Applying for grants and fellowships requires careful thought and preparation, especially if you hope to benefit from the process. It requires performing self-assessment, doing research, crafting essays, and assembling supporting materials. It also requires time, effort, patience, and a willingness to learn from the process.
If you apply for grants, you must invest yourself fully in this process, while recognizing that the odds will be against you. There simply aren't enough awards for all qualified candidates, and no one can predict the choices of selection committees.
That said, every student should consider applying for grants. They represent unique possibilities of support for your aspirations, and applying for them will almost certainly be beneficial for you. Clarifying your goals and learning how to present them-on paper and in person-both prepare you for job searches, graduate school applications, and much else in life.
Looking back, regardless of outcome, most applicants say they have benefited from the soul-searching they invested in applying for grants. This process is a singular opportunity for you to reflect on what you have learned so far in life, where you see yourself in the near future, how a fellowship experience might connect these points, and how you might convey these thoughts to others.
Done well, the application process is time-consuming. Take some basic advice to heart:
Ultimately, the grantsmanship process focuses on the investment potential a grant represents for your future. Selection committees look for it, and you must demonstrate it. Directly or indirectly, applications require you to reflect on your future, how you might benefit from the experience a fellowship offers, and how you might translate that experience into contributing to a community or enriching a branch of knowledge.Click here for the complete "An Introduction to Grantsmanship" (from The Harvard College Guide to Grants, 12th Edition, by Paul Bohlmann and Adonica Lui)
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