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Smith College students and alumnae are successful in fellowship competitions in substantial part because of faculty and staff support. We ask for your help in identifying candidates for fellowships requiring nomination or endorsement. As you get to know students who might be strong candidates, please let us know by filling out a fellowships candidate form. Your work with students as they develop sound fellowships plans and the letters of recommendation that you write in support of your students are vital to Smithies' success in nationally competitive award competitions. For questions or more information, email

Faculty Involvement

You are likely to be the first person your students ask about fellowships and postgraduate scholarship.

Fellowships advisers want to help you to help your students and recent alumnae to turn their questions into well grounded, competitive applications for particular awards. Reach out to fellowships advisers if you have questions.

We want to hear about your experiences with fellowships and postgraduate scholarships.

What was your experience as an applicant? How have you benefitted from receiving awards and joining networks of scholars and fellows? What is your favorite experience of advising a fellowships candidate? In what way did you learn most about advising candidates for competitive postgraduate fellowships?

Let Fellowships Program staff know how you would like to help or what your questions are.

Encourage your students interested in fellowships and graduate scholarships to talk with one of the fellowship advisers.

We will help the individual understand the detailed requirements of awards, develop a personal timetable for preparation of an application, and begin to plan their applications.

We are always keen for your participation in selection of nominees for particular awards.

A mock interview panel comprised of faculty members provides powerful constructive feedback to fellowship candidates. Large programs like our Fulbright campus endorsement process thrives on faculty participation in mentoring applicants.

You know your students—past and present—very well.

And we rely on you to let us know when you come across strong fellowship and graduate scholarship prospects. In general, strong prospects will be academically talented students who are active and ambitious in multiple dimensions.

What makes a strong prospect?

  • Almost all awards look for high academic achievement. This characteristic does not translate perfectly to GPA. If you believe your candidate is academically excellent, then likely they are! Tell us why. A high GPA (top quartile or sometimes expressed as 3.7+) is necessary for the most competitive awards.
  • High academic achievement alone is rarely sufficient.
  • Evidence of research (research with faculty, publication, research poster presentation, etc.) or comparable accomplishment in creative work (performance, writing, production, etc.) is usually required to demonstrate high achievement and future potential in a relevant field.
  • Evidence of impact (whether through leadership or change-making of other sorts) is usually required to indicate the student's effectiveness and potential when engaging in work - intellectual and practical - with or on behalf of others.
  • Enthusiastic and articulate commitment to academic studies plus some substantial engagement with community, sports, politics, and/or public issues are usually required as indications of intellectual liveliness, creativity, resilience, and maturity.
  • Diversity of selected fellows or a scholar’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in their own career plans are highly valued by competitive programs.
  • A track record of successful applications made for competitive scholarships, awards, and internships can help by providing external and internal recognition of excellence and potential.

Let us know who you think would be a strong fellowship prospect using this quick form.

You’re asked for a fellowship letter of recommendation

If you agree to write, then your letter will be an influential part of your student's application for a highly coveted and prestigious award. Please say "yes" to your current or past student only if you mean "YES!!" 

Your letter helps your candidate if it speaks to the particular selection criteria

Your letter can do much to enhance their competitiveness if it is detailed and engages with the requirements for the particular award. External letters to support an application to a foundation or program for a prestigious award may differ from other letters of recommendation you have written for this individual. Yes, you will be asked about the candidate's academic achievements to date. Foundations want to know much more. Recommenders are asked their thoughts about the candidate's potential to make an impact in their field of endeavor - sometimes looking far forward to the course of their career. Foundations want to hear your well informed judgement, based on comparison of this candidate with others you've known in the past. In the intense competition for fellowships, your detailed examples and anecdotes about your candidate help selectors to distinguish one highly talented applicant from another.

Internal fellowship endorsement

Individuals who apply for Smith College endorsement complete an internal application and are evaluated in a panel discussion. Typically, this process takes place in March and April in the spring and November and December in the fall.

If the letter of recommendation is part of an internal endorsement or nomination process, then you may be the only letter writer and your views will help selection panels decide if the candidate convincingly meets the award's selection criteria. 

