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NSF Fellowships

  1. Sep 15, 2008 #1

    I am applying for an NSF graduate fellowship this year. The application requires me to list my prospective graduate program, and describe my project at the school.

    What I'm wondering is, what kind of school to list. I have three lists of potential schools - my dream list (the slightly out of my league, but if GRE goes well I could get in), my realistic list (I'm fairly certain I could get in) and my failsafe list (I for sure could get in even if I did badly on the GRE). I don't know whether to shoot for the stars on my NSF application and put my dream school up, or whether I should list something more realistic. I don't want to put down a good school if the reviewers might think "oh, she could never get in there, so we aren't going to award her"... but maybe that's not how the reviewers think at all..

    I am just wondering if anyone has any suggestions, advice or comments about this.

    Thanks! :cool:
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 16, 2008 #2
    I'm bumping this because this will probably turn into the NSF thread. I think it would be useless to try and predict where you're going to grad school right now. I hear the fellowship is very hard to get even if you're already in grad school and have a potential advisor, but then again I have a hard time judging what various people mean by hard. The point of an NSF fellowship is so YOU get the opportunity to pursue YOUR interests independent of a person you rely on for funding. With that stipend you can contract out all sorts of work.

    As an aside, I'm considering applying this year, but I'm put off a bit by how much detail they want in the research plan when my area of interest is still pretty large (semiconductor device physics, specifically fabrication, but even that's a huge area).
  4. Sep 16, 2008 #3


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    List the schools where you are applying. Your project proposal should be novel/creative, though still feasible. Certainly, there should be some match between potential mentors for such a project and the schools where you are applying, otherwise it won't look very realistic. Otherwise, I'd think reviewers wouldn't worry about your chances of acceptance beyond whether your academic background weakens your application independently of that. Afterall, if you don't get accepted to the programs where you're applying, you're not going to get the money, so that aspect of it isn't really a big concern to them.
  5. Jan 8, 2010 #4
    Do you know if NSF has quotas like granting a minimum number of GRFPs to every university? Also, what is the acceptance rate of the GRFP?
  6. Jan 11, 2010 #5
    Odd to bump this very old thread. The funding rate of the GRFP is something around 20-30%, I believe, but this could be different this year as I believe stimulus money has been added. NSF seems to have quotas for certain groups such as women, as well as giving preference to certain parts of the country (I believe there is a question that asks you to say where you went to high school).
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