I’m often asked by students and faculty about the criteria used in identifying students for major awards (the Rhodes, the Goldwater, the Truman, etc). Here are the major considerations:
· High GPAs – Most fellowships require a 3.75 or higher, and some seriously consider students with a 3.9 or higher. If you have a student who has an ok GPA (3.5 or above) and who has really and truly excelled in another area, however, that student might still be competitive .
· Respect accorded by faculty – These students should be easily identifiable to your faculty, and your more senior faculty members should be willing to recommend them
· Undergraduate research – Particularly in the sciences, research experience is essential to winning awards. Undergraduate research might have been performed at A&T or at another university. The best applicants will have done both.
· International Study or foreign language skills – Many fellowships seek applicants with significant study abroad experience or unique language skills .
· Leadership Ability – Foundations want to invest in students who demonstrate initiative. Students who have founded campus organizations, served in SGA or other organizational leadership roles, edited the school newspaper, secured impressive internships, or given significant service to the community are particularly attractive candidates.
Upperclass students who are currently looking at applying for nationally competitive awards should use this list to determine areas of emphasis for their applications. Students in their freshmen and sophomore year who would like to be competitive for national awards in the future should look at this list and make plans that will help them achieve success in these areas.