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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a fellowship and scholarship?

These terms are used interchangeably. Scholarships usually refer to grants in support of undergraduate education, whereas fellowships tend to 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, but some fellowships and scholarships place less emphasis on grades, so 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, gain a broad liberal education, and build relationships with faculty and staff members.

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

Some competitions ask each university to narrow 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 Karla Guinigundo ( 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 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, and 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.

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