Background: Obtaining an orthopedic sports medicine fellowship position is becoming more difficult, as the number of residents seeking post-graduate training continues to increase.
Objective: To identify factors that orthopedic surgery sports medicine fellowship program directors deem valuable in selecting applicants.
Methods: A web-based questionnaire was sent to all ACGME accredited sports medicine fellowship program directors in the United States in 2016. The questionnaire was designed to identify the most important criteria in selecting applicants for an interview, and ranking candidates to match into their program.
Results: Thirty-five of ninety-one program directors responded. The criteria for offering an applicant an interview were quality of recommendation letter, technical competence, and residency program reputation. Letters of recommendation that held the highest value were from the chief of sports medicine and another sports medicine surgeon in the department. The most important features of the interview were the applicant’s ability to articulate thoughts, the maturity of the applicant, and the ability of the applicant to listen well. The attributes deemed most important in high ranking a candidate included the applicant’s commitment to hard work, quality of the interview, and quality of letters of recommendation.
Conclusion: There are identifiable factors considered important by sports medicine fellowship directors when selecting candidates for an interview and ranking them in the match process. With increasing costs of the application process and competition among applicants, this information can be valuable to medical students and residents considering a career in orthopedic sports medicine.