Daniel Salem, 2013 NSF GRFP winner & 2012 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar
Nationally competitive fellowships and scholarships are awards for students to help pursue their academic interests or passions in more depth. There are many examples: Some fellowships offer opportunities to pursue research while others may provide funding for the last years of undergraduate education. They range from the general study abroad programs such as the Fulbright, to those for a particular university, such as the Rhodes scholarship for study at Oxford. But in general, National and International Awards differ from institutional fellowships in that most provide a kind of “portable” allowance that can be used at the institution of the student’s choice.
To apply for one of these awards an applicant should have academic credentials of the highest caliber (GPA of 3.5 or higher), along with substantial experiences in research, creative activities, leadership and engagement in the wider community. In addition, institutional nomination and letters of recommendation are necessary for all these fellowships. Some require GRE scores. All stress academic performance, but extracurricular activities are considered too. Developing a competitive profile takes time and effort.
National fellowships provide a variety of support options. Most provide grants which can be used for living costs at a school of the student’s choice. Tuition waivers are often provided by the graduate schools or in conjunction with fellowship agency. Others provide funds for travel or expenses related to the accomplishment of a specific project. Requirements in applying for these fellowships may include writing a research project, as in the case of National Science Foundation Fellowships.
Some fellowships require nomination by the university, while for others the application originates directly from the student. For those fellowships with a required institutional recommendation and nomination, there is a self-nomination process and internal deadlines that need to be met before an application can be submitted.
Last updated: September 27, 2016 12:15 pm EST