Fellowship Application Roadmap

A Roadmap for Crafting High-Stakes Fellowship Applications

This Roadmap is a malleable guide that will help you navigate your application process. The steps that we present and their order have been carefully constructed based on the Primer and personal experience from successful applicants. However, everyone’s application journey is unique so we invite you to engage with these elements in the way that makes the most sense for you.

Like all maps, your roadmaps can guide you through different stages of your journey and contain differing levels of detail. Below is an example schematic of a big picture roadmap for crafting high-stakes fellowship applications that takes you from learning about the fellowship to creating and refining application statements. We discuss each of these steps in detail in the following Modules.

Roadmap Example #2

Another example roadmap schematic below zooms-in to the process for developing a specific application statement, for example your Research Plan, or even a specific section of a statement, for example the Relevant Background section of your Personal Statement. Each of these steps are discussed in detail in the following Modules, and we encourage you to discuss these steps with a Fellowship Mentor. 

We invite you to create schematic diagrams of your own roadmaps using this template: Chart your Path to Success.

The Primer

Dr. Head’s NSF GRFP Primer is a valuable resource for anyone writing a high-stakes application. The application process outlined in the roadmap is based on this Primer. We’ll break down the different sections of the Primer and focus on action items that you can complete. This Primer is the basis of what the Fellowship Mentors are trained on and it will provide you with a wealth of information to supplement your meetings with Fellowship Mentors. Although the Primer breaks down the NSF GRFP, it’s by no means specific to that fellowship. Rather, the GRFP is used as a proxy for how to approach all other high-stakes fellowship, scholarship, and grant applications.


Module A: Getting to Know Your Fellowship 

Module B: Planning for Success 

Module C: Developing your Writing Ritual 

Module D: Putting on the Reviewer’s Lens 

Module E: Build your Mentoring Team 

Module F: Using the 4 Pillars Framework 

Module G: Unpacking the Statement Components

Module H: Crafting Your CV and Creating Your Gap CV

Module I: Mindmapping

Module J: Storyboarding

Module K: Example of Successful Statements and Reviewer Comments

Module L: Strategizing Letters of Reference 

Module M: Develop Drafts

Module N: Revise and Edit to Benchmark