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Application Process

The Office of Nationally Competitive Awards specializes in helping students apply for a core set of major awards--such the Fulbright, Rhodes, Marshall, and Rotary, among others--many of which have internal review processes. But there are hundreds of opportunities out there, and we're happy to help in any way we can with your application materials for any chosen award. Where to begin? 

Contact the NCA Office

  • Whether you're just beginning to think about these opportunities or already have your award in mind, e-mail the NCA office and schedule a time to meet to discuss the next steps. 

Research and Reflect

  • Begin by reviewing our in-house awards list to the right and exploring extern awards databases as well. Ask yourself which kinds of opportunities reflect your unique experience and goals. 
  • You might find that you're still a few years away from applying for awards that interest you most. That's great: identifying these opportunities early will give you time to think strategically about what you might do over the next few years to build a strong research base, a successful academic profile, and sustained leadership and engagement experiences. 
  • As you find awards that interest you, pursue additional information on the relevant external web site. There, you can research the award in more depth, confirm eligibility requirements, and check the application deadline. Note that a number of the major awards will have earlier, internal deadlines as well. In these cases, it is best to begin working with the NCA office at least six months in advance of internal deadlines. 

Gather Key Supporting Materials

  • Early in the process, request transcripts from all post-secondary schools you've attended. We can get CofC transcripts for you very quickly, but it often takes a while for other colleges--especially those at which you've studied abroad--to process transcript requests. 
  • Make a list of possible recommenders--most likely professors who know you and your work well and whose letters, taken together, will reflect different aspects of your accomplishments and capabilities. You can find more information on requesting letters to the right. 
  • Revise and update your resume or CV with help from the Career Center. Even if you don't need one for your application, it is important to send a polished record of your accomplishments to potential recommenders along with other supporting materials (descriptions of research projects, papers you write for their class, and other evidence of your academic, community, and professional experiences).

Begin Drafting Application Materials

  • On some applications, you will answer a series of short questions; most will ask for a one-two page personal statement; many require more sophisticated grant and research statements as well. Begin drafting and revising these documents early and often.