Why apply for a national scholarship or fellowship?
It’s a win-win for high-achieving students. These awards recognize and reward students who have made the most of their undergraduate experience. The award preparation and application process is also a tremendous way to prepare for all postgraduate opportunities.
Where to begin? Start imagining the possibilities!
- Review the Guide for National Award Competition.
- Identify scholarships and fellowships of interest and determine eligibility.
- Visit award websites and check out profiles of past scholarship and fellowship recipients.
- Plan to attend all Honors College National Scholarship and Fellowship programming, including individual advising sessions, writing workshops and mock interview panels. See the Honors College calendar for details.
Need a little help with your application writing?
Check out the Writing for National Awards Initiative. Through the initiative, the Writing Studio provides dedicated writing tutors to assist students who are submitting applications for national scholarships and fellowships.
National Scholarship Resources
Here are some tips and guidelines that can help you be successful throughout the process:
The first and most important source for resume assistance will be your advisor or faculty mentor. Many disciplines, job types, and scholarships have specific requirements for resume format, so always check first with someone who knows your background and goals.
The Honors College offers mock interviews in the spring designed to prepare students for nationally competitive scholarship and internship opportunities. Check the Honors College calendar for details.
The University Career Services Center at Georgia State University also offers resume review and mock interview services.
Finally, many other colleges and universities offer tips and advice on resumes. See:
Please take note of the following professional etiquette guidelines when working with faculty members, participating in interview sessions and asking for letters of recommendation.
- Spell check all emails
- Do not use all capitals in emails
- Send thank you notes within 24 hours of meeting
- Use “at your earliest convenience” sparingly and in a courteous way
- Avoid use of “ASAP” and instead offer a specific date (i.e., by Friday) when something is due
- Do not use strange fonts or colors
- Choose an appropriate subject heading that reflects what the email is about
- Use professional and formal language
- Do not use emoticons or symbols
- Always proofread for grammatical errors and spelling errors, including making sure the name of the recipient is spelled correctly
- Use proper salutations and closings (i.e., Dear Professor X, … Sincerely, Student Y)
- Have a signature at the end of your email that has your name, title and contact information
- Always address people by their proper title (i.e., Ms., Mr., Dr.) unless they say otherwise or if they have replied by email using their first name as the signature
- Turn off your phone and do not have it visible during a meeting or interview
- If you must take a call, make sure not to share confidential, personal or private information where others can hear you
- Pay attention to the volume of your voice
- Do not carry on loud conversations, particularly in a small space or hallways outside meeting rooms/offices
- Stand while being introduced
- Unless given permission, always address someone by his or her title and last name
- Handshakes need to be firm, but not crushing
- Make eye contact while shaking hands and being introduced
LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION ETIQUETTE
- Ask a professor with whom you have had a good classroom experience (i.e., received a B or better in their class(es) and met with outside of the classroom) or who has supervised your research
- Ask a professor five to six weeks before the letter is due so they have enough time to prepare
- Set up a meeting with the professor and ask for their support in person, if that is not possible then you can ask in an email
- If the professor agrees, set up a meeting with them four weeks (one month) before the letter is due and present them with a folder that contains the following items:
- Copies of papers or projects you have written for that professor
- Statement of purpose for your application
- List of due dates and addresses/procedures where the professor must send the letter and indicate whether recommendations are submitted electronically or by mail
- Addressed envelope(s) with postage for mailed recommendations
- Basic information about the opportunity for which they are recommending you
- If, for any reason, you no longer need the recommendation make sure to let the recommender know immediately
- If a form accompanies the recommendation, prefill forms with recommender name and title
- Two weeks before the recommendation is due, email a gentle reminder
- Send another gentle reminder 1 week before due date to prompt a confirmation
- If no response, four days out visit recommender during their office hours to remind
- After the recommendation is written, thank all of your recommenders
- Finally, once you hear from the position or program you have applied to, let your recommenders know the outcome and thank them again for their efforts
The Honors College offers programming year-round to assist candidates for national scholarships and fellowships with personal statement writing. These might include sessions in the Honors Essential series, writing workshops, and individual meetings with National Scholarship and Fellowship program staff. See the Honors College calendar for details on upcoming events, or fill out the Pre-Meeting Questionnaire to make an appointment.
The Georgia State Writing Studio also offers one-on-one appointments for students engaged in writing projects, including personal statements for scholarships, internships, or graduate school applications. You can make an appointment with them on their webpage.
Most national scholarship programs also offer advice or webinars on writing successful personal statements for their particular scholarship or fellowship. These are an excellent resource and should be used by any student considering applying for a scholarship.
- Fulbright Scholarship Program advice, tips, and webinars
- Truman Scholarship Advice on Personal Statements
- Advice from Udall Scholarship Director Jane Curlin on Writing Creative Personal Statements
- Advice from Pomona College
- Advice from the University of Maryland
- Advice from Northern Arizona University
Start early! The most successful applicants for graduate study or research funding begin their applications well ahead of the deadline. Start researching funding opportunities and strategizing your application process well before you are ready to apply.
Your best resource for graduate school or research funding is your departmental faculty. If you don’t have a research mentor and faculty advisor, get one now. Work with faculty on a research project. Start talking with them about your goals and future plans as soon as you are able. Make an appointment with the National Scholarship and Fellowship program staff by filling out the Pre-Meeting Questionnaire.
- Profellow.com [Free database of national fellowship opportunities, sign-up required]
- Moneygeek.com [Free listing of scholarships in wide variety of categories; use the ‘Education and Careers’ tab to locate scholarship information]
- FinAid.org [Searchable database of undergraduate and graduate scholarship opportunities]
- SallieMae.com [Searchable database; free sign-up required]
- The Institute of International Education [Administers a variety of international scholarship programs, include the Fulbright, Gilman, and Boren Scholarships]
- U.S. Department of Education [Large list of usually government funded grant and scholarship opportunities]
- Tips for preparing a successful NSF fellowship application
- STEM scholarship advice from David Butcher
- External GSU grants focused on university students in the STEM disciplines
- Home of the O*Net database, with hundreds of STEM occupation specific descriptors
- Information on STEM Summer Programs from the GSU College of Arts and Sciences
- STEM student resources from the GSU College of Arts and Sciences