Alumni Voices

  • Alumni Voice
    Max Bork ‘17
    Fellowship:
    Boren Fellowship

    In the application process I learned to keep an eye open for different kinds of programs but also to be confident in myself and my story. With the help of Global Awards and NYU, students already have an interesting and competitive application. I learned not be too intimidated by big-name programs and to have hope for my applications. It helps to have confidence, because that will...

    Advice:
    My big advice is to be strategic about where to apply. Have your dream "reach" programs, and then have some safety and mid-range programs just in case. Pick your favorite few places and put everything you've got into those applications, and then make sure you also have some fallbacks. And don't be afraid to get rejected -- it happens to everyone and there's always another place that maybe you haven't thought of.
  • Alumni Voice
    James Bromley ‘18
    Fellowship:
    Yale-NUS Dean's Fellow
    Course Name:
    Global China Studies

    Being involved in community building at NYU Shanghai throughout my four years enabled me to compose a winning application for the DF fellowship at Yale-NUS. In particular, working as an RA and in Student Government are two experiences which I think Yale-NUS valued in my application, and ones which I am already drawing upon frequently despite only being in Singapore for a month....

    Advice:
    I learned two things through applying to Yenching Academy. One was that the narrative I was trying to tell didn’t’ feel fully synthesized and so this should have been a prompt to consider more critically why I was applying in the first place. The second thing was that graduate school wasn’t the right choice for me at the time; in retrospect, I was applying because it’s a prestigious fellowship, not because it’s something I am absolutely passionate about at this point in my life. For those who are interested in applying, I would say taking advantage of DURF is a wise move. Completing a DURF project gives you autonomy to research a niche area of your choosing, while developing the specific research skills which a programme like Yenching Academy will look for.
  • Alumni Voice
    Alhan Fakhr ‘17
    Fellowship:
    Princeton in Asia
    Course Name:
    Social Sciences

    Be honest with yourself. Schedule an initial meeting with Anna and come prepared with programs you want to apply to, your strengths and weaknesses, and what you can do to address your weaknesses. Once you graduate, set your own timelines. Understand how much time you need to address gaps in your application and reverse-engineer your application from there.

    Advice:
    Don’t let the fear of rejection prevent you from applying for a program/ fellowship. Reach out to fellow NYU Shanghai alumni, and especially Anna Kendrick — you’ll be surprised how helpful our network can be despite how young we are as an institution. And if you don’t make it to your program of choice, you’ll be surprised how one failed opportunity prepares you for future successes.
  • Alumni Voice
    Xiaoyue Gong ‘17
    Fellowship:
    MIT
    Course Name:
    Honors Mathematics

    NYUSH was a safe place for me to try different possibilities that I might have been too intimidated by elsewhere. All my further studies, research, and entrepreneurship, originated from something I did or some decision I made during my time at NYU Shanghai, even though I might have no idea at that moment what they would lead to in the future.

    Advice:
    You don't know what you can or cannot accomplish if you never try it.
  • Alumni Voice
    Nofar Hamrany ‘18
    Fellowship:
    Schwarzman Scholars
    Course Name:
    Social Sciences

    Applying to global awards was the first time I dedicated myself to myself. While thinking about what I've done, why I've been spending my time on certain things, and what I want to do next, I got to know myself better, which helped me prepare to life after graduation with or without receiving any awards.

    Advice:
    Start NOW. That's as early as possible. No matter what class you're in right now, you should plan ahead to track your way through college and get the most out of it, in terms of social, professional and leadership experience. And it would improve your chances to have any successful application, too.
  • Alumni Voice
    Zoe Jordan ‘18
    Fellowship:
    Yenching Scholars
    Course Name:
    Global China Studies

    Receiving a fellowship, and more importantly going through the application process, was an undoubtedly frustrating but confidence-building exercise. It was incredibly rewarding to transform my own string of events -- events that seemed inconsequential or "not good enough" in my own eyes -- into a narrative of growth. An honest, well-articulated story of where I am, where I'm...

    Advice:
    For me, the scariest part of application writing is that it emphasizes how your ideas are only as good as you can communicate them to be. So its easy to spend a lot of time worrying about how a committee will respond to each word, or small sentence fragment, and lose sight of the big picture. I've found it helpful to find three to four trusted editors, who come from different backgrounds and might consider different elements of your writing, and after that, just make peace with your work and submit. You might never feel "done" with an essay, but it's necessary to know the boundary between polished writing and work that isn't your own anymore. Most of these essays are not formal academic pieces, but are meant to reflect your personality. That's challenging, but also empowers you with a lot of agency to create something uniquely 'you.'
  • Alumni Voice
    Adele Kramber ‘19
    Fellowship:
    Udall Scholarship

    Applying for the Udall Scholarship proved to be an incredibly rewarding experience. It not only challenged me to craft my own personal narrative, but it also aided me in truly defining my passions and goals. Creating my application allowed me to narrow in on what was driving me to pursue environmentalism, and thus it made me even more excited about my future in the field. When I...

    Advice:
    My advice to future applicants would be to not underestimate yourself. Each applicant has a powerful narrative and unique experience. Also, when you're at the beginning of the application process, don't worry about not having a full grasp on where your application is going. Keep on writing and your application will shape itself. By piecing together your experiences, you may even discover hidden goals and passions you have.
  • Alumni Voice
    Jacko Walz ‘17
    Fellowship:
    Schwarzman Scholars
    Course Name:
    Business and Finance

    The Schwarzman Scholarship asks applicants to articulate their rationale for why they believe the program is a good fit for them – and why they are a good fit for the program. This presses candidates to construct a narrative of their experiences and goals, the “story” that distinguishes them. This process demands reflection, and an effective applicant will complete the...

    Advice:
    Be courageous. You have something to offer the program; you just have to figure out what it is. Likewise, if you’re interested in applying, the program surely has something for you, but you must identify and articulate it.
  • Alumni Voice
    Steven Yu ‘18
    Fellowship:
    JET Fellowship
    Course Name:
    Economics

    I entered university with an undecided major and graduated with an undecided future. However, the entire process of applying for fellowships forced me - in a very supportive way - to think clearly about what I wish to do with my life, both in the short run and in the long run. In the end, I've arrived at the conclusion that my passions and interests will be what guide me towards...

    Advice:
    Speak with other people about your aspirations! If you're anything like me, you will procrastinate despite knowing you should begin processes such as fellowships early. Find a mentor or person you trust and set deadlines with them. Hopefully your wish to not let someone else down will override your desire to put off facing uncertainty about the future.
  • Alumni Voice
    Zeyu Richard Zhao ‘17
    Fellowship:
    Schwarzman Scholars (Semi-Finalist)

    The most important thing that I've learned through applying for Schwarzman, and then Rhodes, and now law school is that one really needs to figure out what he or she really enjoys doing. I started out as a finance major, performing really poorly in pretty much all the classes I took because finance didn't interest me. But then I discovered what interested me and what truly...

    Advice:
    My one piece of advice for future applicants is that you need to know your stuff. As I said, figuring out what excites you is important, but what's more important is that once you've taken care of that, you need to put in the time and effort to learn more about it through research and first-hand experience. For example, if you really care about protecting the environment, you probably should know the names of organizations that advocate for environmental protection. You may also want to participate in events related to environmental protection. If you find yourself unwilling to put some effort into learning more about a particular field, you probably aren't interested in it after all.