Application Guidance

Application Guidance

Winning a major fellowship or scholarship is a great honor that can open many doors to new opportunities and experiences. Whatever your personal and professional goals, fellowships are worth the time and effort required for their pursuit. Whether or not you receive an award, you will emerge from the fellowship application process with a stronger sense of who you are, and a clearer vision of what you want to do. The resources and information listed under Application Guidance offers useful tips as you prepare the various components that make up the application dossier. 

Nationally competitive fellowships and scholarships require an enormous amount of effort and commitment from the applicant. The NCS team can help to make the process manageable. We encourage you to schedule an appointment to discuss your plans, and attend information sessions held throughout the year. This website has numerous resources to help you at every stage of the process.

Most important – start early. The earlier you consider applying for a fellowship or scholarship the more competitive your application will be. Many deadlines fall nearly a year before the activity that they fund begins. Knowing what you hope to do well in advance will ensure that you meet the deadlines and prepare a compelling application.

Where to Start with your Application Process

Use the following steps as a framework to get started: 

  • Explore your interests
    What are your goals? Consider carefully what you hope to accomplish and how a fellowship can help you to achieve this goal.
  • Identify fellowships and scholarships
    Begin your search by looking at programs that you are eligible to receive given your current academic level. Then broaden out to look at those that fit your goals.
  • Determine your eligibility and candidacy
    Before you get too far in the process ensure that you meet all of the stated eligibility criteria for the award.
  • Make an appointment with the Fellowship Advisor
    All students and alumni are encouraged to set up an appointment to meet with our team will help you to determine which programs fit you best and navigate the application process.
Strategies to Enhance Your Candidacy

Any candidate can plan ahead to take advantage of the many opportunities that surround them to gain experiences and excel in their personal and academic lives to be competitive for prestigious scholarships. Here are some tips to be a stand out candidate:

  • Academic Rigor
    Strive for excellence in your academic pursuits. Consider taking challenging courses in diverse fields outside of your major and expand your base of knowledge by exposing yourself to a variety of disciplines and schools of thought.
  • Community Engagement
    Enrich your knowledge about people, places, and events by following the news, reading broadly, getting involved in campus organizations or studying abroad.
  • Undertake independent research
    Seek opportunities to do research to show that you are able to conduct independent work and/or engage in advanced graduate level study.
  • Develop Leadership Skills
    Work to improve the world. Give generously of your time to support public service or volunteer programs dedicated to addressing social problems or needs about which you care most.
Student Learning Outcomes through our Scholarship Process

Learning outcomes are measurable statements that articulate at the beginning what students should know, be able to do, or value as a result of taking a course or completing a program. Learning outcomes for the Nationally Competitive Scholarships Office will allow us to focus on the student development process rather than the product (scholarships) we offer or the outcome of winning an award. Articulating learning outcomes to students and stakeholders will help us make concerted efforts towards our vision. Having access to articulated learning outcomes will help students:

  • Decide if this process is a good fit for their academic trajectory
  • Identify what they need to do to be successful in the application process
  • Take ownership of their progress
  • Be mindful of what they are learning