Fellowships Vocabulary

While each application is unique to the focus and requirements of that particular award, there is a common vocabulary associated with the application process. Here are brief definitions of regularly used terms.


Application
Campus Committee
Community Service
Deadline
Eligibity Requirements
Faculty Representative
Financial need
Institutional Endorsement
Interview
Leadership
Liaison for Prestigious Fellowships
Personal Statement
Project Proposal
Reference/Recommendation Letters
Referee
Résumé
Study Abroad
Thank You Letters
Transcript
Undergraduate Research


Application

Both the form(s) and the process required of anyone wishing to be awarded a fellowship. Many applications are now available online.


Campus Committee

A group of faculty and occasionally community members that provides the on-campus review process required by many fellowships. The committee reads the application, interviews the applicant and, according to fellowship guidelines, makes a determination which may be: a ranking, a nomination, and/or a decision whether to allow the candidate to continue the application process to the next level of review. At UMKC, there are different committees for each fellowship that requires a campus review.


Community Service

This is often one of the criteria for a fellowship application, and even when it is not, a strong community service record is an important addition to your resume. Community service usually means more than just occasional volunteer work. Rather, it indicates a strong commitment to a particular cause or issue that has been demonstrated through participation and leadership in the public sector, not-for-profit agencies, etc.


Deadline

The due date for a fellowship application. Depending on the fellowship, there may be two deadlines: internal (on campus) and external. If the fellowship requires a campus review process, there will be an internal deadline for a campus committee meeting. At that time, all parts of the application must be complete, but you will have some time after the meeting to revise, based on the review process. The external deadline is the due date for fellowship in the national office. The way the due date is determined varies: it may be postmark or in the office. Be sure to check the requirements!


Eligibility Requirements

Every fellowship has specific criteria that must be met in order for an individual to be qualified to apply. Typical eligibility requirements include age, GPA, nationality, residency, years of schooling, etc. Often, there are special criteria unique to the fellowship (a strong record of public service, for example). The first most important step when considering a fellowship is to review the eligibility requirements carefully


Faculty representative

Some fellowships (e.g., Jack Kent Cooke, Goldwater, Truman) require an on-campus faculty member to be identified as the contact person for that award. The Faculty Representative chairs the campus review committee and works closely with the Liaison for Honors and Awards to prepare the candidate. Faculty Representatives are usually identified on the fellowship websites.


Financial need

A term that has almost as many meanings as there are fellowships. Some fellowships (e.g., Jack Kent Cooke) make financial need a major criterion, and require extensive proof of your financial status (income tax records, FAFSA, documentation from your parents or guardians). Others base the exact amount of the award on the extent to which an applicant can provide some funds. Some are strictly merit-based, with no financial need requirement.


Institutional Endorsement

This can be either a major letter, or a very short form, signed by a high-ranking campus administrator (Provost, Chancellor or the campus representative), attesting to the candidate’s eligibility and qualifications for the fellowship.


Interview

Interviews are often an essential part of the application process. You might be interviewed the first time at the campus review level. If you move forward through the next round of review, you may be asked again for an interview in another city. Interviews can be individual or in groups. Whatever the format, they are vitally important factors that provide an opportunity to explore your written application further and in general asses the kind of person you are. At UMKC, if you are invited to interview at the national level, we will hold Mock Interviews on campus to help you prepare. Personal appearance, general demeanor, and vitality of response are just as important as the content of your responses.


Leadership

In fellowship terms this means evidence of your having assumed a significant role in one or more activities, as an officer, as someone who initiated a project, someone who made a difference in campus or community life. Leadership is an important factor for many fellowships.


Liaison for Prestigious Fellowships

At UMKC, the individual in charge of all major external (i.e., not handled by the Financial Aid Office) fellowships is called the Liaison for Prestigious Fellowships. That person’s office is in the Center for International Academic Programs. Information about Fellowships and Study Abroad is maintained on the IAP website: www.umkc.edu/international


Personal Statement

A standard part of most fellowship applications. The Personal Statement is something of a narrative resume, but most fellowships want you to go beyond the usual list of accomplishments, etc. How have you arrived at the point you find yourself now? What has been a driving force in your life? How will this fellowship contribute to your development and how will you “give back” to the community if you receive it?


Project Proposal

Many fellowships require a plan of action, some kind of description of what you are going to do with the fellowship award. This may be a very specific research outline, or a more general statement of a course of study. A Project Proposal needs to make it clear that the proposed work is important and needs the support of the award in order to be completed


Reference/Recommendation Letters

All fellowships require letters of support, although the number varies with each fellowship. Next to the application itself, reference letters are the most important part of your application. A good letter of reference shows the writer’s thorough knowledge of the applicant as a person and a scholar. The letter should speak to the applicant’s qualities and strengths. The writer should demonstrate an understanding of the particular fellowship, and should be able to support his/her conclusion that this is the right fellowship for the applicant.


Referee

Not the person in a striped shirt, but the individual who writes your letters of recommendation.


Resume (sometimes called Curriculum Vitae)

A summary of your education, community service and other experiences to date. Fellowships vary in how they want the resume presented: it may be the conventional outline format, or it may be more of a narrative essay form.


Study Abroad

A formal experience, resulting in credit and a grade, in another country. Many fellowships like for students to have had a study abroad experience and, just as significantly, are interested in learning how that experience has shaped the student’s views and understanding of the world.


Thank You Letters

What we all learned in kindergarten remains very important. A fellowship application involves many people at many different levels. Individuals who write letters of recommendation and read your essays put hours of time and thought into their work because they are committed to serving students and care about you in particular. As you move through the process, be sure to acknowledge the efforts of those who support you. Most students apply for more than one fellowship; it is much easier to return to ask for another letter, editing advice and guidance if you have expressed your appreciation in the past.


Transcript

The official record of your courses and grades at an institution. Most fellowships require the transcript to be submitted in a sealed envelope with the registrar’s stamp or signature across the seal. Usually, you need to submit all transcripts from post-secondary schools. If you have studied abroad and have grades from an overseas institution, be sure those grades have been translated in a meaningful way into the American 4.0 GPA system.


Undergraduate Research

A number of fellowships specifically identify undergraduate research as a criterion (e.g., Goldwater); but even when not required, evidence of original work at the undergraduate level is an important part of a resume. This is not limited to the sciences: undergraduate research can occur in any area of academic studies and includes original work and artistic production as well as more traditional writing and research. UMKC’s SEARCH program provides excellent support for undergraduate research.