Before endorsement is confirmed for the most prestigious of graduate scholarships (including Churchill, Marshall, Mitchell, and Rhodes), candidates are interviews and their applications reviewed by a faculty and staff panel. We welcome your participation in review panels.

Further guidance

Guidance about fellowship letters of recommendation, including specific foundation guidelines and deadlines, can be found in the Letters of Recommendation section of the Apply for a Fellowship webpage.

Currently, two standing committees structure faculty work with the Fellowships & Postgraduate Scholarships Program.

The campuswide Fellowships & Postgraduate Scholarships Endorsement and Advisory Committee (“College Fellowships Committee”) is appointed jointly by the Provost and Dean of the College to work closely with Fellowships & Postgraduate Scholarship Program staff.

The committee helps identify and provide support for Smith College students who are well qualified applicants for the particular fellowship competitions and for the faculty and staff who act as their mentors, advisers, recommenders and evaluators. The academic year 2022 members are: Div. 1: Richard Lim, History, Maria Rueda, Spanish & Portuguese (on leave, spring 2022); Div. 2: Sara Newland, Government, Greg White, Government; Div. 3: Chris Gole, Mathematics, Sarah Moore, Engineering; Co-curricular centers: Erin Cohn, Wurtele Center for Leadership, Faith McClellan, Lazarus Center for Career Development; Adela Penagos, Associate Dean of the College for Advising and Mentoring.

The Science Center Distinguished Fellowships and Scholarships Committee includes departmental representatives from Division 3 departments and programs, as well as interdisciplinary programs with strong natural sciences orientation.

The committee, convened by the faculty director of the sciences, helps identify and provide support to Smith College students who are qualified applicants for particular natural science competitions (including Churchill and Goldwater Scholarships). The committee also acts as an advisory resource for faculty, staff and students about how to best promote and support Division 3 students who seek competitive opportunities during undergraduate study and for graduate school. Academic year 2022 members are: Rob Dorit, Biological Sciences; Bosiljka Glumac, Geosciences*; Chris Golé, Mathematics and Faculty Director of the Sciences; Alicia Grubb, Computer Science; Mary Harrington, Neuroscience (on leave); James Lowenthal, Astronomy; Sarah Moore, Engineering*; Alexandra Strom, Chemistry*; Doreen Weinberger, Physics* [*Goldwater Scholarship nomination committee].

The Fulbright US Student Program campus committee evaluation process at Smith College has long rested on the involvement of the many faculty mentors of our Fulbright applicants. Much of the Fulbright mentoring done by faculty is one-on-one with candidates working in their academic disciplines or about areas of the world they know well. The campuswide committee process brings together advisers to collect their thoughts about candidates and confirm Smith College endorsement of our Fulbright candidates.

A number of fellowship programs interview candidates as part of the application process. Faculty members who participate in interview preparation panels provide great support for candidates as they prepare for their high-stakes interviews.

Faculty members provide essential support to fellowships candidates. Let Fellowships Program staff know your interest in serving on a standing committee or joining an ad hoc panel to work with our candidates.

Faculty Resources

We Offer the Following Resources

Deadlines for Faculty Letters of Recommendation

Date Evaluations/Letters/References Due
July 15 Rhodes Global 
August 29 Marshall, Mitchell, & Rhodes U.S. 
September 6 Fulbright references and language evaluations  
September 21 Pickering & Schwarzman for non-Chinese passport holders  
September 28 Rangel
October 12 Churchill, Gates Cambridge & Knight-Hennessy
October 18 DAAD 
October 28 NSF-GRF
October 21 Hertz  
October 27 Soros  
November 18 Crtical Language Scholarship 
December 1–January 5 Gates Cambride non-US (deadline of the 2nd or the 6th will depend on the course of study chosen)
December 2 Yenching 
December 15 Ford  
January 20 Beinecke, Goldwater & Truman references due
January 25 Boren  
February 6 NOAA Hollings  
February 13 Udall 
May 11 Schwarzman (Chinese passport holders -- Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao)