It’s been a while since our last Beta update so we thought it was time to get you up to speed on what we’ve been up to. As many of you have seen, we’ve been conducting feedback surveys to see what you think of our fellowships database and to learn how we can make it better. We’ll continue to do that, but for now, thanks to all of your feedback, we’ve made some new changes!
1. We’ve added sorting
Most of the feedback we’ve received had to do with sorting. Originally we didn’t offer any, and our fellowships were listed in oldest to newest order, which placed all newly added fellowships at the bottom of your search results. Sorry about that! Now, in addition to filtering by fellowship discipline, you can sort results by newest to oldest, deadline, last updated, and A-Z.
2. We’ve brought things forward
We received a lot of feedback around deadlines and saving records. The most common had to do with being able to view deadlines and save fellowships without having to click on each record to view it. So, we took care of this. Now you can view all deadlines and bookmark fellowships from the main results view!
3. Know what you’ve seen, U.S. residents, and links, links and more links
Other feedback we received had to do with identifying new fellowships, eligibility (i.e. If U.S. residents were eligible), and discovering fellowships based on keywords. Now, in addition to the new sorting features we’ve added, we change the color of links that you’ve clicked, so it’s easier for you identify new fellowships. We’ve also linked all keywords, so while viewing a fellowship, you can click a keyword to discover all fellowships that share that keyword. And finally, each fellowship record now shows whether or not U.S. residents are eligible.
In addition to these changes there have been close to 80 new fellowships added to our database over the last several weeks. If you’re an existing user, please login and let us know what you think. If you’re a fellowship seeker or organization, and are not currently participating in our beta, click here to get started.
Recently we received feedback from a beta user that is having trouble viewing only fellowships within specific disciplines (ex. public policy, law, etc.), so we thought we’d write a quick post on how to do that. By default, if you haven’t completed your user profile, we display all fellowships to you. You can change what you see by unchecking fellowship types and disciplines and clicking the filter button in the View fellowships section of the left sidebar.
If you’d like to save these settings, click either the edit your profile or the view fellowships based on your profile link on the left sidebar. From here, just select the fellowship types and disciplines that you want to see and click save changes. That’s it!
If you’re not currently participating in our beta, but would like to be, click here.
Part of what makes finding fellowships so difficult is that as fellowship seekers, we’re often too deep in the weeds. By this I mean, we’ve dedicated our academic study and careers to a specific discipline, and as a result, only look for fellowships in that discipline. This approach is fine if there are a slew of fellowships available to you, but what do you do if there isn’t? The answer isn’t to give up, it’s to broaden your horizons.
There are many fellowships that accept applications from a variety of disciplines, and give you the flexibility to propose projects that enable you to work on exactly what you want to work on. The problem is that they’re often classified under disciplines that are different from yours. Public policy fellowships are a great example of this.
Public policy fellowships typically seek candidates from a wide array of disciplines, and for good reason. Nearly every discipline, in some way, shape or form, has an impact on domestic or foreign policy. Fellowships such as the Asmus Policy Entrepreneurs Fellowship and Ian Axford (New Zealand) Fellowship in Public Policy accept applications from many disciplines, so long as the projects proposed have the potential to influence public policy. To see for yourself, check out the diverse backgrounds and projects of the Ian Axford Fellows by clicking here. Vicki’s project is there!
Other examples of fellowships that cross disciplines include teaching fellowships and international affairs fellowships. For example there are several teaching fellowships for people with a background in science, engineering and math. These fellowships may be categorized under the fellowship discipline “Education”. There are also many fellowships abroad for people working in creative arts, journalism, social entrepreneurship, community development, public health, environmental conservation and public policy, among others. These may be categorized under the fellowship discipline “International Affairs”.
Applying for fellowships outside of your discipline may require familiarizing yourself with current events in a particular industry, finding relevant host institutions and carefully crafting a project proposal that meets both your desires and the objectives of the fellowship organization. This may sound challenging, especially if you have no previous background in an industry. However, don’t worry. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide that can help you through the process.
