Scholarship and Fellowship Do’s and Don’ts

  • DO look over the list of nationally competitive scholarships early in your academic program and see which ones fit in your trajectory.
  • DO consider the opportunity that seems a stretch.
  • DO ask potential letter writers for recommendations early.  This will give them enough time to formulate a robust letter.
  • When requesting a letter of recommendation, DO ask if the referee can write a strong, positive letter.  Indicate your willingness to provide draft personal statements or completed works to aid their writing process.
  • DO provide information about the fellowship opportunity to letter writers.  Some scholarships/fellowships ask recommenders to address specific aspects of the student’s candidacy.
  • DO organize your application materials in an almost-final version for internal submission.
  • DON’T look simply at the agency/foundation deadline.  Boston University may hold an internal competition that necessitates an earlier submission.  This internal deadline may be weeks or months in advance of the final deadline.
  • DON’T hit the “submit” button for online applications unless told to do so by the Provost’s Office.  With some opportunities electronic submission is final and does not allow for revision.  DO submit a hard-copy to the Provost’s Office for review.
  • DON’T seek out the biggest “name” to be a letter writer.  Someone who knows you and your work will be a better resource.
  • Please DON’T staple you application material or recommendations.
  • And most importantly, DON’T hesitate to ask questions!