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Getting Started

Students are encouraged to work with the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards and Fellowships as early as possible to discuss the application process. While some applications are short, drafting application materials for major awards may take months of preparation, and application materials should reflect this high level of preparation. Some awards may require an institutional endorsement or have a campus deadline in advance of the national award deadline.

Benefits of Applying

  • Getting your name out there: Applying to awards builds positive habits toward future success. You will build courage and resilience, as you learn to navigate new and available opportunities.
  • Expand your areas of focus and expertise: National awards help fund new opportunities that may not be on your radar or outside your immediate field of study. Many students are awarded postgraduate fellowships where they study new disciplines in order to discover the social context or policy applications of their prior research.
  • Developing Skills: Many awards provide you with the opportunity to learn new skills, whether that is in research techniques or learning a foreign language abroad. You will also enhance your skills during the application process, becoming a better writer and a better public speaker. A completed award application in your sophomore or junior year may serve as practice for an application to a graduate program.
  • Continued personal exploration: National awards are not an end goal in themselves, but rather act as a set of markers along your path. They help you aspire to accomplish big goals and to dream big. As you apply to awards, you will learn more about new paths to pursue and contemplate how they may influence your personal development.
  • Advice on crafting successful applications