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Am J Clin Pathol. 2012 Apr;137(4):543-52. doi: 10.1309/AJCP2YNIJ0ZPMJNE.

Challenges and opportunities in the application process for fellowship training in pathology: an independent survey of residents and fellows demonstrates limited interest in an NRMP-style matching program.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, USA.


A survey completed by 366 pathology residents and fellows examined preferences for 3 fellowship application systems: keeping the current system, a National Resident Matching Program (NRMP)-style match, and a unified time line. All groups showed a strong preference for a time line, accounting for 62.1% of first choices vs the current system (17.3%) or a match (20.6%). When asked for a second choice after time line was ranked first, 60.5% of respondents whose fellowship of choice was available at their residency institution and 63.5% who had accepted fellowship positions at their residency institution preferred the current system; 51.4% whose fellowship of choice was not available at their residency institution and 50.6% of those who had accepted fellowship positions elsewhere preferred a match. Location and family/personal reasons were more important than subspecialty competitiveness and program prestige when accepting fellowship positions. Pressure to choose and apply early for fellowship persists and is greatest for anatomic pathology-only and clinical pathology-only residents.

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