Application Procedure at a Glance
Every nationally competitive scholarship’s application procedure has a similar list of tasks and items to fulfill. To get an idea of what a general application procedure looks like, take a look further below.
Keep in mind that each of the nationally competitive scholarships have a unique application procedure as well. This page is here to help give you some general guidelines.
Application Procedure Step-by-Step
- Step 1: Initial Interest
Nationally Competitive Scholarships are here for all of UAA’s students. Everyone has the potential to receive a Nationally Competitive Scholarship. There are scholarships, fellowships, and grants for every field. You can study abroad, form connections in your field with other students and leaders, or pursue masters and doctorate studies with all or most of your costs covered!
- Step 2: Researching Scholarships/Assessing Your Eligibility
Read more about the scholarships that interest you! Visit the Scholarship List page to explore the many scholarships available to you. Once you’ve picked one or two that sound like they fit, visit the scholarship's website to assess your eligibility: Do you fit the basic requirements of the scholarship? Learn as much as you can about the scholarships you want to apply for. Some other questions to consider are:
- How do you fulfill or advance the mission, the goals and/or the objectives of your Nationally Competitive Scholarship?
- What are your future academic plans? Are you conducting research, fulfilling an internship, teaching, or studying?
- How can this Nationally Competitive Scholarship help you meet your personal and/or professional goals?
- What makes you uniquely qualified for the award?
- What special talents, skills, life/cultural experiences, etc. will you bring to the cohort if you are selected for the award?
If you don’t know how to answer these questions, don’t worry—you’re not out of the running just yet. You’ll want to set up a meeting with a scholarship advisor to help you think about your goals.
- Step 3: Request a Meeting with a Scholarship Advisor
When you’ve decided you want to apply for a scholarship, the next step is for you to meet with a Scholarship Advisor to help you get on track. Applying for a Nationally Competitive Scholarship isn’t just about filling out a form and turning it in; the application process is much longer and involves a lot of effort and thoughtfulness. Advisors are there for you each step of the way so that you won’t have to bear the burden alone.
- Step 4: Meet Your Advisor and Register with Your Scholarship
After filling out the online form and requesting a meeting with an advisor, you’ll have your first Advising & Planning Session. At the end of this session you may officially be able to register for a scholarship if you have the appropriate candidate profile, academic background, and fulfill other basic requirements for the award. This initial session is important to your application because it’ll determine how things will go for the rest of the application process: you’ll be planning your schedule for the next few months to make sure you don't miss anything.
- Step 5: Preparation and Deadlines
Once you’ve met with your advisor and you’ve registered for your scholarship, there are two things you need to accomplish:
First, you’ll need to identify a mentor in your discipline or major. This mentor can be a professor or other faculty member that you’re familiar with that can help guide you. Your mentor will help you in ways your advisor can’t, like how to assess and describe your research experiences and your current academic interests. They can also help prepare you for your campus and national interviews, if your application requires them.
Second, you’ll need to map out some of the finer details related to your specific scholarship. Find out, with the help of either your advisor or your mentor, what those finer details are! You’ll be doing a lot of independent research in this step depending on your scholarship.
Note: One detail you need to be aware of is the difference between your Campus Deadline and your scholarship’s National Deadline. Find out when your scholarship’s National Deadline is; the Campus Deadline is usually one month before the National Deadline. You need to submit your complete application to your advisor by the Campus Deadline.
- Step 6: Build a Team
At this point you have your advisor and your mentor—and you, of course. But you’ll also need a list of potential recommenders. These potential recommenders provide things such as letters of recommendation and further guidance.
You’ll want to work with both your mentor and your scholarship advisor to help in creating a list of potential recommenders. You can’t pick just anyone to be a recommender; you have to know them and you have to have a good enough professional relationship with them that you can ask them to be a recommender. Letters of recommendation show that (1) you take your academic endeavors seriously enough that others notice and commend you for it, and (2) some people believe in your work enough to support your future endeavors.
The guidance that your potential recommenders provide you with is invaluable because it comes from experienced academics. Not all of your recommenders will know what it’s like to apply for Nationally Competitive Scholarships, but all of them know what it’s like to do serious research in their field and have others evaluate it. They’ve been in your shoes; ask them what it’s like to run in them.
