Fellowship Frequently Asked Questions

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Application FAQ's

How has COVID-19 impacted VFA and its application process?

In response to COVID-19, our final-round interviews (or what we call, Selection Days) will be held virtually through 2021. You’ll start off the day by joining a Zoom call, working through activities with a small group of candidates, followed by a lunchtime presentation and panel. You’ll close the day with an individual interview in the afternoon. You can best prepare for the day by:

  • Double checking that your technology (computer, WiFi, etc.) is working properly.
  • Do virtual test runs with a friend! We understand that interviewing in front of a computer screen can take getting used to and recommend practicing until you feel comfortable.
  • And, most importantly, be yourself!

Find more information on how we’re adjusting our programs, operations, and other functions here.

How does Venture For America help Fellows get jobs?

Unlike many Fellowship programs, we don’t place Fellows in specific roles. Instead, we help Fellows find the right fit based on their skill sets and career goals. Match is our private job portal exclusively for incoming Fellows to connect with startups, who we call Company Partners. Through Match, we simplify the startup job search process, but make no mistake – it is still a job search. Fellows are responsible for driving their search, with us to support them along the way.

Support includes sourcing Company Partners for hundreds of opportunities across our cities, holding office hours with the Community Directors of the cities we work in, hosting Job Fairs to accelerate interview processes, providing feedback on resumes and cover letters, connecting Fellows with companies, and more.

What do Fellows do after Venture For America?

After two years on the job, Fellows have the opportunity to continue working at their startup and grow into a leadership role. While many Fellows stay at their startup, others depart to work at another company or start their own business. VFA Alums have access to a network of mentors, an Accelerator program, fundraising opportunities, professional development, and other support resources.

  • 14% of Alums work full-time on their own company
  • 66% work at startups
  • 21% work at larger tech companies (Google, Facebook, etc.)
  • 9% choose to attend top grad school programs (Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, University Michigan School of Law, etc.) 

Note: Some Alums have pursued multiple of the opportunities above.

What professional development do you provide Fellows?

Our core belief is that much of the learning for entrepreneurs and startup leaders is hands-on. Fellows hone their skills and expand their experiences by working at early-stage companies over the course of the two-year Fellowship.

Outside of hands-on learning, our flagship professional development opportunity is Training Camp. The month-long professional boot camp combines training from industry experts and team challenges to get our Fellows ready to add value in their jobs from day one. VFA covers the cost of Fellows’ housing, food, and programming during this month.

After Training Camp, we continue to support our Fellows through 1:1 professional coaching, entrepreneurship workshops, and sessions on topics like negotiation and people management.

Can international students apply?

All applicants must be a US Citizen, Permanent Resident, DACA Recipient, or hold other work authorization that is valid through June 2023. Most of our Company Partners don’t have the resources to go through the process of sponsoring a visa, so we require independent work authorization through June of 2023 for all applicants.

How many Fellows do you plan to accept?

While Venture For America is highly selective, there is no set number of candidates we plan to accept, and we will extend offers to everyone who meets our standards for selection.

Who reviews my application?

Each application is carefully reviewed by a Venture For America Team member, Fellow, and/or Alum. As we care deeply about ensuring equity in our process, a committee of expert interviewers review all decisions at each stage. As candidates move forward in the process to the written essay, the video interview, and Selection Day, we collectively weigh in on each decision so that your candidacy may be considered from as many perspectives as possible.

How long does the process take?

The entire process from pressing submit to landing your Fellowship offer can take up to 10 weeks. We appreciate the time and effort candidates devote to the process and work diligently to return the favor with careful consideration.

Why are there multiple application rounds?

The different deadlines exist because people find out about the program and are ready to apply at different times; we want to accommodate the early birds and the latecomers!

The admissions process is identical for each cycle, and you should apply to the deadline that works best for you and your schedule.

Is there an advantage to applying early?

Our criteria remain the same for every deadline, but we suggest applying to the earliest deadline that suits your schedule.

Fellows who join early on will get the chance to begin interacting with other Fellows right away. They’re also able to immediately start connecting with our Team and start preparing for the Match process through which they’ll find their jobs.

Fellows who join through our final deadline must condense their preparation for the Match process to a week or even a few days as it begins on the same day for all incoming Fellows. Regardless of the deadline, we’re there to support Fellows in their preparation for this experience.

If I'm accepted, can I get an extension or deferral?

If you’re accepted and have a reasonable need for an extension, VFA is generally able to offer decision extensions of up to a week. You may request an extension from a member of the VFA Talent team. 

Due to the selective nature of the Fellowship, we typically don’t offer deferrals.

If I'm rejected, can I reapply at another deadline?

You may only apply for the Fellowship once during the same season. Our season runs from August of the current year to March of the following year. 

However, if you remain interested in VFA, we welcome you to reapply the following year. We know that you may have grown personally and professionally in that time and would love to hear from you again.

Can I apply if I already have work experience?

Yes, as long as you’re still within three years of graduating from college. Our Fellowship is designed for recent grads (meaning graduating seniors, those a year or two into their careers, or grad students with a year or two of advanced schooling). Our training, mentorship, and job opportunities are targeted to entry-level talent, so if you have three or more years of professional experience or advanced schooling, this Fellowship might not be the best fit.

Can I apply to VFA if I graduate after June?

No. Fellows need to be able to attend Training Camp full-time in July 2021. We require that all applicants expect to graduate by June at the latest.

Can I apply if I will be abroad during the interview process?

Out of an abundance of caution for the 2020 to 2021 application season, all stages of our application process are conducted virtually. This means that our final round interviews, Selection Days, will be all-day virtual events.

If you are absolutely unable to attend an in-person Selection Day due to study abroad, active military service, etc., please reach out to the Selection Team at selection@ventureforamerica.org for alternative interview options.

I applied to VFA last year, can I reapply?

Yes. If you are still eligible (within three years of graduating), we welcome you to reapply. We have multiple Fellows who have applied more than once. However, you may only apply once per application season.

Do I have to be a business or computer science major?

No. You don’t have to be a programmer or a business major to be a great Fellow. In fact, 75% of Fellows work in non-technical roles.

All kinds of skills can translate into success at a startup job, as long as you’re ready to hustle, try new things, and learn on the go. If you’ve been a leader on campus, gained skills at internships or jobs, and care about finding a career where you make an impact, we encourage you to apply!

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