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"where will you be ranking us?"

Discussion in 'Psychiatry' started by nortomaso, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. nortomaso

    nortomaso Senior Member
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    One PD told me that he would call me up in February and ask me point blank where I would be ranking his program. He insisted that this was not in violation of the match, because it was my right not to answer him and that he would be accepting if I chose not to.

    My take on this was that this program likes to say that they got all their first choice applicants, so if you don't tell them they are number 1, they don't rank you.

    To me, this undermines the entire purpose of the match system and I'm surprised that it is not technically illegal. Any thoughts or experiences?
     
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  3. Poety

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    Hey Norto, I've as of now (completed 8 interviews) have had 5 PD's tell me the same thing - that to let them know so that I can be ranked accordingly - what sucks is that if I let them know, then I may screw my chances of being anywhere!
     
  4. nortomaso

    nortomaso Senior Member
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    Exactly, Poety. So you can either 1) lie 2) tell the truth, rank your first choice and hope you don't get screwed or 3) rank a program 1st where you think you have a good chance of matching

    If you do 3, then you are effectively ceding the applicant's advantage that the match is supposed to provide. If you do 2, then you can get punished for being honest and using the system the way you are told to. And if you do 1, well, then you're a liar.
     
  5. MDgonnabe

    MDgonnabe your royal travesty
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    i've only gotten this question at one of the three interviews i've had thus far, and can only imagine most people get it at most interviews. ay. well, i'm going to be honest. if the programs just look at my application and spend three seconds getting to know my personality, i feel like they'd know which residencies would best suit my career goals, anyway.
     
  6. mosche

    mosche Senior Member
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    I've not had any program tell me that! I think that the best response would be:

    "Dur, I dunno -- what you gonna rank me?"
     
  7. Poety

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    :laugh:

    whats also hard is that it feels like a recruting tactic - however, i know people that have gone on the same interviews and were not asked the same thing - so I have no idea what any of it means. I've also not been asked certain stuff that other applicants were asked or told - etc etc. Its all very confusing and stressful.

    I have been honest with my top program and I have been honest with my second program - but have I been honest with myself? Now that is another question entirely :oops:
     
  8. atsai3

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    Programs don't like to "go down" on their rank lists, meaning that if a program has 10 slots they would rather be 10 for 10 than 10 for 15. I don't think it serves any kind of useful external function, but PDs do share this information, and I guess you must look bad if you have to go too far down on your list. One of my friends had an interview where the PD remarked, "So what's going on at XYZ School of Medicine? Y'all missed 2 this year."

    At my interviews, I have heard everything from "If you are serious about coming here, let someone know" to "They aren't going to 'rank you to match' unless you tell them that they are #1 on your list." I'm guessing that this intent stuff actually matters. If you have a clear #1 in mind and you've gotten reasonably good signals from that program (e.g., "Our admissions committee was highly enthusiastic about your application. We would love to have you come here for residency!"), then I would guess that there's not much of a problem.

    It's trickier when you're not in the enviable position of being the recipient of favorable signals. Then you might find yourself in a situation where you write to a program, "I will rank this program #1" but that program doesn't necessarily consider you a "clear accept". Unless you are telling multiple programs the same thing (which I would not recommend), then that means other programs are hearing something else. That something else can be anything from "I will rank this program highly" to "I would love to come here", to "This program will be in my top 3." But if that program wants to hear "you are my #1" and they're not hearing it, then it's likely that they will penalize you to differing degrees (i.e., some programs may not care while others may care a lot).

    -AT.
     
  9. BKN

    BKN Senior Member
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    I was asked by my buddy Poety to comment on this thread. AT, I'm not particularly answering you, but I think that your reading of the situation is probably not right.

    I think it is a recruiting tactic and in Psych, a not particularly competitive specialty the purpose is to ensure that they fill. Since there are many more slots than applicants, any Amercian grad with good credentials and a pleasant personality is going to get his first, second or third choice. If there aren't a lot of such people putting a program in their top three, the program won't fill. A perfectly good middle tier program with everyone listing it as fourth may be out of luck.

