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Frequently Asked Questions


The Office of Post-Graduate Fellowships is here to help you throughout the process of identifying, applying for, and securing national and international fellowship opportunities. We hope the Frequently Asked Questions below will clarify most concerns. If you cannot find an answer to your question, feel free to contact us at


?. Who is eligible to apply for national and international fellowships?

  • National and international fellowships are open to first year students, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Eligibility varies based on the fellowships so it is important to check each fellowship’s specific requirements. In general, fellowships share a common emphasis on academic excellence. Many fellowships value undergraduate research, community engagement, leadership, foreign language study and intercultural exchange, and internships.

?. I am not a U.S. Citizen. Can I apply for national and international fellowships?

  • Yes. While most fellowships are designed for U.S. citizens and permanent residents, there are others created for foreign nationals as well. There are also opportunities to apply through your home country (Rhodes, Fulbright, DAAD, etc.), and others that are for Canadian citizens in particular.

?. Is there a minimum GPA required to compete for national and international fellowships?

  • There is no universal grade point minimum, although some fellowships do specify a minimum GPA. Be sure to carefully read the specific requirements for a fellowship to determine your eligibility. Many fellowships share a common emphasis on academic excellence. At the bottom of this page, we have included a rudimentary fellowship map that includes GPA.
    Graphic Organizer


?. I am studying abroad. Can I apply for a fellowship?

  • Studying abroad does not disqualify you from applying to a fellowship. Many applications are now online and can be completed from anywhere in the world. Please contact us directly if you are abroad and interested in applying for a fellowship, so that you can get all the relevant information.


?. How do I get started with the application process?

  • Browse this site to locate opportunities that might match your interests and ambitions and then contact the Office of Post-Graduate Fellowships ( to schedule an appointment. Our office is located in Roscoe West Hall 202.

?. When should I start looking into scholarships and fellowships?

  • It is never too early to begin researching national and international fellowship opportunities. You should be bolstering your resume with leadership, community engagement, and research experiences as soon as your first year. Some national and international fellowship opportunities are open to first year students (Boren awards, Gilman Scholarship, CGTrader, The National Geographic Grant Opportunities, etc.).  Most national and international fellowships are restricted to certain years. These criteria are specified on fellowship charts located on our website.


?. What is the difference between internal and official deadlines?

  • Official deadlines are those established by the fellowship foundation and the absolute cutoff date for the receipt of all application materials. An internal deadline is a campus deadline that is set by the school. Completed applications, including letters of recommendation, transcripts, the final version of the personal statement, and any other required application materials are due to the college on the internal deadline and is set in stone. Generally, internal deadlines are one month prior to the official deadline.

?. Who should read my personal statement and how many times do I need to edit it?

  • The more eyes, the better. Ask your friends, parents, professors, mentors, our office, and The Writer’s Place to read your statement. They will know if it truly reflects who you are, where you want to go, and why. Each reader will be able to identify a different area of improvement.
    You should write as many drafts as you need. Most students write 10-12 drafts before the final version is produced. The process of rethinking and reorganizing will help you focus your argument and strengthen the application as a whole.

?. How many letters of recommendation do I need?

  • Each application stipulates different criteria for selection and a specified number of recommendations. Read the instructions carefully. Generally, applications require two letters of recommendation.

?. Who should I ask for letters of recommendations?

  • Usually, recommendations should come from faculty members who know you well and with whom you have taken classes. Consider asking faculty members who are tenured and who play a formidable role within their department.

?. Can I apply for more than one fellowship? Will it hurt my chances?

  • You may apply for as many fellowships as you would like; there is no limit. Applying for multiple fellowships does not hurt your chances. Many fellowships overlap with regard to field and type of grant. As such, it would make sense to apply to all that meet your interests and goals.
    Remember that fellowships breed fellowships. By applying for and receiving smaller fellowships earlier in your career, you become a more attractive candidate for later, larger national and international fellowships. That said, please keep in mind that each fellowship has specific requirements and it is essential to match each application to its particular fellowship criteria.

?. What are my chances of winning a national and international fellowships?

  • The odds of winning a national or international fellowship vary, but most are extremely competitive. Published competition statistics can be intimidating. Most students find the application process worthwhile regardless of the outcome as it helps students clarify their goals, improve their writing, make genuine connections with faculty, and prepare for future applications (graduate school, additional fellowships, etc.). Also, if you do not apply, you cannot win!

?. Are there resources on campus to support my fellowship efforts?

  • Our office is dedicated to helping students identify, apply for, and receive national and international fellowships. Students may also take advantage of TCNJ’s Career Center. TCNJ’s Career Center can offer resume feedback, general tips, and provide additional resources. Likewise, the Center for Global Engagement can provide information about fellowships and scholarships related to study abroad and international travel.

?. Are there resources to help me with my writing?

  • Yes. The Office of Post-Graduate Fellowships is available to review and edit applications, personal statements, and resumes. Students may also bring writing samples to the Career Center for feedback or sign up for a session at The Writer’s Place on TCNJ’s campus is Roscoe West Hall, Suite 101 for feedback on their writing.


How to Win a Competitive Graduate Fellowship (Kirparsky, 2006) 

How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation (Cassuto, 2016)