Our Office and Our Scholarship Portfolio 

What does scholarship advising do to improve our applications?

Our office supports you throughout the entire application process. We can help you decide which scholarship opportunities are a good match, work to choose suitable recommenders, revise and give feedback on essay drafts, and help you to prepare for interviews.  

We also strongly believe in the value of applying to nationally-competitive scholarships, regardless of the outcome, and will encourage you to reflect on your own interests, values, and goals. By practicing writing out these aspects of your identities in a coherent native, you will both improve your application and contribute to your own personal and professional development.  

What makes these opportunities different from conventional scholarships? Is there an advantage to National and Global scholarships compared to other local or college-specific scholarships?

If “conventional” means scholarships that come from OSU, your community, state, professional organizations, etc. the application processes are similar, but the scholarships in our portfolio are competitive on a national or international level.  Also, many of them lead to experiences that enhance or invest in your professional and academic development (study abroad, research, cohort-based participation) rather than just contribute funds to your cost of attendance as many more conventional scholarships do.  Rather, the sponsoring organizations wish to recognize and invest in your potential for leadership and aspiration to address critical global challenges.   

The scholarships that National and Global Scholarships Advising assists with are distinct from other local or college-specific scholarships. They often have a more drawn-out timeline, meaning that you often won’t get the money that you apply for until the next academic year. So, if you’re looking to fund next quarter’s tuition, you would be better served looking to other scholarships. Every scholarship that we advise for is very different, but some of the shared benefits include: the personal and professional development that accompanies applying to a competitive scholarship and the national/global recognition that many of our scholarships receive.


COVID-19 Impacts

Will these still be happening with COVID? If so, how will they be impacted, especially ones involving international travel? 

While we don’t yet know how COVID will impact programs in 2021-22, applications are being accepted and we encourage you to apply! 

We can comment on how programs have adapted and changed due to current restrictions. The response to this set of questions depends on whether the program is international or domestic. 

International programs: 

Due to COVID-related travel restrictions 2020 international programs were canceled, postponed or held online. Some examples are illustrated below.  

  • Virtual: Critical Language Scholarship: Language institutes are normally held abroad but CLS quickly adapted and offered 10 of its 15 summer 2020  language institutes in virtual format including face-to-face small group class time, individual feedback sessions with instructors, virtual tours, and meetings with language partners for conversation practice.
  • Recipients of international postgraduate scholarships also began their studies remotely (Marshall, Rhodes, Churchill, Gates Cambridge, Schwarzman)
  • Postponed: Fulbright: 2020 Fulbright scholars have postponed departure to January 2021.  If the host country does not permit US residents to enter, scholars will be permitted to defer their grants to the next year. 
  • Postponed: Gilman: 2020-21 Gilman scholars have the option to use their funding during a future term.  Scholars have the option to use their scholarship funds for in person programs (if allowed) or virtual programs.  
  • Postponed: The Boren Scholarship moved the earliest possible overseas start dates for 2020 Boren Scholars and Fellows to January 1, 2021.
  • Canceled: summer 2020 UK Fulbright Summer Institute, Fulbright-Mitacs Globalink Canada (summer research), DAAD RISE(Germany summer research). In instances where programs were canceled, the scholarship providers remained committed to completing the selection process and celebrating the success of scholars. 

Domestic programs: (Goldwater, Truman, Udall, Stanford Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program) 

Most of these programs are not significantly impacted by COVID.  The most important change is that nomination and selection committees will take into proper consideration how candidates’ educational, professional, and personal experiences have been interrupted or altered by current restrictions and other COVID-related impacts. For example, if you are an undergraduate researcher applying for the Goldwater scholarship and your lab was closed all summer and your conference presentation was canceled, you will have an opportunity to explain what you had planned and missed due to COVID.  Bonus points if you exercised creativity and resilience to keep working safely when possible at a distance. Even when we are once again able to meet and work in person, we expect that scholarship providers will continue to consider the impacts of COVID for years to come. 

The other change is that any interviews and/or scholar orientations were held virtually in 2020.  We held 28 Fulbright interviews via Zoom, the Truman Foundation interviewed finalists remotely, and Udall held it’s summer orientation online.  The Stanford Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program program is currently virtual. 

No changes have yet been announced for scholarships and programs for 2021-22. Students are encouraged to apply! There isn’t any formal data yet on how acceptance rates have been impacted by COVID, but anecdotal evidence shows that rates are likely to remain flat. 

A note on canceled programs: Did you know that when you were selected for a program and it was canceled due to COVID, you can still put it on your resume?  See this article: How to create an APA Style reference for a canceled conference presentation


Time Concerns, Competitiveness, and Deciding to Apply

Is it worth applying to competitive scholarships? What will I get out of it, especially if I'm not selected as an awardee? 

