Nationally competitive fellowships and scholarships require effort and commitment from the applicant. Baruch’s Prestigious Fellowships Advisor can help to make the process manageable. You are encouraged to meet with the Fellowships Advisor to discuss your plans, and attend fellowship information sessions held throughout the year. Below you will find guidance to help you at every stage of the process.
Most important – start early. The earlier you consider applying for a fellowship the more competitive your application will be. Many deadlines fall nearly a year before the activity that they fund begins. Knowing what you hope to do well in advance will ensure that you meet the deadlines and prepare a compelling application.
Preparing Application Materials
Begin by reading all of the application instructions provided by the fellowship’s sponsoring organization. Ensure that you fully understand all of the procedures including the deadlines to meet. Having a firm understanding of what is expected from you will help to avoid technical disqualification.
In most cases applications for nationally competitive fellowships require a combination of the following items:
- An online application form;
- Essays (typically a personal statement and/or a statement of purpose, and in some cased a project proposal or policy statement, as well as other short answer responses relating to the Fellowship’s mission.
- Your resume or curriculum vitae;
- Letters of recommendation;
- Transcripts from all post-secondary education.
Resources to assist you with preparing many of the above materials can be found:
- Fellowship Essay Guidance
- Resume / CV Guidance
- Letters of Recommendation Guidance
- Fellowship Interview Preparation Guidance
Strategies to enhance your candidacy
Candidates who have a varied background of experiences and achievements, and who have taken a leadership role or gone above and beyond to do something noteworthy will stand out from those who have had more typical experiences to that point. Any candidate can plan ahead to take advantage of the many opportunities that surround them to gain experiences and excel in their personal and academic lives to be competitive for prestigious scholarships.
Below are tips to help you stand out as a candidate.
- Academic Rigor: Strive for excellence in your academic pursuits. Take challenging courses in diverse fields in and outside of your major. Enrich your knowledge about people, places, and events by following the news, reading broadly from informed sources. Attend lectures, read scholarly and professional journals in your field of interest.
- Undertake independent research: Seek opportunities to do research. Ask your faculty for advice on finding research projects conducted by them or their colleagues. You could also consider completing a thesis as part of your degree requirements.
- Community Engagement: Get involved in campus organizations or community groups and fill leadership roles in the activities that are most important to you. Consider volunteer work or an unpaid internship in an arena that exposes you to populations or social issues that are beyond your usual experience.
- Study Abroad: Consider travel and study abroad. In addition, there are many ways to “travel” intellectually and culturally without boarding a plane. Attend a variety of cultural events on and off campus. This is New York City – take advantage of why millions of visitors come to our city every year.
- Develop Leadership Skills: Work to improve the world. Give generously of your time to support public service or volunteer programs dedicated to addressing social problems or needs about which you care most. Take a leadership role within the activity to inspire and lead others. If a service or program does not yet exist to address a particular need \ consider developing one that will.
- Pursue Professional Experiences: Find an internship, internships may be paid or unpaid and take place during the summer or the school year. The STARR Career Development Center has many resources to help students find internships.
- Lastly, get involved in extracurricular activities that are meaningful to you, and help to inform you. As you explore these activities, take some time to think about why they matter to you.