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abababba
08-10-2007, 07:26 AM
I am considering applying for the NSF fellowship again this year. I didn't get one last year but am attending a good program. I have heard of people applying while in Grad school and getting it, but I wanted to ask about LORs for the second application.

Are the LORs expected to come from professors in the grad program even though students are only a few months in, or is it ok to reuse the same letters from undergrad? I believe the problem the first time (in addition to a tremendously competitive process) was my research proposal and description of interests, not the LORs.

Does everyone who applies in Grad school apply in their first year or do some people wait an additional year?

abababba
08-12-2007, 06:36 AM
Bump?

asquare
08-12-2007, 08:50 PM
I believe you have to apply within 12 months of starting graduate school, but I could be wrong. Did you get back a score sheet from your original application? That should give you some indication about which part of the application you need to improve.

If you reapply this year, you might want to try for at least one recommendation from a current professor, indicating that there is strong support for your application and research agenda within your department. You could carry forward the strongest of your old recommendations, and replace one with a new recommendation from a current professor.

Antichron
08-13-2007, 01:46 PM
Hey abababba,

I reapplied in my first year and used letters from one of my professors here and two professors from my undergraduate university. The professor here suggested that it was only necessary to get one letter from my current program. (Though I believe one was also the lower bound.)

It can be tough to get a recommendation after only a couple months, but you certainly won't be the only one in your program doing so. You might have some sort of first year adviser who handles these types of letters. Alternatively, you might consider talking with someone who you felt tried hard to recruit you, since he/she likely spent a good amount of time looking at your application and will at a minimum point you in the right direction.

As for applying in the first year versus the second year, if you are going to reapply, you should definitely do so in your first year and if you are unsuccessful, then reapply in your third year. I have a friend who is applying in his second year, so that is presumably not against the rules.
Since you are presumably funded during your first two years, the best case scenario is that you win the NSF after your second year, since it would provide three years of TA-free funding. Good luck!

wannalearnecon
08-13-2007, 09:58 PM
Hey abababba,

As for applying in the first year versus the second year, if you are going to reapply, you should definitely do so in your first year and if you are unsuccessful, then reapply in your third year. I have a friend who is applying in his second year, so that is presumably not against the rules.
Since you are presumably funded during your first two years, the best case scenario is that you win the NSF after your second year, since it would provide three years of TA-free funding. Good luck!

I thought applicants had to apply within the first 12 months of their graduate study, meaning you could only apply in your first year of grad school. Did I miss something?

buckykatt
08-14-2007, 03:47 AM
If I may hijack this thread with a related question, does "first 12 months of graduate study" (or whatever time period) mean of a Ph.D. program or would the start of a MA program count, too? I wasn't planning on applying until next year, after I'd started an MA program, so this might make a difference to me...

asquare
08-14-2007, 03:49 AM
buckykatt, I think the actual requirement is within 12 months of the start of the program or a "substantial change of program" (that is a paraphrase, not a direct quote). You should have 12 months from when you start the PhD, not from when you start the MA.

buckykatt
08-14-2007, 03:54 AM
/me breathes a sigh of relief, but resolves to go read the NSF application package soon anyway ;)

OneMoreEcon
08-14-2007, 05:21 AM
Here's how the regulations are currently interpreted...

The rule is that you cannot have completed 12 months of graduate studies at the time of application. As asquare mentioned, there is the exception for 'substantial change in field' that requires some extra explanation/exceptions for consideration.

The NSF (at least the BES panel) currently interprets the "12 months completed" regulation as meaning that you have completed 12 months worth of courses... since most of us don't take summer courses, we've only *completed* 9 months of studies at the time that NSF is due in the second year.

So... you've got up to three chances to apply: (i) senior undergrad, (ii) first-year grad, and (ii) second-year grad (if you haven't completed summer grad courses).

Hope this helps... back to studying for comps.

Oh, and if you read this, good luck on your next comp, notacolour!!! :D

OneMoreEcon
08-14-2007, 05:23 AM
buckykatt, I think the actual requirement is within 12 months of the start of the program or a "substantial change of program" (that is a paraphrase, not a direct quote). You should have 12 months from when you start the PhD, not from when you start the MA.

Nope, 12 months from start of graduate studies, with the exception you mention. A one-year MA doesn't prevent you from applying in first year of PhD. A two-year MA will, unless you can talk your way into an exception!

I'm not an expert by any means (though I will harass NSF when it makes a difference!), but I get the impression that the "substantial" change usually has to be a change of field, such as "I started a psych program but realized my real passion was behavioral econ, so now I'm going into an econ PhD." (not even sure if my example would count, but I do think they want a switch in field before granting exceptions)

asquare
08-14-2007, 05:48 AM
It's not clear how the transition from a MA to a PhD would be handled. This is what the NSF page (http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2007/nsf07576/nsf07576.htm#elig) says:
*Applicants must have completed no more than twelve months of full-time graduate study or its equivalent by the August 31st prior to the program submission deadline.
*All post-baccalaureate, graduate-level study in an NSF-supported field counts toward the allowed twelve months of completed graduate study. This includes all Masters's and Ph.D. programs in these disciplines.
*Applicants who have completed part-time graduate study must have completed no more than twenty-four (24) semester hours or its equivalent by August 31st prior to the program submission deadline.
*Research-oriented work experience in an academic or similar environment that is closely related to the current or proposed program of graduate study may be considered as equivalent to graduate coursework for eligibility purposes. A combination of relevant work experience and coursework may render an applicant ineligible.

BUT, the guidelines also say this:
In some cases, applicants may be considered eligible based on extenuating circumstances, such as a significant change of field (including change from a professional to a research-oriented graduate program), interruption in graduate study for financial reasons, or career interruption due to family or medical reasons. The interruption must be for a period of more than two years prior to November 2007. So if the MA counts as a professional graduate program, then the change from an MA to a PhD would count. It's the kind of thing that people starting MAs should ask their advisors about, and seek clarification from NSF if necessary. (For what it is worth, the phrase about changes from professional to research programs is new in the last year or two.)