Enhance Your Application
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, and find leadership opportunities. Browse profiles of successful fellowship winners online.
Prepare a Strong Application
Each national fellowship has unique criteria and requirements. Become familiar with the websites and all associated information for any fellowship to which you plan to apply.
- Start Early, Plan Ahead, Ask for Feedback — Applications take time, effort, patience, background research, careful thought, and many revisions. Allow time to get feedback on your drafts, and to revise accordingly (several times).
- Research Carefully and Follow Instructions — Take time to research the organization that funds the grant. Read all of the eligibility and application requirements carefully and follow instructions exactly. You may find out that several different fellowships may match your goals and experience.
- Draft a Personal Statement — A personal statement is central to many fellowship applications. Think of your characteristics, actions, or experiences that make you distinctive. What do you care about most deeply? What is your passion? Start a draft.
- Draft a Project/Study Proposal — Many grants require you to create an independent project proposal or outline a course of study/research detailing how you would spend the money or time offered by the award. Writing effective proposals requires time for substantial research and many revisions.
- Ask for Letters of Recommendations — Deciding whom to ask for letters and how to ask them can take some time. Analyze the fellowship’s purpose and criteria, and choose recommenders accordingly. Take seriously any instructions to select letter writers who can speak to particular criteria.
- Seek Help and Advice — Faculty fellowship advisors, your own academic advisors, mentors, and professors, and the Office of Undergraduate Fellowships & Research are here to help you. Take time to let them know about your hopes and dreams for life after Bucknell, and ask them for advice and feedback.