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Frequently Asked Questions

General Fellowship Information
What is the difference between a “scholarship” and a “fellowship”?

The terms “scholarship” and “fellowship” are generally used interchangeably.

How do I apply for a fellowship?
The specific application process can vary opportunity to opportunity. However, all opportunities generally involve an essay component and reference component.

A typical fellowship application has at least two essays. The first essay is a personal statement. This is your opportunity to fill in the details of who you are as a person. What are you passionate about? What makes you tick? The second essay typically takes the form of a proposal. In this essay, you outline how you will grow from this opportunity from career and self-developments perspectives.

The reference component often comes in the form of a letter of recommendation or a recommendation form. This is the opportunity for someone to provide his or her ‘testimony’ regarding your qualifications for a given opportunity. For more information on recommendations, please see the Letters of Recommendation section of the FAQ page.

Institutional Nominations/Endorsements
What is the difference between a campus nomination and a campus endorsement?
These terms are often used interchangeably by different opportunities. In general, these terms imply that the applicant is has participated in some kind of campus selection process. Any scholarship opportunity that requires endorsement from William & Mary will have a campus deadline. The campus deadlines are always earlier than the national deadlines. Applicants must submit all the specified components for the campus deadline to be eligible for campus endorsement. (See the individual campus webpages for each endorsed scholarship's campus deadline.)
Why is the campus deadline earlier than the national application deadline and why must I meet the campus deadline in order to be eligible for endorsement?

The campus deadline is typically a month or two before the national deadline. This is to allow the campus administrators time to process all applications received; send those applications to the campus review committee; and schedule & complete campus interviews for those that move forward in the campus endorsement process. We also try to build in a little additional time for selected applicants to revise their materials before applications are submitted to the national scholarship review board.

Applicants seeking campus endorsement must meet the campus deadline so we have time to conduct the review process to select the endorsed applicants. (Most scholarships limit the number of applications a college campus can endorse. In addition, William & Mary will only endorse applications that we believe would be competitive at the national level.)

What happens at a campus interview?

Campus interviews are facilitated by the Director of National Scholarships along with a sub-committee of the Undergraduate Research Committee (typically 3-5 faculty members). Interviews tend to last 30-45 minutes and consist of questions relating to your application materials and how you meet the national criteria for the individual scholarship.

I am an alumni of William & Mary. Can I apply for the College's nomination for a scholarship opportunity?
The answer to this question depends on the specific fellowship and whether or not you have attended graduate school. Please visit the specific scholarship page for more information. Note: alumni seeking campus endorsement must also meet the campus deadline.
Can I apply for a fellowship if I do not receive the nomination?

This depends on the specific fellowship. Some opportunities, such as Fulbright, allow you to apply without the campus nomination (although you really should try to meet the campus deadline for Fulbright, as it will likely make your final application stronger). Most opportunities that have a campus nomination process do require the endorsement to move forward.

Letters of Recommendation
Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?
For most fellowships, at least one of your recommendations should come for a Professor. The professor should be someone relevant to your course of study and the opportunity you are applying for. In other words, do not ask your Adventure Games Professor to write a recommendation for a Public Service Fellowship. Other possible letter writers include internship supervisors and research advisors. NOTE: Each fellowship has very specific requirements for their letters of recommendation. Be sure to read that information on the national fellowship's website and also share it with your letter writers.
How far in advance of the deadline should I ask a recommender?
It is good etiquette to give your recommender at least two weeks to write a letter. However, we strongly encourage you to do this earlier, by at least a month ahead of the campus deadline. NOTE: letters of recommendation are due by the campus deadline unless otherwise noted on the campus webpage.
What should I ask my recommenders to write about?

Your recommender should discuss why, given their interactions with you, they believe you are a good applicant for the opportunity. Be sure to read through the scholarship website to see what characteristics and experiences they value most. The best recommendations typically provide specific examples of how the applicant has demonstrated those characteristics.

Can a fellow student write one of my recommendations?

While most scholarships do not have a rule against fellow students writing recommendation letters, we generally do not recommend this.

Peer Scholarship Advisors
Do the PSAs accept walk-in appointments?

Yes, but scheduled appointments take priority.