Once you have refined your fellowship choices and understand the requirements and selection criteria in detail, you are ready to apply. At this point in the process, you should be mapping out your application strategy in consultation with your advisers and the fellowships office. This will involve understanding the deadlines involved, preparing a writing schedule, drafting key parts of the application, and requesting letters of recommendation. Application preparation begins well before the deadline—your plan should be clear in the semester ahead of your submission date. In coordination with your advisers, the fellowships office will help you refine and revise your application until it is ready to submit.
Map Out Your Fellowship Strategy
Fellowship advising is linked to advising in your majors and with faculty mentors. Your advice about fellowships may also come from your Lazarus Center career adviser or from your Class Dean or from your study abroad adviser. When a fellowships plan takes shape and is approved by you and your advisers, then your work begins on your application. Through a series of exercises under fellowships adviser supervision, you will build the components of your application. For Fulbright, where a large number of applicants work to complete the same application, your preparation takes place in a Moodle course structure.
The Fellowships & Postgraduate Scholarships Program advisers touch base with your faculty advisers as part of the process to confirm your fellowships plan. Fellowships that require Smith College nomination or endorsement involve a longer period of advising and preparation. Some require formal application for a Smith College nomination.
Prepare Your Timetable
The fellowship requirement that the college nominate or endorse candidates has some implications:
- The number of applicants endorsed by the college may be limited.
- Endorsement may require preliminary application for nomination.
- Students must anticipate the extra time required to prepare their applications. Allow ample time for conversations with mentors, letter writers and fellowship advisers. Multiple drafts are not just advisable, but required of students who seek college endorsement. Time will be required prior to external deadlines to complete the college’s endorsement letter or report on the candidate.
- Advisees should tell their faculty and staff mentors and advisers about the particular fellowships that interest them. Request, don’t assume, that your mentor, adviser, or teacher will write a letter of recommendation for you. Discuss and provide succinct information to help your letter writers understand the selection criteria for a particular fellowship.
- Internal deadlines are relevant deadlines for fellowships that require nomination or endorsement.
One of the best ways to prepare to apply for a nationally competitive postgraduate award is an application for an early competitive scholarship. We encourage undergraduate students to step forward in fall to be considered for four undergraduate scholarships: Beinecke, Goldwater, Truman, and Udall. A detailed summary of the process is provided in the fall endorsement information sheet. Interested undergraduates are asked to complete an application for support.
We encourage rising seniors and recent alums to step forward in spring to be considered for Fulbright or one of the four UK postgraduate scholarships that require Smith College nomination or endorsement: Churchill, Marshall, Mitchell, and Rhodes.
We encourage individuals interested in making direct applications for Gates Cambridge in the UK and Knight-Hennessy in the US to use this process to obtain support in planning their applications. These awards are highly competitive, needing just as much care and attention to detail as the awards for which Smith endorsement is required. Application for Gates Cambridge or Knight-Hennessy does not require Smith endorsement.
A detailed summary of the process is provided in the spring endorsement information sheet. Undergraduates and alums are asked to complete this Fulbright application for support if interested in Fulbright, and are asked to complete this application for principal fellowship support if seeking nomination or endorsement for a UK scholarship.
Each student or alum who completes an “application for support” will be asked to identify their faculty advisers and mentors. One faculty member will be contacted by Fellowships & Postgraduate Scholarships Program for an informal recommendation.
A decision whether or not to nominate or endorse an undergraduate or recent alum for an award is made in consultation with faculty. For the most competitive of awards, that consultation may be formalized by a Smith College selection committee comprised of faculty members and advising staff. In other cases, consultation may be with the faculty members who know the candidate well and who can attest to their likely competitiveness for the award in question.
Contact Margaret Lamb if you have questions or wish to know more about the fellowship endorsement process.