Where to Begin

  • Keep a file of all of your courses, honors, awards, volunteer experience, internships, as well as special projects or research. This information will come in handy when you apply for fellowships and scholarships.
  • Talk to your advisor about your interests and goals. He or she can always help point you in the right direction.
  • It is never too early to start planning ahead! If you are a freshman, you have plenty of time to shape your future and goals and set yourself on the right path to competing successfully for prestigious fellowships.
  • Feel free to contact a member of the Student Fellowships and Grants Committee to ask questions or set up an appointment.

Finding the Right Fellowship

  • Look through the list of fellowships for ones that are appropriate to your interests and circumstances
  • Pay attention to the eligibility requirements and make sure your aims are compatible with the goals of the fellowship.
  • Select a few fellowships that are the strongest match between the fellowship's requirements and goals and your own interests and goals.
  • Since the application process is roughly the same for most fellowships, applying for more than one does not necessarily involve a great deal of extra work. You might choose a number of fellowships to aim for, and include a variety of more competitive and less competitive fellowships, just like you applied to reach schools and safety schools when applying to college.

Preparing for Fellowships

  • Contact a member of the Student Grants and Fellowships Committee and make an appointment.
  • Keep your GPA high.
  • Build your resume: get involved in the community through volunteer service and internships, and participate in extracurricular activities and stick with them.
  • Get acquainted with the requirements of the fellowships you are aiming for, and consider tailoring your resume around them.
  • Research the fellowship websites carefully.
  • Develop relationships with professors who will write letters of recommendation and advise you on research topics and fellowships.
  • Take a foreign language (required for some fellowships).
  • Develop your vision, and try and focus your transcript to show expertise and experience in a field.
  • Keep a portfolio of all activities and awards.
  • Practice public speaking.
  • Hold “mock” interviews.

Applying for Fellowships

  • Find out what each application requires: how many essays, how long, how many letters of recommendation and from whom (faculty, peers, employers). Are there other special application requirements?
  • Work closely with an advisor on your fellowship essays. Compose drafts, and revise.
  • Check to see if there is an internal Ithaca College deadline. Some applications must go through the College before they can be sent through to the sponsoring organization, which usually means you need to have your application ready about a month before the actual deadline.
  • Pay attention to the national application deadline: does the sponsoring organization require that your application be in their office by the due date, or do they allow your application to be postmarked by the due date?
  • Seek out the people who will write your recommendations. Plan far in advance, ask them to write recommendations, and check up on them to make sure they send them in!
  • Work on getting your academic transcripts.
  • Make sure you have an updated resume.