The point here is that thinking outside of the box and exploring fellowships outside of your particular focus or discipline may help you uncover some amazing opportunities that you may otherwise miss. It takes additional effort, but it’s worth it.
For those participating in our beta, you can broaden your fellowship search by selecting the “Public Service”, “Education” and “International Affairs” fellowship disciplines.
If you’re not currently participating in our beta and would like to be, click here. Happy hunting!
- New Policy Fellowship in Honor of Dr. Ronald D. Asmus
- I See Too Many Fellowships: How Do I Uncheck the Boxes?
- Esteemed Fellows Dinner San Francisco: Networking Across Fellowship Programs
- New Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship in 11 Countries!
- New Fulbright Opportunities For Public Health Faculty And Professionals
Listing fellowships on ProFellow is a bit different than traditional fellowship and scholarship databases so we thought it might be helpful to provide tips on how to do it. We’ve designed ProFellow to be a discovery platform: a place where fellowship organizations provide a brief overview of their opportunities, matching criteria and a link to their website. In turn, fellowship seekers can discover fellowships that match their background and interests, read pertinent details about each opportunity at a glance, and visit fellowship websites for more information.
Fellowship Name, Organization and URL
These fields are fairly self explanatory, however there are a few things you can do to ensure that listings are searchable, easy to maintain, and relevant to candidates. For fellowship and organization names, include commonly used acronyms inside parentheses when applicable. This ensures that if candidates search using those acronyms they’ll find your fellowship.
Also, avoid including date specific information in the fellowship name (i.e. 2012-2013). If there is specific information that relates to the current year only, it’s best for candidates to find this information on your website.
Third, in the URL field, include the direct link to the fellowship page on your website rather than a link to your website home page. This ensures that candidates find the fellowship details with ease. It’s also important to paste the full link, including the http://. The best way to do this is to copy and paste straight from your browser.
Here’s a good example of fellowship and organization titles:
Fellowship Types and Disciplines
These fields are also fairly straight forward. For each, select all that apply. For example, if the listing is for professionals and is offered only during the summer months, then selecting both “Professional” and “Summer Fellowship” is ideal.
As for Fellowship Disciplines, the disciplines selected should describe the focus of the fellowship, rather than the background of potential applicants. For example, a teaching fellowship like Teach for America may allow applicants from many different backgrounds and disciplines. However, we would define the disciplines of the Teach for America program to be “Education” and “Public Service”. To ensure users don’t miss out on great fellowship opportunities, we encourage them to be open-minded and look at fellowships categorized in different disciplines.
Keywords are the extra details about a fellowship, the type of things that usually exist in a detailed description. Keywords should be used to describe things such as subdisciplines (i.e. adding aeronautical engineering, civil engineering, chemical engineering, etc. to an engineering fellowship), specifics regarding fellowship locations (i.e. Berlin, Munich, Germany, United States, Washington, DC, Los Angeles), eligibility requirements (i.e. minority, Jewish, African American, etc.) and other meaningful information that candidates will likely consider when seeking a fellowship (i.e. young professionals, scholars, U.S. Congress, etc.).
You may have noticed that we don’t use the keywords for search - yet. We are gathering feedback from beta users now about how they like to search and find fellowship opportunities that best match their interests and eligibility. Once we get all that feedback we’ll updating ProFellow with new search and matching features.
Here’s a good example of keywords for the Ogilvy Fellowship UK:
Fellowship Locations and Citizenships
For these fields, select all that apply. For the fellowship location, select all of the continents where the fellowship can be performed. If the fellowship can be performed anywhere in the world, then select all continents. If the fellowship can only be performed in Germany, then select Europe. Use keywords to identify specific countries and cities.
For citizenships, select all from which candidates are eligible to apply. If the fellowship is for all graduate students currently attending U.S. universities, then select United States as the citizenship and check the box “Open to U.S. residents”. If candidates from any country are eligible then select “Any”.
Work Experience, Gender and Application Deadline
No surprises here. If your fellowship requires 10 or more years of work experience, is only for men or women, or has an application deadline, then it’s important to fill out these fields on the form.
