Scholarship and Fellowship FAQs 

Explore answers to common questions that students have about the merit scholarships, fellowships and award process below:

“Scholarship” and “fellowship” are terms often used interchangeably, but there are subtle differences between them. 

Both scholarships and fellowships provide financial support for academic achievement. Fellowships may also include internships or other service commitments, often spanning one or more years. A “fellowship” is often the preferred term for post-undergraduate opportunities, but this distinction is not always the case. 

All graduate, undergraduate, and prospective students pursuing academic funding are eligible and encouraged to apply for merit-based scholarships. 

Scholarships are highly varied, with eligibility criteria established by the awarding organization. It is important to carefully review all prerequisites for eligibility and reach out to us or the scholarship program directly if you have specific inquiries. 

GPA prerequisites differ among fellowships. Certain highly competitive awards, like the Marshall Scholarship, require a minimum GPA, often around 3.7. Others, like Udall, prioritize leadership and public service experience over GPA. Some awards, such as Gilman Scholarship, do not have any GPA requirements at all.  

In every instance, merit-based scholarships and awards consider a wide range of factors beyond your GPA. 

You can start by exploring the Undergraduate Scholarships and Awards opportunities that our office supports. The University of Washington maintains a scholarship database that includes several hundred merit-based scholarship and fellowship opportunities, searchable by various keywords and filters such as academic discipline, class standing, ethnicity, etc. You may also want to attend one of the Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards (OMSFA) events, listed on their Events Calendar

The Washington Scholarship Coalition has a free scholarship database for Washington students:

UW Bothell offers general scholarships available to UW Bothell students twice per year. Learn more specific information about the UW Bothell General Scholarship

Determining the ideal scholarship or fellowship entails a comprehensive evaluation of program goals, prerequisites, and a sincere self-assessment.

Although all these awards acknowledge outstanding students, they vary in eligibility criteria, application processes, expectations, and overall objectives. Ultimately, knowing whether a fellowship is a “good fit” comes down to how well you identify with the program’s objectives. It requires a combination of research and introspection to address this question. 

The application process for a specific scholarship can vary in complexity. Program websites provide valuable insights, and it is crucial to thoroughly read the application descriptions and instructions.  

Some national scholarships require nomination from your academic institution. To be eligible for these scholarships, you must participate in UW Bothell’s campus nomination process. If you require assistance with the nomination process, please reach out to Ludmilla Kortchak, Connected Learning Advisor, at

In general, major scholarship applications typically contain the following components: an online form, one or more essays or a personal statement, a resume, a transcript, and letters of recommendation. Additionally, an internal campus nomination process may be required as part of the application process. Learn how to make your application stand out.

Start your scholarship search well in advance and submit your applications as early as you can. Scholarships are granted throughout the year, typically for the upcoming academic term. In practice, this means that current sophomores and juniors should target scholarships designed for juniors and seniors. 

Deadlines for various scholarships are distributed throughout the academic year and can be found on the respective scholarship websites.  

The external deadline represents the hard cutoff set by the foundation managing the award. It is a strict deadline applicable to all scholarships, beyond which no submissions are accepted. 

In the case of scholarships requiring institutional nomination, there is an additional internal deadline. This internal deadline provides time for the university to review the materials and ensure they are submitted before the external deadline. Like the external deadline, this internal deadline is also non-negotiable. 

Some scholarships require a nomination process at your home institution. For those scholarships, UW Bothell will review your application to determine if you are a strong candidate for consideration. If selected, UW Bothell will officially nominate or “endorse” you for the fellowship before you can proceed with submitting your application. 

No, this process involves multiple individuals and offices. Depending on the scholarship, this may include your recommenders or faculty members, the Career Center, the Writing Center, and your academic department.