How to Begin

Prepare yourself!

Keep up-to-date on current events around the world. Read the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Economist, or other papers and magazines to gain a broad overview of political and social affairs. Read current novels, classics and journals in your field of study.

The moment you set foot on campus you should begin writing. Begin developing your master resume. This is a complete listing of your education, experiences, work positions, extra curricular activities and skills. It can be longer than one page. Each entry should be described in detail in one short paragraph including dates of employment, salary and responsibilities. Refer to the section on "Handouts on the Web" for information on resume writing.

  • Your master resume is your opportunity to account for all of your time.
  • Your master resume should reflect your knowledge, experience, skills and qualities.
  • Your master resume can be used to identify common threads of interest or ability and look for patterns.
  • Your master resume can be used to create a one-page resume required by many awards and to fill out your applications, selecting relevant experiences and skills.
  • Your master resume should help when you start putting together your personal statement.

Meet with the National Fellowships and Graduate School Advisor
Christine Overstreeet (, the National Fellowships and Graduate School Advisor, coordinates the application materials, advertises the awards to undergraduates, graduates and alumnae, and advises interested students on the application process. If you decide that these awards might be for you, please schedule an appointment with Christine Overstreet by phoning 413-538-3183.

Evaluate Your Eligibility and Qualifications
Review the handouts summarizing the requirements of the nomination/endorsement awards. They are available on our website. Determine whether any of the awards match your interests and experience. Key requirements to note include language, age, G.P.A., citizenship requirements, and skill-based or experience requirements.

Learn About Awards, G.P.A., GRE Requirements and Deadlines

Plan Accordingly!

There are many sources of funding available. Come to one of the Fellowship Workshops. Mount Holyoke students win prestigious national and international awards each year, but many more students win local and regional awards, awards in particular fields of study and essay competitions. Directories and other resources for undergraduate and graduate study are available in Dwight 217.

Most of the major awards for undergraduate and graduate study have preliminary and final deadlines in the fall semester. A few have deadlines early in the spring semester. Make sure you know which deadlines you need to meet and plan to take enough time to prepare a quality application.

These awards are competitive, both in the preliminary selection process at Mount Holyoke and in the national competition. The National Fellowships and Graduate School Advisor will be glad to work with interested students on their applications.

The requirements for each award vary widely. For some awards a G.P.A. of 3.0 is acceptable (although not strongly competitive), while for others a G.P.A. of at least 3.5 is recommended. For three awards, the Goldwater, Truman, and the Udall, students must also be in the top quarter of their class. The cutoff G.P.A. for the top quarter of any class can vary widely, from 3.4 to 3.6.

Most awards for seniors and graduates for graduate study require the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and strongly prefer the test be taken in October, although some accept it as late as December.