Applicant FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions by Prospective Fellows

1.  Who should use this site?
2.  How do I use this site?
3.  What is the difference between adding a program to my list and confirming it?
4.  I don’t have all the information asked for in the application. What should I do?
5.  Who can see my application and when can they see it?
6.  Is there a fee to apply for fellowship programs?
7.  Where do I send my CV?
8.  Where do I send my letters of recommendation?
9.  How many Letters of Recommendation are required?
10. How will I know if my Letters of Recommendation (LORs) were received?
11.  When will programs download my LORs?
12. Can I see the Fellowships that are available without signing up to use the site?
13.  I have an account on the web site but I do not see the “Add to List” button in the Fellowship Directories.
14.  How does the matching process work?
15.  How do I recover my username and password?
16.  I have my username and password, but the site won’t let me log in. What’s wrong?
17.  What other requirements should I be aware of?
18.  How do I find the accreditation status of a program?
19.  Can I participate in multiple matching processes?
20.  Can I apply to programs after the application deadline?
21.  What does it mean if a program has been withdrawn during the application and process?
22. Is there a list of suggested questions applicants should ask at a fellowship interview?
23. Will I have access to my application and matching process information after the application and Fellowship Council matching process cycle has concluded?

1. WHO SHOULD USE THIS SITE?

General Surgery residents and others who wish to apply for an Advanced GI MIS, Advanced GI, Flexible Endoscopy, Bariatric, HPB and/or a non-ACGME Advanced Colorectal and Advanced Thoracic fellowship position.

If you are an international applicant, you should review the International Medical Graduates page for appropriate steps to take before applying.

2. HOW DO I USE THIS SITE?

If you are an international applicant, you should review the International Medical Graduates page for appropriate steps to take before applying.

Please note: There are two separate application and matching processes-to review the application and date of announcement for fellowship matches, click here. :
1. Matching process for surgical fellowships in Non-ACGME Advanced Colorectal and Thoracic surgery
2. Matching process for surgical fellowships in Advanced Gastrointestinal (GI), Bariatric, Flexible Endoscopic, Hepato-Pancreato-Billary, and Advanced GI Minimally Invasive Surgery

 

To get started, the first step you should take is to create an account and your universal fellowship application. This will be available once the site is open for applications. Following the link to apply, you will need to carefully review the Terms and Conditions and check each box to certify that you have read and agree to all of the statements. Once you have created an account, you will then be directed to log into your account. Click on the payment information link where you will need to enter credit card information for the card to be charged the application fees. Please note you should submit a valid credit/debit card in order to begin your application. Your card is not charged until on or after the application deadline.

Once your payment type has been confirmed, you will then be prompted to click on the link to return to the applicant page. If successful, you should see the Welcome page. You may proceed to complete your universal application.

On the Welcome screen, the first option is to Create/Edit/Review Universal Fellowship Application. Selecting that option will begin the application process. You will see the following sections: Manage Personal Information, Manage Eligibility Status, Manage Medical License Information, Manage Exam History, Manage Education History, Manage Letters of Recommendation, Manage Operative History and Manage Statements and Other Information. You should fill out the information on each section as completely as possible and click the “Save & Continue” button located at the bottom of each page. If you go to another page or leave this site without clicking the “Save & Continue” button, all information on that page will be lost. Please pay attention to any notes that appear on the right of the screen that will give information on the fields. All dates must be entered as MM/DD/YYYY. When you see a text box with multiple lines, you should be able to copy and paste information into those fields from MS Word. If the formatting appears unusual in the View version, it may be due to the use of “styles” in your original document in which case you may consider pasting plain text instead.

There is an optional Upload Photo section on the application as well as a way to change your username and/or password. You may also upload additional documents such as a CV, ECFMG Certificate, Test Scores, etc.

