Fellowships FAQs

Find What You Need:

  General Information About Fellowships
  Preparation of Final Application
  Insight On Personal Statements
  Letters of Recommendations & Final Transcripts

General Information About Fellowships

  • What is the difference between a scholarship and a fellowship?
    The two terms are interchangeable. Sometimes the term “scholarships” is used for undergraduate opportunities and “fellowships” is used for graduate ones.
  • What kind of fellowships am I qualified for?
    Qualifications are based on eligibility and criteria. You qualify to apply for any fellowship for which you meet the eligibility requirements, i.e., citizenship, class year, the field of study, age, and GPA. You may technically qualify for a given fellowship, but you also need to determine if you meet the criteria for selection. Browse our Scholarship/Fellowship list to learn more about available opportunities and also meet with the Fellowships Advisor to discuss your eligibility.
  • What are my chances of winning a fellowship?
    Chances of winning these scholarships vary tremendously. There are many factors that influence the success of any fellowship application. Some of these factors you can control; some you cannot. It is wise to carefully consider the criteria for selection for the particular fellowship in which you are interested. If you feel that you meet these criteria and you work hard on presenting yourself well in the application, you will be competitive and should seriously consider applying. Because so many of these awards are highly competitive, the process of applying itself will be helpful for you to verbalize your goals and your career trajectory. Some of the essays you write for the scholarship application may be helpful for other applications, such as those for graduate school or for medical school/law school. Just remember: if you don’t apply, you cannot win!
  • Who serves on the campus selection committee?
    For some scholarships/fellowships, the university is limited in the number of applications that can be submitted. The Fellowships Office relies on the on-campus selection committees to determine UNL’s best candidates. Selection committees are created by faculty members, academic deans, and other administrative officers on campus.
  • Can I apply for more than one fellowship and will it hurt my chances of winning others?
    You can apply for multiple fellowships at the same time. Having previously won another award, or even having applied for the same fellowship in the past, will not hurt your chances in the slightest. Since many scholarships and fellowships are geared towards similar students, we would advise you to apply for as many as interest you and for as many, as you have time to prepare. In your consideration of time commitments, you should also realize that each application is significantly different and some may require more time than others.
  • What is involved in applying for a fellowship?
    Every fellowship application process is different. First look on the fellowship’s website to read about the components of the application. The Fellowship Preparation area on this website is a wonderful resource for many of the most well-known fellowship opportunities.
  • I am not a U.S.citizen. Can I apply for fellowships?
    Yes! We have a special list, provided by E4FC (Educators for Fair Consideration and a list of fellowships under the Other Opportunities section, which are geared specifically towards those students who are from other countries. Feel free to peruse it and look for the ones that apply to you.
  • Can I still apply for fellowships if I miss the campus deadline?
    Yes, but you must contact the Fellowships Office (fellowships@unl.edu) several months ahead of the national deadline to let us know of your interest. The campus deadline is set for the applicant’s best interest as the application and revision process cannot be done overnight.

Preparation of Final Application

  • Where can I find winning applications from past winners?
    We strongly prefer that you do not consult any previous applications to help with the preparation of your essays. In some instances, Dr. Damuth can show you some examples of previous winning applications, but for the most part, there is no template available for the perfect essay.
  • Can I speak to past winners?
    Most of the recent winners are probably not on campus, but many of them are willing to speak with you about their experiences. You can see a list of recent winners on this website and ask Dr. Damuth for their contact information.
  • Who can help me with writing my application essays?
    Students MUST speak with Dr. Damuth, along with a faculty advisor in your discipline, about what is expected in each essay. Your Peer Scholarship Advisors can help brainstorm with you about the content of the essays and how best to present yourself in the application.
  • What sort of academic record do I need to qualify?
    It depends upon the scholarship or fellowship. Most will require a high level of academic achievement, but many also require a level of engagement and involvement both on and off campus. Consult the scholarship or fellowship’s website or Dr. Damuth to see if you qualify for the scholarships in which you are interested.
  • What is an institutional endorsement?
    An “institutional endorsement” is a letter of support required for some of the most prestigious scholarships. It indicates that the applicant is submitting their application, administered through the Fellowships Office, with the official approval of their college or university. An institutional endorsement usually indicates that a fellowship nominee has gone through an internal selection process here at UNL.

Insight On Personal Statements

  • What are personal statements?
    It is simply a one-to-two page response to the question asked on every application; it is a requirement designed to allow the scholarship selection committee to get to know you, your interests, your goals, and why you are a perfect fit for the scholarship. The personal statement takes time. It is important that this statement honestly reflects you and your values in a positive, concise way.
  • How many drafts should I expect to go through preparing my personal statement?
    The quick answer: as many as you need! While no applicant goes through the same process, most applicants will end up writing at least 10-12 drafts before the final version is produced. Each draft explores different narratives, using different techniques, and employing different emphases. The process of rethinking and revising will help you hone your focus and strengthen the application as a whole.
  • Who should read my personal statement?
    When it comes to reading and editing the personal statement, the more eyes, the better. Submit your work to the Fellowships Office, and also ask your friends, parents, professors, and mentors to read it. They will let you know if it truly reflects who you are and clearly defines where you want to go and why. Other readers will be able to spot areas in need of improvement that may escape your attention.

Letters of Recommendations & Final Transcripts

    • How many letters of recommendation do I need?
      Scholarships can require anywhere from two to eight letters of recommendation. As each scholarship has its own specified number of recommendations, you should read the application instructions carefully when thinking about whom to ask for letters of support.
    • Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation and how should they be submitted?
      It depends on the scholarship or fellowship. Ideally, you should ask faculty members, UNL staff, or individuals in the community who have had a chance to get to know you well. For faculty, it should be those who know you beyond the scope of the normal classroom setting. These can be individuals with whom who you have worked through UCARE or another research program, or simply ones with whom you have connected outside of class.
    • Do transcripts have to be official?
      As a general rule, YES; although it may depend on the nature of the scholarship.You may also have to request individual transcripts from any undergraduate institution that you have attended since beginning UNL, or from study abroad programs.