Characteristics of Successful Applicants

Although scholarships and fellowships list different criteria for evaluating applicants, successful applicants most often demonstrate:

Academic achievement

  • High GPA (typically above a 3.5) and a challenging curriculum
  • Capacity to succeed in challenging academic environments

Committed leadership and civic engagement

  • Engagement in academic departments, campus organizations, and/or the community
  • Participation beyond membership or affiliation
  • Demonstrated capacity to implement positive change
  • Commitment to a particular cause or issue
  • Promise of a lifetime of service and leadership

Research and/or practical experience

  • Lab research, independent study, assistantships, internships, exhibitions, concerts
  • Ability to conduct independent research and work – e.g. an Honors thesis, distinction project, or advanced portfolio review

National and global awareness

  • Study abroad, language study, or work with Syracuse’s international communities
  • Understanding of how their interests engage with the larger world and current events

Strong support of faculty members and staff

  • Connection with faculty in major/minor fields through coursework or extracurricular activities
  • Close collaboration with one or more faculty mentors on a major project
  • Ability to identify at least 3-4 individuals willing to write letters on their behalf

Looking for more advice? Check out the 10 tips for scholarship applicants that SU's first Rhodes Scholar, Elliot Portnoy, shared with CFSA.