What makes for a competitive fellowship candidate? A survey of clinical neuropsychology postdoctoral training directors

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Objective: To obtain objective data about the factors that clinical neuropsychology postdoctoral training directors (TDs) look for and prioritize in their review and selection of fellowship candidates. Method: We identified 167 TDs who were overseeing postdoctoral training programs that provided training consistent with the Houston Conference Guidelines. We invited all TDs to complete an anonymous online survey that assessed their expectations as they relate to the selection of fellowship candidates. Eighty-eight TDs completed the survey in full. We used descriptive statistics to analyze the data and investigate potential between-group differences in TDs’ responses across patient populations, training settings, and APPCN member program status. Results: TDs ranked the intensity of candidates’ neuropsychology education and training experiences, their fellowship interviews, and letters of recommendation as most important. Increasing the representation of under-represented minorities and other factors were ranked lower. Minimum benchmarks related to candidates’ scholarly productivity, dissertation progress, and the time they spent engaged in clinical neuropsychology activities during internship were revealed. There were relatively few differences in TDs’ responses when compared across patient populations, training settings, or APPCN member program status. Conclusions: Students may increase their competitiveness for clinical neuropsychology fellowships by obtaining intensive education and training experiences in the specialty, which includes clinical training and coursework, and by producing scholarly work. Students may also benefit from improving their interviewing skills, completing an internship with at least 40% of time spent in neuropsychological activities, and at minimum by having their dissertation data collected before their fellowship interviews.
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  • Driskell LD; Del Bene VA; Sperling SA