Getting Started

Wondering how to begin? Let’s break the process down step by step.

Step #1: Understand the big picture. Each national fellowship is offered by an entity outside of Bowdoin and has a unique mission, application process, selection criteria, and deadline. As you consider your options, it is critically important to think about how your background and goals fit with a particular national fellowship. For example, a great Rhodes applicant might be a very weak applicant for the Goldwater Scholarship.

Step #2: Learn the vocabulary. There are two different types of national fellowship applications:

Step #3: Remember... timing is everything! It’s critically important to think one, two, or even three years in advance. Planning ahead can inform your decision-making about courses, extracurricular activities, and summer experiences, enabling you to submit the strongest possible national fellowship application in the future. If you are a first-year student, it’s not too early to start educating yourself about various options, attending information sessions, and meeting with the student fellowships and research staff.  (And, if you are a senior, and this is your first time visiting our website, we are happy to work with you as well!)

Step #4: Start exploring the options! To make things easier for you, we have organized all the national fellowships that require an institutional endorsement and some of the most popular direct-apply options into three categories:

We have also compiled links to a number of searchable databases.

Step #5: Make an appointment with Cindy Stocks, Director of Student Fellowships and Research! If this is your initial meeting, please complete the below steps prior to your scheduled appointment. Doing so will help to ensure you get the most out of your limited meeting time.

  • If you have not yet attended one of our info sessions, please watch the narrated slideshow HERE – kind of a DIY info session – for students who were studying abroad. This will give you an important overview of your fellowship options.
  • Complete and submit the Student Information Form. Don’t feel as if you have to spend tons of time on this form; bullet points are fine! This form gives us a snapshot of who you are, what you have done, and what you hope to do, and allows for more time to be spent talking about fellowships.
  • Print an unofficial academic history (transcript) from Polaris and bring it to your meeting or email it to Cindy if you are meeting virtually/phone.