all- this is for those eligible to write NSF GRFP fellowship applications this year. apologies to others.
NSF GRFP fellowship applications are due tomorrow oct 29. this is earlier than previous years. some quick comments:
nsf rejects applications without 3 reference letters. we have recently had students rejected simply because one of their letter writers didn’t submit. I would like to insure against this.
NSF allows students to submit more than 3 names (5 actually) and rank-prioritize them. to this end, you should be submitting at least 4 references. even if you have not worked with me or don’t know me well, if, to get a fourth reference, you need to list me, then list me. I am
delighted happy to willing to write a letter for you on nov 6 (I can’t do it sooner). better to have a letter from me (that might be a bit vanilla if I haven’t worked with you) and have a chance than have the fellowship application rejected because one of your letter writers did not submit a rec. Of course if you have already arranged or can arrange for a 4th reference letter that is topically relevant, that is better than asking me.
HELPING YOUR STUDENTS WITH ESSAYS
I have had some students with matched advisors coming to me and indicating (usually indirectly) that their advisors are not helping them or are unaware that NSF fellowship applications are due. I hope this is rare or just a miscommunication or both. Your essays must be your own but you should be interacting with your advisor (or if you are not yet matched, a technical mentor whose group meetings you have been joining), especially in your research essay. in MAE6949 students have written two essays on scholarship and research experience (with review from me and from peers) that you have presumably combined to make your 3-page NSF essay and you have written a research proposal (which will need review from your advisor/technical mentor) that presumably can become your 2-page NSF proposal.
NSF is rejecting applications that are even one minute late (cutoff is 8pm eastern on 29th). I recommend students submit at least 90 minutes before the due time. Last year we had students who logged on 45 min before the deadline but could not get their files uploaded. I urge you to submit by 6:30pm.