Thursday, June 18, 2020

Pediatric Residency Series: Preparing for Fellowships

Welcome to this post of Pediatric Residency Series. In this post, we will talk about fellowships including some factors that can help you in getting the fellowship you want:

Mentors / Research / Conferences:
Please click here for a detailed description of these points.

Know your timeline:
For most Pediatric specialties, ERAS opens early June, you can upload the needed documents till mid July. Interviews in August, September and possibly early October. Finalizing Rank Order List in November. Match results around mid December. You apply at the end of your 2nd year/start of your 3rd year and gets the results at the middle of your 3rd year.
Check ERAS for fellowships timeline and any other updates.
Letters of recommendation (LORs):
LoRs are very essential and have a tremendous impact on your fellowship application. Choose your letter writers carefully. Letters from big names and titles are amazing but are not as good as a personalized letter from another doctor who knows you personally and who has worked with you for a long period of time. LoRs are like a testimony of your worth to the new program. Remember to ask your colleagues about good LoR writers, also remember to approach the potential letter writers politely. Give your writer an ample amount of time to write your letter. It would be great to approach your potential letter writer two months before the application deadline. Whenever ERAS opens, send your personalized ERAS LoR request to the writer so he/she can upload your waived LoR to your account. You will need 3-4 letters for your fellowship applications; one of them will be from your Program Director (PD). Letter writers are not limited to people who supervised you clinically but they can include your research mentors too.

Personal Statement (PS):
Your Personal Statement is your way to express yourself informally after letting your CV show your formal side. Be sure to have a catchy start. Take your time in preparing your PS. Proofread it and make sure it has no grammatical errors. PS can make a PD curious to meet you!

Rotations whether electives or less preferably observerships are your opportunity to prove yourself. They become even more important if you are doing your residency in a small program with a modest patient load. When you are doing an away rotation, you are being compared to the residents in the other program so do your best to impress. You can get amazing LoRs in your away rotations that can be so helpful in your fellowship application. You may also match in a program that you rotated at.

Make it a habit to read one small thing about your desired specialty as frequent as you can. You can not imagine how much info you can have just by reading small things over a long period of time. However, be careful, do not let that interfere with your normal residency studying schedule. Ask your seniors/attendings about the available study material (books, articles, videos..etc).

Choosing programs:
It is advisable to have a checklist for the things you want in your desired fellowship program. Do you want a heavy research program? Does the program have the advanced fellowships that you want? Would you like to live in a city? 
Develop your own approach, do your own extensive research and of course ask seniors and mentors about their input. The interview day itself can either make you want that program more or can ring a bell and let your drop that program to a lower position in your ranking list.
FRIEDA ranks programs per reputation/research output/visa sponsorship..etc. However, make sure to check the website for each program to get the most updated data always since Frieda may not be uptodate all the time.

Comment below if you feel like anything can be added to this post :)

- Murad

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