Postgraduate Overseas Fellowship applicants: start soon!

02Jun08

Just a public service announcement for class of 2009 undergrads interested in the Marshall or Rhodes: if you haven’t started preparing your application, start soon.

Marshall and Rhodes applicants are nominated by their university, so you need to understand your particular university’s nomination process. These nominations have to be submitted early in the autumn, which means most universities start the application process before the end of the previous academic year.

Other overseas postgraduate fellowships (with deadlines later in the year) include: Mitchell (Ireland), Fulbright (anywhere), Gates (Cambridge), Churchill (Churchill College, Cambridge), DAAD (Germany). Finally, for UK undergraduates, the Kennedy Scholarship (Harvard, MIT) might be of interest for postgraduate study in the UK.

A few notes and pieces of advice:

  1. Each of these scholarships are different, take time to learn a bit about them to determine which ones are really right for you.
  2. Your personal statement needs to express why it is important for you to continue your education abroad (and to a particular place abroad). Empty statements like “I want to broaden my experience” might as well say “I’m not really serious about this.”
  3. Work on your statement a little bit every day. Good statements aren’t written overnight.
  4. Have as many credible people read your statement and give input, but know that you have to be intelligent in figuring out which advice is worth taking.
  5. For general grad school and fellowship advice for this summer, see my previous post last year.
  6. I strongly encourage scientists to consider some of the options above. Overseas programs have a stigma of being humanities-oriented, but there are a lot of opportunities for scientists who are willing to think outside the box.

Finally, for sophomores and juniors in science, I suggest applying to the Barry M. Goldwater scholarship. It’s a nice award and seems to be something of a “gateway scholarship” for larger fellowships down the road.



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