Experiential Learning – Fellowships & Research Part 2

Experiential Learning – Fellowships & Research Part 2

So you’ve chosen a fellowship or research opportunity and now you’re ready to apply. Here’s how you go about it: Start early. Most deadlines to apply are at least a year in advance of your start date. The application process can take a while to
complete and generally requires letters of recommendation — and that takes time. Some fellowships or research opportunities have rolling deadlines, and applying early gives you a huge advantage when being considered for the position. Usually, you need to apply months or even a year in advance before receiving a first response. So plan ahead and be prepared for a long process. Generally you will be asked to include a personal statement with the rest of your application. This is your chance to show your personality while highlighting your writing abilities, analytical skills, and creativity. You can include background information about yourself to express your individuality that sets you apart from the rest of the applicants. Sometimes it may be appropriate to include a challenge that you may have faced and how you overcame that challenge to achieve your goals. Be personal, but not too casual. And remember, your personal statement is
not your resume. Try not summarize all your related experiences and skills and instead focus on the qualities you gained from those experiences. When you’re finished, have several people edit your statement and allow yourself time between
each rewrite to look at it from a fresh angle. Like the personal statement, tailor your resume for each fellowship or research opportunity application. Find the balance between including every detail and only including what’s necessary to make you appear well rounded. Create categories to separate your experiences. By doing so, your resume will be organized and clutter-free. Check out the Career Center’s resume guides at www.csun.edu/career Now you need a letter of recommendation. Approach past work supervisors or professors early so they have enough time to write a thoughtful recommendation. Meet with them to discuss your goals and interests and give them a copy of your
resume (as well as a stamped envelope). The application form may ask you if you would like to waive your rights to see the letter. If given the option, do it. Not only will the selection committee expect this but the writer will be more comfortable and sincere. When writing the actual research proposal, be specific. In the very first paragraph address your research question and thesis and continue on with the background details. If the fellowship or research opportunity is a collaborative project, let them know what you’ll bring to the table. Give detailed information of why a particular
location, department, and/or faculty member is important for your research. And just like the personal statement, get a proofreader to make sure your proposal is
clear, understandable, and succinct. Congrats! You got the interview. Several months have probably passed since you last looked at the application, so re-read all the material and think of questions that the interviewing panel may ask about you and your goals. Be on time and dress professionally. Make eye contact and shake hands with the members of the interview panel. Speak clearly and confidently, but not arrogantly. Show your individuality and be yourself! You should feel proud of yourself for completing everything and persevering through the long application process. If you got the interview, don’t dwell on what
you should have done differently. Just remind yourself that you were prepared and
did your best. Remember to have patience awaiting a response form the panel. Finally, relax; reward yourself for a job well done and congratulations!

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