How to Apply for Fellowships
Applying for a fellowship requires a degree of soul-searching. You will need to think about what you have already accomplished, what comes next, and what is important to you. It is for this reason, among others, that the challenging application process inevitably proves rewarding, even for those applicants who are not selected.
The best way to start the process is to contact Laura Farmer, Director of Fellowships and Scholarships. She will help you determine the competitions for which you are eligible and help you identify academic and co-curricular experiences that might enhance your application.
Once you have focused on a particular fellowship ,you should spend some time on their website to learn more about the program and begin to think about how your academic background and future academic and career aspirations make you a strong candidate for an award.
You should also plan to participate in the information sessions and writing workshops listed in the Events section of this website. After you have collected your thoughts, contact Cornell’s advisor for that program. Some fellowships require an on-campus interview of the candidate by a panel drawn from the faculty, and further interviews at an off-campus site should you advance in the competition. Although we will work to schedule "practice" interviews for candidates who have applied to such programs, you should make an effort to engage in conversations with faculty you know, your academic advisor, and the scholarship advisor to hone your ability to express yourself and "think on your feet".
The staff of the Cornell Fellows Program may be able to direct you to additional fellowships/scholarships, and the staff of the Berry Career Institute can guide you to numerous opportunities in your area(s) of interest.
Finally, some words of advice: Consider the application process as a "project of optimism." Focus on both the process and the goal. Winning a Rhodes or a Marshall (or a Truman, etc.) can provide you with an incredible, incomparable experience, and will open many doors, but it does not guarantee you long life, success, or happiness. Hundreds apply each year and do not win, yet most go on to accomplish their goals. Don't stake your identity on outcomes. You will learn a great deal through the application process alone, whether it ends in the preliminary stages or you advance into the final rounds. This knowledge will also make it easier for you to craft successful future applications, whether they are for other scholarships, graduate school, grants, or jobs.