The essay can be the most difficult part of the
application. Writing succinctly is very important, however, the essay portion
of any application is where you can make yourself stand out from the crowd.
Reviewers evaluate writing style, focus, and quality of writing. Describe
personal and professional experiences as they relate to each fellowship
position for which you are applying. Write clearly and use proper grammar and
punctuation. Applicants may score low if they send in one generic essay for numerous
positions or they do not demonstrate why they would be the best candidate.
Reviewers also look for personal characteristics that would make the applicant
a valuable participant.
Strength of Credentials
Strength of overall academic record and the successful
completion of course work relevant to the focus of the fellowship are very
important indicators of a successful applicant. The quality of work,
appropriateness of courses and good academic standing are rated highly.
Reviewers look at course work and evaluate whether the classes are relevant to
the fellowship position.
Practical experience (internships, jobs,
research) in a related subject area is important. Include all relevant
experiences in your resume. Hands-on experience which required the applicant to
work independently and follow projects to completion is especially important.
Letters of Recommendation
Letters should come from academic faculty and/or
preventive medicine or public health professionals. Try to avoid getting
recommendations from individuals who supervised you in strictly clerical
positions. Choose a person who knows you well and can comment on your abilities
and interests and who can write a persuasive and enthusiastic endorsement of
you and your qualities. Many applicants lose points because it becomes clear
the person writing the letter does not know the applicant and is merely
summarizing the applicant’s resume. Reviewers/Mentors are often interested in
the type of person they will be training and how they will handle the training
environment. They want someone who will be a positive addition to CDC and who
will contribute to the overall fellowship program. Solid recommendations help
convince reviewers you are that type of person.