Though every fellowship is different in its specifics, generally you will follow these steps:

  1. Get to know the basics about any fellowship that interests you by reading our overview about it (the Fellowships at a Glance page indexes these longer descriptions). These descriptions explain the purpose and history of the fellowship as well as eligibility requirements (GPA, field of study, and other qualifications), and they often contain links to the websites maintained by foundations and scholarship organizations themselves, which are a great source of additional information. Look into opportunities early! Ideally, you are doing your first reading about the fellowship 6 months or more before the national deadline (use the overview of deadlines to get a sense of the best timing). Around that time, you’ll see information sessions listed on the  Events page on this website.  Please note that it is never too early to express interest in a particular fellowship. For example, if you are interested in Fulbright but you’re still a sophomore, write to and we can add you to the list to receive future communications about Fulbright in particular.

  2. Request an appointment to meet with a fellowships advisor. We'll help you think through whether or not that particular fellowship is a good fit for you, given your qualifications and interests, and give you some next steps to prepare to get the application done on time for the campus deadline.

  3. Begin preparing your application materials and planning who you might ask about recommendation letters. Each fellowship has its own page that outlines the details of the application and links to the site where you can apply through the associated foundation webpage. Many fellowships, especially those that require applicants to arrange an affiliation or contacts abroad (e.g. Fulbright for independent research and the Watson Fellowship) require substantial research before writing your application essays. You will want to read the information about the fellowship closely, attend information sessions, and talk with fellowship alumni to get a good sense of how to design a compelling proposal. This work will shape how your conceptualize your proposal and how you present yourself in your essays.

  4. Drafting and revising your application essays. At a certain point, once you have a lot of information in hand, it's time to get down to drafting the application essays. Check out the list of upcoming events to find writing sessions to help structure your drafting and revision. Writing is hard work and we can all use some support! Fellowship essays need to be ultra-polished at the end stage. (Six to ten revisions is not uncommon!) Generating a draft and seeking feedback on it will be a crucial means to refine your materials and increase your chances of success. Building in time to step away from the writing, reflection, and return to it is a great idea. You can get feedback on your writing from fellowships staff (book an appointment and submit your draft through the form at least 24 hours in advance), from the Writing Workshop, and friends, mentors, and faculty members who know you well. Be strategic about who you utilize at what stage in your writing process, starting with low stakes readers and moving up to those with expertise that can benefit your application.

  5. Submit your application by the campus deadline (campus deadlines are usually about a month or so ahead of the national deadline; deadlines for select fellowships are listed on our website). Once you complete the initial application and submit it, a faculty committee will review your application, in many cases interview you, and make a decision about which candidates Wesleyan will nominate or endorse. Decisions are based on the materials you submit and the guidelines set by the foundations. Not all candidates are endorsed; sometimes there is a limit on the number each campus can send to the national competition; sometimes an applicant's materials do not meet the criteria. In some cases, the campus process is valuable opportunity to improve your materials further, building on feedback from the campus interview process.

  6. After the campus process, look for a notification about whether your application has been endorsed or nominated at the campus level. Each candidate who has submitted for the campus deadline will be notified via email of the committee's decision.

  7. Further revision between the campus process and the national deadline. After the campus deadline, you'll have a chance to revise and polish your application essays using the feedback you received during the campus process. Consider booking an appointment with the Writing Workshop to get feedback on how best to implement the suggestions without sacrificing your essay's strengths (all while staying within the strict page limits that fellowship applications require!).

  8. Meet the national deadline. At the final stage, endorsed candidates submit their final applications to the foundations with continued support and guidance from Wesleyan's fellowships staff. National deadlines are very strict, so do not wait until the last moment to submit!