Did you miss the Fellowships 101 virtual info session earlier this week? Take a look at the videos and/or transcripts below to discover:
- What are Fellowships and Why Should I Consider Them? (Part 1)
- Finding Relevant Fellowship Opportunities. (Part 2)
- How Do I Get Started With Applying? (Part 3)
- Haverford’s Fellowships & Scholarships Webpage
- Handshake (For making an appointment with Fellowship Advisor, Jason Chan)
PART 1: What Are Fellowships and Why Should I Consider Them?
In this first of three videos in the Fellowships 101 series, we’ll be talking about what fellowships are and why you might want to consider one as part of your academic or career plans.
Slide 1 Hello everyone. My name is Jason Chan, the Fellowship and Career Advisor at CCPA. Welcome to the first part of Fellowships 101. In this first of three videos, we’ll be talking about what fellowships are and why you might want to consider one as part of your academic or career plans.
Slide 2 Before we dive in, I want to share some of Haverford’s successes in the world of fellowships. First, Haverford was recently named a Fulbright Top Producing Institution for the 5th year in a row. In the last five years, since 2015, 24 Haverford students and alumni have received a Fulbright grant, this represents 30% of all Haverford students and alumni who applied. So this is a pretty high acceptance rate given how competitive the Fulbright can be. And in these same five years, Haverford students and alumni have also received a number of other fellowship awards, so all in all, you are in good company in terms of being competitive for these fellowship opportunities.
Slide 3 So, what is a fellowship exactly? You may have heard this term before, but it’s not always clear what the term means or what it describes.
Slide 4 While fellowships can be tough to define, here’s a definition that I think can be helpful as a starting point:
Fellowships are short-term funded experiences that allow you to 1) acquire expert knowledge in an area of interest, 2) cultivating existing skills while developing new ones, and 3) gain exposure to new perspectives and communities.
Essentially, these are unique opportunities aligned with your interests and introduce you to new experiences that you may not encounter otherwise.
Fellowships can come in all different shapes and sizes, so to speak. This contributes to why it’s somewhat difficult to define. For example, they can vary by name – many are called fellowships, but others may be called scholarships or grants. And the distinction between a traditional scholarship, so funding for college or graduate school, is that scholarships that are also fellowships provide professional development and networking opportunities. They provide other things to supplement or complement the funding you get for your scholarship.
Fellowships can also vary by type: some are academically-focused, allowing you to pursue independent research or graduate studies, while others involve a service or professional placement, so you’ll be working in a local organization or community agency. There are also a number of fellowships that allow you to teach, whether it’s English or other subjects at schools and communities in different parts of the country or the world.
That’s the other area in which fellowships can differ. They can also vary by location – while some like the Fulbright or Watson are international, there are domestic opportunities as well. And lastly, fellowships can differ in when you can apply. While the fall of senior year is peak time for applying to fellowships, there are fellowships that are only open to sophomores or juniors, and many fellowships will accept applications from recent alumni as well.
Slide 5 Some of you might be thinking about graduate school or a full-time job after you graduate from Haverford and you may be wondering how a fellowship might fit into your plans. In other words, why might you want to consider doing a fellowship?
Slide 6 One reason is that fellowships can be transformative catalysts in both your academic and professional trajectories.
This is because fellowship programs are not only selecting you for your potential and promise, but they also provide you with a unique immersive experience. This could be an immersion in an academic area of interest or immersion in a culture or context that is different for you. It may also introduce you to extensive networks of peers and alumni, and connect you to a range of professional development opportunities. And this is not only during the fellowship experience itself but well beyond that time, so as an alumni of a fellowship program, for example, you still have access to many of these things.
So collectively, all of these experiences are designed to catapult you into the next chapter of your life and career journey, and again, potentially open doors or lead you to opportunities you might not encounter otherwise.
And so as you think about grad school or getting a job, this fellowship could be a stepping stone to allow you to continue into those opportunities you were thinking about, but with all of these benefits and experiences along the way.
Plus for those of you thinking about grad school, a good number of fellowships are specifically designed to provide full funding for graduate studies, so fellowships would be something to definitely consider as part of your graduate school planning process.
Slide 7 This concludes the first part 1 of the Fellowships 101 video series. Be sure to watch parts 2 and 3 to learn about specific fellowship opportunities and how to begin the process of exploring and applying to fellowships. You’re also welcome to schedule a meeting with me. You can do so via Handshake and you can also email me. I’d be happy to chat with you about your particular interests.
