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What to do to Start Preparing for Fellowships?

  • Start looking for fellowships NOW: Many fellowship deadlines occur during the fall and must be applied for about one year before the support is needed in the following academic year. Fellowship application deadlines vary by funding agency, so be sure to identify submission deadlines early on.
  • Attend Graduate Division’s funding workshops: These Workshops educate students and postdoctoral scholars about internal and extramural funding opportunities, best practices in searching for funding, and how to approach writing personal and research application essays.  For dates, topics, and other information on funding workshops, look at the GD website under “calendar.”
  • Familiarize yourself with Funding Databases: The funding databases listed below are available to help you identify funding opportunities. Workshops on how to use these search engines are held periodically at the GRC.
  • UC Davis List of External Fellowships
  • Pivot Funding Database
  • UCLA External Fellowship Database (GRAPES)
  • Be aware of what is needed in the application packet and plan accordingly: Fellowship application materials often include transcripts, letters of recommendation, and application essays.  Some may also include Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.
  • The application submission process: Some fellowships can be submitted by the applicant directly to the funding agency. Others require the institution (i.e. Sponsored Projects, which is part of the Office of Research) to submit the application to the funding agency.
  • Meet with a Graduate Resource Center (GRC) writing consultant: Make an appointment to see a consultant by calling the GRC at 949-824-3849 or dropping by in-person. The GRC is located on the third floor of the Gateway Study Center, Room 3100. A map may be found here.
  • Fellowship advising with Dr. Sandra Loughlin: Make an appointment by calling the GRC at 949-824-3849 or dropping by in-person.
  • Fellowship application samples at the GRC: Take the time to see samples of successful applications at the GRC.
  • Have others read your application essays: Strong applications are those that can clearly communicate research and personal essays across disciplines.  Have as many people as possible read your essays- including your classmates and friends (outside of your field).
  • The critical role of faculty mentors in securing fellowships:
    • Graduate students who are applying for fellowships should work closely with their faculty advisors.  In order for faculty to prepare strong letters of support, it is important for students to provide faculty with information about the funding source, review criteria, deadlines, and requirements.  It is also critical for students to give faculty a copy of their application materials when these are still in the draft stage.  Students should allow plenty of time to secure comments from faculty, and to revise their materials in light of faculty feedback.  It is a good idea to check in with faculty well in advance of the application deadline, to find out how much lead time faculty need.
    • A number of agencies require faculty to serve as Principal Investigators (PIs) on graduate student applications.  When that is the case, the faculty advisor may be the one who has to submit  the application, even if materials were prepared by a student.  In such instances, it is particularly important for students to keep faculty informed of their plans.
Many schools have research staff who help graduate students navigate the grant application process.  Check with your department or program to learn what support is available.