GRFP Essay Insights: Application Resources for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program
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Key links

Writing Resources

GRFP Statement Planning Guides

Checklist Use a checklist to plan your time and complete your GRFP application by the submission deadline.


Outlines for Statement Outlines (These are merely examples and are unofficial).

Formatting Suggestions

Unofficial Rubric. This revised rubric is designed to help you reflect on (a) the content of your essays, (b) how well your application packet reflects your abilities, and (c) your writing mechanics.

GRFP Essay Examples* & Advice from GRFP Fellows

*Important: The GRFP instructions have changed entirely. If you elect to review essay examples from previous years, please keep this in mind. DO NOT model your statements after previous year's essays.

Alex Lang, PhD. NFS Fellowship. A 2010 Fellow Alex Lang is currently pursuing a PhD on physics at Boston University. His site includes numerous essay examples from several disciplines, some with reviewer feedback.

Mallory P Ladd, PhD Think like a Postdoc. is a 2014 GRFP Recipient. Her blog contains GRFP advice and statement examples.

Rachel C. Smith, PhD. National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Dr. Smith received the GRFP Award in 2007. Her page includes successful GRFP essays, many with the reviewers' comment.

Jennifer Wang, PhD. NSF Graduate Fellowship Advice. Dr. Wang received the GRFP Honorable Mention in 2007 and the GRFP Award in 2008. Her page links to other GRFP resources and advice from other award and honorable mention recipients.

Jan Allen, PhD. Graduate Mentor is an Associate Dean at Cornell. Her site contains information on a a variety of fellowships, including the NSF GRFP.

More on Broader Impacts

National Alliance for Broader Impacts. Join the free national ListServe and learn what others are doing for their BI efforts. Find collaborators! In fact, your institution may already be a NABI member.

Broader Impacts Guidelines . This page is primarily for grant proposers and reviewers, but the content can help GRFP applicants better understand the BI criterion.

GRFP 60th Anniversary Video Contest Winners. Here are three terrific examples of how Fellows have used technology to teach the public about their research endeavors.

COSEE Broader Impact Wizard Introduction (You Tube). While this video is aimed at faculty, it offers an excellent take on what "broader impacts" means. GRFP applicants should watch to 4:51 minutes. Learn how these faculty members collaborate with others to address the Broader Impacts review criterion.

Broader Impacts Showcase (2005). Findings from the Showcase offer ideas on how others have broaden impacts. GRFP applicants can adapt these ideas (or expand on them) for proposed future broader impact activities. Review Criteria. The GRFP Operations Center manages this resource site for Fellowship applicants, awardees and reviewers.

Resource Persons & Social Network Discussions

Your best bet for finding GRFP advice is to talk with your faculty mentor(s), GRFP Fellows and GRFP Resource Persons. Social networks are another option. However, like any other GRFP advice you may find on the web, read critically, consult your mentor and only use suggestions that make sense to you.

Social network discussions
Advice from Fellows

…the real work lies ahead in fulfilling our research duties and advancing technology.

Sarah Smith

'12 Fellow, Biomedical Engineering

University of Missouri


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Permissions, Background & References

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