GRFP Essay Insights: Application Resources for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program
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Advice from GRFP Panel Reviewers

Note: This page contains quotes from previous years' GRFP panel reviewers. Like any other GRFP advice you may find on the Internet, read critically, consult your mentor(s), and only use suggestions that make sense to you based on this year's instructions.

Are Reviewers Allowed to Offer Advice?

NSF GRFP reviewers are not allowed to disclose their panel assignment or details about the review process. However, panel members are allowed to tell applicants, in general terms, what reviewers seek in a competitive application packet. Keep in mind that panel perceptions may vary by field of study. In other words, GRFP reviewers from the life sciences may differ from those in engineering or the social sciences. That said, based on my experience, and what others have said to me, I believe that panelists across disciplines share similar impressions about "what it takes" to have a highly competitive GRFP application.

General GRFP Statement Advice

Previous Research Experiences:

Research Topic:

Broader Impacts:

Tip for finding GRFP essay advice: Contact an experienced GRFP Resource Person ( to learn more about the program.

Thanks to all of the former GRFP panelists who shared their impressions with me.

Social network discussions
Advice from Fellows

If it wasn't for the NSF GRFP, I would not be able to work with either of my current advisors (one at Georgia Tech and the other at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory) because at the time, they did not have the funding to take on another student.

Rene Diaz

'11 Fellow, Engineering

Georgia Tech


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Updated July 25, 2016 | Site content and handouts created by Robin G. Walker, PhD
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