What is the difference between a scholarship and a fellowship?
These terms are often used interchangeably. Often, a fellowship provides funding to complete a project or conduct research whereas a scholarship provides funds that are applied directly to tuition or other educational expenses.
What is the minimum grade point average required for nationally competitive fellowships and scholarships?
It depends on the program. To be competitive for a Rhodes, Marshall, and Mitchell, for example, a Mason student must have MINIMUM 3.8 GPA or above even though the Marshall minimum eligibility is 3.7. In the case of the Fulbright or Boren, language skills are weighed heavily, so a lower average can be offset by significant language proficiency and other skills. Candidates should not feel they are at a disadvantage because of a B on an otherwise stellar record or a challenging freshman year.
Why are there two deadlines listed on the opportunities page?
Mason institutes a campus deadline for programs that require institutions to have a campus nomination process or limit the number of candidates that can be forwarded. We also need time to ensure that your application is complete and arrives to the foundation ahead of the deadline. It is standard practice at many campuses to set earlier deadlines.
I’m a first-year student. Isn’t it too early to think about this?
Not at all. Some fellowships are designed for sophomores and juniors specifically, so it’s important to begin planning for fellowships right away. Freshman year is an important time to make some key decisions about your leadership activities, time management, language proficiency, internships, and study abroad plans. When chosen wisely, those opportunities will open doors for you and expose you to new experiences that could well influence your academic and career interests.
How far in advance should I begin the application process?
For an extensive application, such as the Rhodes and Marshall you must declare your intent to apply in the spring semester of your junior year. For other fellowships, such as the Fulbright, you should plan to attend info sessions no later than the spring semester of your junior year to begin your application by June. It will take about six months to write, revise, and gather supporting materials for a competitive application.