Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions and answers cover many topics of interest to potential scholarship applicants. If you have further questions, please contact us.

How do I find scholarships? Will you help me find funding?

The Office of Nationally Competitive Awards is happy to consult with you about funding opportunities. However, we cannot serve as a scholarship search service. We have a variety of scholarships listed on the Opportunities page that can serve as a starting point.

For students seeking information about UK tuition scholarships, contact the Office of Academic Scholarships (859-257-4198) and the Office of Financial Aid (859-257-3172). The Office of International Affairs, colleges and departments on campus, and online scholarship search tools can also provide funding.

When should I start looking into scholarships and fellowships?

It is never too early to start the process. If you are thinking about applying for any undergraduate scholarships, your preparation can begin as soon as you come to campus. Participate in meaningful leadership and service activities, both on and off campus, seek internships in areas that interest you and support your career goals and get acquainted with the faculty in your discipline so that they can support you when you seek recommendations for scholarships and other opportunities. The Office of Nationally Competitive Awards holds information sessions each semester to encourage students to consider these opportunities and give advice on fellowship preparation. Plan to attend one of these sessions during your first year at UK.

When you have identified a specific opportunity for which you are eligible and plan to apply, make an appt. with the Office at least 6 months prior to the deadline to make us aware of your plans and to get advice that will help you prepare your nomination application.

Should I apply?

If you meet the eligibility criteria for a scholarship, you should apply. The application process requires in-depth analysis of your future goals, gives students great experience writing essays and personal statements, and practice interview opportunities prior to selection. These awards are competitive, but UK students are among the nation's most outstanding students and have won many of these scholarships. For more information about scholarship recipients, click here.

I am not a U.S. citizen. Can I still apply for fellowships?

Yes, students who are not U.S. citizens may apply for fellowships but each opportunity has its own eligibility requirements. Most endorsed fellowships require U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, but there are opportunities that do not. Some programs, such as the Rhodes Scholarship and Fulbright Grant, allow you to apply through your home country. Read eligibility requirements carefully.

I am studying abroad or am planning to study abroad at the application deadline. Can I apply for a scholarship?

Yes, you can still apply for scholarships if you are studying abroad. We can arrange for you to submit applications electronically and you can participate in an interview via Skype. If you know that you want to apply for an opportunity before you study abroad, contact us prior to your departure to get all relevant information. If you are abroad when you decide to apply, email our office so we can begin working with you on your application.

What is does it mean when a scholarship requires a nomination or endorsement?

Many scholarships require applicants to receive the endorsement of the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards. This endorsement means that an applicant is an official nominee of the university.

What is the difference between a campus and official deadline?

An official deadline is the date established by the sponsoring organization for the receipt of all application materials. A campus deadline is the date set by the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards to receive the completed application. The campus deadline is at least one month prior to the official deadline so that the scholarship committee may read the application files, interview candidates, and select UK's nominees. Students interested in applying for scholarships that require a nomination must have all application materials submitted to the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards by the campus deadline.

What is the application process when nomination or endorsement is required?

The Office of Nationally Competitive Awards holds a campus selection process well in advance of the actual award deadline.  This is required since most of the scholarships permit a limited number of nominees from each campus and/or require a written endorsement letter from the campus review committee. During the period between the campus deadline and national deadline, the campus committee, made up of faculty and staff, reviews applications, interviews applicants (in most cases) and provides feedback to the students selected as nominees. The nominees will then be able to revise application materials based on the feedback and receive additional review from the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards before they are submitted to the funding organization.

Students selected as nominees must be prepared to commit additional time to rewriting and revising scholarships essays and application materials before the final deadline.

 Check the list of scholarships requiring university nomination by visiting the University Endorsement page.

What is the application process when nomination or endorsement is not required?

When a nomination or endorsement is not required, you may apply directly to the foundation or sponsoring agency. These awards may be just as competitive as those that require nomination, and the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards is ready to assist with your application before you submit it.

Who should read my personal statement?

You should have multiple people read and edit your personal statement. You may submit your essays and personal statement to the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards for feedback, but you should also ask professors, mentors, friends, and parents to read it. Those close to you will let you know if the statement truly reflects who you are and if it defines where you want to go and why.

Ask your recommenders to read and revise your statement before they submit letters on your behalf. This will allow the recommender to better understand your interests and goals and they may be able to provide constructive feedback.

Who should I ask to write letters of recommendation?

Generally, letters should come from faculty members with whom you have taken classes or collaborated on a project. These letters are important for scholarship selection committees to gain insight into applicants' strengths, weaknesses, and accomplishments. Recommenders should be able to write detailed letters about your academic abilities and personal character. Depending on the scholarship, a letter from an advisor or employer may also be appropriate.

How do I obtain an official transcript?

Official transcripts are available in the Registrar's Office in Room 10 of Funkhouser Building. When you pick up a transcript, please indicate that it is for the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards.

If you are applying for a scholarship while you are not residing in Lexington, you may authorize a representative of the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards to pick it up. You must sign a statement that provides the complete name of the individual who will pick up the transcript. This person will be required to show ID upon receipt of the transcript. Email or fax this statement to the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards at 859-257-2030.

How do I contact the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards?

Office of Nationally Competitive Awards is located in 221 Funkhouser Building. You may contact the director by calling 859-257-4984 or email