Organizing Your Fellowship Applications

It’s now December and fellowship application season is picking up pretty quickly! I have a couple of deadlines within the next month and wanted to share my process for applying to fellowships. In my previous post, I detailed why you should apply to fellowships and provided some resources that you can use to apply to some. In this post, I’ll be talking about how I organize my applications and how I prepare my research and personal statements.

For those who need a quick refresher, here is a short list of the main things you need to apply to fellowships:

  • List of fellowships you are applying to
  • Personal and research statements
  • List of potential recommenders

Consistency across your applications is very important! I realized that I was forgetting a lot of the awards and honors I received during undergrad and this may have impacted my previous applications in ways I don’t even know. Now, to keep on top of everything, anytime I get a new job, award, or volunteer experience, I add it to one of my various lists to ensure that I won’t forget it! Not only does this help with consistency, but I am able to keep my LinkedIn and CV updated more often. This also helps when recommenders ask for more information to provide in their respective letters!

Here are examples of some of the documents names I use to organize all of my work and internship experiences, presentations, research, volunteering, and awards/honors:

  • Application Plan
    • This document is basically a summary of an article I read on ProFellow. I just tailored the timeline to match my own schedule and voila!
  • Impact of Research + Keywords
    • A lot of fellowships will ask what impact your research has and ask for you to provide keywords relevant to your research. I thought it would be great to write this out in its own separate document so I could explain everything more clearly.
  • Research Summary
    • Sometimes different fellowships require varying word counts, so I have 500, 750, and 1000-word versions of my research summary in this document.
  • List of Awards
    • Very simple! I keep track of all my past awards (undergrad and up) and write down present ones as they come in.
  • Teaching Experience
    • This document hosts all of my Teaching Assistant experiences plus other experiences where I led workshops or collaborative learning sessions.
  • Research Experiences + Presentations/Publications
    • In this document, l keep track of my undergraduate and graduate research experiences plus poster/oral presentations and publications (coming soon!).
  • Volunteer Experiences & Science Outreach
    • Again, a pretty simple document! I keep track of volunteering I do such as speaking on panels, organizing workshops, etc. I also keep track of executive board positions I have in student organizations.
How I organize everything in my “Application Preparation” folder in Google Drive

In addition to these files, I also keep track of the fellowship names and application/recommendation deadlines. I also use Google Tasks to send me reminders, which is extremely helpful because it integrates with Google Calendar. I hope this article was helpful and I am sure that implementing some of these tips will definitely help you craft the best fellowship applications! If you have any questions about how I format these respective documents, feel free to leave any suggestions or comments and I’ll incorporate them in future blog posts. Thank you for reading and good luck on your fellowship applications — you got this!

Be sure to catch up on my Grad School Series by reading my previous posts here. Feel free to share this post and follow me on all social media platforms @CollegeSista! Have questions about applying to grad school, life as a graduate student, or Cornell in particular? Feel free to contact me on LinkedIn or through email!

The Start of a New Journey

Welcome to my blog! For those that don’t know me, I’m Chinasa Okolo: a PhD student, avid traveler, and music aficionado. I’ve been informally blogging for almost 5 years and decided to revamp my blog to focus on my personal and academic life.


I’m dedicated to helping those of us not represented enough in academia, technology, and entrepreneurship succeed within these respective domains. The goal of my blog is to provide insight throughout my journey as a Black woman at the intersection of these fields and hopefully inspire more of us to pursue careers in them.

You’re deserving of all the things in the world. So go get it.

— Janet Mock

Throughout the life of this blog I plan to post about personal finance, higher education, travel, my personal interests, and more! I’m open to taking questions about my journey and can be contacted through my blogging email. I’ve also posted a FAQ page to answer questions I tend to receive more often.

Be sure to subscribe to my blog and newsletter for updates throughout each month and follow me on social media @collegesista on all channels.

Thank you for reading and stay tuned!