My journey with GradFund started six years ago, before I even set foot on the Rutgers campus as a graduate student in the PhD program in Anthropology. That journey now continues with my newly acquired role as a Fellowship Advisor at GradFund, meeting with graduate students to help them better navigate the world of external funding. Having worked with multiple fellowship advisors for my funding applications over the course of several years at Rutgers, and now having had the chance to get a glimpse of what goes on “behind the scenes” at GradFund, I would like to offer a couple of suggestions to fellow students on how to make best use of our services.
Tell us more about yourself and why you’re looking for funding
Each field of study and graduate program has a different set of funding needs. The more specific you are with your meeting requests and research interests, the better we can tailor the award search to your needs. While “I’d like to apply for funding for my dissertation research,” gives us some sense of direction, specifying your needs with a sentence such as “I’d like to find funding options for a year-long work in the archives in Spain for a project on the Spanish Civil War,” gives us a better idea of what you’re looking for. However, it’s also okay if you don’t have a definitive dissertation topic just yet! If that’s the case, then tell us what your interests are, and we’d be happy to work with you based on that information.
You can schedule a meeting to help you get started on your writing
If you don’t have a draft yet and can’t seem to get started on putting your ideas down on paper, use one of our meetings to help you brainstorm ideas for your proposal. We can walk you through the components of a particular application and think with you on how you can transform your thoughts and ideas into narrative form.
It’s okay to send us chunks or drafts of your writing
We’re really not here to see an excellent draft, but to help you ultimately produce it. Don’t feel like what you send us needs to be your best writing. It’s okay to send us chunks or rough drafts of your application. As long as we have something to work with, then we’re happy to review it!
Feel free to use us as your accountability tool
You can meet with us as frequently as you want, and we have a variety of meeting options that you can choose from. If you think that setting meetings with us will help you establish a structure of accountability to complete your application, then go ahead and do that! As long as you send us drafts that we can review and give you feedback on, we’re happy to meet with you on a regular basis to help you develop your application.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions or voice concerns about your application
When you’re responding to our correspondence regarding your meeting details, there is room on our confirmation email for your questions, concerns, and goals for your application. Feel free to fill this out in as much detail as you can and want. Knowing how you feel about your application and what your specific concerns are will help us get a better sense of how we can tailor the meeting towards your needs.
Don’t forget that we’re only one part of your feedback loop
While we’re happy to meet with you to work on developing your proposal and answering any questions you may have about grantsmanship, remember that we’re only one part of your feedback loop. You will need your advisor and committee members for content and discipline related feedback, so don’t forget to include them in the review process as well!
Whether you’re only considering your funding options for the next application cycle, just getting started on writing your proposal, or have already completed multiple revisions, we’re happy to walk through the process with you. Good luck in all of your grant and fellowship applications this season, and we look forward to meeting with you!
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