GRFP Essay Insights: Application Resources for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program
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How to apply

It's easy!

  1. Read the official GRFP solicitation for eligibility requirements.
  2. If eligible for the competition, create an account in FastLane GRFP
  3. Note that your absolute deadline for application is by your field of study.
  4. Complete all sections of the Fastlane GRFP form. (See screen shots.)
    In the Education and Work Experience section, under "Other Experience," list citations for all of your publications & presentations. Include academic and other significant honors; fellowships; scholarships and awarded grants (if any.) Save.
  5. Follow the instructions to add the names of 3-5 reference letter writers. Rank them in the order you want panelists to read them. You must click "Send email." Your writers will submit recommendation letters directly into Fastlane GRFP.
  6. While in Fastlane, copy the instructions for the 2 required statements and both review criteria. Analyze the wording.
  7. Meet with your faculty mentor. Discuss the new GRFP instructions. Strategize on how to develop your Graduate Research Plan (statement.)
  8. Begin writing your statements. Take time to reflect on what you've written. Seek feedback from others. Revise. You must write two separate paragraphs for the review criteria--intellectual merit & broader impacts--in both statements, and label the paragraphs with a bold face heading. It's important that you do this!
  9. Upload your academic transcript(s) into Fastlane's Education and Work Experience section under "Education." Documents must be legible. Save.
  10. In early October, confirm that your top three reference writers have uploaded their letters into FastLane. If not, follow up immediately!
  11. Upload your final statements. Save. One last time, make certain that your application is complete. (You can view and print your application packet or check your application status.) Incomplete applications will be returned without a review.
  12. Submit your GRFP application 1-2 days before your disciplinary deadline.

Your complete GFRP application packet must have:

appplication essays transcript references

Fastlane Application + 2 GRFP Statements + Transcript(s) + Reference Letters

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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 21, 2016 | Site content and handouts created by Robin G. Walker, PhD
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