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Application Tips

Thinking about Applying for a Nationally Competitive Fellowship?

It’s never too early to start planning to apply for a national fellowship! Here’s a rough timeline of how to structure your academic and co-curricular time at Coe.

First Year

  • Develop a broad, challenging liberal arts plan of study — take courses in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and fine arts (regardless of your intended major)
  • Continue with a foreign language from high school or start learning a new language
  • Explore opportunities to get involved at Coe and throughout Cedar Rapids through student groups and volunteer opportunities
  • Be curious about the world outside of your studies: read for fun, stay current on the news, cultivate a hobby

Summer between first and second year: Take a May Term, pursue research opportunities or undertake another enrichment experience

Second Year

  • Declare a major and minor
  • Pursue research opportunities with faculty at Coe or elsewhere in your major and/or minor
  • If you’re thinking about graduate school, apply for GSEF program
  • See if any of your faculty mentors need help with their current research project
  • Get involved at Coe and throughout Cedar Rapids in student groups and volunteer opportunities
  • Start thinking about deepening your commitment to student groups and volunteer organizations that mean the most to you. Depth is better than breadth in terms of extracurricular activities.
  • Continue to be curious about the world outside of your studies: read for fun, stay current on the news, cultivate a hobby
  • Continue with foreign language study (in third and fourth years, too)
  • Continue to develop a challenging (and broad) liberal arts plan of study
  • It’s important to demonstrate your education is both wide-ranging (taking classes far afield from your major) but also challenging (taking the most difficult courses available to you in your program of study)

Summer between second and third year: Take a May Term or pursue other academic opportunities such as an internship, research experience (off campus, if possible) or volunteer position at a local non-profit

Third Year

  • Continue to pursue a broad, challenging liberal arts plan of study along with taking challenging courses in your major(s) and minor(s)
  • Study abroad or off campus for a semester or the full academic year
  • Pursue research opportunities, ideally off campus
  • Hold leadership opportunities in organizations that are meaningful to you 
  • Continue to be curious about the world outside of your studies: read for fun, stay current on the news, cultivate a hobby
  • tart exploring graduate school programs or other post-Coe research opportunities

Summer between third and fourth year: Pursue a meaningful internship or research experience that relates to your future educational and career goals; start preparing your fellowship and/or graduate school applications

Fourth Year

  • Complete major and minor through the most challenging coursework available
  • Complete honors thesis or other capstone project
  • Apply for graduate school or other post-Coe research opportunities
  • Continue to pursue research opportunities, ideally off campus
  • Continue to  hold leadership opportunities in organizations that are meaningful to you 
  • Continue to be curious about the world outside of your studies: read for fun, stay current on the news, cultivate a hobby


Interested?  Want more information?
Contact Dr. Amber Shaw, Coe’s national fellowship advisor, at ashaw@coe.edu.