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The Colby Career Center assists students who are considering graduate school, Fellowships and Scholarships.


As a Colby student you are presented with diverse opportunities for undergraduate and post graduate experiences that can be enriching and challenging. Those who have excelled academically and professionally are strongly encouraged to learn more about fellowship and scholarship opportunities.

If considering a fellowship opportunity it is imperative to develop a relationship with the Career Center and a Faculty Advisor early in your college career. To learn more about fellowship opportunities contact the Career Center at (270)859-4140 or

National Fellowships

As a Colby student you are presented with diverse opportunities for undergraduate and post graduate experiences that can be enriching and challenging. Those who have excelled academically and professionally are strongly encouraged to learn more about fellowship and scholarship opportunities.

Where do I start?

      • Attend the Evening of Fellowships each fall. The Evening provides a broad overview of all of the fellowships that require an institutional endorsement. This year’s Evening of Fellowships is Monday, November 14, 2016 at 7 p.m.
      • Meet with Sarah Whitfield, Fellowships Coordinator, in the Career Center to learn more about individual fellowships and discuss first steps in the application process.
      • Attend information sessions about individual fellowships and let us know of your intent to apply:
      • Meet with the respective faculty member and work with them and the Career Center to complete your application.
      • Apply!

Note: You should always feel free to visit the Career Center for more information at any point in the process. It’s never too early to start the process!

Fellowship and Scholarship Winners

Did you know Colby students and alumni have won over 75 national fellowships and scholarships over the last ten years? Click here for a full list:

Fellowship and Scholarship Opportunities

There are 12 different national fellowship and scholarships that have individual faculty advisors that work specifically with students who are considering to apply to one or more of these opportunities. Visit the separate links below to learn more about these specific fellowships and scholarships.

Fellowship Who Can Apply Description Deadline Faculty Advisor
Beinecke Scholarship X Funding for graduate study in the arts, humanities and social sciences 1/15/2018 Jim Sloat
Fulbright Grants for English Teaching Assistantships X X A year abroad teaching English Campus Deadline: September 2017 Kim Besio
Fulbright Grants for Study/Research X X A year abroad engaged in study/research  Campus Deadline: September 2017 Kim Besio
Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship X X Undergraduate scholarship support for students in mathematics, science, and engineering January 2017 Bruce Maxwell
Japanese Monbusho Government Scholarship X X Funding support for education in Japan for varied studies April 2017 Jim Sloat
Marshall Scholarships X X Two years of graduate study in Great Britain with funding support Campus Deadline: September 2017 Jim Sloat
George J. Mitchell Scholarship X X One year of graduate study in Ireland in any field and funding support TBA Jim Sloat
National Science Foundation Scholarship X X Funding for graduate research in the fields of science, engineering, and mathematics Varies TBD
Rhodes Scholarship X X Two to three years of graduate study at Oxford University with funding support  Campus Deadline: September  2017 Jim Sloat
Harry S. Truman Scholarship X Funding for graduate study to prepare for a career in government or public service December 2017 Samara Gunter
Morris K. Udall Scholarship X X Undergraduate scholarship support for students with a demonstrated commitment to the environment, or to Native Americans and Alaskan Native students with a demonstrated commitment to tribal public policy and Native health care  Campus Deadline: TBA (usually around January 16, 2017) Philip Nyhus
Thomas J. Watson Fellowships X One year of independent travel and study outside of the US with financial support  Campus Deadline: Friday, September 29, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. Ben Fallaw


As you consider applying for a national fellowship or scholarship opportunity two important skills to have are time-management and ambition. As you venture through the application process this experience can take up to a year of advanced planning and preparation. Keeping track of deadlines and timelines is always important as you go through this process.

At Colby College we have 14 fellowships where there is a faculty advisor and for which you may need to be nominated or endorsed by the college as an applicant. You can learn more about each of these opportunities along with the faculty advisor’s name and contact information under “Colby Fellowships & Scholarships.” As an applicant for any of these opportunities you will be working closely with the individual faculty advisor. Your fellowship faculty advisor will help you navigate the process to obtain, if needed, an institutional endorsement from the Dean of Faculty’s office.

Outside of the fellowships that have a Colby advisor there are a plethora of other fellowship and scholarship opportunities both for U.S. citizens and international students. You will find two PDF documents for these other opportunities under the “Other Fellowship/Scholarship Opportunities” along with web links to learn more about the opportunity and application process.

