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This is your one-stop place to find links to forms that will allow you to express your interest and apply for support as well as information sheets about the portfolio of fellowships we support. Additionally, links are provided to searchable databases, the fellowships calendar, and information that faculty and students may find helpful in navigating the process of applying for a fellowship.

Storm Lewis ’21

Additional Resources

Best practices for letter writers.

Strong fellowship letters of recommendation require that you know the candidate well-enough to comment in depth on the student in terms of their intellectual abilities, personal attributes, and/or leadership qualities. If you do not know the candidate well enough to provide a detailed letter that provides unique insight into who they are and what they are capable of contributing to their discipline and/or to society, then we strongly suggest that you decline the request and offer advice on approaching someone who might be better suited to write for them.

Along with at least a month’s notice, applicants should provide you with their application materials including details of the particular selection criteria for the award, drafts of their essays, and copies of their resume and transcript(s). We suggest that you use these materials to inform your letter, but do not simply repeat information from their application. Your perspective and insight as a faculty member will make your comments on the applicant’s abilities, project, study plans, and leadership especially relevant to the award’s selection panel.

Please provide the context in which you know the student and for what period of time you have known them. Indicate how the student has developed over time and, if possible, try to provide an anecdote or two about the student that bring to life qualities characteristic of a scholar and leader. A brief biographical sketch of the applicant that demonstrates you know them well can help the review committee see the candidate clearly through your eyes.

How does the candidate compare with other students you have taught?

Information about how the candidate measures up to Smith students you've taught, students you've taught elsewhere, and past students who were nationally competitive fellowship candidates will help fellowship selectors get a good sense of why the candidate is outstanding and competitive for the award they seek.

  • Be as specific as possible—are they one of the top three students you have taught, or in the top 5%, or top 10%.
  • Truthful precision lends weight to the letter.
  • A favorable comparison to previous competitive fellowship awardees or finalists can be effective.

Fellowship foundations strongly suggest that letter writers use specific examples of what the candidate has accomplished. Avoid only speaking of the grade they received in your class. Instead, focus on presentations and papers they wrote and if possible, the ways in which they translated coursework into further research, internship or leadership opportunities.

When noting papers and presentations, be specific and indicate titles, as well as publications and/or conferences, where the candidate shared their research. 

You are in a position to reinforce a candidate's case.

Your letter can be especially helpful when you are able to reinforce important planks of the applicant’s proposal for how they will use the award. Speak to the specific qualities of the applicant that make them capable of carrying out their project, making a unique contribution to their discipline, or engaging a challenging social problem. Is it their analytic abilities? Or, their ability to think creatively in designing research projects? Or, is it something else—their leadership in the lab, their writing skills, their intellectual curiosity—or a rare combination of qualities?

Selectors will take note if you write about how these qualities match up with what the candidate wants to do in near, medium, and long terms? Why does what they are applying to do make sense as a next step?

In essence, you are in a position to help the applicant most when you make a case for why the applicant would be a strong fellowship candidate. What will they contribute to their discipline or to society on the basis of what they have done thus far? What makes the candidate unique and especially suited for a fellowship award?

Recommendations for the internal part of the fellowship competition - Please note.

For internal competitions to select a limited number of nominees or to confirm a student is appropriately qualified to apply for an award that Smith College must endorse:

  • Please address your letters to the fellowship committee and aim to write 1-2 pages..
  • An email that uses bullet points to outline your support and the matters you will develop in a final letter is acceptable.
  • Please note that submission of final external letters of recommendation for awards by internal deadlines is essential if applicants are to be confirmed as Smith College nominees or endorsees.
  • Institutional endorsement letters will not be finalized without a complete set of letters of recommendation.

Fellowship and Postgraduate Scholarship Search

There are many sources of information about awards. A good source will be reasonably large, up-to-date, and permit you to search according to your personal circumstances and interests. Our list starts with databases likely to be helpful to all students and closes with more specialized lists.

  • Northwestern University Fellowship Finder - This database is hosted by the Northwestern University, Evanston, IL (includes filters for international students, award type, and personal circumstances).
  • GRAPES - This database of graduate and postdoc funding is hosted by the University of California, Los Angeles, CA (includes filters for international students, award amount and level, academic interests, and personal circumstances).
  • Illinois Database of Grants and Fellowships for Graduate Students - This database is hosted by the Graduate College of the University of Illinois, Champaign, IL (includes filters for international students, award amount and level, and personal circumstances; easily permits you to filter out awards open only to Illinois students).
  • Opportunities for international students - This listing is hosted by Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA and offers a description of the type of applicant each award seeks.
  • International Fellowships - This listing is hosted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA and is intended to highlight financial resources outside MIT that are geared toward international students.
  • Immigrants Rising - This non-profit organizational project provides comprehensive lists of undergraduate and graduate scholarships and fellowships that do not require proof of US citizenship or legal permanent residency.
  • LGBTQ Student Scholarship Database - Hosted by Human Rights Campaign, this database lists scholarships, fellowships, and grants for LGBTQ and allied students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Career Development Resources

Fellowship and postgraduate scholarship planning are best understood in the context of your wider career development plan. Therefore, it follows that career development resources will be relevant as you search for the opportunities that fit best with your plans.

  • Handshake - Smith College's Lazarus Center for Career Development hosts this job database and hub for career development resources. Among the job types are "fellowship" and "internship." Set up and save a search filter as a way to keep your eyes on new and timely opportunities. 
  • GoinGlobal - GoinGlobal helps job and internship seekers find opportunities both at home and abroad. Features career and city guides, job and internship search, employer directory, searchable H1B Visa information and more. If you have access to Smith's Handshakesite, GoinGlobal can be accessed for free. In the Handshake Resource Library, look for the publication "GoinGlobal: International Career Resource." 
  • InterviewStream - This tool for video interview practice is accessible via Smith College's Handshake platform. In the Handshake Resource Library, look for the publication "InterviewStream video interview practice." 

