Applying for a scholarship or fellowship (RTDNF has several available for students and professionals) can sound daunting when you’re already busy with school or work, but putting together an application is not only great practice for applying for jobs, it can really pay off should you win. You can’t win if you don’t apply, and applying doesn’t have to be difficult.
Know why you’re applying for this award
Take a moment to read the descriptions of scholarships and fellowships available as well as who’s offering them (here’s a little about RTDNF and the awards available now). When selecting which award to apply for, look not only at the basic eligibility but the spirit of the award. Is it named after someone you admire? Is there a past winner who’s a role model for you? The best applicants demonstrate a deeper connection.
Have a clear goal
It’s not necessary to have your entire career planned out, but identifying some particular ways you see becoming a scholar or fellow helping you will impress a selection committee. Is there a particular project you’d like to put fellowship funding toward completing? Are you aiming to learn more about investigative reporting, or pursuing a leadership track?
The best way to avoid mistakes that could remove you from contention is to ask questions. If you’re wondering which award is the best fit for you or you’re not sure you’re eligible, let us know. We’re always happy to point you in the right direction.
Be strategic about your work samples
Careful, creative selection of work samples is the single biggest way to stand out when applying for an RTDNF scholarship or fellowship. Think back to fit and select stories you’ve done that highlight the award’s purpose and your goals. You can use class assignments, pieces you did for a job or internship, or even something you’ve put together on your own – there’s still time! Remember that judges are looking at the content, not just how it’s packaged and delivered. And don’t be afraid to be creative and submit a Facebook Live, podcast episode or interactive website.
Don’t wait until the last minute
Set yourself a personal deadline a few days ahead of the submission deadline (January 18 for RTDNF fellowships and scholarships) so you have a little extra time. You’ll save yourself the stress of bumping up against deadlines and have a cushion in case of the unexpected. Planning ahead is also courteous to the person writing your recommendation and allows you time to get someone to look over your application package before you submit it, which can help catch mistakes you may have missed.
Get more tips for successful applications here and apply for an RTDNF award online by January 18.