Think Big: Learn On Your Own

In the Office of Student Fellowships and Research, we get that navigating the world of national fellowships can be overwhelming, which is why we developed this page to guide you every step of the way. Here you'll find resources to help you understand the options and decide which fellowship (if any) is a good fit for you given your unique goals. And when you're ready, we'll be eager to meet with you.

Think Big

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:  Watch one of our videos to get an overview of national fellowships. We created two videos – targeting different class years – to give you an overview of your fellowship options. After watching one of these videos, you can expect to narrow down the list of national fellowships that you want to learn more about to just a few.

Step #5: Watch a short fellowship-specific recorded info session. Once you have an inkling of which fellowship(s) you want to learn more about, watch the info session targeting the fellowship(s) of your choice.

You can also explore our website. 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:

Step #6: Dig deeper. If you are at this stage, you are seriously considering applying for a national fellowship. Congrats! To get a firsthand idea of the application process and experience for the national fellowship(s) you are thinking of applying to, watch one these videos. These videos are longer, and most have both a representative from the organization that administers the fellowship and several current or past recipients, including Bowdoin alums.

Step #7: Connect with the staff in the Office of Student Fellowships and Research. We’re here to help you, so bring your questions, concerns, hopes, and dreams, and we’ll help you sort things out!