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Rutgers - Graduate School New Brunswick

Office of Graduate Student External Grants and Fellowships | GradFund

4 Things to Do Before Applying for Funding

by | Nov 1, 2018 | Advice, Best Practices, Planning When to Apply

If you’re thinking about applying for external funding (and you should be!), it’s important to prepare yourself for the application process. Here are four things to do before diving into your proposal.

1. Schedule an appointment with GradFund– Whether you’re still figuring out which awards to apply for or you already have one in mind, schedule an appointment with a GradFund Fellowship advisor. We can help you navigate the application process from start to finish.

2. Talk with your faculty advisor– Your faculty advisor is another very important resource! They likely have experience with applying for grants as well as assisting students in applying for them. Discuss which types of awards are most common in your discipline and what would make you a competitive candidate.

3. Read (and re-read) the application guidelines– Make sure you have a clear understanding of what the funder is looking for before you apply. What is the purpose of this award? When does the funder expect you to complete your dissertation? What kind of information are you expected to have in your personal statement or research proposal? Who will be reading your application? It is important to consider each of these questions before beginning your application. If you have questions – or if you want to be sure you’re taking the right approach – schedule a Help with a Funder or Application Review meeting with GradFund.

4. Outline your essays– Taking the time to outline your essays is less about the essays themselves and more about being able to see the bigger picture. Fellowship and grant applications typically comprise of multiple essays, including a research proposal and personal statement. You want to make sure that each of these essays complements the other without rehashing the same details. What is the overarching narrative you want to tell, and how will each essay contribute to that narrative?

Applying for external funding can seem like an overwhelming process. But, it can be much less daunting if you take some time to prepare. Consider taking these four steps before you begin writing that proposal!

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