2010 12:14 am

Pre-med is not a major. Pre-med just means you are taking the courses necessary to apply to medical school - 1 year biology, 1 year general chemistry, 1 year organic chemistry and 1 year of physics. You need to take those classes in order to apply to medical school and to take the MCAT exam. You can major in any field and go to medical school, as long as you take those pre-med courses.

You can major in any field you like and wind up being a psychiatrist. I majored in chemistry with a minor in philosophy. My freshman year, I wasn't positive I wanted to go to medical school, but took the pre-med courses in case I did. I also took several psychology courses because I found them interesting. I wasn't planning on being a psychiatrist at that point in my life, but I thought I may want to be a doctor. I didn't decide to become a psychiatrist until my 3rd year of medical school when I did my clinical rotation in psychiatry.

Majoring in psychology is a fine choice. The information you'll learn may be helpful when you become a psychiatrist, but you'll cover much of the same material in a psychiatry residency, so it isn't necessary. My suggestion is to take classes that you find interesting, but also take classes that will keep your options open. What if at some point you decide you don't want to go to medical school? What is your Plan B? Perhaps you would want to be a child psychologist and get a PhD in clinical psychology. When you get to college, talk to your advisor about your interests and plan out a track that will allow you to have options.

Just so that you are aware, child and adolescent psychiatry is a sub-specialty of general psychiatry. In order to be a psychiatrist, you would do a 4 year psychiatry residency after medical school. If you want to be a child and adolescent psychiatrist, you would do a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry. The way it typically works is that instead of having a lot of electives your 4th year of general adult psychiatry residency, you would start your child fellowship in your 4th year and then finish it in a 5th year, only adding 1 year to your overall training. You would wind up being board eligible in both adult psychiatry and child / adolescent psychiatry. I hope that makes sense. If not, I can try to clarify it more.

While taking Spanish won't necessarily help when you apply to medical school or residency, I think Spanish is a good language to know while working as a doctor and probably is helpful with most any career these days. One thing to be aware of is that while taking Spanish will be helpful as a doctor, unless you really become fluent, I'm not sure how helpful it would be as a psychiatrist. There are many nuances in languages that don't translate well, and in psychiatry, it is often critical to have a good understanding of what someone means, which may be something subtle about the way they say things or the figure of speech they are using.

Having said all that, if I were going back to high school now, I probably would take Spanish as my foreign language. If you are truly fluent in any foreign language, that is a big advantage as a physician and psychiatrist.
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby Guest » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:45 pm

Hi!

I was wondering if there is a difference between what you do in medical school knowing that you want to be a Psychiatrist rather than a surgeon or different type of doctor?

Thanks!
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby DrDave » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:55 pm

For the most part, medical school is the same for everyone the first three years. You will be able to choose different electives your 4th year.
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby p0pups » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:04 pm

I was wondering if going to a community college for 2 years and then trasferring to a university for the remaining 2 will affect my chances of getting accepted into medical school.

Also, what will transferring do to my pre-med courses in the sense of having to start over or anything that will lower my chances of getting into medical school?

Thank you and no rush in returning the answer =]
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby DrDave » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:46 pm

p0pups,

There are a few threads here on community college and going to medical school. You can use the search at the top right of each page with the terms "community college" or you can start with a few of these threads. I'm not sure how up-to-date they are, but the information probably hasn't changed much, if at all. You can also follow the "similar threads" at the bottom of a few of these pages for even more related topics:

Transferring from community college

Community college and plan to become a psychiatrist

Basically, you'll want to take the required pre-med courses at a 4 year college. Because that may mean waiting until your 3rd year to take the courses, you'll be taking a lot of science courses at the end of college and it may delay when you will be ready to take the MCAT. I think if you wind up with a good GPA and a good MCAT score, it shouldn't matter too much that you went to a community college your first 2 years. Given the high cost of education, it is reasonable that people are looking at options to keep costs down, such as community college for the courses that will transfer to a 4 year college.

