Resources | Fellowship Coaching

Fellowship Coaching

Click here to request one-on-one fellowship coaching.

GPS sends out bi-weekly emails (the Grad Digest) that include information on fellowship deadlines. We also maintain a fellowship library, accessible here. There are numerous fellowships graduate students and postdocs can apply to, and this can sometimes seem overwhelming. Here are six steps that can get you on a manageable fellowship application quest:

1. Start by talking to your advisor and graduate program. Your advisor can help you determine which fellowship(s) to apply for and/or prioritize. They can suggest the government agency, private company, or discipline-related association you should investigate. Your advisor should be more than happy to help you with this: your successes as an award-winner contribute to their prestige and your funding furthers research. Your graduate program administrator may also have leads on fellowship opportunities or resources.

2. Determine if you’re eligible for the fellowship(s). Fellowships from U.S. government agencies usually have citizenship requirements. Some fellowships have stipulations on length of time in graduate school. Other fellowships are geared toward certain demographics like women, minorities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, association members, students who plan on a certain career after graduate school, etc.

3. Make a list of applicable fellowships and strategize. Fellowship applications usually have a wide variety of deadlines throughout the year, but most have narrow windows. Be aware of upcoming deadlines and set realistic goals for applying: enlist your advisor to help you make short and long-term plans for applying strategically.

4. Give yourself enough time to write and edit. Review the call and the full list of required materials early. Plan to write more than one draft and consider the additional time you'll need to solicit feedback on drafts and to revise. In some cases, fellowships will have specific recommended structures; some agencies also have particular expectations for candidates. Your advisor or other faculty members may have insight here. You might also reach out to colleagues who've previously won the fellowship or check with your department to see if they keep an archive of past applicants' materials.

5. Solicit Feedback on Drafts. Ask faculty mentors and colleagues to read drafts. At times (e.g. a first draft), it may be appropriate to ask your reader for general feedback on the content and structure. To increase your chances of receiving helpful feedback, however, you can prompt readers with a couple of key questions or point to specific aspects or sections you'd like targeted feedback on.

6. Reach out to campus resources. The Center for Academic and Professional Communication (CAPC) offers one-on-one support with fellowship applications, academic and scientific writing, conference presentations, data visualization, and more. Keep in mind that the CAPC is not an editing service, so there's no need to wait to bring them a near-final draft. In fact, CAPC consultants can help you as early as the brainstorming stage and are adept at helping you to identify core content and to articulate a compelling central message or narrative.

7. Sign up for coaching. The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies currently offers fellowship coaching. We have coaches available to assist with any major external fellowship. In the past two years, our coaches have supported students applying to NSF GRFP, NIH NRSA, AHA Predoctoral, Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation, DoD NDSEG, GEM, AAUW, and more! Our coaches bring multiple kinds of experience and knowledge to the table and provide individualized guidance on the application writing process. Click here to request one-on-one fellowship coaching. For questions about the coaching program, email

Interested in coaching other Rice students? Apply Blogs about applying to grad school to be a coach!
Email Dr. Randi McInerney ( for more information.