Resources | Fellowship Coaching

Fellowship Coaching

The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies offers fellowship coaching. Graduate student coaches are available to assist you with any major external fellowship application. In recent years, our coaches have supported students applying to NSF GRFP, NIH NRSA (F30 & F31), AHA Predoctoral, Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation, DoD NDSEG, GEM, AAUW American Fellowship, CAORC Multi-Country Research Fellowship, Paul and Daisy Soros, URA Sandia, Quad Fellowship, and more! Fellowship coaches bring multiple kinds of experience and knowledge to the table and provide individualized guidance on the application writing process.

Who can request coaching?
Current Rice graduate students applying to major ($5,000+) external fellowships may request coaching. Requests for individual coaching must be made at least 3 weeks prior to the fellowship deadline.

Seeking funding and not sure where to begin? Read these tips to get you started. Looking for fellowships? Peruse GPS’ fellowship database.

Ready to apply for an external fellowship? Request a Fellowship Coach.

Available Resources
The coaching program offers two primary services to graduate students: one-on-one coaching and Write-a-Thon. One-on-one coaching is available year-round, while Write-a-Thon events are scheduled periodically throughout the year based on interest.

One-on-One Coaching
Our goal is to help Rice graduate students develop competitive applications. Fellowship coaches support all stages of the application writing process, from brainstorming to revising advanced drafts.

Our coaches can assist with

  • Setting realistic goals and timelines
  • Brainstorming
  • Selecting relevant content from your background for statements
  • Outlining
  • Developing a coherent and compelling narrative for your personal statement
  • Articulating rich professional experiences, skills, goals, and values strategically in a single statement or across application materials
  • Advancing a compelling argument
  • Establishing Intellectual Merit
  • Establishing Broader Impacts
  • Structuring or organizing a statement effectively
  • Tailoring materials to a particular audience
  • Managing tone
  • Editing for clarity
  • ...and more!

When to request a coach:
We highly recommend applicants begin working with a coach early in their writing processes, so we encourage you to request a coach well in advance of the fellowship deadline. During peak application periods, you may be placed on a waiting list until a coach becomes available.

**If you plan to apply for NSF GRFP, we recommend requesting a coach at least 6-8 weeks before the deadline.**

GPS hosts Write-a-Thon events during peak fellowship application windows. Write-a-Thon offers an opportunity to carve out dedicated application writing time and to solicit feedback on application materials from our writing coaches. Announcements about upcoming Write-a-Thons appear in the Grad Digest newsletter. Subscribe to the Grad Digest.

About the Coaches
Our 2023-24 coaches have won NSF GRFP, AHA, Hertz, GEM, NIH NRSA F30, NIH NRSA F31, DoD NDSEG, Quad, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, AAUW, Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Honorable Mention, and more.

All coaches have experience applying for fellowships, undergo training, and are committed to supporting other graduate students through their application process.

For questions about the coaching program or to inquire about becoming a fellowship coach, email Dr. Randi McInerney at