- Step 7: Begin to Work Through Materials
While you’re working through your list of potential recommenders, you should also begin to get your application documents completed and in order. The general list of Application Materials is as follows:
- Personal Statement
- Statement of Grant Purpose and/or Research Proposal
- Note: Either one or both may be required, depending on the scholarship, and they may have a different name in different scholarships but they mean somewhat similar things)
- Letter of in-country affiliation (for Fulbright Research grants, for example)
- Proposed program of study and Post-Award Plans
- Admission into a graduate program (for the Soros Scholarship for New Americans) or into a specific university (Cambridge for the Gates Scholarship) to be eligible to apply
- Language Proficiency Evaluation (for some scholarships)
- Resume/CV/List of activities during college years
- Transcripts (from UAA and other institutions you may have attended)
- Letters of Recommendation
- Passport, if you are applying for an international scholarship
- Medical Examination & Vaccination (for international scholarships)
Every scholarship application requires many of these items, but none of them require all of them. If you completed Step 5 in this list, you hopefully know by now which specific documents you need for your particular scholarship.Remember that you’re not alone in completing your documents. If you feel overwhelmed, seek advice or help from the team you’ve built! That’s why they’re there.
- Step 8: Revise Your Statements
Now that your statements are done, you should seek some Peer Reviews to get feedback on your writing. Don’t take criticism as insults--even your professors and your favorite authors have editors that look over their work. It’s best to learn now rather than later how someone other than you reads your statements.
There are several people you can get peer reviews from:
- Your Scholarship Advisor
- Your Mentor
- Your Recommenders
- Your Professors
- Other Students
UAA also has a Writing Center where you may receive constructive criticism from an official UAA Writing Consultant. They specialize in research essays and creative writing papers. You don’t have to make an appointment at the LC Writing Center; it’s free to walk in.
Don’t be ashamed of seeking help. The best writers don't do things perfectly in the first draft, but are open to making changes to their writing so that it can be the best it can be.
- Step 9: Campus Deadline Submission
When you have your documents in order, you’ll now want to make sure you submit them to your advisor before or by the application deadlines. Remember, the Campus Deadline is different from your scholarship’s National Deadline. The Campus Deadline usually comes at least a month before the National Deadline. However, some scholarships don’t have a Campus Deadline, so be sure to check with your advisor if you are unsure about your scholarship's deadlines.
Once you submit your application materials to your advisor, you’ll then be required to attend a Campus Interview. Expect it to happen within 1-2 weeks later. Your advisor will work with you to schedule it at a reasonable date and time convenient to all parties involved.
- Most applications are submitted online/digitally.
- All applications are submitted to the campus representative--in this case, the Scholarship Adviser--by the Campus Deadline.
- The application management system is already set up to deliver the application to your advisor, so don’t be afraid to hit the “submit” button on the computer screen.
- After your campus interview, you will be granted access to your application so that you can finalize the application process by the National Deadline.
- Follow instructions indicated in the official website for each scholarship specifically.
- Step 10: Interview with Campus Committee
During your Campus Interview, expect to engage the committee in a conversation about your reasons for applying (your academic, professional, and personal reasons), as well as the ways in which your profile meets both the mission and the objectives of the scholarship you’re applying for. You should be prepared to insightfully discuss your intellectual interests, your overall undergraduate experience, your current extracurricular activities, and your leadership experiences. Furthermore, be ready to discuss the reasons you chose your specific program of study and how it fits your future professional plans.
All campus interviews are tailored to each specific scholarship, and your advisor will inform you about general expectations and particular strategies to help you prepare.
An Institutional Endorsement/Nomination will be granted or denied at the end of your campus interview and the decision will be based on your academic qualifications and the quality of the material submitted in your application for review.
- Step 11: Revisions
Depending on the scholarship, you may be allowed to revise the contents of your personal statement and other application material after your campus interview. Your advisor will work very closely with you until the national deadline to ensure proper compliance with all scholarship requirements.
Keep in mind that there are some scholarships--the Rhodes, for example--that specifically forbid any outside help crafting your personal statement. In such cases, the campus interview committee will refrain from offering direct feedback regarding your application material and you will not be able to revise its contents based on comments made during the interview, as that would constitute outside help and be a violation of the rules. You should know what the requirements are so that you ensure proper compliance of all the guidelines. Your application may be disqualified if you violate any of the official rules.
For scholarships that allow revisions, you will be granted online access to your application after your campus interview to finalize the submission process.
- Step 12: National Deadline Submission
You’re now ready to submit your application for the National Deadline. Congratulations!