FAQs & Tips

Wesleyan Summer Grants are funding resources awarded through the Gordon Career Center which allow students to pursue no- or low-pay career-related summer experiences. These resources include Wesleyan Summer Experience Grants, Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Grants, named grants, etc.

Experiential learning opportunities can be both in the U.S. and abroad and can include career-related opportunities in the following areas:

  • Internships
  • Faculty-Mentored Research
  • Language Study
  • Volunteer Work
  • Field Study
  • Academic Program

To be considered for funding, the summer opportunity should be full-time for a minimum (or the equivalent) of 8 weeks. Grant awards typically range between $4,000 and $5,000. Only opportunities that take place over the summer will be considered and funded.

Receiving Your Grant
If your proposal is selected to receive funding, you will be notified in early April, and in mid-May, after completing the necessary steps to accept funding, you will receive a check for all of your approved budget. If funded, over the summer you will be required to complete a questionnaire about your experience and write a thank you to your donors.

For more information on how to develop your proposal and complete your application, please read our guide on How to Develop a Great Application.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How many students receive the grant each year?
    The numbers of grant recipients vary depending on the funds available that year. In previous years approximately 50-70% of the total applicants received funding to participate in an experience. 
  • What if I haven't received my internship by the grant application deadline?
    It is common for students to apply for a grant without securing the internship of their choice. If you are offered a grant but do not receive the opportunity you submitted, you must complete an Application Revision Form once you have found a replacement experience. The committee must approve your replacement experience before funds are used.
  • What is the Wesleyan Summer Earning Expectation?

    Each year Wesleyan's Financial Aid Office will determine the summer earning expectation for those students who are receiving financial aid. This amount is what should appear on your grant budget form ($2500 is the average, but the Financial Aid Office will determine the exact amount). The Committee would like this included in the budget to ease any financial requirements you may have over the summer.

  • How does the grant affect my taxes?
    Wesleyan University does not make any determination on the taxability of these awards.  Please consult your tax advisor to determine your tax status and liability.
  • What is a "sponsor/host"?
    Your sponsor/host will be your supervisor. The application process requires you have a conversation with your potential supervisor in order to discuss duties and responsibilities of your potential role.  If you are opting for an independent project or an academic experience with no specified supervisor, you need to find a faculty sponsor with whom to review your experience and discuss a timeline for work. 

How to Develop a Great Application

Resume
Your resume must be approved on Handshake by the Gordon Career Center before you can apply for a summer grant. Please note that once you upload your resume to Handshake it will be reviewed, not necessarily approved, within 48 hours or 2 business days. Please plan accordingly and expect that your resume may not be approved the first time you upload it. It is strongly encouraged that you have your resume reviewed in-person either during drop-in hours or a career advising appointment before you upload it to Handshake for the first time. You will need to submit your approved resume with your application. 

Length of Opportunity
The summer opportunity should be full-time for a minimum (or the equivalent) of 8 weeks, a total of 320 hours. This time period can include your travel to and from the experience site; for instance, the Committee is aware that flying abroad to get to your site can eat up a few days. 

Budget
A feasible budget is an important piece of your application. In order to make a comprehensive budget, please do research on where you will be living for the summer. Do research on the average rent, utilities, transportation, food, and household expenses (ie cleaning supplies, paper towels, toilet paper, etc.). Your budget must include your Wesleyan Summer Earning Expectation if you are on need-based financial aid, which you can confirm with the Financial Aid Office. Sample Budget

Keep these points in mind when creating your budget:

  • Fill in as much of the explanation section as needed. If utilities are included in rent, tell us that. If you need health or car insurance during the summer, you should include these items.
  • Ask friends or family what they normally spend per person on food each week.
  • Double check your travel expenses. If you are going to a remote village in Ghana, you should include all travel to get there — plane, taxi, and bus. If you are going to be working in a city, be sure to include travel from home or Wesleyan to get there initially (and the return trip) as well as subway expenses.
  • If you do not fill out a major category like Food or Travel, please explain why you do not need funds in that area.
  • If you are on need-based financial aid, make sure you have contacted the Financial Aid Office for the specific amount for your Summer Earning Expectation. Each student’s contribution can be different.
  • Double check to make sure your numbers on your budget add up correctly!

Remember: The Committee will probably not fund an applicant who has not included a request in a major category (like Food) without explanation, severely underestimates the funds for a category ($200 allotted for travel to London) without an explanation, or does not include the correct Summer Earning Expectation (if applicable). Grant awards are typically between $4,000 - $5,000. Requests that exceed $5,000 will require an additional question on the AcademicWorks application. Some grants, including Invisible Men, can be awarded up to $5,000 - please review all requirements carefully.

Quick Tips:
1. Plan ahead! The application requires that you do research on your opportunity in order to create a well written, convincing application. This is not something that can be put together the day before. 
2. The grant is to be used for career-related or experiential learning opportunities taking place in the summer only. 
3. Please describe only one opportunity in your application.
4. Make sure your written statements are organized and well written. Grammar and spelling count and will be taken into consideration during the review process.

Other
If you are funded, you are expected to participate in the opportunity you described in your application. If - and only if -the offer for that internship opportunity falls through, you must use the Application Revision to request that the Committee fund a new internship. Only after the Committee has received and approved the new request and you and your sponsor have completed the Confirmation Forms, will you receive your funds. 

Application Written Statements

This part of the application process is not an academic statement. Your written statements and essay must be compelling; you need to persuade the Committee to fund your experience. We need to understand why this experience is important to you as an individual and why we should fund it. Be thoughtful and detailed in your responses, taking care to answer the questions are asked. The overall clarity of the proposal, including grammar and spelling, will be taken into account during the review process. 

Short Statements
Your responses in this section should be brief and to the point, roughly 100 - 250 words.

#1. 
Please provide a brief summary of the organization you will be working/volunteering for; program you are attending/developing; or purpose of the research you will be conducting. Include information such as the mission statement, activities, projects, research and/or thesis explanation, etc.

#2. Please describe your role and responsibilities for the summer.

For questions 1 and 2, your response should give the Committee a strong sense of what a day in your summer experience will look like.

#3. The Committee needs to know that you have contacted your sponsor/host and have had a discussion about this experience. Several things can happen that could prevent you from receiving your internship or taking part in your summer experience: You may not qualify, the opportunity may no longer be available, or an intern may already be selected for that year. Specifically describe your contact, the conversation you have had, how you will work together, and how your work will be evaluated during your experience. 

#4.
 If you do not receive a grant, how will you continue to pursue this summer opportunity? Be detailed but brief in your reply.

Essay
Your response in this section should be detailed, well written, and free of spelling and grammatical errors. Essay length should be 750 - 1000 words.

This is the most important section of the application. The Committee wants to know why this summer experience is important to you and how it will impact your career goals. Some of the best essays generally take a “past, present and future” approach to answering the question. Think about how you became interested in this specific area (for example, Wesleyan academics, personal goals, previous work/volunteer experience, etc.), challenges you might face, and what you hope to gain from the experience. Address why you are interested in this specific summer opportunity at this point in your Wesleyan career.

Need Help?

Appointments
If you need help getting your resume approved, finding summer opportunities, or would like to review your application materials, please schedule a career advising or drop-in appointment with a staff member from the Gordon Career Center. Appointments can be scheduled online on Handshake, via phone 860-685-2180, or in-person during business hours. 

Questions
If you have any questions about your eligibility, requirements of a particular grant, or the application process, please contact Sarah McNamara, Associate Director of Internships and Campus Recruiting via email wseg@wesleyan.edu.