Becoming Competitive
for National Scholarships
and Fellowships
Presented by the Undergraduate Fellowships Office
Laura Clippard
[email protected]
898-5464
Basic Steps
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Keep track of all your activities and the dates.
Record your specific leadership roles-how did you
make a difference?
Ask advisors, faculty and even other students
about ways to get involved, including study
abroad, volunteering, research, etc.
Keep up your grades.
Why Apply?
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Financial benefits
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Academic benefits
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Professional benefits
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Personal benefits
Common Goal with Varied
Expectations
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The common goal of all of these scholarships and
fellowships is recognizing excellence.
They vary in terms of eligibility requirements,
application procedures, and expectations for
successful candidates.
Do You Have the Right
Frame of Mind?
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It is important to keep in mind that all of these
prestigious scholarships and fellowships are
investments in excellence from which much is
expected of the recipient.
They are not rewards for good work done in the
past. You have to have all of that, but you also
have to show promise of continued excellence.
What is a Personal Statement?
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A personal statement is an essay, usually
consisting of 500 to 1,000 words, which offers
understanding of the kind of person you are and
the life you want to live.
It should be the product of deep reflection on
who you are, how you got to be the way you are,
and where you think you’re heading—not just in
college or in your chosen career field, but in life
itself.
Letters of Recommendation
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References should know you well.
References should be able to make comments on
your work habits and personal qualities.
References should be able to list concrete
evidence of your talents and back up superlatives
with specific examples.
Give at least a month’s notice to letter writers.
Give each letter writer a resume, information on
your goals, and academic passions.
Standing Out
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Leadership is more than just
a list of activities—more
does not equal better.
How have you made a
difference?
Are your activities
connected to your career
goal and interests?
Choose wisely & pursue
passionately.
Specific, innovative,
meaningful.
Grades Do Count!
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Most scholarships want at
least a 3.25 GPA or even
higher because they want
academic excellence.
Typically, most successful
applicants have GPAs of
3.7 and higher.
Some scholarships review
more for leadership.
Check out requirements
before you begin an
application.
Well Rounded Students
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Review committees for these scholarships tend to
be unimpressed with "bookworms.”
They want to see ample evidence of:
 Lateral thinkers—thinkers capable of discerning
connections among diverse strands of knowledge.
 Risk-takers—people who enjoy learning about
subjects beyond their comfort zones.
 World citizens—people with a broad
understanding of national and international
events, sensitivity to cultural differences, and a
genuine commitment to making a difference in
their lifetime.
Completing an Application
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They want to know: Who
are YOU?
Listing too many activities
in an essay can confuse
them.
There should be an
invisible theme. Your
answers and essays should
be connected.
Depth is more important
than numbers.
Skills Needed
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Time management.
Writing.
Professional experiences.
Campus involvement.
Excellent references.
Ability to know your own
strengths.
Many applicants start months
or years in advance
depending on scholarships.
Benefits of Applying
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Personal Growth
• Ability to receive
feedback.
• Specialized experiences
sharpen skills, improve
chances of success.
• Learn importance of
prioritizing; managing
time and handling
stress.
Essays
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Be prepared to have at least
6-10 revisions.
Read before your begin.
Don’t just write about your
hard life. What have you
done with it?
Don’t insult the readers.
Have your essay proofed by
a professional (faculty, UFO
office, etc).
Undergraduate Research
Center
The Undergraduate Research Center is
an organization that promotes and
supports research at the
undergraduate level for students and
faculty members who mentor them in
scholarly and creative activities. An
interdisciplinary, campus-wide
Undergraduate Research,
Scholarship, and Creative Activity
(URSCA) initiative was implemented
at MTSU in 2004. This program
provides financial support to
encourage students to get involved in
research and creative projects at all
points in their undergraduate careers.
Undergraduate Research Center
Proposal deadline for the 2012-2013 academic
year is:
 Early October
for Spring and Summer Awards
 Early March
for Summer and Fall Awards
For more information, see their Web site at:
http://www.mtsu.edu/urc/
The Honors College has the largest and
most comprehensive list of journals for
student publications. Please view our Web
site at:
http://frank.mtsu.edu/~hcevents/journals.html
Critical Language Scholarship
(CLS) Program
A program of the U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
Administered by the Council of American Oversees Research Centers (CAORC)
and American Councils for International Education
13 Target Languages
Beginning, intermediate or
advanced level:
Azerbaijani, Bangla/Bengali, Hindi,
Indonesian, Korean, Punjabi, Turkish,
Urdu.
Advanced beginning, intermediate
or advanced level:
Arabic, Persian.
Intermediate or advanced level:
Chinese, Japanese, Russian.
Program Structure
Academic Program
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7-10 week fully-funded
summer programs
20 hrs/week formal language
learning
Peer language partners
Language-only guidelines
Cultural Engagement
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Home-stays or roommates
Cultural activities with
languagelearning component
Roundtables, guest speakers
Student-driven projects
Benjamin A. Gilman International
Scholarship Program
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Offers grants for U.S. citizen
undergraduate students of
limited financial means to
pursue academic studies abroad.
