Preparing Your Application

Although all fellowships and scholarships are unique, the process for getting started is similar for all of them.

  1. Identify your passion. Reflect on what you love to learn and do. Ask yourself: When have I been so engrossed in something that I did not want to stop? What would I like to do with my life? What do I care most about or would like most to change in the world?
  2. Pursue courses and other challenging learning opportunities that relate to your passion.
  3. Consider becoming involved in research, internships, study abroad experiences or community service that relate to your passion. Be bold and take on leadership roles in these endeavors.
  4. Expand your knowledge of the world by reading newspapers or scholarly journals and attending public lectures and cultural events.
  5. Build relationships with faculty members, particularly those who have knowledge in your areas of interest.
  6. Take initiative to address a problem, lead a project, or organize an event.
  7. Research possible scholarships or fellowships here and through various search engines, and identify those that are aligned with your areas of interest.
  8. If the fellowship you select requires an institutional endorsement, contact the University Honors Program Director, Dr. Zeb Baker (513-529-3399,
  9. Use this site, your faculty mentors and other resources to help you to prepare your application.
  10. Utilize the resources at Career Services to help improve your application materials.

Application FAQs

What is the difference between a fellowship and scholarship?

These terms are used interchangeably. Often, scholarships refer to grants in support of undergraduate education. Fellowships usually refer to grants in support of post-baccalaureate projects or programs.

What is included in an application?

Every fellowship and scholarship has its own form and distinct questions. However, most ask for a transcript, list of activities, personal statement and three or more letters of recommendation.

How important are grades?

Although grades alone are less important than the major projects and work you have done, they are still extremely important. Nominees for prestigious scholarships generally have a 3.75 or higher cumulative grade point average. Because some fellowships and scholarships place less emphasis on grades, there are exceptions to this guideline.

How can I prepare for a prestigious fellowship?

Winners of prestigious fellowships generally have a sustained record of significant activity relating to their career goal. For example, if you aim to become a researcher within a given field, you should become involved in undergraduate research early in your undergraduate career. Similarly, if public service is your ultimate goal, become involved in community service as soon as possible. Once you have some competence in your chosen area, assume a leadership position by initiating your own project or endeavor. Along the way, take rigorous courses related to your chosen field, and gain a broad liberal education. Be sure to build relationships with faculty and staff members.

Miami University Career Services empowers undergraduate and graduate students to engage in career exploration and experiential learning to optimize their professional and personal potential through connections with employers and the Miami career community. Career Services prepares students to deepen their self-knowledge, enabling them to choose meaningful career paths and excel in a diverse, global society.

For information regarding how to better your application materials, please follow this link to Career Services!

Why do some fellowships require an endorsement or nomination from Miami?

Some competitions ask each university to narrow down the pool of applicants by endorsing or nominating one or a few students. Miami’s National Fellowships Committee typically makes nominations by reviewing students’ applications and by interviewing finalists. Contact Dr. Zeb Baker for more information on the endorsement or nomination process.

Why should I apply if it is difficult to win?

Students who do not win a scholarship or fellowship benefit greatly from the process of applying for one. Benefits include:

  • Clarifying your career goals
  • Gaining a sense of which graduate schools are appropriate for you
  • Improving your writing and research skills
  • Getting a head start on the application to graduate or professional school
  • Building even closer relationships with key faculty
  • Developing as a person and thinker

What do they mean by "leadership ability"?

You do not necessarily need to have been a president of an organization to have leadership ability. Leadership is much more than holding a position. It really entails the capacity to make positive change, usually by working with others effectively. To discuss your leadership ability, think of a time you were instrumental in making a difference. Consider how you did this and what you learned.

Can I apply for more than one fellowship?

Absolutely! In fact, many winners have applied multiple times before they actually achieved success. A few students have won more than one fellowship or scholarship. Be sure, however, to select only those that are appropriate for you and aligned with your goals.

How much time does it take to prepare an application?

Plan to spend a significant amount of time on the application process. Many applicants revise their essays over a dozen times. Some students have reported that the process can take as much time as if they were taking a course.

What are my options if I am not a U.S. citizen?

Most awards described on this site are open only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. A few fellowships invite non-U.S. citizens to apply. Check the website of the scholarship or fellowship foundation for eligibility requirements.

Can I apply if I have already graduated?

Some of the fellowships listed on this site are open to individuals who have recently graduated. The Rhodes, Soros, Marshall, and Fulbright, for example, accept applications from recent alumni. Check the eligibility requirements on the scholarship or fellowship website.