PART 2: Finding Relevant Fellowship Opportunities
In this second of three videos in the Fellowships 101 series, we’ll be talking about some specific programs that might be of interest to you as you think about potential fellowship opportunities.
Slide 1 Hello everyone. My name is Jason Chan, the Fellowship and Career Advisor at CCPA. Welcome to the second part of Fellowships 101. In this video, we’ll be talking about some specific programs that might be of interest to you as you think about potential fellowship opportunities.
Slide 2 Is there a fellowship opportunity out there that aligns with your interests and goals? Chances are the answer is yes – there are many different programs offering a range of experiences and opportunities. We’re going to talk about a number of them today in this video, but keep in mind there are many more out there. I also won’t be going into specific detail about these programs, but I would be happy to meet with you individually to identify programs that may be a good fit for your particular interests and goals.
Slide 3 This first set of fellowship opportunities that I want to share are those that may be a good fit for you if you are seeking a cultural exchange or cultural immersion experience in another country. These are all one-year experiences and can involve research, taking courses, teaching, or serving with a community organization or agency. These programs cover most regions of the world – Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. In fact, the Fulbright program itself is available in over 140 countries and the Watson fellowship allows you to choose which countries you would like to go to for your fellowship experience.
Slide 4 For those of you who are interested in pursuing graduate school, there are opportunities for you to consider as well, both overseas and within the U.S. For international opportunities, there are a number of UK and Ireland programs – Marshall, Rhodes, and Mitchell. These are open to any discipline at these respective countries. There are also programs like the Boren that allow you to pursue language study overseas. If you’re looking to attend graduate school in the U.S., there are a number of programs out there as well, so the Beinecke, the Knight-Hennessy, and the Soros – all these cover most if not all of your funding for graduate studies in a wide range of disciplines. So again, many opportunities to fund masters and PhD programs through fellowships.
Slide 5 There are also fellowship programs geared towards specific disciplines or career fields. I want to highlight three examples in this presentation, but keep in mind that these are not the only three areas where fellowship are geared towards.
The first are opportunities for those of you interested in research and study in STEM, ranging from the Goldwater Scholarship for sophomores and juniors to the Churchill and Hertz awards for students who want to pursue a masters or PhD in STEM disciplines.
The second set are opportunities for those of you interested in public service or public policy – the Udall Scholarship for students interested in environmental or Native American affairs and the Truman Scholarship for students interested in government, non-profit, education, and other public service sectors. I do want to mention that these are scholarships that you can apply to as non-seniors, so for the Udall, sophomores and juniors are eligible, and the Truman is for juniors only. So these are things to keep mind. You don’t have to wait until you’re a senior to start applying for particular fellowships.
And the third set I want to share are those that may be a good fit for those of you interested in global affairs and policy. There’s the Carnegie Gaither Junior Fellows which is a policy research fellowship and the Schwarzman Scholarship, which is a one-year graduate degree in global affairs that takes place in China.
Slide 6 That is a quick overview of a number of different programs that are out there. Believe it or not, these are just a small sampling of all the different fellowship opportunities that exist. So if you don’t see your areas of interest represented, don’t worry! The CCPA maintains a list of opportunities on the “Fellowships and Scholarships” section on our website, and there are websites like ProFellow.com, which I highly encourage you to check out, that has a searchable databases where you can find opportunities that align with your interests.
Slide 7 Just so you have a sense of what these two resources look like, I have a screenshot here of CCPA’s fellowships listing, which you can sort by location, type, area of focus, what class years can apply, as well as the deadline. So definitely take time to browse through these and see what opportunities might be of interest.
Slide 8 And this is a screenshot of Profellow’s database, and you can see the criteria on the left side that you can filter and search for the over 1000 opportunities that they have on their database. I would definitely recommend bookmarking this in your fellowship exploration process.
Slide 9 This concludes part 2 of the Fellowships 101 video series.. Be sure to watch part 3 to learn how to begin the process of exploring and applying to fellowships. Again, you can also schedule a meeting with me: you can sign up via Handshake, you can email me, and I’d be happy to chat with you about fellowship opportunities that align with your interests and your goals.
PART 3: How Do I Get Started With Applying?
In this third and final video in the Fellowships 101 series, we’ll be talking about how to begin the process of exploring and applying to fellowships.
