Advice for Applicants

On these pages, you will find all kinds of advice relevant to the specific elements you can expect to find in most, if not all, national scholarship and fellowship applications. We are deeply committed to the process involved in applying for any national scholarship, fellowship, or other competitive experiential learning opportunity because of what it can do for you beyond winning.

All of these opportunities are highly competitive, and while you are capable of achieving excellence in your efforts, the competition is fierce. However, what you will gain from giving yourself time to think about and critically reflect upon your passions, dreams, ideals, and vision for your future is worthy of pursuit and recognition. Articulating your authentic sense of self in a personal statement, carefully selecting and cataloging your activities on a CV, detailing your research interest in a proposal and ultimately crafting a compelling portfolio of materials based on your body of work thus far, will serve you in everything you plan to pursue both during and after your tenure at UT.

Regardless of the outcome, we think the rewards of engaging in any nationally competitive application process are worth the challenge and time.  It is, in fact, not a quest to merely succeed. It is the quest for excellence. So, in the words of Mark Twain, “throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” And, plan well.

To that end, we can’t over-emphasize the importance of developing a strategic plan well in advance of beginning the scholarship application process. Because the success of your efforts rests so heavily on building a solid undergraduate experience, both inside and outside of the classroom, the earlier you begin to plan, the better. Take time, as soon as you have your wits about you during your freshman year, to start a journal or any preferred way of organizing your hopes, dreams, passions, pursuits and future plans in order to identify all of the steps necessary to help you reach those goals. Think first on a grand-scale, a kind of macro-view of yourself, and then begin, as soon as you can, to pull things into greater focus and work toward that micro-view of what you hope to pursue in the future.

Take time to read through the advice offered on this website and, following that, make an appointment with our ONSF staff by e-mailing onsf@utk.edu.

Disclaimer

The Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships (ONSF) supports UT undergraduates and alumni who are undertaking nationally competitive application processes.  It provides support only and cannot, under any circumstances, accept responsibility for missed deadlines, incomplete applications, missing letters of recommendation or other supplementary materials, or selection outcomes at the campus or national level.   The responsibility of completing and submitting an application rests solely on the student or alumni engaging in a national application process.  The ONSF does not guarantee or promise any outcome and all guidance provided is offered as advice.