At Bowdoin, we believe that the process of applying for a nationally competitive fellowship can be transformative and is as important as the outcome. Many students are drawn to apply for nationally competitive fellowships when they learn of the sizeable awards and prestige associated with these honors. Imagine being named a Rhodes Scholar to study at the University of Oxford, while receiving full tuition, living expenses, and travel funds! Winning a national fellowship is a great distinction; however, it is also a great challenge. For example, the Rhodes Trust names only 32 scholars from across the entire country. The competition is intense, the application process taxing, and the odds long, but for those passionate about their life’s goals, win or lose the rewards are great.
The Office of Student Fellowships and Research, along with faculty mentors, will guide you through an application process that will prove to be a meaningful learning experience. We will support you through rigorous self-assessment and reflection needed to write a strong personal statement and project description, both required by every national fellowship application. For example, what can you point to in your past that demonstrates that you possess the qualities of mind and character that a particular foundation seeks in their fellowship recipients? Can you concisely articulate not only what your goals are, but why? Given all your options, why must you enroll in a particular program or course of study? In addition, the application process often includes an interview, which provides an opportunity for you to reduce interview anxiety, improve your interview skills, gain important feedback about how you interview, and sharpen your communication skills. If you are willing to commit the time and energy to your national fellowships application, you will learn about yourself, gain better presentation skills, and be able to clearly articulate appropriately ambitious plans for your future. Regardless of where your life takes you after Bowdoin – graduate school, an internship, paid employment, or a national fellowship – these skills will serve you well.