Student Resources

Application Dos 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!

The Personal Statement

When writing a personal statement, it is important to make sure that you are addressing the key components that scholarship reviewers are looking for.  Please review this checklist for hints into the personal statement and factors that should be considered when writing your own.

Letters of Recommendation

Please review this article for guidance on how to ask for a recommendation letter, including tips on how to make the writing process easier for the letter writer. Always remember to write a thank you to your letter writer, and keep them posted on your progress and outcomes.

Check out the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s new blog post: Grad School 101: How to Find Fellowships That Are Right for You.