What are (inter)national fellowships?
Fellowships are competitive, merit-based awards that are funded by national and international foundations. They provide funding for research, language learning, graduate study, and experiences teaching abroad. These are not Boise State awards and are not considered financial aid. These are the “majors.” Many of the awards require candidates to be nominated or endorsed by their undergraduate institutions, and all require a rigorous application process.
What are the chances of winning a fellowship?
Fellowships are extremely competitive, but the likelihood of winning varies. While some like Marshall and Rhodes scholarships typically have a success rate of around 3%, others can be higher. The competitiveness of Fulbright grants, for example, varies by country and grant type. For several of the awards, such as the Goldwater and Udall, Boise State can only nominate a limited number of candidates, meaning students must first compete at our institutional level prior to going forward into the national competition.
If the odds are so discouraging, why should I do this?
The process of applying for a fellowship can be life-changing, regardless of whether you win the award.
- It can significantly improve your writing abilities by teaching you how to present your life story in a clear, concise, compelling narrative. This style of writing will be used in future graduate school applications and in cover letters for future jobs.
- It can deepen your relationships with faculty, staff, and peers at Boise State. Past applicants have described incredible opportunities that stemmed from conversations they had with the professors that wrote their letters of recommendation or from the experiences they had while getting more involved on campus.
- It forces you to consider who you are and how you want to better both the world and yourself. Applying for a fellowship can be a grueling process. You have to begin making both short-term and long-term plans as well as contingency plans in case your original ideas do not work out. It asks you what you care about. Though these questions aren’t always easy to answer, thinking them through can help you focus your life and goals more clearly.
Where could I go?
Past Boise State fellowship awardees have studied at Oxford; taught English in countries such as Norway, Tajikistan, and Serbia; and completed research in places like Swaziland and India. There are fellowships to all different parts of the world and the U.S. View pictures and read stories from some of our past fellowship recipients to learn more.
At what point in my college career should I start thinking about fellowships?
It is never too early to begin thinking about applying for fellowships. Though many are intended for seniors or graduates, some awards are available to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Additionally, thinking about fellowships early allows you to naturally fill in gaps in your resume or strengthen areas of weakness prior to submitting applications as a senior/graduate.
Can I apply (and win) more than one type of award over the course of my degree?
Yes, you can apply for multiple fellowships throughout your time at Boise State. Often, the more awards you win, the more competitive you become for future awards.
Are fellowships only designed for graduating seniors?
No! Some fellowships like the Critical Language Scholarship, Boren Awards, Truman Scholarship, and Goldwater Scholarship are all designed for students who are at earlier points in their undergraduate career. See our Fellowship List for more details on these awards.
Can alumni apply?
Yes! Alumni can apply to some scholarships such as Fulbright, Marshall, or Rhodes and receive advising from Boise State. Consult the Fellowship List for more information on individual scholarship requirements.
Are there age limits on fellowships?
It depends. Some awards specify an age range for their candidates, but others don’t. The Fulbright student programs, for example, allows anyone who has not yet achieved a Ph.D. to apply regardless of age.