The selection process for fellowships often happens during the winter term which means the planning and preparatory process takes place the spring and summer prior to your application submission date. Some of the submission dates are early in the fall semester therefore, requiring some of the preparation to occur during the summer.

Outside of the application deadlines there are two important aspects to keep in mind. First, be cognizant that those aiding and mentoring you through this process, advisors, faculty, parents, and friends all have busy schedules; it is important to maintain continuous and courteous contact with them, especially those who are writing recommendation letters. Second, be sure to give yourself ample time to write and provide continuous edits to your materials and prepare for your interview(s). This is a very time consuming process that will happen over several months — your time-management skills and ambition will be essential through the entire process.


Knowing the US, UK and EU Systems
As you explore various fellowship and scholarship opportunities you will notice there are opportunities for graduate study and/or research in locations all around the world.  It is imperative that you understand the system in which you are working and the differences in the organizational structure. Below are helpful hints on the areas of differences within the systems. This information will be helpful and guide you through the process of understanding the key differences in educational systems.

      When applying for admission to many UK institutions, like Oxford, you are accepted into the University, by the college of choice, and by the faculty.  In US institutions there is a single, centralized admission process for undergraduate applicants, but the graduate school admission process may also be by the faculty in the program of choice. It is also common for many UK institutions,  at both undergraduate and graduate levels, for there to be fellowship opportunities tied with individual academic programs. In the US some institutions adopt a similar process but it may not be as streamlined as the UK system. Last, the UK and EU systems use similar structural models in their institutions of higher education whereas in the US system there are a variety of  models including state, public, private, nonprofit/for-profit, faith-based/nondenominational, liberal arts, teacher training, vocational, and four year or two year institutions.
      The primary differences in pedagogy in the three systems are the tutorial system of teaching. For example, in the US system it is common to sit in large lecture halls and have courses with 20+ students whereas in the UK system it is more common to have one-on-one meetings with tutors. The UK system is also highly research focused with far less time spent completing exams. As with everything else, the pedagogy is not the same within every institution in each of these systems, much of the UK system does follow the methods still used by Oxford and Cambridge but not in all cases.  The UK system, for example, differentiates between a “taught” masters and a “research masters.”
      Within each of the systems there is an evident difference in the timeframe in which people complete their degrees. In the US it can take 1-3 years to earn a master’s degree or seven to eleven years to earn a doctorate whereas in the UK system one year master’s programs are most common and completion of a doctoral degree can be accomplished in as little as three years. The “letters” or degree titles associated with earned degrees are often unique to the field and may differ by country:  MFA, MDiv, MEd, MA, MLIS, MST, Doctor of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy, Juris Doctor, Doctor of Engineering, etc.
    In the US system funding often includes full scholarships and/or research assistant/teaching assistant positions to defray the cost of education. In the UK system, there is a program called Overseas Research Scheme (ORS) ( that funds opportunities available for international graduate students. US students may also be able to apply for federal students loans for study abroad (this is common for the UK). Other funding resources include the British Council: and

Preparing a Strong Resume/CV

A resume or CV will be a common document in your application materials for a fellowship or scholarship. It is important to know the difference between a resume and CV. A resume is a document used to describe previous relevant experience and your skills. Often this includes descriptions of your employment, internship, or extra-curricular experience. A CV, in the US, is a particular type of resume which is most commonly used in academic settings. “Curriculum vita” is a Latin term that means “race course of life,” so in a CV you are reporting on the accomplishments in the “course of your life.”  Often a CV for a current college student will be research-focused – eventually it will include publications, courses taught, grants received, projects completed and in-progress, etc.  For applicants seeking to study/work abroad, it is important to know that in many countries, “CV” is the term used for a resume and there may be specific cultural expectations of how you will present yourself in that document (for example, in some countries it is common for a CV/resume to include information about your age, health status, gender, and whether you are married).  Be sure you understand the context into which you are submitting your CV so that your document reflects the expectations of the audience.

This table will help you best sort out the differences between a Resume and an academic CV:

Resumes CVs
Objective statement is ok, but not necessary Never have an objective statement
List either education or experience first (whichever is most recent) Always list education ahead of experience
Limited to one page, maybe two No length limit
Focuses on relevant skills, jobs, and internships Focuses on relevant academic experiences
Features skills, accomplishments, and contributions at each assignment Generally lists just the assignment
Limited number of headings, principally “experience” and “education” Many more heading options, e.g., “publications,” “presentations,” “teaching,” “research,” etc.
May mention boss by title, but not by name If it is an academic experience, usually cite supervisors by name
Usually used to get a job Usually used in a science, research, or academic setting
Sample resumes and CV’s can be found in the Colby Resume Guide.


