There are many nationally competitive fellowships out there. NCA has divided these awards into three categories: Core Awards, Priority Awards, and Other Awards. The principal differentiating factor among the award types is not the competitiveness or prestige of the awards—they are all wonderful opportunities—but rather the role that NCA plays in the application process.

Core Awards require a university endorsement or evaluation. Students interested in a Core Award must work directly with NCA and should give advance notice of their intent to apply by contacting the office as early as possible.

Core Awards have two deadlines: internal and external. The internal deadline is the date by which materials must be submitted to NCA in order for the candidate to proceed through the internal review process, which includes a mandatory campus interview. The external deadline is the final deadline established by the fellowship itself.

Most fellowships are “direct-apply awards,” which means they do not require a university endorsement. Among them, NCA has identified a list of Priority Awards—opportunities that might be of particular interest to UC students. Though you are not required to work with NCA in order to complete an application for a Priority Award, we strongly encourage you to do so.

There are no campus interviews or internal deadlines for Priority Awards, and candidates manage their own final submission process, but NCA can offer advice on the application. With advance notice, we are happy to provide feedback on your essays.

There are far more nationally competitive award opportunities out there than NCA can possibly feature. In terms of financial value, some are quite large, while others are relatively small. The eligibility criteria range from broad to niche. We strongly encourage you to explore these opportunities. To facilitate your search, we have compiled a list of excellent awards databases.

It is unlikely that NCA will be able to provide feedback on your essays for these awards, but feel free to ask. If time and resources allow, we will be happy to help—and we like knowing about the external opportunities that UC students are pursuing.