When do people commonly apply to national graduate fellowships (NSF, NDSEG, etc)? I've been in an unrelated industry for two years, so I don't think I'll be ready to write a good research proposal until after my first year of study. I know that I would technically still be eligible, but is it a good idea to wait? I would much rather spend my first semester on campus finding a research adviser and working out my own interests than writing essays which probably wouldn't be accurate in a year. Also, I feel like I could get better recommendation letters after a year in my graduate program. However, I do not want to ruin my chances by missing the standard application timeline. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!