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Being Nominated for a Scholarship

For some scholarships and fellowships, candidates must be nominated or endorsed by their undergraduate institution in order to participate in the national competition. Scholarships requiring nomination (or endorsement) include the Beinecke, Carnegie Junior Fellows, Cooke, Goldwater, Luce, Marshall, Mitchell, Rhodes, Truman, and Udall, among others. Most scholarship competitions set a limit to the number of candidates an institution may nominate each year. For example, the University is permitted to nominate one Beinecke candidate, up to four Goldwater candidates, and up to seven Udall candidates.

When nomination is required, the University conducts a campus nomination process. Any eligible student or recent graduate is welcome to submit an application at this stage. A designated campus representative collects applications by a campus deadline that is usually several months earlier than the national deadline. The applications are reviewed by a nominating committee comprised of U of M professors and administrators with relevant expertise. For certain scholarships, the nominating committee invites some or all of the applicants to an interview. The campus representative for a particular scholarship can provide you with information about deadlines, application materials, and procedures. Click here to find the campus representative for a particular scholarship.

The campus nominating committee gives the applications careful consideration. Issues that a nominating committee may consider include: how closely does the applicant match the goals and purposes of a particular scholarship? How well does the applicant express him/herself in the application and, if relevant, in the campus interview? Is the applicant likely to be competitive at the national level? A nominating committee may, at its discretion, select any number of candidates up to the maximum permitted. It may choose not to nominate any candidates. To be nominated by the University is a significant honor, and is never a “given.”

If you are nominated for a scholarship, the nominating committee and campus representative may offer advice on how to improve and polish your application before it is sent forward. For some scholarships, the nominating committee or campus representative submits a “nomination letter” or “letter of endorsement” as part of the application.

If you are not nominated, don’t be discouraged! There can be many reasons for a candidate not to advance. In some cases, the applicant pool includes more outstanding applicants than the University is permitted to nominate. In other cases, a nominating committee finds that an applicant is strong—or even truly remarkable—but isn’t a perfect match with what a particular scholarship seeks. Sometimes nominating committees note that an applicant is quite promising but that his/her long-term goals are not yet clear enough, or s/he does not yet have sufficient coursework or experience in certain areas, to have a competitive application. In every case, the campus representative and the nominating committee hope that the application process will be a productive learning experience. Nominated or not, applicants are encouraged to make follow-up appointments with the campus representative for feedback and recommendations for the future.

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