What Is A Fellowship?
Fellowships are short-term, paid, opportunities that are sponsored by a specific organization and obtained through a competitive application process. Organizations sponsor Fellowships for multiple reasons. Most often they are seeking to expand their field by funding research, curating talent for the future workforce, and developing leaders. To satisfy that purpose, host organizations engage Fellows in challenging work and invest in their professional development.
There are a vast number of Fellowships, and programs vary widely. They can be designed to support a range of activities including graduate study in a specific field, research to advance work on a particular issue, developing a new community-based organization or initiative, training and reflection to support the fellow’s growth, and opportunities to further explore a particular field of work. Fellowships can take place domestically or abroad and they can last from a few months to several years.
There are many online resources available to assist you in your search for Fellowship opportunities. We created this Handshake page with a curated list of resources that will get you off to a great start!
FAQs about Fellowships
- Why pursue a fellowship?
Fellowships are structured to provide significant work experiences, and Fellows are often expected to take on a great deal of responsibility quickly. Generally, Fellows are provided with unique experiences that are not typically available to someone starting out in an entry-level position. This experiential learning component varies depending upon the Fellowship program.
- Training and Professional Development
Fellowship programs are known for their commitment to the professional development of individual Fellows and often include intensive training. Key elements of this training might include:
- Academic seminars to develop frameworks and apply theory
- In-depth research and analysis of a particular issue area
- A broad curriculum of skills development which may include leadership, community organizing, public speaking, grant writing, and media relations
- What is the pay for a fellowship?
Most fellowship programs provide a living allowance or stipend, yet it is not typically comparable to the salary of a full-time job. Financial compensation can vary greatly with stipends ranging from $10,000 to up to $50,000 for a 9-12 month program. Other incentives may be provided to fellows such as healthcare coverage, student loan repayment assistance, and transportation and housing stipends.
- What is the application process?
Although eligibility requirements vary with the fellowship, most programs look for:
- Motivation, self-direction, and personal integrity
- Highly developed interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills
- Demonstrated leadership and potential for continued leadership
- Proven competency in a certain field or discipline
- High level of academic performance.
Applications can be extensive and often include a resume, transcript, letters of recommendation and writing sample. Depending on the fellowship, there may be additional application materials required as well.
Additionally, the application process for most programs includes an interview which may be a series of individual interviews, a single panel interview, or situational group interviews in which candidates work together to devise responses to a problem or question.