In the summer calm before the major funding deadline season this fall, graduate students everywhere are making decisions on what applications they should write and beginning to outline and draft essays. One seemingly minor component of these essays is the formatting of the document that must be submitted. However, the format of the document is very important to funding agencies.
As you begin to draft your application essays, take a minute to carefully read through the formatting guidelines. The funder typically provides a page limit or word count for the essay, font style and sizes that are allowed, and document specifics (margins, paragraph spacing). These formatting specifics impact the length of the document. Some funding agencies refuse to read applications that do not fit their guidelines, so it’s important to keep the format in mind when writing.
If the application you are writing does not specify formatting guidelines, or if they are unclear, contact the award’s program officer for clarification. Because funding applications take a lot of time and effort, ensuring that your essay meets the funder’s guidelines is the first step towards success!