Introduction to the Application Process

In order to gain the full benefits of the application process, it is important to start early. Most students report that the process is more intensive and demanding than they anticipated, so it is best to begin an application well in advance of the deadline.

But the advice to “start early” applies to more than just writing essays and assembling letters of recommendation. By exploring fellowship opportunities early in your college career—well in advance of when you would apply—you can familiarize yourself with the eligibility and selection criteria. This gives you the chance to reflect on what it takes to be a strong candidate , decide what that looks like for you personally, and make thoughtful decisions about how to use your time at UC as you seek to develop into the person you want to become.

Benefits of Applying

The application process provides its own rewards. If you commit yourself to the process, you will emerge with a refined understanding of your academic and personal history, a more nuanced account of your future academic and professional goals, a more robust language for discussing both, and a polished set of essays ready to be adapted into graduate school application materials. Applying for a national fellowship demands that you engage in sustained introspection and asks you to synthesize elements of your history, identity, and ambitions into a powerful story about who you are and who you want to be. In our view, the development that comes from engaging in this kind of work is the best reason to apply.