Many fellowships already use on-line applications, and many more will begin to do so in the next few years. These on-line applications range from the cumbersome and confusing (Fulbright) to the streamlined and efficient (Watson, Marshall). But even in the best of cases, on-line applications can add an element of anxiety to the process. The following are some tips to keep in mind when dealing with on-line applications.
1. Give yourself plenty of time to complete the online application. Get familiar with its operation early in the process. When preparing to submit the final, official application, try to avoid doing so at the last minute. Heavy use near deadlines can cause delays and even complete breakdowns during the submission process.
2. Most, if not all, online applications require an initial registration in order to access the application. REGISTER EARLY! It does not commit you to anything. It gives you access not only to the application, but also to information bulletins provided by the fellowship organization. For example, Fulbright sends out useful, informative, and inspiring “applicant newsletters” by email to everyone who registers. Online systems also inform Dean Mancini of everyone who registers.
3. Some online forms work better on one browser; some on another. Be prepared to try another browser if you encounter technical glitches. Also, make sure that you have the most recent version of the browser. The coding of a page may not be supported in an earlier version, like Netscape Navigator 4.7. Several commercial browsers are Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, and Mozilla FoxFire.
4. It’s never a good idea to compose your answers while in the online application itself. Work in a word processing program; then either cut and paste, or browse and upload. Make sure to use the spell and grammar check option, although it may not catch all errors.
5. Online application systems often do not support formatting. Formatting such as italics, bold and underline may be removed. Keep this in mind as you write your personal statement and project proposal.
6. Save, Save, and Save Often!
7. Once you have completed your application, print out a copy of the complete application and bring it to the Dean’s Office, for us to keep both in your file and in our fellowship records.