Who is eligible to apply for national and international fellowships and what are some typical selection criteria?

Eligibility requirements for individual fellowships vary. A few are open to first-years, sophomores and juniors, while many others are open to graduating seniors and recent college graduates. While each fellowship has specific criteria in terms of what defines an ideal candidate, all share a common emphasis on academic excellence. Many fellowship competitions also value the types of experiences Elon University encourages through the Elon Experiences transcript, including undergraduate research, community service and service learning, foreign language study and intercultural exchange, internships and leadership.

Is there a minimum GPA required to compete for national and international fellowships?

Some national and international fellowships do specify minimum GPA requirements, but there is no universal minimum that applies across the board. For the most competitive fellowships such as the Rhodes Scholarship or the Goldwater Scholarship, Elon’s National Fellowships Advisory Committee typically recommends that a student have a 3.7 GPA or above to be a competitive applicant. For others, such as the Fulbright U.S. Student Grant or the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, a strong academic record in the major field of study may be more important than the overall GPA.  Be sure to carefully read the requirements for each fellowship in order to better understand your eligibility.

How much time is involved in applying for a national or international fellowship?

Applying for one or more national or international fellowships requires a significant investment of time and energy. Each application incorporates an essay component, whether that is a personal statement, a statement of research interests, an essay or series of short answers in response to specific prompts, or some combination of these three.

Applicants typically go through numerous revisions of their application essays because these are a vital component of the overall application, the place where an applicant can most successfully distinguish himself or herself from among the qualified applicants. One Elon student who was a finalist in the Truman Scholarship competition likened the process of applying for the Truman to the workload and time commitment involved in taking a two-semester-hour course.

What does "requires university nomination" mean and how does the process of receiving a nomination from the university work?

Many national and international fellowships require that a student receive an institutional nomination from his or her college or university before he or she can apply to compete. These fellowships either limit the number of applicants a school can nominate, or they wish the school to carefully choose the students best suited to the given award.  To be considered for an institutional nomination, an Elon student or graduate should submit a complete draft of the application (typically including drafted letters of recommendation) by the draft deadline listed in the university’s deadline schedule. All applications submitted by the deadline will be reviewed by the National Fellowships Advisory Committee, a group of faculty and staff from different areas of the university, which will select Elon University’s nominees.

Students who are nominated will continue to work with Dr. Ann Cahill, Director of National and International Fellowships, and Nicole Galante, Assistant Director of National and International Fellowships, to complete the application process.

Please note that if a fellowship requires nomination, students must meet the internal deadlines (generally well in advance of the national deadlines) in order to be considered for the fellowship.

What does "requires Campus Committee Evaluation" mean?

The Fulbright is the only grant that carries this designation.  Enrolled students must apply to the Fulbright Commission through their home institution.  Therefore, undergraduates must apply through Elon University; graduate students must apply through their graduate institutions; alumni who are not enrolled students may choose to apply through Elon or at-large.

Students and alumni applying through Elon must meet Elon’s internal deadlines to be considered for the Fulbright. Elon faculty and staff conduct Fulbright interviews (in most cases, no interviews are conducted by the Fulbright Commission) and confidential campus committee evaluations are forwarded to the Fulbright Commission as supplements to the application.  At-large applications from enrolled students will not be accepted by the Fulbright Commission, so be sure to check Elon’s internal deadlines if you are interested in applying for the Fulbright.

How far in advance of the deadlines do I need to begin the application process?

It is advisable to begin the application process several months in advance of official deadlines, both to allow time for introspection and revision throughout the application process and to meet Elon University’s internal deadlines, which are typically several weeks–or months–prior to the official ones.

Certain fellowships, such as the Fulbright Study/Research Grants, prefer that you start even earlier in order to establish connections and institutional affiliations abroad.  Regardless, it’s never too early to set up an appointment to discuss your interests with Dr. Cahill or Nicole!

What are my chances of winning a national or international fellowship?

The odds of winning a given national or international fellowship vary, but most are extremely competitive. However, while published competition statistics can be daunting, as the saying goes, you cannot win if you do not try. Furthermore, most applicants find the process of applying valuable regardless of the outcome because it often helps students clarify their goals and ambitions and hone their writing skills. Applying for a national or international fellowship also paves the way for subsequent applications, whether for other fellowship competitions or for graduate school admission.

How do I get started on the application process?

Browse this site and the external links to research specific national and international fellowships that might match with your interests and ambitions, then contact Dr. Ann Cahill, Elon’s Director of National and International Fellowships, or Nicole Galante, Elon’s Assistant Director of National and International Fellowships. Dr. Cahill can be reached via phone (336-278-5703) or e-mail (cahilla@elon.edu) to set up an appointment. Dr. Cahill’s office is located in Powell 108E. Nicole Galante can be reached via phone (336-278-5749) or email (ngalante@elon.edu) to set up an appointment.  Her office is located in Powell 108D.