Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible for the fellowship?
In order to be considered, applicants must be authorized to work in the United States. We prefer that applicants have a college degree or plan to receive a degree by August 2014. Candidates from all academic backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
Should I include a cover letter?
No. Please send only the requested documents. Cover letters and other unsolicited material will not be reviewed.
My transcript will not contain my fall grades by the application deadline. Will it be accepted?
Yes. We realize that schools have different timelines for including fall semester grades on official transcripts. Therefore, we do not require grades for the semester immediately preceding the application deadline.
Do I need to send both my undergraduate and graduate school transcripts?
No. If you have attended more than one institution of higher learning, please send only the most recent transcript. There is no need to send a transcript if you have not been in school since January 2011.
Will you accept a photocopy of my most recent transcript?
No. Transcripts must be official and sent from your school’s Registrar. Applicants who have been out of school since January 2011 are not required to submit a transcript.
Who should write my recommendations? How many references do you require?
Three letters of recommendation are required in order to complete your application. The most useful recommendations come from teachers, supervisors, and community service leaders who know you well and can attest to your ability to think critically, write clearly, and to advocate on behalf of others. In particular, these writers should be able to speak to your commitment to improving access to health care and your dedication to working for low-income and other vulnerable communities. Your recommendations should reflect the range of your interests and skills, and thus should include letters from a variety of sources. Please note that we must receive each recommendation directly from the writer; do not submit recommendations with the rest of your application materials.
Can letters of recommendation be emailed?
Yes. We encourage references to submit their letters of recommendation via email. Your reference can send an email from a university or professional email address to email@example.com. Letters sent from web-based email addresses (i.e, hotmail.com, yahoo.com, gmail.com) will not be accepted. Emailed letters must be sent as an attached PDF of a signed original letter. Emailed letters must be received by January 20, 2014 to be considered on time. Late letters submitted via email will not be considered. References who email their letters do not also need to submit a hard copy.
When is the application due? Will you accept late materials?
All application materials must be postmarked or emailed by January 20, 2014. LATE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
How many candidates apply for the fellowship?
We expect 150-200 applicants to apply for this year’s fellowship.
I applied in the past for the fellowship but was not selected. However, I am still interested in the fellowship—should I reapply?
We welcome applicants from previous years to apply for the fellowship. However, you must submit materials as if applying for the first time, even if you choose to resubmit the same transcript or letters of recommendation from when you first applied.
I am also interested in applying for the Wellstone Fellowship. Can I apply for both?
Yes. Applicants applying for both the Wellstone and Villers fellowships can use the same resume, transcript, and letters of recommendation to satisfy the requirements of both fellowships. However, applicants must use each fellowship’s respective application form and respond to its unique essay section in order to be considered for both positions.
Can I submit the same essay to both fellowships?
No. Each fellowship has different essay questions that require unique responses. The first short-answer question is the same for both fellowships and it is natural for the response to this question to have common elements. But because the focus of each fellowship is different, we do not recommend that the same response be submitted for both fellowships.
What sorts of academic and work experiences are most useful preparation for a successful fellow?
The ideal candidate will exhibit a keen interest in and commitment to advocating for underprivileged groups and understanding the complexities of the health care system in the United States. While we do not look for any particular coursework or experiences, your academic, volunteer, and professional background should reflect your dedication to health care justice work.
What compensation and benefits are provided by the fellowship?
Fellows receive a competitive salary (approximately $38,000), excellent health care benefits, and other employer-sponsored benefits for the duration of the fellowship.
When does the fellowship program begin?
The fellowship runs from August 2014 to July 2015. The successful candidate must be able to commit to living in the Washington, DC area during this time.
What is the application and selection timeline for the fellowship?
Applications are due no later than January 25, 2013. Semi-finalists will be notified in February and asked to complete a short policy analysis exercise. Candidates for phone interviews will be selected based on the results of this exercise and the merits of their application materials. Finalists for the position will be selected for in person interviews by late March. The final selection will be made shortly after all interviews are completed.
What qualities do you look for and value in an applicant?
The most important quality we seek in an applicant is a demonstrable passion for justice in the health care system. In addition, we look for applicants who have experience working with and on behalf of low-income and other vulnerable constituencies, and who have a keen interest in health care policy. Applicants should have excellent research and writing skills. Successful applicants should also exhibit excellent leadership capabilities and professionalism, as well as a desire to continue doing social justice work in the future.
What is the structure of the fellowship program?
The fellowship is a year-long, full-time, salaried position in the Health Policy department at Families USA. The selected fellow must commit to living in the Washington, DC area during the fellowship year.
What type of work does the fellow do?
The role of the Villers Fellow is to collaborate with the rest of the Health Policy department to work on a range of issues of particular importance to health care justice. Topic areas might include health reform implementation, Medicaid policy, Medicare, the private health insurance market, and health care delivery system reform. Villers fellows will have the opportunity to draft policy reports and fact sheets, attend meetings on Capitol Hill, make presentations, and analyze legislation. Please explore our website to see examples of reports, policy briefs, and press releases produced by our organization to gain a better sense of the type of work the Villers Fellow might do.
What should I do if I have questions not answered by this FAQ?
Please call us at 202-628-3030 or email villersfellowship(at)familiesusa.org with your questions.
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