Applying for a Fellowship

1) Choose an appropriate fellowship or scholarship that interests you, and for which you are eligible. Eligibility standards vary from program to program, but some of the most common requirements include:

  • Strong academic performance
  • Sustained record of involvement in and leadership of extracurricular activities.
  • A specific undergraduate or graduate class year.
  • United States citizenship, unless otherwise noted.
  • Demonstrated long-term commitment to volunteer work
  • Pursuit of appropriate research and/or performance activities.
  • Awareness of relevant issues in the field of the fellowship and of current issues in the United States and, if applicable, the country in which you intend to pursue study.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Enthusiasm for learning, for discovery, and for achievement.

2) Once you have found a fellowship and reviewed its application specifications, make an appointment to meet with Dr. Engel well before the application deadline.

3) The next step is to use the file that you have created and maintained containing records of all activities you have organized, titles and contact information for faculty mentors and project directors, scholarships and awards you have received, and titles of volunteer projects in which you have served to complete a first draft of your fellowship application. Once you have completed this step, schedule a meeting with Dr. Engel well in advance of the application deadline to review your application.

4) Revise, revise, revise your application! Begin asking (in person) faculty mentors to support your application by writing a letter of reference for you.

5) By the second or third draft, you should be ready to have a colleague review your application. Ask for honest feedback, and revise as needed.

6) When you are comfortable with the state of your application materials, give copies of them to the faculty from whom you have requested letters of reference. Give the faculty plenty of time to prepare their letters for you.

7) Take your draft application, proposal, and personal statement, if these are required, to the faculty representative for your fellowship and to Dr. Engel.

8) Revise the application materials after you have met with the faculty representative and fellowships advisor.

9) Once your application materials have been submitted, take a moment to write (actual letters, not e-mails) thank-you notes to faculty and staff who have supported your application.

10) Keep your faculty and fellowship advisors informed of whatever you hear from the program to which you have applied.


Ask questions throughout the research/application/revision process. We may not know the answers immediately, but we can help you chart the course to locate the answer.

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