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How do I get a Postgraduate Fellowship?

C. Mitchell
C. Mitchell

You can get a postgraduate fellowship in a couple of different ways, but almost all opportunities begin with research, include an often lengthy application, and culminate with an interview. The first thing to do is to create a list of the various fellowship opportunities that are available to you. If you can, speak to someone in your school about how the application process works for each of the programs you are considering. Then, put your applications together. Applications that are received well before the published deadline often have a better chance of being selected than those that arrive just under the wire.

Postgraduate fellowships can be a great way to learn about a specific area of work or gain experience in a particular field before formally entering the job market. Fellowships are offered in a wide variety of disciplines, from the humanities to the sciences. They are located in research institutes and universities all over the world, and are usually funded either by scholarship money or grants. Some are more prestigious than others, but all are competitive. Getting a postgraduate fellowship accordingly requires careful planning and strong credentials.

Fellowships are available in the culinary arts.
Fellowships are available in the culinary arts.

One of the goals of a postgraduate fellowship is to allow students to engage in highly concentrated postgraduate scholarship. A lot of getting a postgraduate fellowship depends on your academic credentials, which is to say, your grades and scholastic achievements. Your vision for the future and your specific interest in the fellowship work is also important. Most fellowship selection committees are looking for individuals who are both smart and show promise in the fellowship field.

There are many types of postgraduate fellowships available, which means that whether you are interested in microbiology or linguistics, math or culinary arts, there is likely to be a fellowship opportunity out there that will match your interests. Most colleges and universities have career centers that can provide information on different fellowship opportunities that you may be eligible for. While almost anyone can apply to the preeminent national and international fellowship programs, many businesses and charities also offer lesser-known fellowships geared to a more local community. Universities also may have fellowship opportunities open only to alumni. Finding the right fellowships — and finding them early enough to put together your applications — is a crucial first step.

The next thing to do is to carefully read the application requirements. Some applications are relatively straightforward, but others require many different pieces. Skipping steps or leaving items out is an easy way to invite fellowship reviewers to discount your work.

Almost all postgraduate education fellowships require recommendations, either from professors or employers. It is usually very important that you select recommenders who will be able to strongly and persuasively make the case for why you would be an ideal fellowship recipient. Try to meet with your recommenders a couple of times to ensure that they understand your motivations for pursuing the fellowship.

There is no sure way to get a postgraduate fellowship, as the actual decision is usually out of your hands. You can better your chances of securing postgraduate funding and a fellowship position by choosing opportunities for which you are qualified, however, and by working hard to ensure that your application is as complete and robust as possible. It is usually also a good idea to have a couple of people look over your application, and to build in the time to make edits and revisions before submitting.

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    • Fellowships are available in the culinary arts.
      By: Christophe Fouquin
      Fellowships are available in the culinary arts.