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With grant money dwindling, the ability to tell a story may be a critical aspect of receiving funding.
Part of the intellectual merit of your research project is based on your merit to do this work.
In other words, your project should not come out of left field.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) provides 3 years of generous funding for graduate students in the STEM or STEM education fields.
The GRFP is one of the most esteemed and competitive fellowships a graduate student can receive, so it is no surprise that 16,500 students applied in 2015, with only 2,000 receiving the award. ” Unfortunately, this is not an easy question to answer.
You can find many blog posts and websites outlining tips and tricks for applying; however, what exactly distinguishes the winners from the other accomplished applicants is not always clear-cut.
One factor — in the STEM fields, at least — may be the underappreciated art of telling a story with your writing.Try to make your personal statement and research proposal a part of the same story.For example, if you have experience in two separate topics or methodologies, it may be beneficial to combine them for your proposal.Help each other with essays, timelines and GRE prep.This will help you stay on track, and you get to celebrate twice when you both get into grad school! Now, a few pieces of concrete advice: I’m sure you’ve heard this many, many times by now. Starting early can help you get a clear idea of your research proposal and allow for many people to review your drafts. While writing your personal statement, state positive facts about yourself (“Tell”) and immediately follow them with an example (“Show”). Also, don’t be afraid of using bulleted or numbered lists! I had an “accountability buddy” to help me keep track of all that needed to be done.This is an extremely basic organizational pattern that will keep you on track throughout. Find someone who is also applying to graduate school/fellowships (not necessarily in the same field).In doing so, the story provides a structure that holds meaning and leaves the reader with no doubt about why it has been told.When it comes to your NSF application, telling a story makes it easy for the reviewers to believe that your previous experiences combine to support the argument that you fit the ideals, goals, and purpose of the NSF GRFP.Although you want to show how you will be moving forward, proving your foundation of knowledge also is critical.The relevant experiences you describe in your personal statement and your current and future interests can be easily, even if subtly, connected to your research proposal.