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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Fellowships, scholarships, grants, awards...what are they exactly?

In short, these are all funded opportunities that allow students like you to pursue:


In short, these are all funded opportunities that allow students like you to pursue:

  • independent research activities
  • language learning
  • experiential projects such as public service or teaching
  • postgraduate studies


It is safe to say there are opportunities for nearly all activities, demographics, and geographic locations.

What's the difference between scholarships, fellowships and internships?

The terms "fellowship" and "scholarship" are often used interchangeably, though they do have distinct differences in definition.
Fellowship: Fellowships often refer to multi-year, merit-based funding support to a graduate program. They usually cover at least part of tuition, provide a living stipend, and provide some financial support for other educational expenses. Some fellowships provide opportunities like graduate-level research or teaching abroad.
Examples of a fellowship: Fulbright Research and English Teaching Assistantship Grants, the Boren Fellowship
Scholarship: Like a fellowship, scholarships are merit-based undergraduate awards that often provide some form of financial support and prestige. Some scholarships can provide unique study abroad opportunities, usually in the form of foreign language learning. These opportunities are usually much shorter in duration than a fellowship, ranging from a few weeks to a summer.
Examples of a scholarship: Goldwater Scholarship, Boren Scholarship, Gilman Scholarship
Internship: Internships provide students short-term work experience that is often relevant to the student's professional or academic interests. Internships can be paid or unpaid depending on the program. Many businesses and universities offer student internships for undergraduates, either throughout the semester or over the summer, and both locally and internationally.
Examples of an internship: DAAD RISE Germany, NSF-REU

What are the benefits of applying?

Regardless of the type of opportunity, these awards provide multiple benefits: 
  • Invest in your future
  • Get noticed in today's job market
  • Pursue your interests in more depth
  • Contribute to the world's knowledge
  • Generate more connections in your field
  • Increase your financial prospects
  • Earn academic recognition
  • Gain opportunities to work with the best
  • Earn an internationally recognized qualification
  • Develop new skills
  • Accelerate career growth

What are the most common components of a fellowship/scholarship application?

While it varies across competitions, applications usually include:
  • application forms to collect your personal/contact information
  • university transcripts
  • resume
  • project proposal essay and/or personal statement
  • letters of recommendation

How can I begin preparing for my applications?

You can begin preparing by:
  • Obtaining undergraduate research experience
  • Maintaining a high GPA
  • Developing leadership/ambassadorial skills through participation in extracurricular activities
  • Getting to know faculty, staff and other supervisors on a personal level so could potentially write letters of recommendation on your behalf
  • Learning a foreign language (if applicable)

How will OFA help me?

OFA can assist you with the following:

  • Help identify opportunities suited to your major, career interests, and/or research interests
  • Discuss each application requirement
  • Establish a timeline that fits into your overall Lehigh plan
  • Keep you on track for both internal and external application deadlines
  • Provide moral support for post-submission and award notification - no matter what happens! 

Students should begin the application process by starting early in their Lehigh experience.

What's required to get involved?

These opportunities are available via competitive application processes. You must:

  • meet the eligibility and selection requirements set out by the funding organization(s),
  • be willing to commit yourself to honest self-assessment,
  • devote significant time to developing persuasive reasons to convince reviewers that you are the right person for the fellowship/scholarship, and
  • follow OFA’s established application processes and acknowledge our policies regarding expectations of applicants.

Some awards require endorsement or nomination from Lehigh to compete...either way don't worry! We are here to help you with your application.