Application Process

How and when do I apply?

Almost all of the scholarships have web sites with applications that can be downloaded or sent electronically. However, you must remember that many of the “big” scholarships require a nomination from your school. Our campus deadlines for applications will often be several months earlier than the actual deadlines for the scholarships. Planning ahead is essential!

Personal Statements and Written Research Proposals

Both of these are crucial pieces of the application process. Dr. Jane Curlin, Director of Student Academic Grants and Awards at Willamette University, created the resource below for her students. We feel this is a useful tool for students at St. Edward's University and encourage you to browse the provided information.

Personal Statements

Most national fellowship applications require a personal statement or autobiographical essay. This is a critical component of your application, and it is, in fact, the most difficult part to write. At first students don't believe this. Several weeks later, they sit shamefacedly looking at the few tepid sentences they have managed to compose about themselves, and say: "I had no idea!" Your biggest obstacle to writing an effective personal statement is the way you think. Not what you think; how you think. When you write an essay for class, you sift through scholarly publications, journal articles and statistics; you arrange, collate, and analyze. You construct an argument with objective, verifiable data. The personal statement comes from inside you, passionate and gutsy. Its composition is organic, a natural growth dictated by an obscure, internal logic. You don't "make it up"; instead, you listen. You "get it down."

Read on for more words of wisdom, including advice from former Scholars, Foundation representatives, and members of scholarship selection committees.

Written Proposals

Every national fellowship application asks you to include a study or research proposal, from a couple of paragraphs detailing preferred graduate programs (Udall, Truman), to several pages of specific, highly technical research experience and objectives (Javits, NSF). Regardless of length or complexity, your study proposal should demonstrate:

  • The extent of your academic preparation and your grasp of scholarly material;
  • How your proposed study plan complements your career goals, or enhances your potential for service and leadership.