Competitive fellowships in good locations?

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When in Rome
5+ Year Member
Apr 5, 2011
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What are the factors that help you get into good fellowships in good locations? Do they look at previous board scores?Place you did residency? step 3? letters of rec? Are there other factors I do not know about that have weight when applying to these places? Also, people always say do your residency in a place you want to practice afterwards regardless of how good the program is. It seems logical to me that a better residency will land you a better fellowship which would then place you in proximity to a desired location to stay and live. Am I wrong about this?

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Delightfully Tacky
15+ Year Member
Dec 9, 2004
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I would say LORs are most important, but really because that's a surrogate way of saying who you know. If a big wig from your residency can vouch for you, then that will go a long way in getting you a fellowship. I'd put your residency as second most important, particularly if a fellowship has taken a former resident(s) from your program. Those people will have established a reputation that gives you a foot in the door. And, obviously, these two are related, because having big wigs on faculty adds to your program's reputation. I'll also add that this is probably more true of the non-match fellowships, which more closely approximate a normal job search, in my estimation.

This whole location thing is convoluted and difficult to distill. Yes, in a broad sense, a better residency will get you better fellowships and open more employment opportunities. But it doesn't make sense to go across the country for a better residency when the one in your city of choice is only marginally worse. Conversely, nor would I choose the local program if there were obvious problems just because I wanted to live there after training. Because almost everyone now subspecializes and nearly everyone's job search occurs during fellowship, then that's the point at which you want to focus more on geography.