Welcome to the Giant Angstrom blog. Not every topic makes it into our seminars so when we think of a topic that could use some written explanation you’ll find it here.
The GRFP fellowship application requires three letters of recommendation, two essays, and university transcripts.So which of these is the most important?Trick question. There is no “most important component.” Applications are reviewed holistically. This means that the reviewers are supposed to look at the entire application as a whole. Based on that holistic impression, they’ll decide whether you qualify or not.
START BY TELLING THEM WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO GET, NOT WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO DO. A great proposal addresses the reviewer’s need. A great title highlights your solution to that need. Emphasize the results, not the activities.Here's a good technique for writing a great title: Make a list of words in your proposal that are important. Focus on those that convey the novelty of your idea. Brainstorm as many titles as you can -- write down everything that seems reasonable. (Hint: combine the words from #1 in different ways) You have 255 characters – don’t use acronyms just to cram more words in! [...]
Why don’t superstars always win? All the GRFP advice I’ve found is pretty straightforward: (1) compile the information that demonstrates you’re already awesome; (2) outline a clear career plan that shows you’ll continue being awesome; and (3) demonstrate a commitment to service which extends your awesomeness. Done. But you still didn’t win. Granted, there is always someone better out there. But this is isn’t a head-to-head competition in which you lose to a particular person. It’s a competition for the hearts and minds of reviewers, and they can always add one person to the winners list [...]
You can apply for an NSF Graduate Research Fellowships as a rising senior or before entering a graduate program; or in the first term of your graduate studies; or at the start of your second year of study. In past years, grad students could apply at the start of their program and again at the start of their second year—so folks would revise and resubmit their applications in light of reviewer comments. This year, the rules have changed: first-time graduate school applicants can only apply once! This raises the question, “When should I apply?” The answer is easy for grad students entering their [...]
The NSF is divided into broad directorates like Biological Science, Engineering,Social/Behavioral/Economics Science, etc. These are divided into divisions, which are further subdivided into programs or fields of study. For example, the Math and Physical Science directorate includes divisions of Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, etc. Within the Chemistry Division are programs in Chemical Catalysis, Chemical Synthesis, etc. The Appendix to the Program Announcement contains a comprehensive list of fields: Some projects fit clearly into one field, others could fit in multiple fields. For example, a new algorithm for doing computational chemistry might be presented as a chemistry project, a staistics project, or a computer science project. Similarly, [...]