Fellowships in health administration have been the gold standard for students throughout the past 50 years. Students from all across the country apply to hospital fellowship programs in hopes of getting a crash course lesson on hospital administration. Healthcare administration fellowships are obviously extremely competitive, but if you do you apply strategically you can successfully obtain a fellowship. The goal of this post is to help you understand the best way to apply to Health Administration fellowship programs and just generally the best ways to approach the whole process. Hopefully this post will provide you with the tools necessary to attain one of these coveted hospital administration fellowships.
First, you need to understand the purpose of the fellowships. You need to understand both generally and specifically with an individual fellowship. For example generally you need to understand that these healthcare administration fellowships are here so that the hospitals or healthcare organizations can continue training new students for the future of their organization. These fellowships are challenging, but they will also be extremely rewarding for you and the rest of your career.
You also need to pay attention to the specifics of the fellowship program. Some healthcare administration fellowships only focus on a certain areas such as operations, quality, or governmental affairs. Other Health Administration fellowships allow you to work for 2 years and receive projects from many different departments. So, from the beginning it is extremely important to understand your own goals so that you can understand the fellowship programs you will be applying to. The importance of generally understanding the process and specifically understanding the individual fellowship programs is extremely important and should not be overlooked.
Preparation for Healthcare Administration Fellowships
Second, you need to be prepared. Most students do not realize that they need to be prepared for fellowship programs from the first day they walk into their health administration program. It is fairly obvious that students need to maintain good grades. For example, most Health Administration fellowship programs have a minimum GPA of 3.0. So, I believe that every student needs to address the commitment to their grades from day 1.
Beyond grades though, being prepared truly includes understanding the process of getting a Health Administration fellowship. Most of the time, your graduate program will be 2 years. Your health administration fellowship application will nearly always begin halfway through your second year. In fact, many will be due at the very beginning of your second year. The point is, beyond getting good grades you need to be aware that you will be applying to these programs over your first summer. So generally from a timing perspective, you need to be prepared.
Professors and Work Experience
Third, you need to understand how your professors and work experience will impact your opportunity to get a healthcare administration fellowship. Your professors are extremely important in this process. The reason that professors are so important is because they cannot only write letters of recommendation for you but they will also be able to get you in contact with people that can make decisions. This is not always the case, but at the very least you will want to build a great relationship with your professors so that they can advocate on your behalf. When it comes to work experience, the biggest part of your application is that you need to show that you are qualified and show promise for the organization.
This can be done in multiple ways. First, you can easily go out and just simply try to find a place to get jobs. However, most of the time you will not have the luxury of choosing your best position. So, it is important to show other strengths when it comes to work experience. You can do this by showing volunteer programs that you participate in, community boards, and student organizations. Even if you do not have much work experience, you need to put your best foot forward.
To get the ideal position, it is important that you would have at least one position where you had responsibility with in a hospital. However, if you do not, make sure that you highlight your other strengths in your application. One of the best things you can do to strengthen your application is to make sure that you have done all that you could possibly do during that first year. This includes taking advantage of work opportunities, taking advantage of guest speakers, and networking in the community properly. Even if your fellowship will not be in the same city where you go to school, often the people you meet during that first year might be able to point you in the right direction or suggest someone in a different area to contact for a fellowship position. Above all, you need to remember that your professors and your work experience are extremely important to the application itself.
Finally, you need to make sure that you are organized during the application process. This means that during the end of your first year you need to gather a list of all Healthcare Administration fellowship programs. Research each fellowship in detail so that you can come to a conclusion of whether it might be a good fit. Research what work experience is required, what you will be doing, the location, and whether you need specific materials to apply. Often, most applications for fellowships require you to send them in the mail. Therefore you need to have an organized list of addresses and required materials for each application. My suggestion would be to develop a spreadsheet or document that shows all of this information.
Next, you need to approach professors early and people you have worked with or know in the healthcare community for letters of recommendation. Often you will need 3 letters for each application. I would suggest contacting these individual’s at the end of your first year once you have a list of the fellowships you will apply to. Provide those people with the addresses and all information for those fellowships.
Most importantly, you need to give your writers enough time to get the letters put together which is why you need to contact them at an early point. Once you have all of the letters, you will likely need transcripts from your school. Go to your local college in request the amount of transcripts you will need. Finally once you have these materials you will want to make sure to create a folder for each program you are applying to and place a sticker on the front with all required materials for each folder . This way you will be organized by the beginning or middle of the summer and ready to send out applications by July or August.
Apply Everywhere Possible
One final note is that you should apply to as many programs as possible. Make sure that you create the best application possible for each program, but also if you can apply to more, you should seriously think about doing it. The whole key is that you a attain a Healthcare Administration fellowship at the end of your degree program. Therefore, the more programs you apply to, the more of a chance you have to get at least one of the many healthcare administration fellowships.
When applying, check out our huge list of health administration fellowships!