When you have completed all of the sections of the application, you are ready to apply to fellowship programs. Your application is now complete and you may go to the Directory of Fellowships and begin reviewing Fellowships to apply to. To edit your application or manage your list of programs, all you need to do is log back into your account upon your next visit.

Browse Directory of Fellowships and Manage List of Applications
You may access the list of programs in two ways. In Browse mode, you are presented with a list of programs in tabular format. 15 programs are displayed per page. Underneath the table are navigation buttons that will advance/rewind the view by 15 records or jump to the beginning/end of the list. The Program Names can be clicked to show the full detail of that program.

In Search mode, you are presented with the option to do several searches: by type of fellowship and by state/province. You will also be able to utilize a Filter Mode for Inclusive (OR) or Exclusive (AND). Inclusive (OR) will display programs which match any of the criteria selected. For example, if you select Advanced GI and New Jersey, it will display all Advanced GI programs and all programs in New Jersey. Exclusive (AND) will only display programs which meet all of the criteria selected. For example, if you select Advanced GI and New Jersey, it will display only Advanced GI programs in New Jersey.

You may click on the program name to review information about the program. Be sure to check all of the sections in the listing including General Program Information, Eligibility, Fellowship Opportunities, Program Director, Case Loads and Contributing Information. You should also be sure to review the program’s accreditation status, including length of accreditation and type. This is available in the Program Accreditation Status page. Applicants should check this page prior to confirming applications and should follow up with programs during the application and interview process as accreditation status may change.

To apply, you should click on the Add to My List button in the Fellowship Opportunities section. This will add the position to your list. For programs which offer both a  1 year and a 2 year fellowship position, be sure to apply to each position you are interested in. Applying to one position does not mean that you have automatically applied to both. Under the Fellowship Opportunities section you must select Add to My List for each position you wish to apply to.

Under the Manage Application section, you will see a list of programs on your list. You have the option to click on Confirm Application-only do this if your application information is complete. You may also remove the program from your list by clicking on the Remove link. Once you have confirmed a program, your application will be visible to programs that you confirmed. Therefore if you have not yet completed your application, the program will be able to see that.

PLEASE NOTE: Before confirming a program on your list, you will receive a warning indicating whether or not your eligibility status matches the program’s eligibility requirements. If you confirm a program where you do not match the eligibility, you acknowledge that you are responsible for making sure that you will fulfill the state and institutional requirements to practice surgery as required by each program that you list on your final rank submission. You acknowledge that this is your responsibility and will fully comply with these criteria.

PRINT YOUR APPLICATION FOR YOUR FUTURE REFERENCE/FILES. Applications will only be available through the application and matching process. They will be archived at the time of the next application and matching process and may not be accessed after archiving.

3. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ADDING A PROGRAM TO MY LIST AND CONFIRMING IT?

When you are logged in and are using the Directory of Fellowships, you will see an “Add to List” button under the Fellowship Opportunities section. By clicking this button, you add that Program to your Personal List where you may later confirm your desire to apply for the program. For programs which offer both a 1 year and a 2 year position, be sure to apply to each position separately. Applying to one position does not automatically apply you to the other position.

The FC web site uses a two-step process to select fellowship programs you wish to apply to. In the first step, you add the programs you are interested in to your Personal List. The second step requires you to confirm the programs you want your application to be submitted to from your Personal List page. Once you have confirmed a program, your application will be visible to programs that you confirmed. Application fees apply only for the programs you select AND confirm.

PLEASE NOTE: Before confirming a program on your list, you will receive a warning indicating whether or not your eligibility status matches the program’s eligibility requirements. If you confirm a program where you do not match the eligibility, you acknowledge that you are responsible for making sure that you will fulfill the state and institutional requirements to practice surgery as required by each program that you list on your final rank submission. You acknowledge that this is your responsibility and will fully comply with these criteria.

4. I DON’T HAVE ALL OF THE INFORMATION ASKED FOR IN THE APPLICATION. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

If you don’t have a particular piece of information needed for the application and that field is required (you will get an error message if the field is not filled out), you can use any text in that field to bypass the requirement. However, this is not recommended for reasons explained below.

