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Getting Started

Distinguished Fellowships and Awards are highly competitive and often have complex application requirements, so prior to contacting the Distinguished Graduate Fellowships office, working with an advisor, or seeking feedback on an application, you should first be familiar with all award guidelines and application criteria and processes.

Steps to applying for a distinguished award:

  1. Determine your objective (more than “just” winning a distinguished award). Consider where and what you want to study, such as in a program abroad focusing on a foreign language or at a specific institution well known in your field of study. Or, pick a funding sponsor that's in alignment with your values, goals and accomplishments (e.g., Ford Foundation, National Science Foundation, Hertz, etc.)
  2. Review the resources. The Graduate College has identified various distinguished awards that we support through targeted initiatives (i.e., Ford Fellowships, NSF-GRFP, AAAS STPF, NAEd/Spencer, Fulbright, others), but there are many others to consider.  You should be begin by exploring the Graduate College's Distinguished Awards page and ONSA's awards database.
  3. Plan your application process. After you identify the awards you are interested in applying to, carefully review the deadlines, criteria, and application process. Some awards, such as Fulbright, Boren, and Schwarzman require ASU endorsement or other pre-application screening.
  4. Allow yourself plenty of time for well-thought-out writing and revisions. Three months or more is a best pracitce, although some applicants can manage a competitive application in as little as a month, if it's the primary item they're working on for that month. 

  5. If you are applying for an award that requires ASU endorsement, you will need to work with the Distinguished Graduate Fellowships Office to ensure that your application is complete and that supplementary materials are properly submitted on your behalf. You may also need to participate in a committee interview and will likely need to participate in an internal campus-review application system that takes place earlier than the sponsor's published deadline.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
  6. Even if you are applying for an award that does not require ASU endorsement, you will still need to notify the Program Manager of Distinguished Graduate Fellowships  to ensure that your application is complete and that you have availed yourself of all the resources available to make your application competitive.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
  7. Once you have successfully submitted an application for a distinguished award, be sure to let the Program Manager of Distinguished Graduate Fellowships know so that they can recognize your time-consuming efforts and make sure that the infrastructure is in place at ASU to administer your award. Failing to notify the graduate college of your award may cause a delay in the disbursement of funds if the sponsor relies on the Graduate College to administer the award, as many sponsors do (e.g., Ford, NSF-GRFP, others). 

    If selected as a finalist for an award that has an interview stage, the Distinguished Graduate Fellowships Office will organize practice interviews to help you prepare.