Fellowship FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions – Fellowship Program

  • When is the application window for the fellowship open?
    • The specific dates vary from year to year, but it’s always from late January – early February. This year applications open on January 20th, 2021, and close on February 10th, 2021.
  • Can I apply to be a fellow outside of the application window?
    • No, once the application window has closed we do not take applicants until the following year. There are simply too many applicants to consider accepting requests outside of the determined window.
  • What type of background do Fellows usually have?
    • Fellows come from various backgrounds, including government, military, academia, business, and non-profits. Fellows typically have either a graduate degree or two to three years of professional experience. Fellows are expected to have credible experience in their desired topic of study.
  • What are the requirements for being a Fellow?
    • Fellows must write at least one (1) op-ed a month and work with our editorial team to publish it in an external outlet. Fellows are normally given two weeks to write op-eds and two weeks to work on edits with our team. Writing, research, and edits require roughly 5 hours a week.
  • Do Fellows need to be based in Washington, DC?
    • No. In the past, certain fellowships were required to be based in Washington. However, in 2019 this was changed, and now all fellowships are open to applicants regardless of geographic location. Applicants not based in DC should have the capability to be reachable by phone or Skype.
  • Which topic should I apply for?
    • Applicants need to indicate their preferred topic or area for their fellowship (i.e., Europe, Africa, Energy, Trade, etc.). Applicants should choose a topic in which they have a keen interest in writing and have demonstrable previous experience studying, working, or writing.
  • What type of writing sample should I include?
    • Fellows will be writing short (800 words) op-eds as part of the program. Applicants are encouraged to submit a writing sample relevant to their desired topic matching this style and length.
  • Can I submit a custom fellowship topic not listed in the position description?
    • No, however, fellows have broad licenses to write on almost any issue that could be considered under the established categories.
  • How competitive are Fellowships?
    • YPFP typically selects 16 to 20 fellows every year. The number of fellowships selected is solely up to the discretion of YPFP, and every topic announced may not be filled in a given year. In previous years, the acceptance rate for fellows has been less than 10% of applicants.
  • This might not be the right year for me to apply to be a Fellow. Is there another way I can get involved?
    • Absolutely! Charged Affairs is YPFP’s own publication outlet that publishes pieces from YPFP members. YPFP’s discussion groups allow members to build specific subject-matter expertise and network with other young professionals with similar interests. The Fellowship program also employs a team of editors who help our Fellows craft their pieces and get them ready for publication. To see the full array of YPFP positions, visit: https://www.ypfp.org/build/join-our-volunteer-team/.
  • When can I apply to be an editor with the fellowship?
    • Any time! We take applications for editors on a rolling basis all year, but we will be slower to respond to editor applications while reviewing fellow applications.
  • What are the three biggest issues Fellows tend to struggle with throughout the year?
    • Running out of ideas. Many fellows run out of good article ideas around the 4th or 5th piece. While good articles are relevant to current events, we do not chase the news cycle, so coming up with the original takes can be challenging.
    • Why should the reader care? Writing for a non-captive audience is difficult and a different skill set than writing for a boss or professor. At times Fellows will provide a lot of interesting information without giving the article a central argument or raison d'être that the information is provided towards. Every article that you will write for the fellowship should have an argument or opinion that it is fighting for.
    • Mastering structure. Our best fellows are the ones who’ve mastered the basics. Things like efficiently present an argument, organizing supporting facts, and establishing proper pacing (and all under 800 words).