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Fellowship FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions – Fellowship Program

  • What type of background do Fellows usually have?
    • Fellows come from a variety of 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. In 2019, however, all fellowships are open to applicants regardless of geographic location. Fellow applicants not based in DC should have the capability to be reachable by phone or Skype, however.
  • 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 to write and in which they have demonstrable previous experience studying, working, or writing on.
  • What type of writing sample should I include?
    • Fellows will be writing short (800 word) op-eds as part of the program. Applicants are encouraged to submit a writing sample relevant to their desired topic that match this style and length.
  • Can I submit a thematic topic not listed in the fellowship description?
    • Yes, when you fill out the application form, as an alternative fellowship choice please select "custom topic" from the drop down and then fill out the dialog box below.
  • What should I keep in mind when submitting a custom thematic fellowship topic?
    • It should be broad enough that no matter what's in the news it is still important.
    • You should come prepared with a lot of article ideas.
    • The topic should be relevant through out the fellowships cycle, April to December.
    • It should be different enough from existing fellowship topics.
    • Good Example: Arms Control and WMDs. Bad Example: Coronavirus.
  • 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 announced topic 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 allows members to build specific subject-matter expertise and network with other young professionals who match your interests. Also, the Fellowship program 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 is the application window for the fellowship open?
    • The specific dates vary from year to year, but it’s always in late January – early February. This year applications open January 20th and close February 9th.
  • 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.
  • 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 we are 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 5th While good articles are relevant to current events, we do not chase the news cycle, so coming up with 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 this information is provided for. Every article that you will write for the fellowship should have a argument or opinion that it is fight for.
    • Mastering structure. Our best fellows are the ones who’ve mastered the basics and use that skill to . Things like how to efficiently present an argument, organize supporting facts, and establishing a good pacing (and all under 800 words).