Q: What are fellowships?

Fellowships are competitive merit-based awards that support a range post-baccalaureate educational activities. There are many kinds of fellowships including grants for research or graduate study, language study, and/or cultural exchange. Some fellowships can be applied for independently, while others require nomination or endorsement from the College. 

Q: Why apply for a fellowship?

If you receive a fellowship, you will gain a credential that will follow you for the rest of your career. But more importantly, you will have the rare opportunity to pursue your interests fully supported by the award-granting agency. You will also develop professional networking connections with others in your field that will last a lifetime. Beyond this, the process of applying for a fellowship requires you to carefully assess and articulate your skills and goals. Even if you are not successful in your application, this can help prepare you to be a stronger applicant for graduate school or future employment. 

Q: When to apply for a fellowship?

The first step is to learn what opportunities are available. Make an appointment with an adviser in the Walter Commons to learn more. Each fellowship has its own unique timeline and requirements but it is never too early to start preparing! Indeed, developing leadership skills - a key criterion of many competitive awards - should begin at the beginning of your college career. You must carefully review the guidelines and eligibility requirements for each application to make sure that you are making the academic and off-campus choices that align with the mission of the fellowship(s) you are interested in. In general, campus deadlines are up to a month earlier than national deadlines. This is to ensure that the Faculty Fellowship Committee has time to review applications and provide feedback before a final endorsement decision is made. It takes at least 4-6 months to develop a competitive application and some applications are due more than a year in advance of graduation! Contact fellowships@conncoll.edu.   

Q: What is college endorsement?

For many fellowships, applications will only be considered if they are submitted through Connecticut College. College endorsement means that the fellowship committee has reviewed the application and/or interviewed the applicant and believes they merit campus endorsement. An institutional nomination means that Connecticut College has selected the candidate(s) from an applicant pool. 

Q: How can I be a competitive applicant?

The good news is that Connecticut College students are well positioned to be competitive for fellowships and graduate school. The Connections curriculum requires students to weave together academic choices and off-campus learning which helps to provide a strong foundation for creating a personal narrative for a competitive application. Talk with staff and faculty about your interests and build a network of support. These resources will help you make the most of your time at Conn. Apply for internal and external funding opportunities throughout your four years, and use your summer breaks to make intentional choices that relate to your academic and long-term goals. It is true that keeping a strong GPA is important— but there are many other ways to build a competitive profile!