A SUGGESTED TIMELINE FOR POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP APPLICTIONS
March and Beyond
- Update your curriculum vitae.
- Consider your personal and professional strengths and weaknesses. How can you use these to guide your goals for fellowship?
- Consider how long you are willing to be on fellowship. (Most clinical fellowships are one or two years (two years in the case of Clinical Neuropsychology and most Rehabilitation Psychology fellowships); however, research fellowships may be longer depending on the area.)
- Create a list of your goals for fellowship year(s).
- Begin to search fellowship programs. The national APPIC directory is a good place to start.
- Make a rough list of the programs that interest you and appear to be a fit for your needs.
- Seek advice on the process from trusted friends/classmates. Discuss with your supervisors specific goals you have to make yourself marketable for internship.
- Talk to your internship training director. Discuss the possibility of completing your areas of greatest interest early in your internship so that you will be able to discuss these experiences in your fellowship interviews.
- Consider potential letter of recommendation writers. Be mindful of finding a diversity of writers who know you well. You will definitely want at least one letter from a current internship supervisor/training director.
- Join the appropriate listservs to get the latest fellowship updates.
- Begin saving money for fellowship interview travel.
- Begin to narrow down your list of programs. Learn about each in detail and weight carefully whether they fit your needs/goals. At this stage, quality is much more important than quantity.
- Begin to craft rough drafts of your cover letters.
- Schedule a meeting with each of your letter writers. Ensure that they have a good understanding of your fellowship goals. Provide them with a polished copy of your CV.
- Complete a polished copy of your letter and list of desired programs. Tailor your cover letters to match the unique features of each program.
- Provide your letter writers with a copy of your cover letter and finalized list of your desired programs. Address any changes in your fellowship goals that my have evolved over your internship. Ask for feedback. (You may need to start this process earlier in October if your deadlines are earlier.)
- You may also wish to ask a trusted friend/classmate or two review your materials. Be judicious in who you ask to review your application materials. More is not necessarily always better.
- Double-check your application deadlines. They may range from November through the end of January.
- Proofread all of your applications (at least twice) and begin submitting your applications.
- Continue submitting your applications and prepare for interview offers. Most interview offers will come through email, although some training directors will contact you by phone. Keep a calendar handy so you know your dates and don't double-book yourself.
- Prepare interview questions and review sample interview questions. VA's often use Performance-Based Interviewing (PBI), which ask you to describe your past experiences in particular clinical situations and how you handled the situations.
- Consider doing a practice interview with a supervisor or someone else with experience in interviewing prospective postdoctoral fellows.
- Make sure your interview clothes are up for another season of travel.
- Interview invitations will start rolling in. Some interviews may even start in mid-late January. Be prepared to roll with the ambiguous timelines. You may receive an invitation to interview with one site before deadlines to other fellowships.
- In some cases, you may receive an offer before you interview at other sites. However, sites have tried to curtail this by instituting a Uniform Notification Date, usually in late February. Nonetheless, be prepared for a potential offer and have an idea of where sites rank for you so that you can make an informed decision.
- Be sure to practice good self-care throughout the interview process. Practice good stress management and lean on your support system when needed.
- Complete your interviews. After each interview, be sure to take good notes on things you liked/disliked to help prioritize your preferred sites.
- Although there is not a formal ranking process (except for in clinical neuropsychology), it will be helpful to have an informal ranking list for yourself.
- Uniform Notification Date occurs in late February. Although not all sites participate, additional information about UND can be found here.
- Offers may come in through phone or email. You are not required to officially accept an offer on-the-spot; however, sites will expect a timely response, ranging between one and seven days. It may be helpful to discuss your options with your training director. Sites recognize that there are many professional and personal factors that go into selecting a postdoctoral fellowship. Identifying these factors for yourself ahead of time will help ease the decision process for you.
March and Beyond
- Offers may continue to roll in through March and April. Additionally, more postdoctoral fellowships will become available through late-breaking funding. If you have not secured a postdoctoral fellowship and would like to, do not despair. Calls for fellowships extend well into the spring, summer, and beyond.