This is just my opinion, and perhaps there is a negative effect of starting at a community college, but there are plenty of people who have gotten in to medical school who started at community college.
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby SunnyDeal » Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:34 pm

Hi there, Dr. Dave! I've read and reread all of the previous posts and have found them to be really helpful; thank you for your time!
I'm a junior in highschool with a general GPA of 3.6-3.9, and I'm enrolled in my school's medical program (volunteer hours, fundraisers, special classes, I'm sure you know the gist).
I've been interested in psychiatry since late elementary school, but I have always had a weakness in mathematics. I can usually pass classes focused on such with a B or really high C, but I know that to be adept at math you need a certain mindset to understand it as a "language" (or that's how I see it).
If I struggle in math, do you think I'll have trouble with patients in a psychiatric enviroment? Will I be able to solve the puzzles necessary, while not being born with a mind for easily crunching numbers? One can achieve anything through hard work it's said, but I really only want to follow through with this career if I am the best I can possibly be for it. My biggest strength lies in languages so I might opt for teaching abroad or focusing on collective psychology or something, but I really would like to put to good use the books I've read and the little "studies" I've done (euphemism for people watching!), as well as my genuine interest in helping to bridge the gap of isolation between people and themselves. Doctors want to help people, whether that means making them better or making them better people--I've got at least that going for me.

My main interest lies in the concept of logotherapy. How prevalent would you consider it? Would it be a good idea to open a practice that focuses primarily on that?

Also...are there any psychiatrists beyond Freud, Adler and Frankl that you might suggest studying? There's PLENTY of material for the mentioned three, but I want to be as well rounded as possible.

Again, I really appreciate your time. If you can recommend any books, or seminars that can be viewed online, anything of your experience at all, I will greatly benefit! :)
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby DrDave » Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:58 pm

Sunnydeal,

You don't need to be great at math to be a good psychiatrist. I just responded to a similar question in the thread about how to become a psychiatrist.

You are lucky that math is not the most important subject as far as getting into medical school. In fact, many medical schools don't even have a college math requirement to get accepted. There was a recent thread here about math requirements in medical school.

The courses required by almost all medical schools includes: biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. If you don't do well in those science classes, then getting into medical school will be a big challenge.


If you have a difficult time in the sciences, then getting into medical school may be very difficult. However, if your interest is mostly in providing psychotherapy, then you will likely find a career as a psychologist very rewarding. The path to become a psychologist is not nearly as difficult as the one to become a psychiatrist.

You are very young to be thinking about specific types of therapy you would want to provide in your work. You will learn a lot during your course of training which will significantly impact how you go about providing therapy. If you have free time outside of high school, and you want to read more, I would suggest you go to the library and find books that look interesting. Some psychology books are very difficult to understand, especially without someone to help explain the concepts. As you will learn what you really need to know during your formal education and training, I would suggest you just read and study what you find interesting.
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby 7Holly » Thu May 26, 2011 6:37 pm

I found this thread to be very informative. Thank you so much for all of your considerate answers, Dr Dave :)
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby Hatheet_Nicole » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:00 pm

Hello:), i'm a senior at Palmdale HighSchool and my first semester will be ending in one month. I have started the process of applying to about 3 CSU schools. CSUN, CSULB, and CSULA. i'm still not 100%sure on what i want to do yet. But it is definetly somethig in the medical field, and it is between Psychiatrist, Nurse Practitioner, and physician Assistant. My G.P.A is about a 3.0 and my SAT scores were a 1400. I have recently received a presidential award for volunteer service at our local hospital. But now that you know a little about me i'm desperate to know exactly what i need to do when i go to college. What do i major or minor in.? And when do i need to decide what profession i choose.? And is it okay to come from a CSU to enter into a medical school.? Which CSU would be the best choice? In other words which one will look better, highering my chances of getting accepted into medical school? Please give me all the tips you can. Thank you.
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby DrDave » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:38 pm

Hatheet_Nicole,

I am not familiar with the California State college system other than what I could easily find online. From what I could find online, very few students from CSU schools go on to medical school. Those that do, were exceptional students at CSU. Most people who go to medical school had very good high school grades and SAT scores. Of the schools you mentioned, it appears that CSULB has the highest average SAT score (although I don't know how reliable the information was that I found - you should definitely check yourself) which probably means they have the highest average caliber of student. I think you should talk to a local college counselor to get a better idea of which school is best for you and what your chances would be of getting into medical school.

It doesn't matter what your major is when applying to medical school. Major in something that you find interesting, and something that would offer you career options if medical school does not work out for you. You will need to take the required pre med coursework, but you can major in any field.

There is no definite timeline of when you need to choose your career. You will want to take the required pre-med coursework and be prepared to take the MCAT during your junior year if possible. You can always change your mind and pursue a different career. Many people don't decide anything definite until their junior or even senior year. You will just want to be as well prepared for whichever career you may choose.

