What is a Fellowship?

You’ve might have heard the word “fellowship” thrown around a bit here and there, but have you ever wondered what it meant? A fellowship is not quite a scholarship and it’s not quite an internship, but it can be similar to both. Here’s a rundown on what you need to know and how you can become a fellow.

What is a Fellowship?

A fellowship can be referring to several different programs. The type of program the fellowship is depends on the fellow’s field of study. The organization hosting the fellowship could require the student to study a specific topic outside of school, work to bolster and help the local community, or research. They are generally for graduate students who are looking for learning opportunities and extra experience. They can last anywhere between two months to two years.

In exchange for the students’ work, they can receive funding for their research as well as their schooling. This can be anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 with some living and travel expenses added on. The work completed can also be a great addition to a graduating student’s resume. Some employers even hire the fellow after the work is completed.

Not a Scholarship

While a fellowship does grant money to the student, it is not a scholarship. A fellowship requires completed work in order to receive the money. On the other hand, a scholarship helps the student solely pay for school. Most scholarships, once awarded, don’t require you to continue working on a project. However, if they’re major specific awards, they may require to you stay within that major or pay back the money. A fellowship is also status first, financial aid second and are for more experienced researchers. A scholarship can be for younger students and are usually seen as “financial aid.”

However, like some scholarships, fellowships are merit based. They’re generally only given to students who are showing unique promise within their field, in academics, or both.

Applying to Fellowships

In order to apply for a fellowship, you have to be pursuing your Master’s or a Ph.D full time. Students interested in trying for this should regularly display leadership, communication skills, good writing ability, and motivation. You need high grades and research experience. Include your transcripts, letters of recommendation, writing, resume, and an outline of your proposed research project in your application. When applying, make sure to check for the exact materials required.

If you’re interested in looking for a fellowship, start with your school. Many offer programs right within their walls. Online databases are also a great place to look, but you may want to check job boards. Search for both fellowships and internships to broaden your results. If you’re having trouble, networking with your peers and connections can also open opportunities.

Fellowships can be extremely competitive, so it’s important to put your all into the build up and application. If you’re curious about how specific fellowships work or opportunities that may be available to you, try talking to fellows who are already in a program or in an industry you may want to be a part of. These programs can definitely give you a head start on your research, academics, and career.

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