Such international study is
intended to better prepare U.S.
students to assume significant
roles in an increasingly global
economy and interdependent
world.
Gillman Eligibility Requirements
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Gilman scholarship is open to all U.S. citizen undergraduates,
in good academic standing, who meet the criteria listed
below:
• Is receiving a Federal Pell Grant or will be receiving a Pell
Grant at the time of application or during the term of
his/her study abroad.
• Is applying/has been accepted into a program eligible for
credit by the student's institution of higher education in
the U.S.
• Is studying abroad for at least four weeks in one country.
• Is studying abroad in any country except Cuba or a
country on the U.S. Department of State's current Travel
Warning list.
What Is the U.S. Student
Fulbright Program?
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The U.S. Government’s flagship
educational and cultural exchange
program.
Focus on recent U.S. college/
university graduates, artists, and young
professionals.
Study, research, or teaching
assistantship opportunities.
The Basics
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What is a U.S. Student Fulbright Grant?
• An award to support self-designed study or research in
150 countries; English language teaching
assistantships in over 40 countries.
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Who should apply?
• Highly-motivated, open-minded individuals
• Those who can contribute to and benefit from cultural
exchange.
Students should read country requirements before beginning.
Many countries require that you acquire your own affiliation.
Campus interview is required.
Campus Deadline is in September.
You should start application the spring before.
Grant Benefits
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Roundtrip airfare.
Monthly stipend (for room,
board, incidental costs).
Health insurance.
Benefits may also include
(varies by country):
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Dependent support.
Research allowance.
Tuition.
Language lessons.
Enhancement
activities.
(Caleb Kim – South Korea)
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Must be junior by hours to
apply.
$30,000 scholarships to
college students who wish
to attend graduate school.
For students interested in
careers in government or
elsewhere in public service
(non-profit organization or
educational organizations).
Eligibility for Truman
A Truman scholarship nominee must be:
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A junior pursuing a bachelor’s degree at a four-year
institution;
Nominated by the Truman Scholarship Faculty
Representative at his or her respective institution;
In the upper quarter of his or her class;
A United States citizen, permanent resident or a
United States national from American Samoa or the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Resident aliens (green card holders) are not eligible;
Career goals involve being a “change agent” in
nonprofit, education or government agency;
Plan to pursue master’s, Ph.D., or professional
degree.
Eligibility for Truman
(continued)
A good candidate for the Truman
Scholarship also:
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Has an extensive record of public and community
service;
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Has an outstanding leadership potential and
communication skills; and
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Committed to careers in government or
elsewhere in public service, as defined by the
Foundation.
Campus Deadline: December 1, 2009
The Rhodes Scholarship
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32 U.S. scholarships to study at Oxford
for graduate degree.
Various programs; establish why one
wants to study at Oxford; not just a
study abroad experience.
Application due in early October.
Must be under age 25 and have
completed bachelor’s degree before
study would commence.
www.rhodesscholar.org
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For sophomores and juniors.
Scholars receive up to $7,500 to
cover tuition, fees, books and
room and board expenses.
Must want have career research
goal in mathematics, the natural
sciences, or engineering.
Previous research experience
needed.
Candidates cannot apply directly
but must be nominated.
Campus Deadline: December 1, 2009
Udall Scholarship
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$5000 for one year
Applicants must be sophomores or
juniors, pursuing a bachelor’s or
associate’s degree;
Have a college grade-point average
of at least a “B” or the equivalent;
Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or
permanent resident;
Be committed to a career related to
the environment, OR committed to
a career in tribal public policy or
Native American health care (only
Native Americans and Alaska
Natives are eligible to apply in tribal
public policy or Native American
health care).
Campus Deadline: December 1, 2009
Marshall Scholarships
 Up to 40 young Americans are selected
each year to study at graduate level in the
United Kingdom.
 High ability; leadership potential to act as
ambassadors between two countries.
 Personal & academic fulfillment across
disciplines.
 Deadline in early October.
www.marshallscholarship.org
Competition
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Don’t take it personally if
you don’t win. It does not
mean you did something
wrong.
UK Fulbright had 425
applications and nine
winners (2.1%).
University can only
nominate a certain number
of students.
Value in the Process
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Many applications ask questions that you may
not have thought about before.
Increases intellectual development, insight, and
presentation skills.
Makes you think about your long term goals and
plans.
Strengthens writing skills and relationships with
professors.
Personal growth is important to your future
success whatever path you choose.
Life is a Journey,
Not a Destination
 Few athletes ever make it to the Olympics, but
hundreds become better at their sport while
training for the Olympics.
 Part of the success is in the journey, the dream,
and the effort.
Websites/Resources
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Undergraduate Fellowships Office list of
scholarships:
http://www.mtsu.edu/honors/ufo/ufo2.shtml
Click on “Complete list of all fellowships available”.
NAFA website:
http://www.nafadvisors.org/scholarships.htm
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Timeline handout
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Short UFO handout
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Becoming Competitive for National Scholarships and …