As you work on developing fellowship applications, you can always reach out to me for personal assistance. I am happy to review essays with you and answer any questions that you have. The most common questions will likely be answered by the fellowships website where you can access the applications themselves, read about past fellows, and much more. In the meantime, here are some answers to frequently asked questions as you embark on the application process:
I have no public interest experience. Can I still apply?
Yes. The committee judges applications based on the strength of the project. While a candidate’s past public interest experience is definitely considered, if a project is really strong, the committee will strongly connsider funding it. You also likely have more public interest experience than you think. If you worked for a judge or helped low income clients through a clinic, that counts. Talk to a career counselor to brainstorm ideas for how to effectively craft your experience as public interest experience.
Is it too late to think about applying for fellowships?
No. Notre Dame fellowship applications are due on September 20 so there is still time. But if you are interested, contact me immediately to talk through options and get started.
I worked at my host organization last summer. Can my supervisor there write my employer letter of recommendation?
Yes. In fact, this is often the best employer letter of recommendation an applicant could possibly receive. If the organization you would be working for already enjoys working with you and thinks you are a great fit, that is all the more reason for the committee to have confidence that your project there will be successful.
I am applying to both Shaffer and BOAF. Do I really need to do two separate applications?
No. You are more than welcome to fill out two separate applications and submit them but you do not need to duplicate efforts. If you’re applying for both fellowships, you can submit one application packet but it must consist of nine components, as opposed to the seven components that the Shaffer or BOAF applications alone require.
Here are the 9 components a candidate applying to both the Shaffer and Bank of America Foundation fellowships must complete:
- The BOAF Fellowship 2019/2020 Application You can apply for both BOAF and Shaffer Fellowships with just this application. Refer to the fellowships as Shaffer/BOAF throughout the essays except for essay #4, which pertains only to the BOAF fellowship.
- An official law school transcript
- A Letter of Recommendation from a professor
Please note that fellowship committee members are not eligible to write letters of recommendation. The committee members for the 2019/2020 Fellowship year are Michael Jenuwine, Gerry Bradley, Jimmy Gurule, Jim Kelly, and Jennifer Mason McAward.
If you were counting on a letter from one of these professors and don’t know who to ask, reach out to me and we’ll come up with some ideas. And take heart in the fact that if you can’t get a letter from them, no other applicant can either.
Note to recommenders: please draft letters of recommendation on Notre Dame letterhead and address the letter to the “Thomas L. Shaffer & Bank of America Foundation Fellowship Committee.” Please send all letters of recommendation electronically to Katelynn McBride Barbosa.
4. A Letter of Recommendation from a former employer. Please send all letters of recommendation electronically to Katelynn McBride Barbosa.
Make sure that your recommendation writers reference that they recommend you for both the Shaffer and BOAF fellowships.
5.Your resume (including undergraduate GPA)
6. A signed Bank of America Fellow Agreement with explanation of the type of work the applicant anticipates performing and the name and address of the host agency
7.A signed Thomas L. Shaffer Fellow Agreement with explanation of the type of work the applicant anticipates performing and the name and address of the host agency
8. A signed Bank of America Foundation Host Agency Agreement identifying the work the applicant would be engaged to perform, and accompanied by documentation that confirms the host agency’s 501(c)(3) status
9. A signed Thomas L. Shaffer Host Agency Agreement , identifying the work the applicant would be engaged to perform, and accompanied by documentation that confirms the host agency’s 501(c)(3) status
Can I apply for Shaffer and/or BOAF if I am not applying for EJW or other fellowships?
Absolutely. There is no rule against applying for Shaffer or BOAF if you are unable to apply to outside fellowships. That said, the committee likes to see candidates applying for other outside fellowships and specifically asks in the application for the candidate to list other fellowships they’re applying to. The reasoning is that if you’re passionate about getting your project funded, taking advantage of as many opportunities as you possibly can to get it funded is the best way to show that passion.
Can I submit one set of letters of recommendation for the BOAF fellowship and a separate set of letters for the Shaffer fellowship?