Attributes of successfully matched versus unmatched obstetrics and gynecology fellowship applicants

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We sought to determine the attributes of successful and unsuccessful fellowship applicants of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology Inc (ABOG)-approved fellowship programs and to identify salient differences between subspecialty applicants.


Anonymous questionnaires were completed by obstetrics and gynecology fellowship applicants using a web-based survey after match day of 2012. Fellowship applicant practices were evaluated and included importance of prematch preparations, interview process, networking practices, and postmatch reflections.


A total of 327 fellowship applicants applying to programs accredited by the ABOG were surveyed, and 200 completed the survey (61% response rate). A comparison between prematch educational preparations pursued by applicants showed that matched applicants were more likely to come from allopathic medical schools (94%), attain membership in Alpha Omega Alpha and/or Phi Beta Kappa (27%), and receive a letter of recommendation from a nationally known subspecialist (77%) than unmatched applicants (P = .03, .005, and .007, respectively). Applicants to reproductive endocrinology and infertility were more likely than female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery to be members of academic honor societies (P = .008). Research publication was common among matched subspecialist applicants, with over half publishing 1–3 peer-reviewed manuscripts prior to matching. Applicants to gynecologic oncology did more visiting electives than any other specialty applicants (P < .001).


Successful obstetrics and gynecology fellowship applicants have superior prematch preparations, strong letters of recommendation from leaders in their field of interest, and multiple research publications. These data will guide applicants to a critical self-analysis before deciding to apply.

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