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!
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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