If the field is not required, you may leave it blank and continue but please remember to come back and edit your application to add the information at a later date.

5. WHO CAN SEE MY APPLICATION AND WHEN CAN THEY SEE IT?

Your universal fellowship application is not visible to anyone until you select AND confirm a program to send your application to. Once you have confirmed a program, that program can view your application.

Please keep the above in mind if you leave any portion of your application incomplete. If you select and confirm a program and your application has placeholder text or missing information, it is possible for a program to see it in that state. If you update your information, the program will have the ability to view it but they will not be notified that a change has been made. You will be responsible for notifying the program directly of that change.

PLEASE NOTE: Before confirming a program on your list, you will receive a warning indicating whether or not your eligibility status matches the program’s eligibility requirements. If you confirm a program where you do not match the eligibility, you acknowledge that you are responsible for making sure that you will fulfill the state and institutional requirements to practice surgery as required by each program that you list on your final rank submission. You acknowledge that this is your responsibility and will fully comply with these criteria.

6. IS THERE A FEE TO APPLY FOR FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMS?

Yes, for each matching process, you may apply for up to 20 programs for $200. After the first 20 programs, you may apply for up to 10 additional programs for $100. This fee only applies to programs you select AND confirm. For example, you are allowed to select every available program for your personal list at no fee. As soon as you CONFIRM a single program, that counts against your first 20 and you will be invoiced a minimum of $200. If you confirm your application to 34 programs, you will be invoiced $400 ($200 for the first 20, $100 for programs #21-30, $100 for programs #31-34).  If you decide to apply to both the matching processes, you must pay the fees for each process. You need to supply a credit card before you can use this site. Additional information is available on the Fees page.

7. WHERE DO I SEND MY CV?

There is an upload option in the application where you may upload your CV.

8. WHERE DO I SEND MY LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION?

Please have all of your letters of recommendation sent to:

The Fellowship Council
11300 West Olympic Blvd, Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90064

fax: 310-437-0585

email (PDF preferred): LOR@fellowshipcouncil.org

Please make sure that your name appears prominently on the letter of recommendation and that the Fellowship Council Matching Process is referenced. When you fill out your fellowship application, you should provide the contact information for each of your letter writers to help us match up the letters when they are received.

For the matching process for surgical fellowships in Advanced Gastrointestinal (GI), Bariatric, Flexible Endoscopic, Hepato-Pancreato-Billary, and Advanced GI Minimally Invasive Surgery, letters of recommendation should be received by the Fellowship Council office by the application deadline. Applicants are encouraged to submit a minimum of 3 letters but should not submit more than 5.

Please note that all letters of recommendation are visible to all programs when uploaded. The Fellowship Council does not allow for specific letters to be tailored to specific programs but they may be tailored to each matching process (the matching process for surgical fellowships in Advanced Gastrointestinal (GI), Bariatric, Flexible Endoscopic, Hepato-Pancreato-Billary, and Advanced GI Minimally Invasive Surgery and the matching process for surgical fellowships in Non-ACGME Advanced Colorectal and Thoracic surgery). Letters may be addressed to “Dear Fellowship Council Program Director” or “Dear Fellowship Program Director” and should be on letterhead.

9. HOW MANY LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION ARE REQUIRED?

The Fellowship Council recommends that applicants have at least 3 and a maximum of 5 Letters of Recommendation to supplement their applications. Please note it is not mandatory to have 3 letters in order to complete your application online though it is recommended that letters are received earlier than later.

10. HOW WILL I KNOW IF MY LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION (LORs) WERE RECEIVED?

As the Fellowship Council office receives your Letters of Recommendation, they will be uploaded to the website as part of your account. Once they are uploaded into the system they will be visible to programs on the Letters of Recommendation tab of the Universal Fellowship Application. Once your letters are received/uploaded, the status will appear as Yes in your application. If the office has not received your letters, the letter writer and letter status will appear as No in your application.