    This pressure should not affect your list at all. I very much doubt that your answer, positive or negative will affect theirs. If you're put in a position where you have to answer, dissemble or misdirect with a clear conscience. While this tactic may not be against the match rules, it certainly is coercive and violates the spirit of the enterprise.
     
  10. Poety

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    Thanks BKN, so would you say to tell them they are number one if they outright ask?
     
  11. nortomaso

    nortomaso Senior Member
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    BKN,I have to say that I agree with Atsai. The program that prompted me to start this thread is VERY competetive, even though it is in psych, and there is simply no way that it would not fill. I even read intradepartmental pamphlets in which they boast to potiential donors about getting their first choice of applicants.
     
  12. Poety

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    Since I know where you've interviewed Norto - I would agree with you, I wonder why they don't want to go far down on the list? Whats it mean if you do?
     
  13. atsai3

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    I would agree with BKN that psychiatry in general is not a competitive specialty. As long as you don't bite your interviewer on the leg, you'll probably match somewhere. That said, I would also agree with nortomaso that some psych programs are competitive. My guess is that the top tier programs care much more about going down on their match list, whereas programs in the lower tiers are just trying to fill their spots.

    Perhaps it has to do with pride.

    Perhaps it has to do with Program Directors creating informal rankings amongst themselves. For one example, see the paper by Avery et al. on generating a revealed preference approach to ranking U.S. colleges as an alternative to the USNWR system: "A Revealed Preference Ranking of U.S. Colleges and Universities".

    Perhaps it has to do with Program Directors trying to create a learning cohort of interns who really want to be at their programs. I'm sure MGH/McLean -- for example -- could be satisfied with the qualifications of at least 32 applicants for its 16 intern spots. But, all else being equal, why not try to get applicants who are interested in and happy about being there?

    -AT.
     
  14. BKN

    BKN Senior Member
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    You need to read some game theory. It's never in a PD's advantage to limit his list to those who are very interested in his program in order not to go far down his list. If someone's doing it, he's not thinking clearly. Most PDs are very clear thinkers. This is as true at the most competitive programs as at the lesser. My reasoning goes like this, a very competitive program will have lots of "star" applicants, but the applicants each have lots of "star" program choices. Therefore, star programs are likely to go as far down their list as second tier ones. Their list just has more top applicants on it.

    The thought that PD want his residents to be happy to be there is of course true, but the fact that a candidate listed them at all says he will be.

    Remember that wonderful scene in the bar in "A beautiful mind" when the protagonist makes his discovery for game theory by deciding he and his buddies should ignore the one gorgeous girl and each pick one of the very acceptable other girls.The PD who is trying to get as many people as possible to list him first is trying to be the gorgeous girl. The point of game theory in the match situation is that the saddle, that is the best solution, is achieved through cooperation and honesty. Each PD and each candidate should make his list from his heart and not let anyone coerce him into doing it differently.

    It sounds like the Psych PDs play the game in a more cutthroat manner, probably because they are more likely to lose.

    BTW I made my decision 30 years ago on the basis of program name. I passed on a program that was probably sounder, because no one had ever heard of it. Worked out fine though in the long run. And that's the point, you all are understandably stressed by all this, but whereever you end up will probably give you good training and you'll be happy.
     
  15. psych2b

    psych2b ever hopeful
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    Erm, I'm guessing most PD's haven't studied game theory extensively. I don't know, of course, but that would probably explain why they do not behave "rationally" per game theory strategum. I do agree with Atsai that it seems to be a point of pride with many of the PD's reporting "we only had to go down to Number 10 for our 10 spots" or such like.

    Perhaps they do not realize it, but in so doing, they are recruiting the sort of residents who value this strange statistic and the pressure to behave outside of the match's original intention, in order to "win." I'm not sure they've really considered how it reflects on them, to use slightly off-color tactics to pressure their applicants and show that this is what they value (the value of the statistic vs. the ranking of who they believe matches their program best). I think I'm thinking too much. Eep. ;)
     
  16. manc

    manc Junior Member
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    Interesting discussion. I did four interviews total and the PD at one (UC Davis) told the group of applicants that he perceived the match process to be “in the program’s favor”. He told us that starting in January he would tell anyone who contacted him his/hers exact rank number. He also said that anything an applicant says doesn’t affect the ROL position. But they go about 20 deep for 7 or 8 positions. He commented on this specifically, saying that he doesn’t care how deep they have to go (no “pride” issues). I should note that they seem to feel they are in competition primarily with other UC programs, specifically mentioning UCSF and UCSD during an intro presentation in the morning before interviews. I asked every resident I met and found that everyone had UCD as their #1.
     
