Applying for Fellowship

Timeline for Fall Match

First year
Spring Discuss your interest in pursuing a fellowship with your advisor.

If possible, explore, then engage in QI and research/scholarly projects related to your subspecialty.

Consider a case report for Day of Scholarship.

Meet with your Pathway Director

Second year
Fall If possible, explore, then engage in QI and research/scholarly projects related to your subspecialty.

Talk to current fellows and faculty about your interests.

Remember, you mainly see the inpatient side of the subspecialty – be sure to ask what kinds of things faculty do when they are NOT assigned to clinical duty.

Spring If you have not already done so, meet with the Program Director for your subspecialty.

Prepare a poster for the DOP Day of Scholarship.

Early June Register on MyERAS

Start working on application.

Ask for letters of recommendation

Third year
Early July Fellowship applicants may apply to July application cycle programs.

(Have your application submitted by July 25th at the latest!)

Mid July Programs start receiving applications.
August Expect programs to contact you to set up interviews
September Prime month for interviews
Late Sept Match opens – you will need to register
October Prime month for interviews
Late November Rank order finalized
December Match results available for July application cycle programs.

Schedule a meeting with the Program Director in your subspecialty early in the process (even if you are not yet certain that subspecialty will be your final choice) to talk about the process, where to apply and how to strengthen your application.

Building a favorable application

Research/scholarly projects and QI: The top programs will expect that you will have started a scholarly project and have it well underway by the time you fill out your application end of second year. It is preferable, but not required, that the project be related to your subspecialty. Similarly, you are required to be involved in a QI project as a resident. If you are interested in a specific project or an idea, talk to faculty members or fellows to suggest ideas and help you get off your project the ground. If you don’t have an idea for a research project, talk to faculty or fellows about your interest in being involved and they will help get you started.

Look for opportunities to present your work at the DOP Day of Scholarship, the NC Pediatrics Society Meeting, or other regional or national meetings. The top programs will expect that you have taken a leadership role, written up your results in some form and perhaps have participated in more than one project. For both scholarly projects and QI, make sure to highlight your roles in your application and/or personal statement.

Spending a year as a chief resident can be worthwhile. Generally selection is seen as an honor and will mean the candidate is more seasoned and mature. Likewise, a year as a hospitalist, especially if it involves scholarly activity can be valuable. Spending more than a year as a hospitalist may not be optimal unless you can maintain high scholarly productivity. Be prepared to explain why you took a year or two before entering fellowship and why the experience will make you a better fellow in your personal statement.

Deciding where to apply

Geography: First decide where you are willing to live. Then get information from websites of training programs in those areas, ask faculty in the subspecialty about programs they recommend, and contact people from your residency program that are already training at the institutions (in any subspecialty) where you have interest. Carefully look at the requirements of the application process for each institution.

The application – hints

Start early!

Explain gaps in training either in your personal statement or in a comment section.

Clearly state your role in QI and research/scholarly projects but don’t overstate your involvement. It is OK to list a project that is still underway. Be careful about ‘proposed’ projects. If the project fails to get off the ground before you interview, it can be seen as a negative.

Volunteer activities – My recommendation is to concentrate on activities where you had a leadership role OR a substantive time commitment. Diluting these strong roles with too many less important volunteer activities can draw attention away from what you want the reader of your application to notice.

Outside interests: This helps the reader to know that you are well-rounded and give interviewers a subject to ask you about. Things like travel, hobbies, sports, music, and other interests and special life experiences can show whether you would be a nice person to have around.

Personal statement: Tell about yourself – what motivates you? What qualities have you demonstrated? What gives you passion? What do you think you want to get out of fellowship? Be yourself! Keep it personal, interesting, and short.

The best references are from people who worked with you closely and know your strengths well. One letter will be from the PD. At least one (preferably two) will be from within the subspecialty. A project mentor is another good choice.

Have someone else look at the finished product – No typos!

The interview

You can email or call once to make sure your application is complete and to express why you are interested in that program. Don’t ask if you are being considered for an interview. When contacted for an interview, call or email back quickly and pick one of the dates being offered. If you have to change the date or cancel, do so as far in advance as possible. Canceling an interview shortly before it is scheduled is not fair to the program or to the other applicants.

Plan to arrive the night before, so travel delays are not a factor. Get a good night’s sleep. Show up on time. Be courteous to EVERYONE you encounter!

Interview: It is very helpful to a bit of homework and know something about the interests of those with whom you will meet. Be prepared and look enthusiastic. If you did a research or scholarly project, state what you did in the project clearly and succinctly and understand the background and details of the project. Have some pertinent questions about the program ready and know clearly why you are applying there. You may ask a few logistical questions about things like on call schedules, but don’t dwell too much on the work aspects of the fellowship.

Try to get a sense of the culture of the place. Will the culture match your personality and work habits? How is family and work-life balanced? Are the fellows haggard and dour? Do people seem to like each other?

Writing thank you notes afterward is a nice touch. Do include the administrator who set up your interview.