11. WHEN WILL PROGRAMS DOWNLOAD MY LORs?

Each program will choose when they prefer to download Letters of Recommendation for each of their applicants; it varies from program to program. But as soon as your letters are uploaded to your application, they are visible to all programs on your confirmed program list.

12. CAN I SEE THE FELLOWSHIPS THAT ARE AVAILABLE WITHOUT SIGNING UP TO USE THE SITE?

Yes. You may view the listings in the Directory of Fellowships without signing up or logging in, but you will not be able to apply for any of the fellowships. All fellowships that are listed on this site will only take applications made through this site.

13. I CREATED AN ACCOUNT AND APPLICATION, BUT I DON’T SEE THE “ADD TO LIST” BUTTONS WHEN USING THE DIRECTORY OF FELLOWSHIPS. WHAT’S WRONG?

Most likely, you are not logged in to your account. Please make sure you are logged in to the system in order to use the Add to List and Confirm Application functions.

If you are logged in but still cannot see the buttons, please contact the FC Webmaster for technical support at (310-437-0555 x 148).

PLEASE NOTE: Before confirming a program on your list, you will receive a warning indicating whether or not your eligibility status matches the program’s eligibility requirements. If you confirm a program where you do not match the eligibility, you acknowledge that you are responsible for making sure that you will fulfill the state and institutional requirements to practice surgery as required by each program that you list on your final rank submission. You acknowledge that this is your responsibility and will fully comply with these criteria.

14. HOW DOES THE MATCHING PROCESS WORK?

The matching process for all programs is managed by the Fellowship Council. For the matching process site user guide, a list of frequently asked questions, and the link for the Fellowship Council matching process site, visit the Matching Process Information page.   As a reminder, it is allowable to apply through different matching processes. However, applicants may only certify a rank order list for ONE matching process for matching processes with concurrent rank/announcement of fellowship matches deadlines. For example, you may not certify a rank order list in a matching process through both the NRMP and the Fellowship Council if there is a possibility that you will match in both matching processes. If an applicant does not match through another matching process PRIOR to the FC rank order deadline(please note, it must be before the rank order deadline, not the announcement of fellowship matches date), then they may certify a FC rank order list.

15. HOW DO I RECOVER MY USERNAME AND PASSWORD?

If you forget your account information, there is a form to recover them on the Login/Create Account page. You need to use the email address that you created the account with to recover information. You may change this email address by editing your application and changing the email address that shows up on page 1 of the application.

If you have also forgotten the email address, please contact the FC Webmaster for technical support by email or by phone (310-437-0555 x 148).

16. I HAVE MY USERNAME AND PASSWORD, BUT THE SITE WON’T LET ME LOG IN.

When you log in, the site attempts to place a cookie on your browser that will identify you for the duration of your session. If your browser or your institution prevents cookies for security reasons, you will have difficulty using this site. You may wish to move to a computer outside of the network to continue this process.

17. WHAT OTHER REQUIREMENTS SHOULD I BE AWARE OF?

For International Medical Graduates: Please refer to the International Medical Graduates Page. All applicants should review the directory listings carefully and discuss with programs during interviews what requirements they have including any specific requirements needed for state licenses.

PLEASE NOTE: Before confirming a program on your list, you will receive a warning indicating whether or not your eligibility status matches the program’s eligibility requirements. If you confirm a program where you do not match the eligibility, you acknowledge that you are responsible for making sure that you will fulfill the state and institutional requirements to practice surgery as required by each program that you list on your final rank submission. You acknowledge that this is your responsibility and will fully comply with these criteria.

Medical Licensure:
For additional information on state medical boards and licensure, visit the following website: American Medical Association (AMA) – Links to State Medical Boards

ECFMG AND USMLE: For information about the ECFMG, visit the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates website at www.ecfmg.org.