  17. Poety

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    I found at my number one that everyone had put it as their number one as well.... :scared: :scared:
     
  18. MDgonnabe

    MDgonnabe your royal travesty
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    this is ridiculous. if they're going to be asking us directly, might as well just pit us in duels to the death against the competition. kinda like, "oooooh, i'm sorry. you're the first person who'll be ranking us as #1 beyond our available slots. so now you'll have to cage match suzy q. gunner or relinquish your #1." and then you'd cage match suzy and annihilate her, earning your #1 residency while the pd's brag about how many students cage matched each other to the death for their slots. residency for the fittest.
     
  19. Poety

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    HOLY CRAP - I HAVE GOT TO MATCH WITH YOU MDGONNA YER HILARIOUS!!! Make sure you tell me your number one, its gunna be mine too. Wanna couples match? :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
     
  20. nortomaso

    nortomaso Senior Member
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    Well, Poety, if its your #1, then that should encourage you that people who rank it first have gotten it. The problem is when you really like a program but its not # 1.

    Let's say you are really not sure about getting #1, and you also really like #2, #3, and #4, but they will only rank you highly if you rank them 1st. And #5 has made no such demands, but its inferior to the others. Then it could come down to either #1 or #5 on match day, thus undermining the whole point of a genuine rank order list.
     
  21. Poety

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    yes norto, exactly, but I don't know that I'm one of their number ones?!! So my number two is one of those "tell us" places - and I can't lie, because I'd look like a real jerk if I didn't match there and got my number one - my number one however, has NOT told me "let us know" which just SUCKS! So I am STUCK see?
     
  22. BKN

    BKN Senior Member
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    I'm not sure anybody can beat Suzy Q. She's relentless, take a pass. :laugh:
     
  23. Poety

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    Isn't Suzy Q a ding dong donut?
     
  24. MDgonnabe

    MDgonnabe your royal travesty
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    oh baby! :love:

    but shhhh. 'sazi might get jealous!
     
  25. Poety

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    He's mine you can't have him - :eek:
     
  26. MDgonnabe

    MDgonnabe your royal travesty
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    but did you rank him as your #1? :smuggrin:
     
  27. Poety

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    I choose not disclose where Sazi is ranked ok? If that means he ranks me lower than you - then so be it - we can have it out in the cage. Me and You - womano el womano :wow:

    +pad+ Attention: MDGonna vs. Poety over who gets ranked first with Sazi! Gather round folks, gather round... :p
     
  28. MDgonnabe

    MDgonnabe your royal travesty
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    ...and you people thought suzy q. gunner was tough??? :eek:
     
  29. Poety

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    :laugh: :laugh:
    :laugh:
     
  30. DrIng

    DrIng Senior Member
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    Why not respond with the psychiatrists response, that's an interesting question, why do you want to know?
    You can always say that you have ranked them highly but that you're still deciding between a couple of choices...
     
  31. MDgonnabe

    MDgonnabe your royal travesty
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    that's what i was going to say, and it would've been the truth. but then this thread made me realize that disclosing that you'll rank a program "highly" isn't enough for them to rank you highly because they only want #1's. :rolleyes:
     
  32. DrIng

    DrIng Senior Member
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    Oh please! If you're a great candidate they're not going to rank you lower just because you're not ranking them as a one. remember, they work with you for 4 years and in 3 months no one will be remembering where you ranked them!
     
  33. Anasazi23

    Anasazi23 Your Digital Ruler
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    FEAR NOT, my minions...for we all shall rule the universe together!
     
  34. Poety

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    Now I've been reduced to a minion? :eek: :mad: :scared:
     
  35. MDgonnabe

    MDgonnabe your royal travesty
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    well, he is an attending, right?
     
