The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans [Application Essay Tips]
Paul Soros was often overshadowed by his younger brother, financial wizard George Soros, but he was a millionaire in his own right. In contrast to George Soros’s success in the financial industry, Paul Soros made his mark on the world by innovating in the shipping industry, filing patents, winning several engineering awards, and innovating in everything from loading methods to shipping routes. Complementing Paul’s background, his wife Daisy Soros studied interior design and has been a lifelong supporter of the arts. Paul and Daisy Soros both immigrated from Hungary in the wake of World War II, so it is only fitting that the fellowship for graduate education that they founded supports young, first-generation Americans. The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships provide half of the annual tuition (up to $20,000) plus a $25,000 stipend to each of 30 Fellows each year.
In addition to age and immigration status requirements, the criteria for the Soros Fellowship are threefold:
1. Creativity and initiative
Some examples of how this year’s Fellows exemplified these values include developing a product to keep musical instruments clean, founding a science education outreach program for underserved populations, publishing 10 mathematics research papers, and analyzing the human genome for genetic factors in cardiovascular disease. The Fellowship aims to support students whose graduate study will propel them to even greater contributions to society.
The Soros Fellowship application allows uploading of a resume, 2 essays, and optional exhibits – copies of your artwork or articles written about your work, for example. In addition, the application requires 3 letters of recommendation, with the option to submit up to 5 recommendations. The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans is open now and due by November 1, 2017. Applicants may apply for the Fellowship as they work on their graduate school applications; there is no need to wait until you are accepted for graduate study.
Here are the Soros Fellowship application essay questions, with my guidance in blue.
1. Tell us about your experiences as a New American. Whether as an immigrant yourself, or as a child of immigrants, how have your experiences as a New American informed and shaped who you are and your accomplishments?
Feel free to discuss how individual people (such as family or teachers), institutions, aspects of law, culture, society or American governance made an impact on your life as an immigrant or child of immigrants. The program is especially interested in understanding and contextualizing your accomplishments, be they personal, professional, or academic. (Maximum length: 1000 words)
In guidance from the Fellowship committee, applicants are advised to use this space to share stories that provide a window into their world as a new American, and many Fellows find that talking with their parents about their childhood challenges and triumphs helped them illuminate the most salient lessons and experiences for this essay.
As immigrants and the children of immigrants, what opportunities and rights did you gain in the U.S. that you would not have enjoyed in your parents’ native country? How did that insight influence you? Alternatively, were you challenged by those differences and how did that challenge influence your direction, perspective, and actions? Essays that share the depth of your feelings and not just your actions will resonate most intensely with the Fellowship committee.
2. Tell us about your current and near-term career-related activities and goals, as well as why you decided to pursue the specific graduate program(s) and school(s) that you have. How do you see your current work and study informing your early career goals? If you have not been accepted into a program yet, please tell us about why you selected the programs to which you are applying. (Maximum length: 1000 words)
This essay will be much less personal and possibly unrelated to your new American experience as you discuss your academic interests and ambitions. The thinking that you do for this essay will be helpful in writing your statement of purpose or goals essay for the master’s programs and vice versa. Often, it helps for applicants to write about the questions for which they are seeking answers, the tasks they would like to do well, and the missions they would like to contribute to. This discussion then provides an easy segue into how graduate study will prepare them for those roles. With 1000 words, you will also have plenty of room to add details about how you have pursued those answers thus far, providing an additional opportunity to demonstrate that you are a good fit with the Soros Fellowship’s search for creative, driven, persistent, and committed new Americans.
While there is space to upload up to 5 optional Exhibits, these are considered supplementary to the application, and the admissions committee is not required to review all of them. Therefore, place the most compelling evidence of your talent and fit with the Fellowship first to capture their interest and, hopefully, encourage them to continue perusing that opus.
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
If you would like professional guidance with your Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans application, please consider Accepted’s essay editing, which include advising, editing, a resume edit and interview coaching for the Fellowship application.
Jennifer Bloom has been a consultant with Accepted for 17 years and is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW). She is an expert at crafting application materials that truly differentiate you from the rest of the driven applicant pool. If you would like help with your application, Jennifer can suggest a number of options that work with any budget. Want Jennifer to help you get accepted? Click here!
• Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans: Funding, Community for Immigrants, a podcast interview
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