  1. Paid Employment, Co-op, and Internship Experiences
  2. Volunteer, Leadership, and Service Experiences
  3. Elected or Appointed Positions
  4. Academic Honors, Awards, and Merit Scholarships
  5. Major Academic Projects, Field Studies, Interdisciplinary Projects, Undergraduate Research Programs, and Independent Study
  6. TA, RA, Study Group Leader, Lab Instructor, Tutor, or Test Proctor Assignments
  7. Presentations
  8. Publications
  9. Academic Meetings, Conferences, and Symposia attended
  10. Certifications
  11. Laboratory Skills and Other Special or Technical Skills
  12. Computer Skills
  13. Study-Abroad, Travel, Languages, Inter-and Cross-cultural Experiences
  14. Sports


Personal Statement

A personal statement is… meant to give the review committee a brief but specific sign of who you are, why you are who you are, and why you are intending to move forward in said direction. It is one of the primary narrative documents in your application materials requested for most fellowship and scholarship applications. The term ‘brief’ is a serious term as most personal statements are between 1000-2000 words. Therefore, as you write you must reflect on the key moments of your personal, professional, and academic careers, and how they have brought you to where you are today.

A personal statement is not… meant to be an overall narrative of your entire CV (curriculum vitae). Do not rehash what is already on your resume/CV or write it as a biography.

As you develop your personal statement you will find yourself reflecting, drafting, writing, and revising continuously. Before drafting a personal statement you should have your resume/CV in good shape as that will aid you as you begin to draft your statement. As you begin writing there are three primary areas to think of: stating your ambitions, explaining gaps, and piquing the review committee’s interest.

This entire process is based on ambition; therefore your ambitions should be reflected in your personal statement. As you write you should share what you expect to do beyond your financial reward as well as how you expect to contribute to your discipline, profession, and larger community. You must also be precise in what you hope to gain from your study; this is no time for generalizations!

If there has been a gap in your experience or a grade issue that is apparent on your transcript, an appropriate time to explain would be in your personal statement. Do know however, anything you include in your personal statement or application is fair game in your interview. If you are uncomfortable discussing something in detail, do not include it in your application or personal statement.  Be aware, however, that people who read your application are adept at spotting “gaps” and will ask you about them whether you want to talk about them or not.  It could behoove you to prepare for that conversation.

Last, you want your personal statement to entice the review committee to offer you an interview.  Your personal statement should be extremely well-written, interesting, and most importantly causing your reviewers to want to get to know you in person.

A personal statement is a document where you get to address a variety of aspects of yourself and ambitions.

A research proposal is focused solely on your research interests and defining explicitly your research plan with expected outcomes.


  • Before you begin to write make sure that your Resume/CV is up-to-date and well written.
  • Research the fellowship, scholarship, program, etc. for which you are applying and the specific qualifications sought to help craft your personal statement.
  • Allow ample time for reflecting, writing, revising, and more writing. This is not a document that you begin to write as you approach the submission deadline.
  • Just like writing an essay for a college course, your opening and closing paragraph and are the most instrumental for the readers.
  • Have multiple people review your personal statement before submitting.
  • Do not undersell yourself; this is your time to shine!

Obtaining Strong Letters of Recommendation

Deciding on recommenders for fellowship, scholarship, or experiential programs is yet another important step in your application process. You should choose who will write your recommendations carefully. The rules for who you should ask for fellowships recommendations are different from choosing them for graduate school. If possible, you should be choosing writers who are highly knowledgeable of the program in which you are applying for. Your fellowship advisor will be able to provide you appropriate guidance.  Conversations with individual writers will help prepare you for the fellowship interview process.

As you determine your writers be sure to read the instructions in your application material for what they are specifically looking for. Does your fellowship require references from faculty in a certain discipline? Or, do they want open recommendations from supervisors in internships, work, service, or volunteer experiences? Also, what content are they looking for from your writers? Do they want writers to comment on your knowledge in a specific academic area? Are they more interested in you as a scholar? Or, do they want to know about barriers you’ve overcame, your personality, and your character?

