I’ve had this experience often: At the end of an exhaustive meeting with a fellowship applicant—after we’ve gone over specific points of structure and tone in minute detail; after we’ve reviewed broader issues of purpose and audience; after we’ve discussed background information on the funder who’s sponsoring the fellowship— the applicant says, with a certain unmistakable surprise, “Wow, this was really helpful.”
Indeed, at GradFund we strive to be helpful!
So why are so many graduate students surprised to find themselves thus helped? Perhaps because they simply aren’t aware of what kind of preparation goes into each meeting or how can benefit from their appointment as a result thereof.
This series of posts will outline just what you can anticipate from each of the three major categories of meetings that GradFund offers for Rutgers graduate students. (For a more general introduction to what to expect from GradFund, see this previous post by my esteemed colleague.) My hope is that you, dear reader, may be persuaded to schedule an appointment once you see what’s on offer.
First of all, the application review meeting. You’ve already identified what fellowship or grant you want to apply for; you’ve been working on a draft, but you’re hoping to get another set of eyes to review your application materials. This is the meeting for you.
One thing you’ll notice when you schedule your meeting is that you’re required to submit your draft two days before the appointment time that you’ve chosen. If you’re anything like me—that is, prone to leaving things to the last minute—this might seem frustrating. But there’s a very good reason for it.
Each application is read carefully, often by multiple experienced fellowship advisors, prior to the appointment. This is not a casual once-over. Prior to meeting with graduate students, fellowship advisors thoroughly research the program and funder to which the student is applying, carefully weighing the application’s structure, content, and tone against the specific requests and aims of the grant institution.
Armed with that information, fellowship advisors craft a plan tailor-made to meet the needs of each particular application and each particular applicant. Wherever you are in the process of writing, your fellowship advisor will meet you there with specific advice for how to take the next step, whether it’s finishing a partial draft, refining the structure of a first draft or polishing one that’s nearly ready to go.
In short, the application review meeting begins long before you set foot in 25 Bishop Place. Because we’ve spent time carefully reading your application and researching your fellowship or grant, you can expect specific advice that will give you a significant edge in the application process.
So yes, it’s helpful to make use of our services! Therefore, consider making an appointment today.