Fellowships & Awards FAQs
DePauw candidates for Nationally Competitive Scholarships are encouraged to look over the following list of frequently asked questions.
- What is a Nationally Competitive Scholarship? Nationally Competitive Scholarships support undergraduate and graduate study, research, and English language teaching in the U.S. and abroad. DePauw scholarship winners have attended graduate programs, conducted research, and taught English in Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Lithuania, Oman, Paraguay, Slovakia, Spain, South Korea, and Turkey. DePauw students and graduates have also won fellowships for graduate study at universities in the United States. Nationally Competitive Scholarship recipients become leaders in their fields of study and in their communities.
- What is the difference between a Scholarship and a Fellowship? Undergraduate awards are called "scholarships," while graduate awards are generally called "fellowships." The DePauw Fellowships and Awards website focuses on a range of grants, scholarships, fellowships, and awards for which applicants compete with peers from colleges and universities across the United States.
- What monetary support does the winner of a Nationally Competitive Scholarship receive? Nationally Competitive Scholarship offer many different kinds of support. Awards may pay for university tuition and fees, housing, transportation, special orientation meetings, and/or books. Note that winning the award is in itself a great distinction, often more important than the monetary support the scholarship may offer.
- Who may apply for Nationally Competitive Scholarships? Because most Nationally Competitive Scholarships are funded by the U.S. Government, candidates for these awards must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Some notable exceptions include German Government (DAAD) Scholarships, the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, and the Carnegie Endowment Junior Fellows Program--all of which welcome international applicants. For a full list of awards open to international students, please click here.
- Are Nationally Competitive Scholarships open to undergraduates? While the majority of Nationally Competitive Scholarships are designed for seniors or recent graduates, some are open to undergraduates in specific areas of study. Notable undergraduate awards include the Goldwater Scholarship (for science and mathematics majors), the Critical Languages Scholarship (for students studying languages critical to U.S. interests), DAAD RISE Scholarships (for science research in Germany), and the Udall and EPA GRO Scholarships (for students interested in environmental science and environmental studies). Note that students apply as juniors for the prestigious Truman Scholarship, which supports graduate study in public policy.
- What Nationally Competitive Scholarships should I consider as a senior? Graduate fellowships and awards support graduate study in the arts and humanities, social sciences, and STEM disciplines. Several scholarships are available for teaching English language overseas, and for teaching science and mathematics in the U.S. Nationally Competitive Scholarships do not fund professional study (including law and medical school). Please consult the Nationally Competitive Scholarships webpage, which lists specific awards and DePauw advisors for these awards.
- What degree must I have to apply for Nationally Competitive Scholarships? Nationally Competitive Scholarships for seniors and recent graduates require a bachelor’s degree. Undergraduate scholarships require that applicants be enrolled in college when they apply.
- I graduated from DePauw a few years ago. May I seek advice from faculty and staff members at DePauw as I prepare an application for a Nationally Competitive Scholarship? Yes indeed. Check first to make sure that you are eligible for the particular scholarship or award. If you are enrolled in a graduate program, it usually makes sense for you to seek advice and support directly from your graduate institution. DePauw advisors, however, frequently work with recent graduates applying for awards such as the Fulbright, Marshall, and Carnegie. We welcome inquiries.
- What qualities and achievements make for a strong candidate? Each Nationally Competitive Scholarship has a different focus, so it is important to look at the scholarship's specific goals and requirements. In general, successful candidates have excelled academically; they write well; they are leaders; they have served the community; and they are intellectually curious. Students who win international scholarships often have studied abroad and are fluent in a second language.
- Must I have DePauw’s approval to apply for a Nationally Competitive Scholarship? Some of the Nationally Competitive Scholarships require a nomination from DePauw; others allow candidates to apply on their own. If you are applying for a nationally competitive award of any sort, however, you should work closely with faculty advisors throughout the application process. Seek feedback on your application essays from multiple readers, and work with DePauw Writing Center consultants to make sure that your essays are persuasive, clear, and impeccably edited.
- When should I begin to apply for a Nationally Competitive Scholarship? Most Nationally Competitive Scholarships have deadlines in the fall term of the senior year, but the rule of thumb is to start the application well ahead of the deadline. DePauw sets internal deadlines for completed applications a full month or more before the national deadline. Most of our winners tell us that they began thinking about the application at least four months before it was due.
- May I apply for more than one Nationally Competitive Scholarship? Yes, but consider whether you will be able to keep up with your academic work and other commitments. Applications for nationally competitive awards take more time than you might expect.
- What are my chances for receiving a Nationally Competitive Scholarship? The number of applicants and winners varies widely from scholarship to scholarship. Davies-Jackson usually makes only one award per year (and DePauw graduate Stephen Worden won it in 2011); Carnegie makes seven (DePauw graduate Geoff Gertz was one of the seven in 2007). Rhodes awards 32 scholarships to U.S. students; and the U.S. Student Fulbright Program awards about 1,400 grants each year. Scholarship websites will give you precise statistics on the number of applicants and winners; these statistics are worth consulting before you begin an application.
- What is the GPA requirement for a Nationally Competitive Scholarship? Some scholarships seek applicants with top GPAs (3.7 and above). Many others, however, consider the applicant's academic credentials alongside other, even more important criteria. Virtually all scholarships seek students who have done meaningful work inside and outside the classroom. The Truman Scholarship, for example, seeks "change agents," students who have identified a problem on campus or in the community, and then have found a way to bring about the necessary change. Criteria for specific scholarships are listed on each scholarship website.
- Will I be interviewed by a selection committee? Some scholarships, such as the Fulbright, require a campus interview; a few, such as the Carnegie and Rhodes, have regional interviews as well. It’s important to prepare thoroughly for these interviews. Mock interviews arranged through the Speaking and Listening Center have contributed to the success of recent Truman Scholarship and Carnegie Fellowship winners.
- What does an application involve? Almost all scholarship applications ask you to write a personal statement and project proposal, to submit several letters of recommendation from faculty members, and to attach your academic transcript. Some scholarships require you to be accepted into a program of study independent of your application for the scholarship.
- I’ve heard it takes a great deal of work to apply for a Nationally Competitive Scholarship. Is it worth the time and effort to apply? If you are a strong candidate for a particular scholarship, then you should apply. (To find out if you're a strong candidate, read the scholarship website, talk to your academic advisor, and consult with professors who are familiar with your academic accomplishments.) In most cases, the application process has benefits beyond the scholarship itself. Applicants tell us that in writing their personal essays and project proposals they have clarified their goals for careers and graduate study; they often feel more confident about their interview and writing skills. Many applicants who did not win nationally competitieve scholarships have been accepted to (and won financial support from) prestigious graduate programs in the U.K. and across the United States.
For more information, please contact Marnie McInnes, Professor of English and Director of Nationally Competitive Scholarships.