To learn how you can sign up for the US-MLE exam, contact the National Board of Medical Examiners at www.usmle.org.

National Board Exams-Canada:
The Canadian Equivalent of the National Board Exams is the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada which is equivalent to the American Board of Surgery exams. Visit http://rcpsc.medical.org/ for more information on Credentials and Examinations.

ABSITE
This is the American Board of Surgery In-Training Examination which is offered annually to general surgery residency programs and is designed to measure the progress by residents in the areas of basic science and the management of clinical problems related to general surgery. For more information on the ABSITE, visit: http://www.absurgery.org/default.jsp?certabsite

18. HOW DO I FIND THE ACCREDITATION STATUS OF A PROGRAM?

The program accreditation status is listed on the program directory listing and is displayed both on the Accreditation tab and the Fellowship Opportunities tab. The status is also available on the Program Accreditation Status Page to find the designations of each program. Note: The status of programs are continually updated so if you interview with a program be sure to ask about their accreditation status as the status may have changed from the time you applied to the time that you interviewed. If the program is new it will not have an official designation on this page and will be listed as Pending. In this case, the designation named in the directory is the official designation until they are accredited by the Fellowship Council.

19. CAN I PARTICIPATE IN MULTIPLE MATCHING PROCESSES?

Applicants may apply and interview in multiple matching process. However, applicants may only certify a rank order list for one matching process which have concurrent rank order deadlines/announcement of fellowship matches dates. Applicants who accept a position through another national matching process or by agreement outside the Fellowship Council matching process must withdraw PRIOR to the Fellowship Council rank order list deadline. Failure to do so is a violation of the Fellowship Council Matching Service Participation Agreement (FCMSPA), which all applicants agree to upon signing onto the matching process site. The violation will be investigated by the Fellowship Council. Applicants who elect to participate in the Fellowship Council matching process and certify a rank order list are prohibited from accepting a position through any other national matching service or by agreement outside the matching process after the rank order list deadline. For additional information, visit the Matching Process Information page. For additional information on the Violations Policy, visit the Matching Process Rules and Regulations page.

20. CAN I APPLY TO PROGRAMS AFTER THE APPLICATION DEADLINE?

NO. Once the application deadline has passed it is not possible to change a confirmation list. Applicants must review their program list carefully to ensure that all programs which they wish to apply to were confirmed.  Programs with 1 and 2 year positions: Applicants must ensure that they have applied to BOTH positions if they wish to apply to both 1 and 2 year positions at the same institution (for example: Program X has 2 Thoracic positions, a 1-year position and a 2-year position). If an applicant only applied to the 1-year position, they would not be able to rank the 2-year position. Both positions must be confirmed.

21. WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF A PROGRAM HAS BEEN WITHDRAWN DURING THE APPLICATION AND MATCHING PROCESS?

Programs are withdrawn during the process due to a variety of factors. This may include closure of the program due to a loss of Program Director, funding, major faculty complement, etc. Withdrawn programs will be removed from an applicant’s confirmation list. Applicants are charged on/after the application deadline therefore withdrawn programs prior to the application deadline will not incur a charge.

22. IS THERE A LIST OF SUGGESTED QUESTIONS APPLICANTS SHOULD ASK AT A FELLOWSHIP INTERVIEW?

Smart Questions to Ask at Your Fellowship Interview

23. WILL I HAVE ACCESS TO MY APPLICATION AND MATCHING PROCESS INFORMATION AFTER THE APPLICATION AND FELLOWSHIP COUNCIL MATCHING PROCESS CYCLE HAS CONCLUDED?

Applications will only be available through the current application and matching process. They will be archived at the time of the next application and matching process and may not be accessed after archiving. BE SURE TO PRINT A COPY OF YOUR APPLICATION AND MATCHING INFORMATION (E.G. RANK ORDER LIST) FOR YOUR FUTURE REFERENCE/FILES.