First, carefully review the application process for the competitive award that interests you. If you’ve done your homework and planned ahead, there shouldn’t be any surprises.
Campus Nomination or Endorsement
Most competitive awards require that William & Mary, as the home institution, nominate or endorse a limited number of applications. That means there’s an internal selection process first, and William & Mary forwards only the strongest candidates. The internal review process can take a month or two – that’s why we set a campus deadline that’s earlier than the grantor institution’s deadline.
Your application must meet the campus deadline to be considered for the award.
A typical application requires 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? A successful approach will incorporate details that match what the grantor institution is seeking.
The second essay typically takes the form of a proposal. In this essay, you outline how you will structure this opportunity to change the trajectory of your career or professional development. A successful approach will incorporate the intentions described by the grantor institution.
Your Campus Interview
As part of our internal review process, you’ll be interviewed by 3-5 William & Mary faculty members who serve on the Undergraduate Research Committee. Interviews usually last 30-45 minutes and consist of questions relating to your application materials and how you meet the criteria for this particular award opportunity.
Your Letters of Recommendation
You can expect to provide up to three letters of recommendations. Each award has very specific requirements for these letters. Be sure to read that information carefully on the institution’s website and also share it with the people you’re asking to write letters.
In choosing your recommenders, think carefully about who knows your abilities and accomplishments and can speak to why you’re a good match with this particular award opportunity. Usually at least one recommendation should come from a professor in a discipline relevant to the award. You might also consider internship supervisors and research advisors. While most awards do not have a specific rule, we recommend against asking fellow students to write recommendation letters.
We’ve Got Your Back
Once you launch your application, we’ll help guide you through the process and keep you informed along the way. If all goes well, there should a brief period toward the end where you can revise your materials, so you can make your strongest case.