Don't worry, we'll walk you through it.

 It all starts with a conversation. Writing an application for a competitive grant, scholarship, or fellowship starts with you. It’s entirely focused on you as an individual and your spark of an idea. That idea can lead to a focused program of study, a supervised research project, a fellowship to teach English in another country, or a year-long research project.

Your idea is as unique as you are, so there is no linear, one-size-fits-all path. But there are some things all successful applications have in common


 Step 1: Start Early


Step 2: Meet with a Fellowships Adviser

We are happy to provide resources and guide you through the process step-by-step.

Our goal is to match your aspirations with a fellowship. We will guide you as you solicit letters of recommendation, write essays, revise essays, file applications, prepare for interviews, and plan your next steps. 

We work with all Seattle University students—undergraduate, graduate, and alumni—from all colleges and programs. Our faculty advisers primarily focus on five areas--Fulbright scholarship, Truman scholarship, Udall scholarship, and various STEM grants--but we are ready to guide you toward whatever Fellowship you are interested in.  

Step 3: Find a Fellowship

Whatever your interests may be, there is a fellowship for you.


Step 4: Apply

Applying for a fellowship is a creative process. It starts with your idea, something you care deeply about. All applications are different, but they all ask you to do pretty much the same things.

First, you need to state your purpose.

  1. What do you want to do?
    • This question is the fundamental part of the Proposal, and it needs to be original, complex, and thesis-seeking.
  2. What work has already been done?
    • This is like a literature review, meaning that you are expected to craft a project that is informed by work already done and that identifies an area that has not yet been explored, or not explored in a particular location or in a novel way.
  3. How do you plan to do this?
    • What methods and resources will you use? Who will you work with?
  4. What expertise do you bring to this project?
    • How has your course work, internships, study abroad course, foreign language fluency, and work experience prepared out to carry out this project?

Student, Anna Picket, holding binder

 Anna Pickett (Class of '17), Fulbright research grant to Nicaragua

Student, Aerica Banks, recipient of Truman, PPIA, Udall, and (unknown) fellowships pictured with former United States president, Barack Obama, in the oval office

Aerica Banks (2010), Truman, PPIA, Gilman, Udall

Next, you need to talk about yourself and why this matters so much to you. This the link between you and your ideas.

  • This is not a resume, it’s a brief introduction to why you want to do this. 
  • What problem, book, film, event, issue, or work of art inspired you?
  • What events in your own life may have prompted you to want to know more about this problem or issue?


Finally, you will also need to provide letters of recommendation from people who can speak to your intellect and your expertise—your professors, internship director, mentors, and employers.

Make an appointment with us!

Whether you are learning about the opportunities in the world of fellowships or you're ready to start applying, it's never too early or too late to make an appointment with the Office of Fellowships to learn more. We currently offer both in-person and virtual meeting options.

Visit our Bookings link to make an appointment.