Preparing for and Applying to Fellowships and Scholarships Skip Navigation

Preparing and Applying

Interested in applying to national fellowships and scholarships but not sure where to begin? The following sections have tips and advice to help you during each stage of the application process.

Importance of Advising

Perhaps the most important recommendation for students pursuing a scholarship process is to get good advising. Close advising is the essential factor that determines a successful outcome. Scholarship advisers have nuanced knowledge of the application processes for the various scholarships, and these can be very idiosyncratic. Advisers also often have longstanding relationships with the scholarship and fellowship foundations and organizations and, most important, with the people who direct them. In addition, they have experience, from prior years, of what works and what does not.

Start Early

A second crucial piece of advice is to start early. For many scholarships, you may need to position yourself by gaining key co-curricular experiences, like research and internships, over many semesters, including the summers. Starting in your first year is ideal. Your adviser can help you develop these experiences by connecting you with the best people and resources. Finally, scholarship applications are not something that you can bat out in a weekend, or even a week. You should start working with your scholarship adviser a couple of months in advance of the deadline and then work weekly to develop drafts that evolve toward a polished product.