The process of applying for external grants and fellowships is time-sensitive in many ways, including eligibility guidelines, multiple stages of writing and revising, deadlines, and the (sometimes lengthy) review process. Therefore, we encourage students to integrate funding applications into their graduate study plans from the outset by considering their future funding needs at each step in the program and budgeting for the time investment required to foster external funding success.
Each funder sets up its own structure for eligibility, deadlines, and the review process. Some award may be open only to students early in their programs, while others may have prerequisites such as language training or advanced coursework, and students should anticipate how these limitations affect their long-term funding plans. Deadlines often occur once or twice a year, and the time elapsed during review and disbursement of funds may be six months to a year. Due to these constraints, applicants should commonly plan to submit applications for funding a full year before it is needed.
Crafting a competitive application for an external grant or fellowship requires a significant investment of both time and effort. Applications typically require detailed research plans and other essays such as personal statements or explanations of previous research. The ideal application-writing process includes multiple cycles of revisions or even full new drafts, asking advisors for feedback, and working with a GradFund Fellowship Advisor over several appointments. We suggest that applicants begin writing four to six months before the deadline.
GradFund is available to help students one-on-one at every step of the external funding applications process, from planning through application submission. Visit the Guide to GradFund Services to learn how to best utilize our wide range of meetings, programs, and resources. For more detailed guidance on how to strategically select funders and construct your own specific timeline schedule a pre-application meeting with GradFund.