Seven Practical Steps to Take When Applying for Various Academic Endeavours

From time to time the career of an academic is punctuated with completing applications for teaching awards, fellowships, research and other grants. These I refer to as academic endeavours. My experience, successful engagement and analysis or the processes involved in a number of these endeavours suggest there are some communal features and associated step linked to these applications. To be successful these must be adhered to.

Step One: ensure that you create an online account or personal web portal. Applying online for these endeavours has now become standard. It is via these web portals or online accounts that you can check your current status and upload and respond to the sections and requirements for the endeavour for which you are applying.

Step two: use the web portal to find and apply for the right category of fellowship, grant or award for which you wish to apply. Categories and descriptors are clearly highlighted and strategically placed on these web portals or sites. The placement ensures that they are easily identified by a potential candidate, participant or applicant just like you.

Step three: carefully read sections and instructions given for the endeavour for which you are applying. In some cases, there may also be examples of completed sections for you to read and pattern your own application. If this does not exist on the web portal or site, with a diligent search of the internet, examples may be found. It is very important to engage in this process of seeking and obtaining examples. Doing so helps to guide your thinking, and help you to structure your response according to that which is required which will ultimately lead to your success.

Step four: pay close attention to aspects such a word limits and other special requirement such as the need to clearly demonstrate your knowledge and understanding or a particular discipline or clearly outline the impact that your proposed research may have or have had on others or show how your education, training, employment, roles and experience contributed to your professional development as a teacher, mentor, facilitator of learning and/or academic leader.

Step five: be careful to complete all required sections of your application and proofread these. An application in need of proofreading reflects badly on you as a professional and makes the job of the assessor less than a pleasant experience.

Step six: most academic related applications require a reference or two. Referees should be well-chosen i.e., they are able to sensibly comment on your work and by so doing contribute to your success. You will either send them an outline of what is required or the web portal will automate this request and link your referees to the appropriate section of your web portal. Do send timely reminders to your referees.

Step seven: sometimes, depending on the nature and type of endeavour being applied for, there is a cost involved. This will need to be paid. The fees you pay may be based on your status i.e., independent scholar or a scholar employed by an institution.

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