“Fellowship” is a generic term that encompasses globally and nationally competitive grants, scholarships, and similar funding opportunities. Typically, fellowships fund study, research, or teaching in the U.S. or abroad. Fellowships are an investment in your future, not a reward for previous work.
Five Must-Know Facts
- A fellowship is not what you think.
- A fellowship is simply a nationally competitive award. Some are scholarships that pay for your current studies or for a study abroad program. Some send you abroad to learn another language, conduct research, teach English or enroll in graduate school. Some fellowship programs are intensely competitive. Others offer lots of awards and are aimed at helping more students access amazing opportunities. All exist to help you develop yourself personally, professionally and academically to achieve your goals. Learn more about the fellowships we most frequently support.
- There is no perfect fellowship candidate.
- Fellowships invest in people who show promise. But promise is much more than a GPA, a fancy internship or the university name on your transcript. Those are résumé achievements that reflect the past. Promise is about trajectory. It’s about the lessons you’ve learned from your achievements that you’re taking into your future. It’s your story of becoming. There are no perfect stories, just ones that are honest, rich and vulnerable. Read about past MU fellowship recipients.
- You can start now.
- Fellowships aren’t just for seniors. We have five fellowships freshmen commonly apply for, with the first application due in early October. Start the advising process by attending one of our information sessions — we offer general overview sessions and award-specific workshops, all of which you can register for on Engage — or by making a one-on-one appointment with a fellowships adviser through MU Connect.
- Everyone can win.
- The sooner you start the fellowship process and the more deeply you engage in it, the more purposefully you will be able to shape your college experience and your academic and professional trajectory. The fellowships process helps students explore their interests, build their skills, articulate their goals and develop mentor relationships. That’s something everyone can win, even if they never receive a fellowship. Learn more about professional development and the fellowship process.
- It’s easier than you think.
- A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. If any of this sounded interesting, email email@example.com. Put “I’d like to start a conversation!” in the subject line. You can even leave the message blank. Click send. Congrats! You just started your fellowships journey.
Frequently Asked Questions
- I am a freshman, is it too early for me to be thinking about these fellowships?
- No! It is never too early to start planning; it takes time to build the necessary experiences for these opportunities. Talk with us, and we can help you plan for the future.
- Will a nationally competitive fellowship help pay my current tuition and fees?
- In most cases no; however, some awards for research or graduate study may be used at any institution. Also, funding is not typically available for 9 to 18 months after the application is due.
- If these are really competitive, it seems like a long shot. Why should I bother applying?
- Students at MU have been successful. Students who have applied say that the application process is rewarding and educational whether or not they win. Applicants develop skills used later in life, such as proposal writing and interviewing, and receive personalized mentoring that can help them determine long-term goals and assist them throughout their educational experience.
- How long do I need to prepare an application?
- Applications are lengthy; many require as much work as a typical 3-hour course. Most successful applicants spend 2 to 4 months working on the actual application and supporting documentation; also, several nationally competitive fellowships have a campus interview and nomination process, which often requires earlier deadlines and more time.
- What can the Fellowships Advising team do for me?
- We work with students who are eligible for nationally competitive fellowships, grants, and scholarships. We provide
- Advice on programs and activities to strengthen your educational experience;
- Information on fellowships and other opportunities to help you achieve your goals;
- Support and assistance leading to and throughout the fellowship application process, including how to strengthen essays and interview skills;
- Guidance for securing strong letters of recommendation.