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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an institutional endorsement?

For many scholarships, applicants must receive the endorsement of the Dartmouth College Committee on Graduate Fellowships. This institutional endorsement means that a fellowship applicant is submitting their application with the official approval of their college or university, administered through our office. An institutional endorsement usually indicates that a fellowship nominee has gone through an internal selection process here at Dartmouth.

What is a nomination?

A nomination indicates that a student has been selected by their institution to go forward in the competition from a general pool of applicants. A nominated student may be the same as a finalist, depending on the terms of the fellowship selection process. Certain fellowships require a "nomination" process. This means that Dartmouth College does a preliminary selection among the applicant pool and nominates candidates not exceeding the number allowed by the fellowship (numbers may vary according to state or region).

What is a Preliminary Application? And which fellowships require it?

We require a preliminary application for some of the major fellowships: the Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell and Fulbright Scholarships. A preliminary application is a complete application, including transcript and letters of recommendation. This is due to Scholarship Advising in the Spring Term before the application deadline (check our website for the preliminary deadline).

What is the purpose of the Preliminary Application?

The preliminary application serves as a starting point for the scholarship application process. The preliminary applications are reviewed over the summer by the Committee on Graduate Fellowships, and applicants are provided with feedback and suggestions for revision on statements, proposals, and other application materials. You will have time to make changes and edits to your application before the campus deadlines for these grants.

Can I still apply if I miss the Preliminary Application deadline?

Yes, but you must contact the Scholarship Advising Office immediately to catch up and begin the application process.

What is the difference between an internal and official deadline?

An official fellowship deadline is the date established by the fellowship foundation for the receipt of all application materials. An internal deadline (campus deadline) is the date set by the Scholarship Advising office to receive the completed application, including letters of recommendation, transcripts, the final version of the personal statement, and any other required application materials. The internal deadline is usually one month prior to the official deadline so that the Committee on Graduate Fellowships can read the application files and select Dartmouth's nominees. The office must also prepare and mail the application materials before the official deadline. Both internal and official deadlines are set in stone.

When should I start looking into scholarships and fellowships?

It's never too early to begin the fellowship process! Once you begin to consider your post-graduation options, look into the different programs and opportunities that are offered. As a sophomore, you should begin honing your interests and investigating possible fellowship opportunities. Even as a first-year, however, you can prepare for possible fellowships by doing well in your courses, exploring a wide variety of fields, building relationships with faculty, and meeting with the Scholarship Advisor.

I am a sophomore (or a junior) and am thinking of going to graduate school. Are there any fellowships I can apply for now?

Yes. There are several scholarships for sophomores and juniors, some of them offer a scholarship award during undergraduate years, some for graduate school, and some for both. Check our scholarship listing or contact the Scholarship Advising office for more information.

Can I apply for more than one fellowship? Would it hurt my chances?

You can apply for as many fellowships as you would like; there is no limit and it does not hurt your chances to apply for multiple awards. In fact, some fellowships, though distinct, overlap in terms of field or type of grant, so it would make sense to apply for all that apply to your interests and goals. On the other hand, because each fellowship is different in style and focus it makes sense to identify the ones that best suit your credentials and interests and focus your energies on producing the strongest possible application for those rather than spreading yourself too thin. Throwing as many applications into the mix as you can to see what happens is not necessarily the right approach.

What are my chances of winning x, y, or z fellowship?

There are many factors that influence the success or failure of any fellowship application. It is useful to carefully consider the criteria for selection for the particular fellowship in which you are interested. If you feel that you meet these criteria and you work hard on presenting yourself well in the application, you should seriously consider applying; if you do not apply, you cannot win. It is also important to keep in mind that many awards are so competitive that in the end the chances of winning are by definition marginal.

For what kinds of fellowships do I qualify?

Qualifications are based on eligibility and criteria. You qualify to apply for any fellowship for which you meet the eligibility requirements, i.e., citizenship, class year, field of study, age, and GPA. You may technically qualify for a given fellowship, but you also need to determine if you meet the criteria for selection. Browse our Scholarship List to learn more about available opportunities.

I have an independent project that I would like to do after graduation. Are there any fellowships to support this?

