FAQs & Tips

WESLEYAN SUMMER GRANTS are funding resources, available through the Gordon Career Center, that are awarded through a competitive application and review process. Wesleyan Summer Grants assist students in financing summer experiential learning opportunities related to their career and post-Wesleyan interests. Some Summer Grants (Wesleyan Summer Experience Grants) are awarded with preference to students with demonstrated financial need.

Grants are given for all types of summer experiential learning opportunities from career-focused internships in the corporate world to the non-profit; faculty-mentored research, or independent field study; and volunteer opportunities—in the U.S. and abroad. 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.

If you have questions about your eligibility, the specific requirements of a particular grant, or the Wesleyan Summer Grant process—please contact Marcy Herlihy, Director of Stewardship and Donor Relations via email wseg@wesleyan.edu.

For the majority of Summer Grants, undergraduates who are rising juniors or rising seniors by the start date of the summer opportunity and are actively enrolled at the time they apply will be eligible. Please note that some grants have a preference for a student receiving need-based financial aid. Students can only receive a Wesleyan Summer Grant one time during their Wesleyan career. Please review each grant for specific eligibility and requirements.

Applications will be evaluated the Wesleyan Summer Grants Committee on the basis of:                                              
1. Clarity of the proposal and essays
2. Feasibility of the outlined and detailed budget
3. The opportunity presented to enhance the Wesleyan educational experience, to gain new skills, to test or broaden areas of career interest
4. An approved resume

The Gordon Career Center staff is available by appointment or during drop-in hours to show you the resources available to help you find a great summer experience, to approve your resume, and to review your application. For more information on how to develop your proposal and complete your application, please read our guide on How to Develop a Great Application.

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.

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?
    Many applicants, at the time of the Wesleyan Summer Grant deadline, have not yet been accepted at 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, equal to the approved opportunity. The Committee must approve the replacement internship before grant funds can be 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

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. 

A feasible budget is an important piece of your application. It must include your Wesleyan Summer Earning Expectation if you are on need-based financial aid. Sample Budget

Quick Tips:
1. The experience must be at least eight weeks long. 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. 

2. 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. 

3. Ask friends or family what they normally spend per person on food each week.

4. 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. 

5. If you do not fill out a major category like Food or Travel, please explain why you do not need funds in that area.

6. 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.

7. 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, does not include the correct Summer Earning Expectation, or requests a total grant amount higher than $4,000 - $5,000 (without detailed explanation). 

Application Written Statements

This part of the application process is not an academic statement. Your written statements and essays 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. We do expect good, grammatically correct writing free of spelling errors!

Your responses in this section should be brief and to the point, roughly 200 words.

#1.Provide details about the company or organization. You can pull information from their website; including a mission statement or specific job posting. Be specific. If you are planning an independent experience, provide good details—a timeline, specific details of where you will be and what you will be doing.

Your description should give the Committee a strong sense of a typical day in your internship. 

#2.The Committee needs to know that you have contacted your sponsor and have had a discussion about this position. Several things can happen that could prevent you from receiving your internship: You may not qualify for their internship, the internship may no longer be available, or an intern may already be selected for that year. Specifically describe your contact—such as e-mail, phone, etc.—and the conversation you have had with the sponsor regarding this internship. One paragraph is usually sufficient. 

#3. Please provide details on how you found this internship opportunity and what resources did you use in your research.

#4 and #5. Both questions are fairly straightforward, be detailed but brief in your reply.

Your responses in this section should be details and well written, roughly 500 words. Most applicants write anywhere from a one to two pages. Generally, we have found that one or two short paragraphs don’t give you an opportunity to explain to the Committee who you are and why we should fund you.

This is the most important section of the application. The Committee wants to know why this internship or experience is important to you. Some of the best essays generally take a “past, present and future” approach to answering both questions. In other words, tell us what in the past has inspired you to explore this career (courses, experiences, exploratory searches, events, courses, and/or internships) and how it relates to your academic studies. Then explain why this internship or experience is a good next step for you in your exploration and/or experience. Explain what impact this experience will have on your future goals and give us a sense of what you think are your future goals. You do not need to have specific goals (though some applicants do).

Quick Tips:
1. The grant is to be used for career-related or experiential learning opportunities only. 
2. You should only describe one opportunity in your application.
3. Make sure your written statements are organized and well written. 
4. The grant is for summer opportunities only

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. 

Please remember that career advisor are available at the Gordon Career Center to review your entire application as well as help you with exploring internships and other opportunities.