“Fellowship” is a generic term that encompasses nationally competitive grants, scholarships, and similar funding opportunities. Typically, fellowships fund study, research, or teaching in the U.S. or abroad. Fellowships are an investment in your future, not a reward for previous work.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am a freshman, is it too early for me to be thinking about these fellowships?
No! It is never too early to start planning; it takes time to build the necessary experiences for these opportunities. Come by our office and we can help you plan for the future.
Will a nationally competitive fellowship help pay my current tuition and fees?
In most cases no; however, some awards for research or graduate study may be used at any institution. Also, funding is not typically available for 9 to 18 months after the application is due.
Who are competitive candidates for Fellowships?
Competitive students are energetic and high achieving, with the potential to make significant contributions for the public good. Additional assets include
- High GPAs;
- Service-Learning courses or meaningful volunteer experience;
- Honors courses (and other rigorous coursework);
- Research experience;
- Studying abroad (preferably for a full term, not just during a break between semesters);
- Leadership and participation in campus and community activities.
If these are really competitive, it seems like a long shot. Why should I bother applying?
Students at MU have been successful. Students who have applied say that the application process is rewarding and educational whether or not they win. Applicants develop skills used later in life, such as proposal writing and interviewing, and receive personalized mentoring that can help them determine long-term goals and assist them throughout their educational experience.
How long do I need to prepare an application?
Applications are lengthy; many require as much work as a typical 3-hour course. Most successful applicants spend 2 to 4 months working on the actual application and supporting documentation; also, several nationally competitive fellowships have a campus interview and nomination process, which often requires earlier deadlines and more time.
What can the Fellowships Office do for me?
We work with students who are eligible for nationally competitive fellowships, grants, and scholarships. We provide
- Advice on programs and activities to strengthen your educational experience;
- Information on fellowships and other opportunities to help you achieve your goals;
- Support and assistance leading to and throughout the fellowship application process, including how to strengthen essays and interview skills;
- Guidance for securing strong letters of recommendation.