Generally, applying for fellowships and scholarships is much like applying for graduate school. Expect to prepare a personal statement or essay, solicit recommendation letters, create or update a resume and request transcripts. Similar to graduate school, one may apply to multiple fellowships with nearly the same amount of work as applying for one.
These awards are highly competitive. For example, while over 1,000 students apply for both Rhodes and Marshall, only 32 are selected as Rhodes Scholars and 40 selected as Marshall Scholars. While the National Science Foundation and the Fulbright Programs each fund over 1,000 students, these fellowships remain competitive as their applicant pools are quite large. Roughly 10 percent of those who apply for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship will receive the award.
Students who win these awards spend many hours on the application process. We have included some tips for applying, and we would urge you to begin as early as possible.