Each year, some of Princeton’s best and brightest students (and alumni) receive a number of prestigious national and international fellowships. Many of these awards are well-known: The Rhodes, the Marshall, the Goldwater, the Truman, the Fulbright and the Gates fellowships are widely discussed in the national media. But there are many other fellowships, including several open only to Princeton students. As you might imagine, most of these opportunities are intensely competitive. But fellowship adviser Deirdre Moloney works with University faculty to identify and prepare Princeton students for the competition. Together they oversee a process that becomes in itself a valuable learning experience, as students draft application materials and make revisions in response to faculty comments; those who advance in their competitions are often given mock interviews, designed to simulate the conditions they will face in the final stages of the fellowship process, which are followed by detailed feedback about their performance. It is true that relatively few students are chosen for these awards, but it is also true that Princeton students who go through the process are rewarded with experience that will prove invaluable to them in their subsequent careers.
Do you have what it takes? Don’t sell yourself short. Major fellowships are indeed competitive, and so not for everyone, but you owe it to yourself to check out the many fellowships and awards administered by the Office of Fellowship Advising. Most fellowships are of course designed for advanced students — seniors and, in a few cases, juniors. But there is no reason for sophomores or even freshmen to wait. If you are interested in these fellowships, it is never too soon to start learning about these opportunities and the steps you can take to become a competitive candidate.