Every day we’re building the movement to end hunger by developing leaders—and we’re encouraged, with every new application cycle for the Leland International and Emerson National Hunger Fellowships, by how many young leaders want to be part of that movement.
Before beginning on your application for the Leland or Emerson Fellowship, read through the tips below. The advice we present here will make your application shine—and almost all of it will come in handy for any other opportunity you find yourself applying to. So dive in—and good luck!
Our Tips for Successful Applications
Why This Organization? Why This Program?
It is good practice to research the organization you are applying to and use what you find to strategically answer application questions. In this case, demonstrate in your responses that you have researched the Hunger Center and know its mission. Read the Leland or Emerson Fellowship Application Guide carefully and become familiar with its goals and values. Use this research to articulate why you would like to be a part of the fellowship specifically and how it matches your vision for the world.
Use personal stories and concrete experiences to convey your passion and motivation to apply for the fellowship. This can help you demonstrate that you are a good fit and help you stand out. What speaks to you about the goals and values of the Hunger Center and the Leland or Emerson Program? Why do you want to be part of the Leland or Emerson Fellowship and the wider Hunger Center community?
Short Essay Responses
Your responses to the short essay prompts weigh heavily in the review process. Make sure that your answers are complete, concrete and true to your beliefs. Read each question a few times and spend some time reflecting before putting pen to paper or fingers to keys. Ensure that the writing is clear and purposeful. Avoid jargon and buzzwords!
Your resume should specify and highlight your most relevant experience for the fellowship. If relevant experience includes specific graduate or undergraduate coursework, do include that. Your resume will add context to the webform so make sure there is consistency between the two. Make it easy for the reviewer to get a full picture of your education, experiences, passions and interests.
Keep your resume to an appropriate length: no more than two pages for the Leland Fellowship, and no more than one page for the Emerson Fellowship. Saving it as a PDF document will ensure that no formatting is lost. Give your document an easily recognizable title (e.g. YourLastName_YourFirstName_Resume.pdf).
Drafting and Proofreading
Start early. Draft your responses in a document that you can edit and save. Read your responses out loud and make edits. Take a break and read your responses with fresh eyes. Sleep on it. Next, have someone else read, edit, and give feedback. Once you are satisfied, cut and paste your responses into the online application.
As you complete your application, focus on making it as easy as possible for the reviewer to read. Proofread your application and resume for typos. The person reviewing your application wants to know that you pay close attention to detail and clarity.
Clear and Compelling Writing
Write using the active voice and avoid using the passive voice. Communicate your thoughts succinctly and choose your words carefully. You only have so many words to introduce yourself, so make every word count. Avoid long sentences in favor of multiple shorter sentences. Avoid using clichés.
Put Yourself in the Reviewer’s Shoes
A good rule of thumb is to have empathy for the reviewer! They are reading dozens, if not hundreds of applications, so do everything you can to make it easy for them to say yes to yours. Following the tips above will get you most of the way there!