I had my Emory interview yesterday, and apparently the asst PD has been the asst PD for a zillion years, and likes to give the applicants advice about how to rank programs. It was good advice, so I thought I'd share. He says that you have to have a systematic way of ranking programs, because this helps ensure that you collect the same information about each program. In his system, there are 5 areas that you should evaluate when you go on interviews, then give each area a score of 1-5 and sum the scores, for a total of 25 points. After you interview at each program, rescore all of your programs, as their scores might go up/down as you interview at better/worse programs. The five areas: 1. Resident satisfaction: Ask them directly. Look for how enthusiastic the residents are when it comes to showing you around and talking about the program. Ask them what are the three best and three worst things about the program. 2. Training director: Ask the residents "How's the PD?" Ask them who residents go to if they have problems. Be wary if you don't meet the PD on the interview day. 3. Breadth of Excellence: he suggests an adapted bio-psycho-social model: bio: neuroscience, psychopharm, research psycho: therapy, supervision social: public/community mental health To glean this information, ask the faculty and residents, and also look at a faculty list and see if the full professors are skewed towards one area, because this is a good clue about the program's priorities. 4. Leadership Good things: a strong and well-respected chairman, about whom there is much confidence and enthusiasm Be wary of: an aged or retiring chairman, a program in the midst of a chairman search 5. Location Climate, would you like to live there. I can't remember the figure he quoted, but a very high percentage of psychiatrists end up getting jobs within 50 miles of where they did their residency. In the end, if you had a gut feeling about a particular program, it should be one of the numerical leaders, or else something is wrong. Common mistakes include too much factoring in irrelevant things like the weather on the day of the interview, whether you liked the other applicants interviewing that day, and the perceived prestige of the institution (because a prestigious institution can have a crappy psych program and vice versa). Also, if you have one interviewer that you get along great with and really recruits you, don't make that the deciding factor, because what if that person gets a job somewhere else between now and July? Along the same lines, one bad interview shouldn't turn you completely off to a program, because maybe their dog died or something right before. Several bad interviews would be something to worry about though. If in doubt, schedule a second look. And regarding second looks, he says that not scheduling a second visit is not held against you. Anyway, I thought it was helpful advice. Hope someone here does too!