Most fellowships require several essays as part of the application. Often you need to demonstrate a match between yourself and a particular fellowship and detail how you would spend the money or time offered by the award. While different types of fellowships require different kinds of proposals, all need to persuade the selection committee that the proposed course of action is feasible and worthwhile.

Research Proposals: Proposals need to cover the basics of the research project and explain in what ways the project will contribute something new and important to the field of inquiry.

Study Proposals: Proposals should discuss in depth the course of graduate study in which you hope to enroll, demonstrate your knowledge of the program and what appeals to you about the program, as well as what specific choices you would make within it.

Community and/or Independent Project Proposals: Proposals need to discuss the lasting impacts of the fellowship project and describe exactly how you will spend the time and resources allocated by the fellowship.

How will you persuade the selection committee that your project is feasible and worthwhile?

  1. How will you demonstrate the match between yourself and a particular project?
    • Does the fellowship seek specific personal, academic, or extracurricular qualities or accomplishments?
    • How are you prepared? Provide strong, persuasive evidence to support your candidacy.  Connect the fellowship opportunity to your past experiences—focus on relevant experiences
  2. How is the project important or meaningful? What inspired or motivated you for this project? How will this project/experience impact your future goals/pursuits?
  3. Does the project seem feasible? In order to show the project’s feasibility, you should describe a research timeline and explain where you will obtain the necessary resources and/or subjects for the project.

Selection committees want to learn about you and how well you and your project mesh with their expectations of an ideal fellowship recipient. Clarity and authenticity are essential.

Please note that successful essays cannot be written in one sitting or even in one week. Start early.