A General Picture of the Application Process
Every fellowship has its own application form. However, fellowship selection committees generally ask for:
For more competitive fellowships/scholarships, you may also be asked for a project proposal or plan of study or an interview.
What Makes A Strong Application?
In a strong application, the separate components of the application fit together well, and offer a convincing composite picture of your strengths.
Who is Available to Help and Advise?
There are many people available to help you put together an effective application package.
Special Notes on Prestigious Fellowships/Scholarships
If you have a GPA of 3.75 or higher, you may be eligible for one or more prestigious fellowships. In addition to an outstanding academic record, prestigious fellowship applicants should have made their mark in one or more other ways. Substantial intellectual or creative projects, evidence of leadership or public service, and strong, detailed faculty letters of recommendation are essential to compete for these awards. Several of these fellowships require official endorsement from Stony Brook University which entails an additional on-campus selection process.
Your academic and extracurricular record includes the following:
F ellowship/Scholarship selection committees are looking for students who spend their time purposefully, creatively, and energetically, not students who do things "just to build a resume".
Your transcript should show both breadth of interest and a certain depth of expertise in at least one field, as evidenced in your choice of courses and in your grades. Your list of activities should show that you are more than "just a bookworm," and that you have varied interests. Positions of leadership in one or more groups or a clear commitment to a single cause or activity will add weight to your application. Honors and awards, publications, and research offer clear evidence of your intellectual energy and talent, and will make your application stand out.
How to choose recommenders
Your recommenders should be to:
Speak about you and your work in some detail, from personal experience give concrete examples of times when you showed your strongest qualities rank your qualities and achievements relative to those of other students (longtime faculty can do this more convincingly than a T.A.)
Show your appreciation of their efforts on your behalf.
What is a personal statement?
The personal statement is an essay, generally under 1,000 words, which is designed to give the selection committee a sense of who you are and how closely your goals and strengths match the ideals of a specific fellowship. In this essay you have a great deal of flexibility on how to organize and present your thoughts, but you should be sure to cover the following basic points:
A personal statement is generally most effective when it concentrates on:
What is the selection committee looking for in your statement?
A selection committee may read hundreds of application essays back-to-back in a short period of time. Readers are looking for essays that make sense—logically, grammatically, ematically engage their attention, provide substantive and relevant information and stand out from the crowd
How to get started
Write down two or three experiences you feel have shaped who you are. Write down two or three significant problems you have faced and how you solved them. Then look for patterns.
Now take a look at your transcript
How does your coursework express your interests and talents? How has it developed them?
The writing process
Try several different approaches until you find one that feels right. Revise, revise, and revise! If you need help on structure, visit the Writing Center . As you write, show your essay to people who know you well and ask if it accurately expresses who you are.
Some common pitfalls
Weak essays generally share one or more of the following characteristics:
melodramatic or self-congratulatory statements
vague, abstract ideals
laundry lists of achievements
jargon and specialized vocabulary
What is a project proposal or plan of study?
Selection committees want to award money to candidates who will use it well. A project proposal or plan of study is often required when a fellowship allows flexibility on how and where awards will be spent.
The project proposal or plan of study is an academic proposal describing
Shaping your project
A strong proposal or plan is well-researched and shows an awareness of current activity in the field. To make sure that your project makes sense for the program or place you have targeted, consult with
Be sure to show your essay to faculty in your field and to the Fellowship Office.
The Interview Process
Which fellowships require an interview?
Generally speaking, the more competitive a fellowship is, the more likely that it will require an interview as part of the selection process. Highly prestigious fellowships may demand more than one interview.
What can you expect in the interview?
Interviews are as various as the interviewers who give them. You can expect, however, that discussion will be based primarily on your application materials, and on your plans for the fellowship and for the future.
How to prepare
During the interview
Keep a sense of humor. The fact that you are there for the interview is proof that the committee thinks highly of you. Share your thoughts, energy, and enthusiasm with your interviewers. Body language is important-- as much for you as for the interviewers