Congratulations on your award for volunteer service.
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby MadelineKate » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:17 pm

Hey, I am a junior in high school and have been researching careers I might be interested in pursuing when I get to college. I am looking into psychiatry. I am in the top twenty of my class and have almost a 4.0, yet I am unsure if psychiatry is too much of a challenge for me. I have always loved to challenge myself and am very interested in human behavior. I would love to hear your advice? Also I am interested in the different types of psychiatry and what type would interest me. Thank you for your time!
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby DrDave » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:21 pm

Madelinekate,

Being in top 20 of your class sounds great, but it really does depend on how many students are in your class. If there are only 100 kids in your class, that would be a lot different than 1000 kids. Either way, being close to a 4.0 means you are a strong student. It is really too early to tell if you if medical school / psychiatry would be too much of a challenge for you.

I would suggest you do the best you can and go to a college that has strong departments in the areas that interest you. If you are still considering psychiatry at that time, you'd also want a school that has strong science departments in the pre-med courses. You can take the pre-med courses and see how you do. You'll probably find out pretty quickly if the courses are too much of a challenge or not. If you do well in the pre-med coursework and can get into medical school, then you should do fine. There is a pretty low dropout rate in medical school due to poor performance. The people I know who dropped out of medical school did so because they realized that they didn't want to be doctors, not because they were failing.

Regarding your question of different types of psychiatry - I'm not sure what you mean. Do you mean people who are more interested in "biological psychiatry" compared to people who show an interest in psychoanalysis? Or do you mean the actual areas you can specialize in like geriatric psychiatric, addiction psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine, consult-liaison psychiatry, and forensic psychiatry?
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby kara » Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:28 pm

Hi, I'm a junior in high school and I'm taking AP calculus A/B at the moment. Just wondering, what's the highest level of math required for admission into medical school?

Thanks!
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby Karina » Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:42 pm

Hi, I'm a junior in high school. I have a 3.6 GPA and a 2290 SAT score. I'm very interested in pursuing psychiatry and I've heard a lot of conflicting information on the best way to get into medical school.

Is a public or private institution (for undergrad) more likely to get me into med school? A college counselor told me that the UC system and other public schools grade on a curve, which makes it very difficult to get an A. But smaller private schools offer more research opportunities and no grade curves, which make it easier to get into med school. What would you recommend? A larger "big name" institution with higher competition, or a smaller scale, easier private school?

I've also been considering the combined BA/MD programs. I know those are extremely difficult to get into but do you think I have a chance with my scores? And how much do they look at non academic activities? I've done a paid internship with a company in India and I volunteer as a literacy tutor for elementary school children. I've also been named a national winner in a national poetry contest. I don't know how much these extras mean to the universities, but is there any way to make up for my lower GPA?

Thanks!
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Re: High School Senior Interested in Becoming a Psychiatrist

Postby DrDave » Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:04 pm

kara,

Most medical schools have NO specific math requirement. If you have taken calculus, even AP during high school, you will be fine for most medical schools. There are a few with math requirements, but I have never heard any that require math beyond calculus. If there are a few schools you think you would likely consider, you can check and see if they have a math requirement.

Karina,

I took the SAT a long time ago, when a perfect score was a 1600. If a perfect score is now 2400, then your SAT score seems excellent to me. That certainly shouldn't hold you back. Your GPA of 3.6 combined with your SAT score should give you plenty of options for great options for college. Your extra activities are also a plus for some of the more competitive schools, as it will make for good material in any essays they require.

You are correct that BA/MD programs can be very competitive, especially at the better schools. I would NOT recommend a BA/MD program unless it is at one of the better schools. You can see my thoughts in this older thread on BA/MD programs.

It is hard to know what the best college would be for getting into medical school. I don't think it makes much difference whether you go to a public school or a private school. It is possible if you want to go to a top tier medical school, you would be better off going to a top undergraduate school. Having said that, though, I have known people who went to very good state schools and got into top medical schools. I also know many more people who went to top undergraduate schools but they weren't able to get into medical schools (because of poor grades or MCAT scores, not because of the school). I have never heard a generalization of some schools that curve their grades and some schools that don't - usually that is up to the particular professor. There are a few top schools do have a reputation for having tougher grades, and those particular schools usually are known to medical schools as being tougher with grades and I've heard that a small allowance is given.

My general recommendation is to go to the college that you feel is a good fit for you. Some people like a big school with a lot of action. Other people like small schools where you may have a better chance to get to know your professors. I would recommend it is a school that has strong science departments, or at least is known to have good pre-med science courses. I would also recommend you go to a school that is strong in areas that interest you.

I would recommend you apply to a variety of schools that seem interesting to you. You can try to apply for a BA/MD program if that is really what you want to do. It is hard to predict what cutoff GPA/scores those schools would consider. Once you find out where you've gotten accepted, then you can decide which is the best fit for you.
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