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Applying for a Fellowship

Like any regular job search, having an action plan that is strategic and organized can make the process more efficient and effective. Follow these steps and craft a fellowship action plan that works for your needs.

  1. Conduct a self-assessment. Don’t overlook this important step in the process. Spending the necessary time at the beginning to evaluate your career goals and job preferences will help you streamline your fellowship search. Take the time to answer the questions in self-assessment section: Finding the Right Fellowship For You
  2. Start your research early. Research possible fellowships and employers in the spring to prepare for fall and winter fellowship deadlines. The earlier you get a handle on what types of fellowships you want to apply for and who you want to work for, the more time you can spend on your applications. Take a look at our Types of Fellowshipsand Resources and Contacts sections. Talk to people who may be familiar with the fellowships you’re interested in: current and former fellows, USF alumni, OCP staff, faculty, other students, etc.
  3. Identify the fellowships you want to apply for and calendar the application deadlines. Be organized with your approach. Make a list of all the prospective fellowships you plan to apply for, all the important dates and deadlines, and the materials required for each submission.
  4. Contact the host organization about your fellowship interest. Students often seek fellowship opportunities with past employers. Connect with these employers early in the summer to start talking about projects you’re interested in partnering on. Even if you have never worked with the employer before, do your research and see if there are contacts you can do informational interviews with, or events you can attend to get to know organization staff. Other students may be pursuing fellowship opportunities with the same organizations that you are, so start early because employers may limit themselves to a certain number of projects they will support and seek funding for.
  5. Develop your application packet materials. Prepare all the required fellowship application materials, which will vary depending on the fellowship, but can include: resume, cover letter, personal statement, project description, and recommendations. See Application Materials Neededfor more detailed information.
  6. Have others review your materials. Before submitting your application, make an appointment with an OCP Director to review your materials. If applying for a project-based fellowship, have the host organization review your application as well. Online OCP appointments: http://tinyurl.com/usflawocp
  7. Consider the format and presentation of your application. Take the perspective of the application reviewer: Is your application clear and readable? Are there helpful headings and sub-headings? Are sections and enclosures organized in a logical manner and easy to find?
  8. Adhere to all application instructions and guidelines. Carefully read and strictly follow the application requirements. Only provide those materials that are requested. If recommendation letters are not requested, do not include them. Adhere to any recommendation letter limits, word count restrictions, and requests for official vs. unofficial transcripts.
  9. Make sure your application is timely. Note whether the application can be post-marked by a particular date, or needs to be received in the office by that date – and meet that deadline.
  10. Prepare for an interview. Research your interviewers, review your application, and gather any new or updated information on the employer and project/issue area(s). Schedule a mock interview with an OCP Director. See Interview section for more information. Online OCP appointments: http://tinyurl.com/usflawocp