  36. Poety

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    No, he's a second year resident - see? I love him more cuz you don't even know his status :p :eek:
     
  37. MDgonnabe

    MDgonnabe your royal travesty
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    be happy as his minion, then. as interns we'll be called much worse! :laugh:
     
  38. Poety

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    Oh how true it is my friend - oh how true :oops:
     
  39. 2010

    2010 Junior Member
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    Ive been told by some PDs that I will be rankes at "the top of thier list" without me ever saying anything about where I wanted to go.

    If you are a good candiate that they want, I think programs will rank you highly regardless of what exactly you say, If you tell them They are # 1 on yoyrs, It just makes them feel a little better that they will be getting a "good fit"-which seems to be the buzz word at a few places for finging people they want.

    Bottom line, Tell everyone who asks, they are in your top three, tell your 1st choice they are your 1st choice. Cant go wrong, and no one can fault you for having not decided between 3 places the night before match lists are due, and programs (if they like you) will not thake the chance of loosing you just because you say they are 1 out of three, rather than number 1 for sure.
     
  40. Poety

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    2010, I also think you have great stats, so just about any program is gunna want you :)
     
  41. Anasazi23

    Anasazi23 Your Digital Ruler
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    This is true....by 'minions,' of course, I refer to my Righteous and regnant muliebral rulers.
    :D

    Oh yeah. By the way, PD's will ask you where you're ranking them so that they fill their spots. You'd be surprised how many decent to good programs get screwed by the match system when they "overrank." The match weighs heavily in the applicants favor. You'd be surprised how easy it is for a program to overshoot their list and wind up with empty spots. Somewhere on the psych forum is last years unfilled list. Don't just look at psychiatry. Check out other disciplines too. I know of people scrambling into pretty competitive anesthesia and surgical slots because of a PD overranking the applicants.

    For psychiatry and since I'm in NY, SUNY Stonybrook comes to mind...at least one unfilled slot last year - although it's not listed on scutwork's unfilled list. I could have swore it was listed as unfilled on the "official" list given to those who didn't match. It's a solid program that shouldn't have gone unfilled.

    Last year alone:
    Loyola
    Georgetown
    Tulane
    Harvard South Shore
     
  42. Hurricane

    Hurricane Senior Member
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    Re the game theory: I think BKN would be an excellent contestant on that new Deal or No Deal game show. :)

    I've had similar experiences. Am I supposed to reply back and tell them how I plan to rank them? Problem is, I don't know where I want to go yet. I like everywhere for different reasons. I have two in the running for #1, but still have 4 interviews to go. So I guess I will wait until my interviews are finished, and bring the Mr. along to second visits to the top 2-3. Hopefully by then I'll have a #1, or at least a top 3, then I guess I'll email the PD and tell them they're in my top 3. And for now I'll keep quiet, since I don't have anything useful to say. If I sent a reply now, it would just be a bunch of obsequious BS. Ugh, all of this protocol reminds me of wedding etiquette hell all over again!
     
  43. iheartpirates

    iheartpirates yarrrr!
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    I'm confused. We applicants can rank as many programs as we want to. Do the programs each have a limit to the number of applicants that they can rank?
     
  44. parvas24

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    20 is the number of programs the applicants can enter into the ROL for match.. beyond that I think NRMP charges an extra fee to list additional programs ...
    I think there is a flat rate with a limited number of applicants that a program can rank for the match ... also there would be additional charges for the program as well if they go beyond that limit .....
     
  45. iheartpirates

    iheartpirates yarrrr!
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    Ok. So programs would rather not spend that extra money and risk having unmatched spots? Wouldn't it make more sense to spend a little extra money, rank a few more applicants, and then avoid having to fill with the scramble?
     
  46. swanny

    swanny Program Director
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    I don't believe there is any limit to the number of applicants I can rank. I've ranked more than 20 without any extra cost. I rank all applicants that I would be happy to have in the training program, and I don't rank those that I don't want. I don't worry about whether the applicant likes our program best, second best or not at all. Ideally, the applicant won't rank my program if he/she doesn't want to come here-but will rank it somewhere on his/her list if he/she does.
     

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