Search Tools with a Focus on Opportunities Abroad

If your goal is to study or have an experience abroad while you are an undergraduate or as an alum, there are many directions for your search. Here we outline just a few starting places.

  • English Teaching Opportunities Interactive Map - Created by the Office of Fellowships, Northwestern University, this Google map identifies English teaching opportunities around the globe linked a brief description of the program opportunity.
  • Language programs - Hosted by the US Department of State and intended for US citizens, this website lists a number of programs for learning a foreign language and includes information about external awards to fund the program. 
  • Campus France - This website helps students and recent alums find funding opportunities for study in France. (includes filters for international students, award type, and personal circumstances).
  • Germany's DAAD - This website helps students and recent alums find funding opportunities for short-term and longer-term research, study, and internships in Germany.
  • UK A–Z Interactive Map - Created by the Northwestern University Office of Fellowships, this Google map can help locate graduate programs in the United Kindgom with associated funding opportunities.
  • The Lewis Global Center includes information for undergraduates about Choosing Your Program and  Fellowships & Scholarships on its Applying & Funding page.

Funding for STEM Opportunities and Awards

  • National Science Foundation Special Programs for Undergraduate Students - Pulls together all scholarship and research programs for which undergraduates may apply directly or indirectly via a grant-funded institution (including REUs and the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program). This page is part of the enormous NSF award database, which lists current and past research funding opportunities - sometimes useful if you are looking for prospective research supervisers.Note that NSF is US-government funded, often meaning that awards may be restricted to US citizens and/or permanent residents - read the fine print!
  • Pathways to Science - This database is hosted by the Institute for Broadening Participation, a non-profit organization created to design and implement strategies to increase access to STEM education and careers for diverse underrepresented groups (includes filters for international students, type of opportunity, application deadline, and personal circumstances).
  • Zintellect - This database lists internships, experiential learning opportunities, and fellowships and scholarships funded by government and private sector organizations. These programs are administered by ORAU and the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education and you may search by keyword, academic level, discipline, or organization.

Funding for the Arts

  • New York Foundation for the Arts Source - This database lists over 12,000 awards, services, and publications for individual artists and arts professionals. Filter by award type, discipline, location, deadline, organization, and keyword. Search by "other criteria" permits you to limit results to awards open to undergraduates or graduate students.

General Advice

Plan Ahead

As a sophomore or junior begin to familiarize yourself with scholarships and awards that provide portable funding for graduate school. Some programs require applications in your junior year of college (Beinecke and Truman Scholarships). Other portable funding programs require simultaneous application for graduate school (NSF Graduate Research FellowshipPayne/Pickering/Rangel Fellowships), as do programs associated with specific institutions (for example, the Churchill Scholarship and  Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program). 

Look at Your Proposed Graduate School Home for Funding

As you assemble your list of the graduate programs and schools that interest you,inform yourself about each school's financial aid for graduate school, teaching and research assistantship programs, and merit scholarships for which you can apply. Do your research. Ask questions. Find out what resources are available. 

Supplemental Funding

You may find that scholarship awards on offer may cover only part of the costs of attending graduate school. Research opportunities for supplemental funding using the search databases listed in the Fellowships Search Resources (in the tab above) of the Additional Resources section of this page. In particular the GRAPES database hosted by UCLA and the University of Illinois database of grants and fellowships are very powerful and relevant for individuals planning the funding of their graduate studies.

Underrepresented Groups in Graduate School

If you are first in your family to attend college or plan to attend graduate school or if you identify as part of another group underrepresented in graduate school, then you may wish to review and consult the following programs and resources designed to prepare or orient you in your graduate school preparation and search.

  • Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship. Smith is one of 48 member schools and three consortia that participate in this initiative to increase diversity in the faculty ranks of higher education. Sophomores in an eligible field of the arts, humanities, and social sciences are selected on the basis of their academic promise and interests, and then mentored to acquire the experiences and knowledge to succeed in graduate school and beyond. The Smith College program and selection process is described here.
  • Leadership Alliance Summer Research - Early Identification Program (SR-EIP). The SR-EIP is a fully paid summer internship for rising juniors and seniors that provides research training and other preparation for participants to pursue competitive applications to PhD or MD-PhD programs. Placements in STEM, education, social sciences, and the humanities. The Leadership Alliance is a partnership of 30+ leading research and teaching institutions formed to develop underrepresented students into outstanding leaders and role models in academia, business, and the public sector.
  • Listing prepared by McNair Scholars Program. Highlights graduate scholarship opportunities for students from underrepresented groups, clustered by arts& humanities; business; diversity scholarships; general scholarships; life and health sciences; social sciences; science and engineering.

Specific Areas

Seek out information about funding sources in the specific areas that interest you or offer opportunities because of your personal circumstances or background.

Biomedical and behavioral research:

Environmental studies:

Humanities and Social Sciences:

International affairs:

Public health:

Public service:

STEM in General:

  • Pathways to Science
  • ORISE Graduate Internships and Fellowships (referal to the search tool Zintellect to set up a profile and narrow your search)
  • Gem Consortium. The National GEM Consortium fosters increased participation by members of underrepresented groups in graduate study in engineering and science. Two fellowships are the centerpieces of GEM programming: MS Engineering and Science Fellowship Program and PhD Engineering and Science Fellowship.