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Proposal Advising

The Office of External Fellowships offers one-on-one reviews of draft proposals for external fellowships or grants. We will critique your proposal and advise you on how to refine it so you can submit the most competitive application you can. Through this service, we have helped Illinois graduate students win some of the nation’s most prestigious fellowships including National Science Foundation, Fulbright-Hays, National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Social Science Research Council, American Association of University Women, and many others.

Our reviews are designed to supplement, not replace, the critical guidance of your advisor. Indeed, we require that your advisor review your draft before you submit it to us, and we encourage advisors to be heavily involved in the revision process.

Please note that our advising services are limited to external fellowships and grants.  We do not assist with internal funding awards, nor do we review non-funding related research proposals.

Here are the steps for accessing our proposal-review service:

  1. Have your advisor review your draft, then make all the revisions your advisor recommends.
  2. Email your revised draft to us at at least one month prior to your application deadline.
  3. A member of our staff will review your draft and then contact you to schedule a review session.

Here’s what students and professors say about our proposal advising:

  • Your revisions on that application were astounding. They completely transformed my project.
  • I just found out I received the NDSEG this year!  I just wanted to thank you so, so much for your help with my application.  It was incredibly helpful to be able to seek your advice and hear your thoughts about what I wrote.  I feel so fortunate to be at a university that is so supportive of graduate student fellowship applications, and to have had your guidance during the application process.  Thank you so much for all of your insights and help!
  • I can’t tell you how grateful I am for this process of revising my proposal.  Your comments are excellent and helping me to open new vistas for my project that I myself had only vague inklings of. 
  • I am very happy to say that I received the NSF GRFP award!  I wanted to sincerely thank you for the help in editing my essays and, especially, your feedback on my research proposal.  My reviewers commented that the proposal was clear and understandable. So, thank you, again, so much. I really appreciate your help!
  • Just wanted to let you know that I got the predoc!  I wanted to thank you for all your help revising my proposal and all the great comments.  I couldn't have done it without you!
  • I appreciate your critical comments.  One of my committee told me, “One can only dream to get the kind of detailed critical feedback that he has provided.”
  • Overwhelmingly, the students described as "awesome," "excellent," or "the best advice I have ever received" the quality of the feedback they received from you.
  • You guys are miracle workers!