Tips for NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Applications


I was recently reminded that there are people back home working on National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship applications. The NSF application is a bit different from PhD applications, both in the content and how they are assessed. As usual, the best advice I can give you is: do your research.

There are some really good resources available online regarding the NSF, far better than I could give. For starters, I recommend Keith Jacks Gamble’s `Advice for Applicants to the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship‘ and all the references therein — especially Tess Moon’s talk at UT Austin. The latter includes a copy of the NSF GRF application assessment rubric: It’s much easier writing when you know what your readers are looking for.

(And by the way, do not brush off the outreach section. When taxpayers pay for your graduate education, they want to feel like you’ll be `giving back’ in some way.)

Good luck, everyone! And be sure to stay on top of all of those recommendation letter requests. (Sorry international students, the NSF and NDSEG fellowships are only for US citizens.)

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