Year 4 - Seniors
Much of my advice regarding national fellowships and scholarships leads to the all-important senior year. So naturally one might expect this series to culminate in the longest of all advice columns. Ironically, however, there is not much more to offer at this point, which underscores the importance of the advice for the previous years. Although submitting an actual application is clearly mandatory to be considered for any award, the bulk of the groundwork for a successful application should have been done by now. However, if that isn’t the case, there is still hope.
My main piece of advice may sound more like a warning: these applications are time-consuming and can be hazardous to your schedule. As a result, I always recommend that students start their applications at least four months ahead of time. That’s no misprint, 4 months! Given that many deadlines are in October, it is generally too late to start thinking about applying when classes start in your senior year. You will benefit from receiving more comments from more faculty, who need time to assess and return your drafts, as well as write letters of reference and help you revise your statements. Contact faculty early about your intentions, and supply them of written drafts of your application essays as soon as possible.
If you’re graduating soon and the world of fellowship information has passed you by until now, remember that next year offers the same opportunities to pursue your dreams. Just don’t make the mistake of seeing an October deadline and pushing it aside until late in the summer. For many of these awards, you can apply the year after graduation just as you would have done this year, even if you started your first year of graduate school. In the meantime, make your senior year an excellent one, perhaps capped off with a senior thesis and some exciting independent research.
I hope these advice columns are useful, but if you feel that I have omitted anything important, or would like to bring something to my attention, please feel free to contact the Fellowship Office. We are always delighted to add new and helpful links and suggestions to increase awareness of the many and diverse educational opportunities at Loyola University Chicago.
Dr. James M. Calcagno, Fellowship Director and Professor of Anthropology