Slide 1 Hello everyone. My name is Jason Chan, the Fellowship and Career Advisor at CCPA. Welcome to the third part of Fellowships 101. In this video, we’ll be talking about how to begin the process of exploring and applying to fellowships.
Slide 2 So your interest in fellowships has been piqued and you’d like to begin exploring and figuring out how to go about applying for these fellowship opportunities. What I’m going to do in this video is talk about some first steps you can take, knowing that the process of applying to fellowships can take up to several months. These are competitive opportunities, so you want to make sure you’re taking the steps to put together a strong application. To do so requires a substantial amount of preparation and a substantial amount of writing, so I encourage students to allocate at least a couple months, if not starting the process a semester ahead of the fellowship deadlines. So today’s video will cover some of the initial steps you can take to get the ball rolling, knowing that I will be happy to work with you individually over the course of working on the application process.
Slide 3 Here are some first steps you can take. The very first is to identify programs that are the best fit for your goals and interests. The CCPA maintains a list of opportunities on the “Fellowships and Scholarships” section on our website, and there are websites like ProFellow with searchable databases and listings. Once you take a look through these resources and find programs that interest you, I would pop onto the individual fellowship program websites to get a better sense of the eligibility criteria, the different components of the fellowship program, and the details of the application process.
After you’ve done that, I would encourage you to schedule a meeting with me. This is not only an opportunity for us to go over the details of the fellowship programs you’ve identified but also to see if there are others that might be a good fit as well as I might throw a couple more for you to think about. In addition, this is also a time to come up with a timeline and game plan for putting together a competitive application for the programs you’ve identified. Again, as I mentioned earlier, this process can take several months, so having a plan with multiple checkpoints that you and I can touch base on is strongly encouraged. And then finally, and I think this is perhaps one of the more important pieces, is that many fellowship programs require an institutional endorsement letter. I will be writing a letter on behalf of Haverford promoting and endorsing your candidacy for these fellowships. So the better I know you, your background, your experiences, your interests, the stronger the letter I’ll be able to write on your behalf. So that’s something to keep in mind as you think about the different fellowship opportunities you found.
Slide 4 Because the most important component of any fellowship application is the personal statements or essays they ask you to write, taking the time to reflect on your background and experiences well before you start working on your statement would be tremendously helpful.
These are some questions I encourage you to start thinking about: How your interests developed over time? What are the overarching themes to your academic, career, and life journeys? These are all great places to start as these will inevitably come out in the personal statements that you write.
As you reflect on these, take notes! Free write in a physical journal, Google Doc or Word document, or even a note on your phone. Keep it with you; as you think of things, jot them down. The more ideas you can compile at this stage, the easier it’ll be once you begin writing. Don’t worry about crafting polished sentences at this point; bullet points, short notes, and random thoughts – as long as you’re getting your ideas out of your head and onto paper or a document, this will come in handy once the time comes to sit down and start writing your personal statement.
Finally, the last thing I would encourage you all to start thinking about is potential recommenders. Strong recommendation letters can enhance a fellowship application. While average or even weak letters may not completely ruin your chances, consider lost opportunities to bolster and help your application shine in the process. So think about who knows you well, who would be excited to write you a letter, and what you would like your recommenders to say about you.
Fellowship programs will ask you to produce anywhere from 2-5 recommendation letters, so you want to create a list of people you can ask and ideally provide a different perspective on who you are as a candidate. So folks who can speak to your academic background, folks who can speak to your leadership skills, folks who can speak to your general character, for example. So think through the people in your lives – faculty members, advisors, your dean, supervisors, mentors – and start thinking about what each of them might be able to say about you in a potential letter. I would say maintaining that list would be super helpful as well.
Remember, these are the beginning steps. As you make progress on the application and start filling out the personal statement, for example, or asking recommenders, know that I am available as a resource and can continue to meet and work with you throughout the process to ensure your application is as strong as it can be!
I am happy and very willing to review drafts of your personal statement, strategize what the best combination of recommenders might be, and think through how to tailor your application materials to the fellowship program or programs that you’re applying to.
Slide 5 This concludes part 3 of the Fellowships 101 video series. If you have watched all three videos, then you’re in a good place to begin exploring fellowship programs and opportunities. Again, I encourage you to schedule a meeting with me. You can sign up on Handshake or send me an email. I’d be glad to sit down with you and assist you in navigating this process. Please be in touch and I look forward to working with you!
Questions? Contact Jason Chan, Fellowship Advisor, at firstname.lastname@example.org