When you decide to apply for a competitive scholarship, we find that it’s really helpful to shift your mindset to what you get out of the process of applying and focus on the benefits that accompany the process that are separate from the outcome of the competition.  It’s really important to us to support you and help make it a positive experience, as we recognize that it is an investment of your time. What are some of the benefits?  Competitive scholarship providers want to invest in the potential of future leaders who will strive to address critical global and societal problems. Applying for one prompts you to examine your goals, values, core beliefs, actions, and priorities and then communicate effectively and concisely (in writing and sometimes verbally if there is an interview) to an audience who has never met you. This is a skill that takes practice and has many applications going forward in your career including applications to graduate school, jobs, and other scholarships and fellowships.  We promise it gets easier with practice! Scholarship applications also include reference letters from the support team you are building in your undergraduate years: mentors, professors, advisors, employers, etc.  This is a great opportunity to evaluate your relationships with your supporters and think about whether your rapport with them could be stronger.  Do they know you well enough to write you a strong letter of recommendation?  Would working together on a competitive scholarship application provide an opportunity to get to know one another better and in a different context?  Would it also build your confidence to apply for other things? These are just a few of the personal and professional development opportunities that you get out of this process, even if you don’t win a scholarship. 

What is the average time it takes to complete one of these scholarship applications?

As far as how long it takes to complete a scholarship application, this depends on you.  The most constructive thing you can do is to meet with us and identify opportunities of interest early: that way you can plan your schedule around a deadline over a longer period of time, gathering application components and working on essay drafts over the course of months vs. days or weeks.  Experience has shown us that starting early and making a timeline (with built-in checkpoints for accountability) is the #1 thing you can do to create a strong application.  This approach also provides the strongest opportunity for the benefits outlined above.  The applications themselves vary quite a bit with respect to the time commitment: some of the more involved applications would be roughly the equivalent of a 3-credit course (but again, it depends on you when you start!), and others (such as the Gilman scholarship) take far less time, but drafting and seeking feedback is equally important.  We are here to provide support every step of the way!

How far in advance of the deadline should you be thinking/working on scholarships? (Fulbright UK Summer / Goldwater)

We recommend that the sooner you start applying, the more chances that you have to make your application as strong as possible and to experience the benefits of the application process. The exact timeline will depend on the specific scholarship opportunity. For the Goldwater Scholarship, applications are due December 18th and students usually start applying in October. For the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, students often start applying 3+ months (or more!) before the OSU-campus deadline in early September. 

What are the acceptance rates for these scholarships?

Acceptance rates also vary and they can be daunting.  However, it is helpful and reassuring to know that OSU students can and do win these competitive scholarships. See our website and navigate to each scholarship page and scroll to the bottom to see lists of OSU students who have won these scholarships or check out the Scholar Stories.  Here are some examples: FulbrightGoldwaterUdall Gilman

How do I know if I should apply to a competitive scholarship?

That’s easy! Just come talk to us! Schedule an appointment by visiting: https://beav.es/o3B and select any available time that works for your schedule. We appreciate the opportunity to get to know you (no pressure!) and suggest opportunities for you to consider. 

If you're someone who doesn't have many extracurriculars, what can you do prior to applying?

What’s more important than the number of extracurriculars is the commitment to what authentically matters to you. First, identify that.  Then choose involvement that aligns with your interests and goals. Also, if you work to support yourself (and/or your family) through college, it’s okay to note that in your application.  You shouldn’t be disadvantaged for having less extracurricular involvement because you are working. 

What would make you stand out more on a national level compared to a local one?

A common theme with nationally competitive scholarships is that they are looking to support and invest in future “change makers” or “change agents.” This is a notion directly tied to leadership: what is the problem you hope to address in the future? It can be local, national, societal, global: what matters is that you wish to make a change for the better, in whatever field you are building your expertise. There isn’t a magic formula for success with national scholarships, but a clear idea of the impact you hope to have in the future is a very important element.


Success of OSU Students

How many OSU students have been awarded these scholarships in the past?

Please see our website for lists of OSU Scholars: https://topscholars.oregonstate.edu/ 

Where can I find previous students' experiences with these programs?

Our website has a page that highlights previous OSU scholars’ stories: https://topscholars.oregonstate.edu/scholar-stories. The official websites of individual scholarships are also very helpful and often showcase stories of previous scholars.


Campus Endorsement Process

What is the process like to get campus endorsement? 

Our office coordinates faculty committees who help us review applications, provide feedback, and select nominees/make endorsement decisions.  Our goal is to help candidates put forward the strongest possible applications to compete at the national/international level. In cases where we are limited in the number of candidates we can endorse (Goldwater, Truman, Udall), our faculty committees select the nominees. In other competitions where there is no limit (Fulbright, Gilman, Boren, CLS) we welcome all applications.


Eligibility and Class Standing 

Is the class requirement based off year at school or credit numbers/class standing? For example, could a 2nd year student, with enough credits to be a junior, apply for a junior scholarship? Or, for example, would a first-year student at OSU who has credits from high school be considered a freshman in the eyes of these programs or a sophomore?

For the majority of scholarships in our office’s portfolio, the class standing eligibility requirement refers to your intended graduation date. Students who have two full years left at OSU are classified as sophomores, students with one full year left at OSU are classified as juniors, etc. Scholarships that seniors apply to (Fulbright, Rhodes, Marshall, etc.) will be awarded post-graduation.