Fellowships 101

What are national fellowships?

They are fully funded, usually year-long programs that support independent exploration, research, English teaching, graduate study, and professional experiences in and outside of the U.S.

Why are they called national? 

They are called national because they draw applicants from across the U.S. and are funded by federal programs or private foundations operating at the national level.

Who can apply?

  • Most fellowships are open to seniors and recent alumni from any academic discipline.
  • Many don't have a minimum GPA requirement.
  • Some are discipline-specific, intended for STEM, humanities, or social science majors.
  • A few are open to sophomores and juniors. 
  • Most are only open to U.S. citizens, but a few are open to all citizenships.

Why should I apply? 

Regardless of winning, the fellowship application process is a way of investing in yourself and building community with other applicants through mutual support. Writing the application essays gives you an opportunity to reflect on your motivation and goals while learning to tell your story to an unfamiliar audience.

Although we have little control over the final outcome of the application process, only those who apply have a chance to win! If you do win a fellowship that's aligned with your goals, you gain a unique experience that advances your priorities.

How do I apply?

  • National fellowship programs require candidates to apply through Wesleyan.
  • We use the ViaTRM platform for initial expressions of interest in specific fellowship programs.
  • If you decide to proceed with the application, the materials you have to prepare usually include a resume, personal statement, project proposal (if applicable), transcripts, and between two and five letters of recommendation. 
  • A campus committee will review your application, invite you for a campus interview, and decide whether to endorse your candidacy.

When do I apply?

  • Expressions of interest are due in ViaTRM in Spring, but if you come to the process later, we'll do our best to accommodate you.
  • Campus deadlines are usually in late summer or early fall, several weeks before national deadlines.

Why do I have to apply so far ahead of the national deadline? 

Because it takes time to form campus committees, review applications, schedule and conduct campus interviews, nominate candidates, and write the institutional endorsement letters required by many fellowship programs. 

When should I start working on my application?

Preparing a strong application takes time, effort, and multiple drafts. It's best to start thinking about fellowship options at least a semester before the campus deadlines to explore opportunities, choose the right one, reflect on your motivation and goals, plan out the application process, and begin drafting application essays.

That said, if you come to the process later, we'll do our best to support you, so don't hesitate to get in touch!

What support can I get?

We support you at every stage of the application process, from identifying relevant fellowships to building a strong candidate profile to completing the application process.

Schedule an appointment on our calendar to explore opportunities, brainstorm ideas for the application essays, get feedback on your writing, or do a practice fellowship interview.

We also sponsor events during which you can meet other applicants, get advice from peers, and share experiences. Follow Fellowships at Wesleyan on Facebook to learn more! 

Fellowships at Wesleyan
Fries Center for Global Studies | Fisk Hall
Contact |  fellowships@wesleyan.edu | 860-685-2550
Click to schedule an appointment