- The majority of the scholarships described on these pages are nationally competitive. What does “nationally competitive” mean?
A “nationally competitive” scholarship is one for which students from all across the nations will be applying. Although these scholarships are highly competitive, in recent years, CUNY students have won many of these prestigious scholarships and fellowships. (See the section on recent CUNY award winners.)
- What are the benefits of applying for prestigious scholarships and fellowships?
Most national scholarships are worth between five thousand and thirty-five thousand dollars. Many support study at some of the most distinguished foreign and American universities. Winners of these prestigious awards often go on to make significant contributions to the arts and humanities, scientific research, public affairs, government service, law, medicine, etc.
- How should I begin the scholarship process?
It is best to start early. Familiarize yourself with the major prestigious scholarships. Attend information workshops on particular scholarships sponsored by your college. Contact your campus fellowship advisor and the faculty member designated as the campus representative for the particular scholarship(s) in which you are interested to set up a meeting. Familiarize yourself with the application materials for scholarships that are of particular interest to you.
- What will be the most time consuming aspect of preparing applications?
A substantial portion of the time will be devoted to preparing the essays required in each scholarship application. Some essays will focus on a proposed, substantive research project or on research activities in which a candidate is currently involved.Some applications require a “personal statement” which serves to reveal a student’s character, values, intellectual and academic interests, achievements, goals and aspirations. This type of essay also offers the candidate an opportunity to make a convincing case that they have the potential to make a significant contribution to a particular field of study or to the common good and are thus worthy of scholarship support.
- What should I know about getting letters of recommendation from professors and others?
The most important thing is to ask early. You should also follow up with polite reminders. The best letter writers are those with whom you have had close interaction in the classroom, in research projects, in community service activities and in work settings. No matter how well these recommenders know you, you should still provide them with a resume and specific information on the scholarship(s) for which you are applying, including the selection criteria.
- If a scholarship requires a personal interview before a panel, how do I prepare for this?
Contact your campus fellowship coordinator and the campus representative for particular scholarships. If you are selected as a finalist, a committee will be formed on your campus and/or in your special program for a mock interview. The mock interview committee(s) will question candidates based on their written applications and the scholarship criteria. They may invite specialists in your field to the interview as well. After the questioning, the committee will offer feedback and advice on how best to proceed with the actual interview.