Congratulations! You just spent hours researching and identifying a scholarship or fellowship of interest to you, reflecting on your goals and aspirations, writing and re-writing application essays, reaching out to your faculty and mentors for letters of recommendation, and making your application as strong as you possibly could. That is a huge feat, and something to be proud of regardless of the outcome of your application. Now that you've "hit submit," it's time to take a deep breath and be proud of yourself for taking the risk to apply. 

Remember that through all of that deep reflection, essay writing, and communication with your references, you also developed meaningful and transferable skills that you can take with you into your academics and future career. The time that you spent reflecting on your goals and aspirations, developing your writing skills, making faculty and mentor connections, and honing statements (such as a personal statement or resume) will prove invaluable to you as you go forward into future job, scholarship, and graduate school applications. 

Think of it this way: Each application asks you to reflect upon your past experiences, consider your future goals, and articulate them clearly and concisely on paper. This is a process of self-discovery, both in the personal and professional sense. The better you can identify and articulate your experiences, goals, and the reasoning behind them, the more competitive you will be for future award opportunities, graduate or professional school, and employment. Before applying, did you know how to write a research proposal? Or how to describe your academic passions to various audiences? Could you craft a compelling story tracing the evolution of your interests with a clear red thread? We hope that you feel more confident going foward into your future endeavors with these new transferable skills! 

In National and Global Scholarships Advising, we take an approach to advising that focuses on this process, as opposed to the outcome of your scholarship application, because we believe that the byproducts of devoting your time and effort to a competitive scholarship application are just as important to your long-term development as the final outcome of your application. In the spirit of this belief, we've put together a few resources for you to reflect on and utilize so that you can fully take advantage of the work that you put into the application process: 


  • Save your application materials in a folder on your computer. The application process leaves you with well-crafted statements of research interest, personal statements, CVs/resumes, and other tangible materials for graduate school applications and your post-OSU career journeys.
  • Maintain the faculty and mentor relationships that you developed through requesting letters of recommendation. 
  • Continue a regular practice of reflecting on your goals, strengths, experiences, and aspirations, and remain on the look-out for opportunities that align
  • Continue to utilize National and Global Scholarships Advising - there may be additional scholarship or fellowship opportunities that we can point you towards that align with your experiences and goals! 


Lemons to Lemonade:

In this section we highlight OSU students who have demonstrated resiliency and creativity in the face of initial rejection

Niki Hobbs ‘18 graduated from OSU with a B.S. in Public Health. In the Fall of 2020, Niki worked with National and Global Scholarships Advising to apply to the Marshall Scholarship. While Niki was not selected for the Marshall Scholarship, she didn't let that hold her back and also applied for a Fulbright Study/Research grant at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom that would fund her master's degree, for which she became a semifinalist. Ultimately, Niki aspires to reduce health disparities and improve sexual and reproductive health outcomes through advocacy work. In Niki’s own words, “I’m disappointed I wasn’t selected for the Marshall, but I did my best and it just wasn’t in the cards. You never know when the stars will be right for you, it’s ultimately a matter of good timing, a good application, and good luck.” Niki’s advice for students thinking of applying to a nationally-competitive scholarship? “Just do it, just apply! Bring your authentic self to the application and be proud for putting yourself out there.” 

Omar Sheikh graduated from OSU in 2015 with an Honors B.S. in Bioengineering and again in 2019 with a M.S. in Bioengineering. Growing up with Muscular Dystrophy, Omar has always had a strong desire to help others, which manifests in his pursuit of critical biomedical research. During his M.S. program, Omar applied for a Fulbright research grant in Canada so that he could work with the world-class muscular dystrophy scholar Professor Toshifumi Yokota at the University of Alberta. Though he was not successful on his first several applications to the Fulbright grant, in April 2019, he was awarded the Fulbright grant for 2019 — 2020, sending him to the wintry city of Edmonton. In Omar’s own words, “the Fulbright application is all about self-understanding: knowing what you want to do and being able to communicate why you want to do it. Persistence is also key.” Omar’s advice for students thinking of (re)applying to a Fulbright research grant? “Get to know your mentor affiliate. Nurture a strong relationship with them and make sure that the country and host institution are good matches for your research.”


Reflections on Failure
  • Methods video: Elite runner Rachel Drake discusses finding balance between her passions for running and scientific research, and reflects on the role that failure has played in her life. 
    • As a student at the University of Minnesota, she also applied for (and did not win) the Rhodes scholarship.

  • Stacy Abrams reflects on her experiencing applying to, and not receiving, the Rhodes application in her book Lead from the Outside.
    • "Stacey leads off the book with the story of when she did not get the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, which she says is 'considered the pinnacle of academic success.' Prior to applying, Stacey says, the scholarship seemed 'so far out of reach,' considering she didn’t know about it until college, it wasn’t discussed in her family or at her school, and no one from her school had ever won it. And while she did make it to the interview phase of the application process, Stacey wasn’t named a Rhodes Scholar. So why mention it in her book? 'It was important for me to talk about the fact that it was so critical for me to try for it, but the most important thing was...for people to know I lost,' she says. 'That I didn’t get this thing that was supposed to be a defining moment in my life. What I realized was that the defining moment wasn’t the scholarship, it was my decision to try, and it freed me from this worry that had dogged me forever that I wasn’t enough. The reality was, I wasn’t enough for that thing, but I’d gotten further than [many others] and I needed to keep trying to see how far I could go.' And that’s a huge lesson Stacey wants to convey as a candidate and an author. 'I think it’s critically important when you’re trying to help people think through their ambitions that you have to set the table for the fact that you’re not going to get everything you want.[...] I wanted people to understand this is not a story [of] how to win everything and never fail. This is a story of how to try for things, and revel in the attempt, and leverage what happens afterwards. Had I not tried for the Rhodes, I never would’ve applied to Yale Law, and had I not gone to Yale, I'm not sure the direction my life would've taken. There are things that open up for you when you try for things that seem beyond you.' " - Emma Sarran Webster, Teen Vogue

  • Sarah Lewis' "Embrace the Near Win" TedTalk: Lewis asks us to consider the role of the almost-failure, the near win, in our own lives. In our pursuit of success and mastery, is it actually our near wins that push us forward?

  • Buzz Aldrin tweets about being turned down for the Rhodes Scholarship twice