For the fellowship deadline, if you have multiple deadlines (i.e. Spring and Fall), then enter in the nearest upcoming deadline. If you have a rolling deadline, then leave the field blank. In any case, we encourage users to check your website for the most accurate information.
The fellowship description is your opportunity, in as few a words as possible, to tell candidates exactly what they want to know about your fellowship. We’ve intentionally limited this field to 650 characters so it’s easy to maintain, and includes only the most pertinent information about a fellowship. We’ve also found that short descriptions make it easier for users to skim information and quickly find fellowships that match their background and interests.
An ideal fellowship description includes a brief overview of the program, the length of the fellowship, the stipend amount(s), and additional eligibility information that is not already accounted for in other fields. Please avoid including date specific references (i.e. info only relevant for one year), additional links, contact info, etc. Candidates can gather these details from your website. Here’s an example of a great fellowship description:
We hope this is a helpful overview for how to create effective fellowship listings on ProFellow. If you have any questions or would like to provide us with feedback, please see the recently added feedback link in the beta website.
Thanks for your participation on ProFellow! We look forward to hearing from you.
If you are not yet participating and would like to list your fellowships on ProFellow, please sign up.
We’re pleased to announce that our private beta is now under way. Throughout the last week we’ve gradually been inviting a select group of individuals and organizations to participate, something we will continue to do over the coming weeks and months. We want everyone to know how important it is to us to be transparent and accessible to our users, so moving forward we’ll be posting regular updates on our blog. Okay, here goes the first one!
Keeping it simple
To start we’ve intentionally made our interface very basic. Traditional fellowship, grant and scholarship databases tend to overwhelm users with lengthy forms or filters, upon filters, upon filters intended to make finding funding easier, but often times having the opposite effect. We know that there are many fellowships that individuals qualify for that they often unknowingly exclude themselves from. For this reason we’ve adopted a minimalist approach and will be relying heavily on testing and user feedback for new features. We’ve received excellent feedback so far. Please keep it coming!
We’re already growing
We started the beta with 200 fellowships, and this week alone, 70 new fellowships were added. Our database now represents nearly 14,000 fellowship awards worth more than $600 million in annual funding. Although we have several opportunities for foreign nationals, most of our current opportunities are for U.S. citizens and/or residents. This is by design, but certainly not permanent. We’ve partnered with several U.S. universities for participation in our beta so we’ve consciously focused on opportunities for those students. It’s our goal for ProFellow to be useful to people of all backgrounds and citizenships, so over the course of the beta we’ll continue to add more opportunities for all nationalities and disciplines.
Start the conversation
In addition to helping make the process of finding fellowships easier, we want to help you win them. No better way to do that than to start talking about the fellowships you’re interested in. Some of you may or may not have noticed the comments section at the bottom of each fellowship record. This is the ideal place to start the conversation!
We just wanted to say thanks for all of the kudos that we’ve received so far. We have a long way to go, but we’re excited about ProFellow and are glad that you are too. Here’s a few of our favorites from this week.
“I would like to be the first to tell you that this website is so flipping cool.” – Rose, University of Delaware
“This site is amazing. It is making scholarship and fellowship search so much easier and less time-consuming.” - Allison, California State University, Fullerton
“I love your site. It’s fantastic for someone like me since I’m a rising college senior and will be applying to a lot of fellowships in the Fall.” - Julia, Swarthmore College
That’s all for now, but we’ll keep the posts coming. To make it easy for you to keep up with all beta related posts we created a “beta” category. Just click the link on our sidebar to see all of the posts. Have a great weekend!
Join the crowd
Our step-by-step guide for a competitive fellowship application
1. Create a plan
2. Project proposal ideas
3. Talk to current / former fellows
4. Prepare an effective resumé
5. Find a host institution
6. Write a compelling personal statement
7. Prepare a strong project proposal
8. Get great recommendation letters (P1)
9. Get great recommendation letters (P2)
10. Nail the individual and group interviews