Tips for preparing a strong application

Getting started:

  • Review the Projects for Peace website to understand the goals of the fellowship program.
  • Read and follow the application guidelines carefully (i.e. page limit, deadline, format, etc.). 
  • Look at past proposals (on the website) for ideas of the kind of project you can do. 

Coming up with project idea:

  • What is your passion?  How does it relate to the goal of lessening social conflict? What is the problem that you want to address?
  • Can you build on an academic or work experience that’s been particularly exciting for you?
  • What can you accomplish with the resources and time available to you?
  • Which of your skills and connections can facilitate this hands-on project? 
  • How does your project fit into your long-term intellectual or professional trajectory?  What are your personal goals and how will this project help you accomplish them? 

Shaping a good proposal: 

  • In your opening paragraph, clearly explain what problem you intend to address, your objectives, and the project’s connection to the fellowship goals.
  • Next, describe specific activities you plan to organize/coordinate and who will be involved. Make clear how these relate to your larger project goals.
  • Demonstrate your knowledge about the local community by showing that you understand what conditions, problems and opportunities exist.  Explain how the project can be sustained after the summer.
  • Include a workplan and budget that are clear and appropriate given your time and project goals. The primary expenses should be explained in the body of your proposal.
  • Indicate your preparation to undertake the project and why it matters to you.
  • If you plan to partner with local organizations, include that in your proposal (and submit letters of support).  Describe what these organizations do and their role in the project.  
  • Review your proposal carefully and fix all grammatical, formatting, and typographical errors.

Additional points: 

  • Projects work best when you have a strong understanding of the area where you want to work.  Don’t assume you know what the community needs until you do your research and listen to people on-site.  Partnering with existing organizations is a very effective way to do this. Ask them for letters of support and start that process early!  
  • The best projects rely on mentors and networks of allies.  Share your ideas and draft with friends, colleagues, professors, and other experts.  Members of the selection committee at Williams can talk about your ideas, provide advice, and read drafts of your proposal. Leave plenty of time to share your proposal with the committee and to revise it several times.  
  • Balance idealism with a realistic, feasible plan.  You should have an inspiring vision and also show that you have considered details necessary for your project’s success.
  • Persuade the committee that you are prepared for unexpected complexities and know what risks you/the project face.
  • Think about how the project can continue after your work is done. Sustainability is an important goal.