This is sad, I wish I didn't have to post this. I was an applicant to the PICU fellowship this year. I applied >20 places on the East Coast. Got 9 interviews. Went on 8. Ranked 7. Two were top 10 programs and the rest were mid-tier, good places I would have been happy at. And I did not match. It's truly a really sad blow. Now I'm confused...I would like to try for one year PICU hospitalist or Heme/Onc hospitalist position at a nearby big children's center and reapply. But I don't know how I can change my application before re-applying. I am a third year resident and will only just have started the job (if I get one) as applications go out. Also, I know that I will be re-applying to many of the same institutions. Is it appropriate to email program director's I interviewed with for feedback? My home institution does not have its own fellowship program. My mentors here have told me that I am a victim of the numbers game and not solely my application. Our chief resident also applied in PICU to similar places and maybe that might have been a detriment to me.I thought interviews themselves went well. Does it look bad to reapply as an unmatched applicant? Do I mention it in my new application? Does it matter what I do in my gap year? There are open fellowship positions in another field that is tempting but I'm not sure I'm ready to give up on the PICU dream yet. Any advice, words of encouragement, words of motivation, or thoughts to help me as I move forward would be appreciated. Thank you.
Try not to worry too much. Make a game plan for your next moves, consider the advice by the smarties posting above, think outside the box, and don't forget to enjoy life every day!
I had nearly the exact same scenario happen to me, and things couldn't have worked out better in the end. I applied for peds cards fellowship, then as a 2nd year peds resident. I received 15-20 interview invites, i went to 10 interviews and ranked 6 programs. I didn't rank programs in locations my wife wasn't willing to move to. Come match day - I didn't match. I was in disbelief. I felt numb for days, felt that my future career as a cardiologist was never going to happen. I thought about doing research to improve my application, and working as a cvicu hospitalist. I didn't see how if I applied 1 year later, my application would be any better. I realized that if I reapplied again to peds cards in 1-2 years, the chance of the same scenario repeating itself was high. That got me thinking, am I sure I picked the right speciality? I began to come to terms with the fact that a big part of the problem was that I wasn't willing to compromise on location and live anywhere (given location restrictions on my wife's career). This would only be harder when I applied for actual cardiology jobs. Those stories I heard from peds cards fellows on the interview trail about the difficult job market started to sink in.
I changed gears, seriously considering other specialties and settled on neonatology. There was no good reason I had to be a cardiologist. Just a few months after not matching, I applied to neonatology during July of my 3rd year of residency. I received interview invites at essentially every program. I matched at my 2nd choice. I couldn't be happier with the speciality and my future job prospects.
Keep your head up. It'll work out.