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Advice

university fellowships committee

So how do you proceed?

First, review the summary charts of information on fellowships to determine which might be appropriate for you and your interests. If you are interested in fellowships available for undergraduate study—that is, awards you can use while at BC—consult the Fellowships for Undergraduate Study: Summary Chart. If you are interested in fellowships available for graduate study—that is, awards you can use after BC—consult the Fellowships for Graduate Study: Summary Chart. When you find a fellowship of interest, go to the longer description for additional information and details.

Do not be misled by the deadline noted for each fellowship—that is the formal deadline for dispatching your completed application. However, a successful application requires considerable thought and guidance, and these cannot be accomplished at the last moment. To be truly competitive for these fellowships, you must  consult with the Boston College Campus Coordinator for the fellowship at least  a full semester in advance of the formal deadline, to begin preparing your application.

Once you have some ideas about the scholarship and fellowship opportunities that match your ambitions, next consider the general advice offered by the University Fellowships Committee—for Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors. You will find several themes common to all the advice: show initiative and take command of your life, be imaginative, and cultivate connections with faculty mentors.

The most important theme is that last one: cultivate connections with faculty. To gain the most from your years at BC, and to make yourself competitive, you will need ample information, the wisdom that stems from experience and expertise, a good deal of candid appraisal as well as encouragement, and ultimately, people who will sing your praises in letters of recommendation.

Faculty mentors can do all these things—but you cannot expect them to track you down in your dorm room and insist that you get to know them. Most often, faculty are waiting for you  to take the initiative. So, even if faculty members in your field of interest seem too busy or remote at first, take advantage of their office hours to get advice on a class assignment, or an internship, or foreign study, or any other topic that you think might help you form a connection and give evidence that you wish to make the best of your BC education. And keep in touch with them. If you had terrific teachers in your Freshman courses, continue to seek their guidance when you are a Sophomore and a Junior as well.

Most fellowship applications require detailed letters of recommendation from three or more faculty members. Build up mentoring relationships with faculty as you go along, and it will be easy to meet this requirement. And along the way, you will have enriched your education and formed relationships that you will treasure along afterward.