Resources for Applicants

Many NHFP fellows have found it helpful during the application process to get advice from past fellows. This tends to give an advantage to applicants from institutions that already have a strong track record of winning fellowships.  We seek to make the application process more transparent and equitable by providing application resources that are accessible to early career astronomers around the world, with the particular aim of improving the representation of BIPOC  (black, indigenous, and people of color) scholars and students from MSIs (minority-serving institutions).  We note that for class of 2022, the program began using a new grading rubric

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Example application materials from past NHFP fellows

Many past fellows have kindly volunteered to make their application materials publicly available in order to make the application process more equitable. This idea has been inspired in part by websites with repositories of successful NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program applications, such as the one hosted by Alex Lang

In the table below, we have provided links to the full application if available, or to individual portions of the application (the research proposal, statement on previous/current research, CV, and publications list) that the fellow has chosen to share. For organizational purposes, we have labeled each application with one of the seven current NHFP Primary Science categories. These are not necessarily the categories that were used at time of application.  

As you read these examples, please keep the following in mind:

If you are a current or former fellow and would like to share your application materials, please e-mail (contributions can be anonymous and/or redacted). We'd like to make sure that our examples are up-to-date and come from as broad a cross-section of fellows as possible.  

If you wish to sort or filter the application table, you can access this Google Spreadsheet

Information about talk opportunities for early career astronomers 

While giving departmental talks is not generally a formal part of the postdoc application process, it can be useful for increasing the visibility of your work, gaining practice in communicating your science to a broad audience, getting a sense of what the people at an institution are like, and forming new collaborations. 

AstroBetter (with our support) is crowd-sourcing a list of information about talk opportunities, both virtual and in-person, that are suitable for graduate students and postdocs. You can edit the list at AstroBetter's website if you would like to add a talk series or revise an entry. We also strongly encourage you to make the same talk series information clear and easy to find on your own department's website. This resource is intended as a resource for all junior astronomers, not just those applying for the NHFP fellowship. (Note as well that not all of the institutions in the spreadsheet are eligible as NHFP host institutions). 

Application Feedback Program

For the 2023 application cycle, we are running a program for people in the process of drafting NHFP applications to get advice on how to strengthen their applications from current and former fellows.

If you are interested in receiving feedback on your application draft, please fill out the following Google form. We are happy to provide feedback even if you are in the early stages of preparing your application. The form will close either one week before the NHFP application deadline or when we reach volunteer capacity. Anyone is welcome to seek assistance, and we aim to read as many applications as we are able to. However, if the number of submissions exceeds volunteer capacity, priority will be given to people from groups that are traditionally underrepresented among NHFP fellowship recipients, especially Black, Indigenous (including native Pacific Islander), and Latinx astronomers. Additionally, we will give priority to applicants who have not received feedback through this program in a past application year. Our guidelines for applicants and readers can be found here.

Past activities

2022 Application Q&A

In August 2022, we held an hour-long Zoom Q&A for early career astronomers to help demystify the fellowship application process and the fellowship experience.

Intro Slides

Notes from the Q&A

2021 Application workshop

In August 2021, we held free 90-minute online workshops (open to any prospective applicants from around the world) that provided an overview of the NHFP application process and described strategies for writing strong applications. The workshop included an overview presentation, a breakout session discussing past examples of successful application, and a Q&A with a panel of fellows. 

Slides (revised for consistency with the 2021 Announcement of Opportunity)

Extended Q&A 

Video recording of overview presentation

Last Updated on Oct 4, 2023 (By Jake Turner)