Yes, Dartmouth has fellowships for independent projects either abroad or in the US. Check our scholarship listings under Dartmouth Grants for Graduate Study or Research for more information.

I am not a U.S. citizen. Can I still apply for fellowships?

Yes. Although most fellowships are for US citizens or permanent residents, there are a number of grants for foreign nationals as well. Additionally, there are many grants (Rhodes, Fulbright, DAAD, etc.) where you can apply through your home country. There are several fellowships for Canadian citizens in particular.

Does it matter whether I apply from New Hampshire or my home state?

Some fellowships include a regional application process, and you may have the choice to apply from either your home state or New Hampshire, where you are attending college. The Scholarship Advising office will work with each applicant to determine the best state from which to apply, considering your own strengths and the characteristics of the regional competition.

I'm studying abroad. Can I apply for a fellowship? How?

Even if you're studying abroad, you can still apply for fellowships. If you are leaving before the process begins, contact us before your departure so that you can get all the relevant information. If you are abroad when you decide to apply, email us and we can send you information and begin working with you. Many applications are now online and can be completed from anywhere. The most important thing is to stay in contact by email or phone with the Scholarship Advising office as well as with your faculty recommenders.

How do I go about researching my program of study abroad?

To determine which international school is best for you, begin your search on the Web, using some of the resources listed on this site. Go to the universities' own websites to learn more about their curricula and pedagogy, and perhaps most importantly, contact faculty with whom you would like to work, both in your department here and in the schools you are researching. Professors are open to your communication and are often happy to learn about your research interests and offer their own guidance and suggestions.

How long is the application process?

Many application deadlines are up to a year or longer in advance of the fellowship period. Monitor our website and that of other sources on campus. Keep a calendar of upcoming deadlines. Meet with the Scholarship Advisor well in advance and be patient.

How many drafts should I prepare of my personal statement?

The quick answer: as many as you need! While no applicant goes through the same process, most will end up writing 10-12 drafts before the final version is produced. Each draft ends up exploring different narratives, different techniques, and different emphases. The process of rethinking and revising will help you hone your focus and strengthen the application as a whole. The fruit of your labors is a statement that demonstrates both your intellectual maturation and the development of your persuasive skills.

Who should read my personal statement?

When it comes to reading and editing the personal statement, the more eyes, the better. Submit your work to the Scholarship Advising office, and also ask your friends, parents, professors, and mentors to read it. They will let you know if it truly reflects who you are, and clearly defines where you want to go and why. Other readers will be able to spot areas in need of improvement that may escape your attention.

Who is available to help me with my writing?

The Scholarship Advising office can put you in touch with the Writing Editor who can help you with your writing skills, style and polish.

How many letters of recommendation do I need?

Scholarships generally require two-eight letters of recommendation. As each scholarship has different criteria for selection and a specified number of recommendations, you should read the application instructions carefully when thinking about whom to ask for letters of support. Generally most or all of these recommendations should come from faculty members with whom you have taken classes.

Whom should I ask for recommendations?

Scholarship selection committees depend heavily on these letters to gain insight into applicants' personal strengths, weaknesses, and accomplishments. This kind of information cannot be readily gleaned from transcripts and test scores, so it is in your best interest to help your recommenders write the most accurate and detailed letters possible. Make your choices carefully, gathering strong evaluations from persons who have had an opportunity to observe your academic ability and your personal qualities.

Can a TA write a letter of recommendation for me?

It is almost always preferable for a professor to write your letter of recommendation. Professors who have taught undergraduates for a number of years have a larger context in which to place an applicant, and can offer a perspective that a graduate student cannot. The Scholarship Advising office works with applicants to determine the most appropriate roster of recommendation writers for each student.

What is the purpose of the Committee on Graduate Fellowships interview?

Some fellowships require that a campus committee interview applicants for the purposes of nomination or endorsement by Dartmouth College. The interview allows the CGF to evaluate your proposal and you as a candidate for a particular fellowship. The interview is also designed to better prepare you for the actual interview, if one is required.

Where can I find copies of winning applications?

There are binders with copies of winning applications in our office for your review. These materials cannot leave the premises, and we cannot make photocopies.

Are there other resources on campus to support my fellowship efforts?

Click here for a list of other offices that handle fellowship and grant opportunities.

Last Updated: 11/11/11