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Starting an Application

Preparing a strong application takes time and planning.

Starting an Application

A successful application starts well in advance of the deadline. Applications require a number of components and individuals, so starting early to create an application that accurately represents your interests, goals and experiences is extremely important.

The Application

Be sure you take the time to review the application deadlines (both DePauw and award deadlines), as well as required components. Request recommendations, transcripts and other documentation well in advance. And give yourself ample time to write multiple drafts of your materials, getting feedback from a number of people along the way.

The Personal Statement

A personal statement is an intellectual narrative about a selection of specific and relevant accomplishment to the proposed fellowship or award. It provides the reader a sense of the your priorities and judgement, allowing them to know you more personally. Students who have received awards in the past consistently say they wrote at least 7 drafts of their personal statement before they were happy with it, and it changed a lot over that process. In writing these drafts, it is critical to see out regular feedback from a variety of faculty members and the fellowship adviser.

Personal Statement Guide (DePauw University)
Writing Personal Statements and Application Essays (Joe Schall)

Letters of Recommendation

Fellowships and awards require at least 2 letters of recommendation. Most often they must come from faculty members, though sometimes a letter of recommendation from a staff members is appropriate and necessary. Faculty and staff members are not required to write letters of recommendation, but it constitutes a significant amount of their workload. The student's job in getting strong letters of recommendation starts with establishing strong relationships with faculty and staff members. It is also critical to request letters at least 2-3 months in advance of the deadline.

Letters of Recommendation Guide (DePauw University)
Guidelines for Requesting Letters of Recommendation (DePauw University Student Handbook)

The Interview

Major fellowships and awards often have an interview as part of the process. Sometimes this is an on-campus interview with DePauw faculty and staff, sometimes it is with the fellowship organization, and sometimes it is with both. More and more, interviews will focus on how well you articulate your passions and your ability to carry out the work you will do as part of the fellowship. 

Preparing for Interviews (Jane Curlin, Willamette College)
Fulbright UK Finalists Interview Tips 
Fulbright mock interview (thanks, Macy!) audio file (mp3)