Fellowship Match Insight

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2 weeks 2 days ago #38843 by bonesthugsnharmony
Hi all, can anyone offer any insight into what can be done to optimize chances of matching at a top fellowship program (coming from a mid-tier residency)? Curious to hear how people matched at top fellowship programs from less nationally-renowned residency programs, since residency reputation does seem to play a role in fellowship match.

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1 week 2 days ago #38845 by spineybone
Replied by spineybone on topic Fellowship Match Insight
A little insight into my profile:
Went to residency ranked probably between 50-75 , so solidly mid tier.
You will most likely get rejections from some programs based on that fact alone. I matched into what is pretty well regarded as a top 5 spine fellowship and it was my top choice. The two ways to make your application stand out is to have your attendings write you some of the best letters they’ve ever written and to do a pathologic amount of research. If you work your ass off and are a somewhat normal person during residency that should take care of the letters. Then I’d recommend being highly involved with a minimum of 5-10 research projects and be at least near submitting them by the time of your application.

I was the lead/corresponding author on around 10 projects where I basically did the entire project and then was peripherally involved in about 5 more.
Everyones application is different but that worked for me.

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1 week 2 days ago - 1 week 2 days ago #38846 by johndaly
Replied by johndaly on topic Fellowship Match Insight
Agree with above. At a mid-tier residency as well and matched into the top fellowship in my subspecialty. Key is sparkling letters (endorsing good operative skill, ability to work with others, normal person), tons of research where you are the primary researcher and phone calls by your mentors during interview season. Remember that even if you are not a fancy residency program, you may have faculty members that are leaders in their field and have connections to the top fellowships. People at bigger name residencies may have an easier "in" to the top fellowships due to the power of their mentor's phone calls, but if you work hard and are productive academically, you will have a shot. Phone calls/communication by mentors to fellowship programs does play a pretty big role though, so just be aware of that. If your program does not have well connected faculty in your desired subspecialty, try to go to meetings/courses where you can meet academic leaders in the field and that can help too. Good luck.
Last edit: 1 week 2 days ago by johndaly.

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