- What's the difference between the terms "fellowship" and "scholarship"?
When we discuss national awards, we use both terms interchangeably.
- Who is eligible to apply for national and international fellowships and what are some typical selection criteria?
Eligibility requirements for individual fellowships vary. While each fellowship has specific criteria for the "ideal candidate," all share a common emphasis on academic excellence. Many fellowship competitions value undergraduate research, community service and service learning, intercultural exchange, internships, and leadership experiences. Typically, students with the most impressive records of achievement are considered for the awards
- Is there a minimum GPA required to compete for national and international fellowships?
Fellowships are very competitive, and often your GPA plays a role in the selection process. However, it is not the main criterion in any fellowship competition. Some national and international fellowships specify minimum GPA requirements, but there is no universal minimum that applies to all. Be sure to carefully read the requirements for each fellowship. While some recommend that a student has a 3.7 GPA or above, others value a strong academic record in the major field of study and/or strong project proposals rather than the overall GPA. Many fellowships also weigh criteria such as excellence in leadership, extra-curricular involvement, research, international study, and/or commitment to public service.
- What does "requires university nomination" mean?
Many national and international fellowships require that a student receive an institutional nomination from his or her college or university before he or she can apply to compete. These fellowships either limit the number of applicants a school can nominate, or they wish the school to carefully choose the students best suited to the given award. Please note that if a fellowship requires nomination, students must meet the internal deadlines (generally well in advance of the national deadlines) in order to be considered for the fellowship. The Office of Undergraduate Fellowships & Research will assist you with this nomination process.
- When should l start searching for fellowships?
The most effective preparation begins early in a student's academic career. First- or second-year students who think they might consider graduate study and who might want to win the support of a fellowship should contact the Office of Undergraduate Fellowships & Research immediately.
- How can I enhance my application?
In general, reflect on your goals and take advantage of the many opportunities Bucknell offers. Choose challenging courses and perform well, pursue appropriate co-curricular experiences, conduct independent and collaborative research, participate in academic conferences, keep your GPA as high as possible, get to know faculty members personally, find leadership opportunities. Browse profiles of successful fellowship winners online. Choosing opportunities and experiences with a specific fellowship in mind can be helpful in preparing a successful application. Be purposeful. Make sure your activities move you towards your goals. See Suggestions for Preparing Your Application for more information.
- How do I get started on the application process?
Browse Finding a Fellowship for an award that might match with your interests and ambitions. Then contact the Office of Undergraduate Fellowships & Research or your academic advisor to discuss your ideas and goals.
- How far in advance of the deadlines do I need to begin the application process?
It is advisable to begin the application process several months in advance of official deadlines. Allow time for introspection and revision throughout the application process and to meet Bucknell University's internal deadlines, which are typically several weeks – or months – prior to the official ones.
- Whom should I consult about my application?
Bucknell faculty, administrators, and graduates are a rich resource of graduate/professional school information. For information on academic graduate programs, talk with the appropriate department at Bucknell as well as with individual faculty members in the field of interest. For procedural/general questions or feedback on your application materials, please contact the Office of Undergraduate Fellowships & Research and/or the associated fellowship faculty advisor. If you would like feedback on your application materials, talk to your academic advisor or faculty in your fields of study. You should also definitely utilize the Writing Center for feedback on your application essays/proposals (if the particular award allows it).
- How do I know if my class standing qualifies me for an award?
You should always check directly with the sponsoring foundation about their eligibility requirements. Sometimes your class year is defined by how many semesters you have completed, and sometimes it is defined by how many you have left before graduation.
- Do I have to order an official transcript?
For national fellowship competitions, you will need to order an official transcript. You should expect that it may take the Registrar's Office time to issue a transcript, so plan ahead. Visit bucknell.edu/Transcripts for ordering information.
- How strict are the deadlines?
The Office of Undergraduate Fellowships & Research and all foundations adhere strictly to deadlines, and late applications are not accepted.
- Is financial need a consideration?
While most prestigious national scholarships do not take financial need into consideration, there are a few, which are interested in funding students on significant financial aid. Check the organizational websites for more information.
- Can I apply for a fellowship after my graduation from Bucknell?
Many of the awards do allow applications after an undergraduate graduates. Some have specific age or year-of-graduation limits or other relevant criteria, while others are open only to applications during a particular year of undergraduate study. See the websites for the fellowships that interest you to determine if they allow post-graduate applications.
- Interview preparation
Students selected to interview at the regional or national level will refine their interviewing skills through mock interviews arranged by the Office of Undergraduate Fellowships & Research. Our office will assist you in learning how to communicate effectively at fellowship interviews.
- When will I hear back about my status? Will I be notified either way?
You will always be notified of the final decision on your candidacy. If the expected time-frame for notification has passed and you have not yet been notified, feel free to contact the Office of Undergraduate Fellowships & Research for an update.
- How much time is involved in applying for a national or international fellowship?
Applying for one or more national or international fellowships requires a significant investment of time and energy. Applicants typically go through numerous revisions of their application essays and/or project proposals because these are a vital component of the overall application. Start early.
- What are my chances of winning a fellowship?
The odds of winning a national or international fellowship vary greatly depending on the fellowship. You can expect that prestigious national fellowships will be extremely competitive. Only the most impressive applications are likely to be selected, and there is no way every qualified candidate can win. However, if you don't try, you can't win! It is essential to study the criteria of any fellowship that interests you and be certain you are meeting each specific criterion listed.
- If chances are so "slim," should I even engage in the process?
Yes. If you believe you meet the criteria and you follow your passion, you should engage in preparing the application. Most applicants find the process of applying valuable regardless of the outcome because it often helps them clarify their goals and ambitions. It will also help you refine your writing skills. Applying for a national or international fellowship paves the way for subsequent applications (for other fellowship competitions or for graduate school admission.). Through developing personal statements, policy proposals, and curriculum vitae, you embark on a journey of self-discovery, goals clarification, and extended learning.
- What if I have other questions?
Contact the Office of Undergraduate Fellowships & Research