I’ve met several academics who do not apply for awards because they know someone else applying who they perceive to be “more qualified,” or they feelthat they only meet some of the qualifications for an award. My advice is if:

  1. You meet the minimum eligibility criteria.
  2. This opportunity would help you (academically, personally, professionally, etc.)
  3. The opportunity is a good fit for your goals.
  4. You have the time to put in a competitive application.

Then, you should apply for it.

I have received several awards that I initially thought I was not a good fit for. Don’t let imposterism, or the thought that you’re not the “ideal” applicant, stop you. If you apply, maybe you’ll get it. If you don’t get it, that’s ok too. It’s good practice to apply for grants, and you can often refine and reuse sections of past applications. But if you never apply, then there’s a 0% chance you’ll get it. So never decide to self-select out of opportunities. Let the awards/application/fellowship/internship committee do their job and make the decision.

Nelson O. O. Zounlome, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

NASEM- Ford Foundation Fellow

Herman B. Wells  Fellow