While applying for national fellowships is a lot of work, it’ll be less stressful and more rewarding if you take some steps to prepare before you get started.
Start Early, Get Organized, and Manage Your Time
One of the best things you can do to position yourself for a positive application experience is to make sure you have enough time to do it well, without sacrificing other major commitments. We suggest getting started at least six weeks before the deadline, preferably two to three months ahead.
Staying organized and on top of deadlines can also be enormously helpful in keeping your stress levels down. Think about the term in which you would be applying — what will your commitments be then? How much time will you need for classes and research? Will you be on co-op? How about your extra-curricular activities? Social and family obligations? Make sure you will be able to carve out time to spend on your fellowship applications – think of it as the equivalent of a one-credit class.
Beyond this, we encourage you to make time to be not-working. Carve out time for family and friends, to just hang out. This can help keep things in perspective.
Identify Resources that Can Help You
There are many resources that can help you with an application, and you should identify these before you get too deeply into a major application. Different resources can be helpful for different purposes. Let people know what you are doing and get them on board as supporters as early as you can.
We are here to work with students directly, helping them prepare the strongest applications they can. Contact us as soon as you think you might be applying for one of the Core or Priority awards.
A faculty or staff mentor can be an outstanding resource as you prepare an application, from helping you think through project ideas to helping you identify collaborators to offering feedback on essays. We encourage you to discuss your application with your mentors, soliciting their input in all phases of your application.
Conversation, even before first drafts, can help writers create richer and more complex responses to challenges. The Drexel Writing Center is an excellent resource to help you think through and develop your application essays. Faculty and peer readers can provide feedback and encouragement as you develop topics, evaluate drafts, and revise for clarity.
The DWC offers in-person and online appointments. For information about availability and locations and to make an appointment, see the online schedule.
Family and friends can be valuable resources – don’t overlook them in your application process. They can be very helpful as you try to remember revealing or important stories that illuminate your character, motivation, and professional path, especially important for the personal essay. They are often also very good at asking the ‘so what’ question, especially important if you are applying to an award for which your reviewers will not be experts in your field.
Beyond this, family and friends are often terrific for thinking about something besides your fellowship application! Everyone needs a break.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, the Counseling Center is available as a resource to help. They offer free, confidential counseling services provided by mental health professionals to currently enrolled full-time undergraduate and graduate students.
- University City students: 215.895.1415
- Center City students: 215.762.7625
- Queen Lane students: 215.991.8214 or 215.991.8532
- In an after-hours emergency, any student can call: 215.416.3337 or 911