Monday, August 11, 2008

Do's & Don't's for NEH Fellowship Applications

DO read the application guidelines.
DON'T ever give this narrative description of the proposal short shrift. Remember that this is the heart of what the panel has to go on in evaluating the application.
DO write the proposal in as succinct and interesting a style as possible. It may help to think of the project description as though it were an article for a professional journal, as though it were meant to be read for its intrinsic interest and worth.
DO give the proposal to a respected colleague to read and criticize. DON'T select a devoted admirer who never fails to applaud all your efforts
DON'T throw around fashionable jargon in the description; write plainly, clearly, and as persuasively as possible.
DON'T be vague about what you have already accomplished or what you propose to do.
DO proofread your application carefully.
DO stop and consider the selection of your referees. Be sure to include experts in the field of your proposal. It your project spans disciplines, literature and art for example, you need letters from scholars in both fields.
If you are not fortunate enough to receive an award, DO ask for a summary of the panel evaluation. These comments can tell you a great deal about reaction to your project, and what you may be able to do to improve both the project and your presentation next time.
DO apply to as many programs as are appropriate.
DO remember that you know more about this particular proposal than other scholars; your job is to show them-how interesting and significant it is.
DON'T be afraid to try.