When determining who will write your recommendations you should be contacting faculty (or whomever else) early on in your process and be communicating with them frequently. These are individuals, in addition to writing an important letter,  may also serve as a great resource to you and help guide you through your application process. There are five tips to cultivate good relationships with your recommenders:

  1. First and most importantly, give them time to write your letters. Understand that they are extremely busy people and be aware of their schedules and timeline. Do they need 2-3 weeks or 4-6 weeks?
  2. Writers should be people you know well and are comfortable having a conversation with. If at all possible, ask in person (or by phone) if they are willing to write you a “strong letter of support” for your application.  In person, you’ll have a chance to gauge their reaction.
  3. Give the person room to say “No.”  A lukewarm letter of recommendation is not helpful to you.  Better to move on to someone who is able to write the letter you need. (Sometimes people will say no because other demands prevent them from giving it the time they think it deserves.)
  4. Bring a portfolio of all your materials to an in-person meeting (or send them after they’ve agreed to write the letter and set up a phone conversation once they’ve received them) and be prepared to talk about all of the content of the fellowship/scholarship in which you are applying for.
  5. Last, be prompt in providing anything your writer requests that you may not have had in your portfolio. Don’t create delays!

Two final points regarding your obligations to your writers: Give them gentle reminders and say “Thank You.”  You should be aware of your writer’s schedule and be sure to remain in frequent communication and give friendly reminders of your letter of recommendation deadline and/or check in on the status of completion.  Writing a recommendation is a big deal and after submitting your application materials set aside time to write a formal thank-you note to your writers expressing your sincere gratitude (and be sure to let them know of the final outcome!).

What is the purpose of a Fellowship or Scholarship interview?
Like any interview, a scholarship or fellowship interview gives the review committee the final opportunity to meet with top candidates. This is the last step in the process of deciding who to award a fellowship/scholarship to. The review committee has come to know you quite well on paper and now is the time to meet in person and have a real conversation with you. Like all other interviews you will participate in, this is your opportunity to say why you are the best candidate for this prestigious opportunity, how are you going to be a change agent, make a difference, and be a strong leader. It is also time to discuss your previous experiences, education, and skill sets and how they specifically match what the respective fellowship/scholarship is looking for.

Possible pre-interview social event
Depending on the fellowship/scholarship there may be a pre-interview social event. This typically takes place for the Rhodes, British Marshall, and Rotary Scholarships. This is a social event, not an event that should feel hostile or make you overly nervous. It is a time to release your nerves and enjoy conversation. The individuals you’ll be meeting with through the pre-interview social event and the interview are people who are genuinely interested in you and care about you and your future ambitions.

How do you prepare for the interview?
Preparing for the interview is one of the most important aspects of the entire process and requires dedication and a lot of practice. As you begin to prepare there are three important things to look at:

    1. Know Thyself:
      • Think about how you would answer generic questions such as “tell me about yourself,” “how would define your personality,” “what makes you unique or different,” “what challenges you,” “what are you future aspirationsm” and “what motivates you.”
      • Review all of your application materials and be able to defend and support everything you’ve provided.  Prepare to provide tangible examples to support a question about anything on your resume/CV or in your appliction.
      • Look at all aspects of your college experience, both academic and extra-curricular, and ask these questions of yourself: What did you learn about yourself?  How did you change?  How did each and every experience you were a part of shape who you are as a person today?
    1. Know About The World:
      • To be well prepared for your interview you should be keeping up-to-date on current world affairs. This area, often, can be the more difficult component in the interview. You may be asked about a specific issue happening in the world and need to state your knowledge and/or opinion on the matter (what your opinion encompasses is not the issue, but being able to make an articulate description is necessary).
      • Some of the best ways to stay up-to-date on world affairs is by regularly following the New York Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, NPR, and other similar sources.
  1. Know the Foundation:
    • As you prepare for your interview set aside time to thoroughly re-research the organization. Memorize the criteria and what they are specifically looking for in their candidates, their mission, vision, and values.
    • Look at previous awardees, advice that they’ve provided, and their profile/research topic.

Final Tips

BE HONEST – If you do not know the answer to a particular question do not try to make up a response or a fictitious answer, rather be completely honest and simply state that you do not know.

BE AWARE – If you are someone that takes a strong political, religious, or any other stance on a topic, be aware of whether your point of view precludes the committee from determining whether you are able to engage multiple points of view.  Having an informed opinion shouldn’t mean you aren’t willing to understand and talk about others’ points of view.