Applying for a NSF GRFP while in a Clinical Psychology Program – Part II

A few days ago, I blogged about the unique aspects of applying to a NSF GRFP grant as a Psychology graduate student. Today, I am going to walk you through the application process.

Who qualifies?

Students applying to graduate school, first years, and second years in graduate school qualify for the NSF.

Now onto the specifics… 

You will need to:

  • Fill out the application
  • Write a 3 page essay on your background and future goals
  • Write a 2 page essay on your proposed project
  • Have 3 letters of references

The Application

The application is, for the most part, very straight forward. You will fill out some demographic information, upload transcripts, A couple points to note:

  • You will be able to upload up to five “other experiences” which could include fellowships, scholarships, teaching, and work experiences relevant to your field
  • You will be able to fill in presentations/publications/honors
  • You will be able to enter work experience and fellowships
  • Although you have to provide at least three references, you will be able to provide up to five in case one of your reference fails to submit a letter

Personal Statement

Please outline your educational and professional development plans and career goals. How do you envision graduate school preparing your for a career that allows you to contribute to expanding scientific understanding as well as broadly benefit society?

Describe your personal, educational, and/or professional experiences that motivate your decision to pursue advanced study in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). Include specific examples of any research and/or professional activities in which you have participated. Present a concise description of the activities, highlight the results and discuss how these activities have prepared you to seek a graduate degree. Specify your role in the activity including the extent to which you worked independently and/or as part of a team. Describe the contributions of your activity to advancing knowledge in STEM fields as well as the potential for broader impacts (See Solicitation, Section VI, for more information about Broader Impacts).

NSF Fellows are expected to become globally engaged knowledge experts and leaders who can contribute significantly to research, education, and innovations in science and engineering. The purpose of this essay is to demonstrate your potential to satisfy this requirement. Your ideas and examples do not have to be confined necessarily to the discipline that you have chosen to pursue.

In other words,  you need to:

  • Explain how you became interested in behavioral science
  • Go through your research experience, and how it prepared you for graduate school
  • Briefly elaborate on your future goals, and how your personal/research background influenced those goals and prepares you to meet them

Graduate Research Statement

Present an original research topic that you would like to pursue in graduate school. Describe the research idea, your general approach, as well as any unique resources that may be needed for accomplishing the research goal (i.e. access to national facilities or collections, collaborations, overseas work, etc). You may choose to include important literature citations. Address the potential of the research to advance knowledge and understanding within science as well as the potential for broader impacts on society. The research discussed must be in a field listed in the Solicitation (Section X, Fields of Study).

In other words, you need to:

  • Discuss a potential research topic you would pursue if you received this grant (note: you don’t actually have to pursue it in the future, NSF funds the researcher not the idea)
  • You need to discuss your topic’s potential impact on society, behavioral science, and general science
  • You need to have a specific research plan for your project, and walk the reader through major steps
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