Temple University has many programs to help you explore and enhance your academic and career trajectory. Whatever your interests and goals, strive to engage with your community and academic discipline. Apply to work in a lab, study abroad, join a club, become a tutor. There are many great ways to learn more about your academic discipline and career path, and to prepare for future fellowships in the process. Here are some suggestions:
Pursue Undergraduate Research
Carrying out research as an undergraduate can make you a more competitive candidate for post-undergraduate fellowships and graduate school.
Once you’ve conducted research, gain experience presenting it, whether on campus (at The Symposium or a departmental or school event), or at local or national conferences (many professional organizations accept submissions from undergraduates—as your research mentor for guidance).
Gain Teaching or Tutoring Skills
Whether you intend to apply to graduate school or for a competitive fellowship, it's helpful to have experience teaching or tutoring. You can find a wide range of opportunities on campus and off. Many of our successful Fulbright English Teaching Assistants gained experience through one or more of these opportunities. Candidates for the NSF GRFP also benefit from STEM outreach/community experience.
Diamond Peer Teachers Program (teaching)
Student Success Center (as a Writing Center tutor or Conversation Partner)
Resnick Academic Support Center (tutoring)
Teaching-related service opportunities on campus and in the community (List maintained by the College of Education)
Mighty Writers (tutor, mentor, lead workshops, or intern with an organization that aims to teach Philadelphia school kids to think and write with clarity)
Nationalities Service Center (Teach ESL or volunteer in other ways to support immigrants and refugees)
Garces Foundation English for Restaurant Workers (Teach ESL or volunteer in other ways to support the immigrant population of South Philadelphia)
Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians (Volunteer and tutor opportunities to work with newly arrived immigrants and refugees)
Develop Your Leadership Skills
Leadership is one of the key criteria for several competitive fellowships. What are they looking for? Students who have organized, mobilized, or influenced others. Students who have initiated something, and have carried it through to a tangible outcome. Students who have inspired others to get more involved. The Marshall Scholarship has an excellent overview of what leadership can look like. How do you start?
- It's not about being president of the student body or the head of a student organization. It's much more about the outcomes. Don’t worry about your title; focus on making an impact.
- Focus on depth over breadth. Sustained experience on a few projects or at a few organizations is more meaningful than multiple one-off activities.
- Identify a gap in your department, on campus, or in your community. Then fill it! And keep it going.
Develop Relationships with your Professors
Make use of office hours and time before/after your classes. Ask your professors about their own trajectory and their research. Let them know you are interested in getting experience in (fill in the blank). Many of our fellowship candidates have been connected with organizations or experts in their field through their professors. But the first step is ensure that your professors know you and what you’re interested in!
Use Your Summers Wisely
Summer is a great time to improve your language skills, gain experience abroad, conduct research, or work in your field.
Become Well-rounded and Informed
- Even though it is important for your main academic and professional experiences to be related (you need to be able to “connect the dots”), strive to have one or more other interests as well. A chemistry major who also paints, a political science student who publishes poetry, a psychology major who is a competitive badminton player—being multidimensional helps you to see the world from different perspectives and makes you a more interesting candidate.
- Follow reputable news sources daily or weekly, whether in print, online, or radio. If you are intending to apply for a fellowship abroad, begin to follow news sources from that country as soon as possible. Talk to people about what’s going on in the world so you gain experience presenting a point of view.
- Attend departmental and public lectures. Ask questions.