One of our top concerns for ranking residency programs was whether the program was 'family-friendly' or not. With four children, my husband felt strongly that he did not want to be away more than necessary. We were also concerned about the program's standing, and the cost of living in the area. We also wanted to be near family, if possible.
In addition, our personalities played into the decision. We both like to live in or near a big city. We would rather live in a smaller home and be close to museums, the zoo, ballets, a university, etc., than have a huge house and backyard in a smaller town. My husband was diligent during interviews last year to ask current residents in the programs regarding cost of living, hours, and information about the area.
Most importantly, there was a ton of prayer involved in how we ranked the various programs, and we felt good about our final list.
We ended up matching at a program in a big city. We were ecstatic because we would also be near family and it is a super cool city. We do not like the idea of a commute though, and because cost of living is a huge issue with four children, we are carefully studying the neighborhoods close to the program's hospitals.