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NSF GRFP 2019-2020

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I'm a first year graduate student applying for the first time. I applied under Life Sciences - Evolutionary Biology. I am starting to regret applying this year instead of waiting until my second year because I know that my application materials would have been better if I had more experience. Does anyone know if the reviewers are likely to take into account what stage you are in when you apply? 

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, CeXra said:

Repost:

Can someone find statistics on the people awarded fellowships based on hard science (life, biology, earth science, engineering, statistic, computer science etc.) and social science/humanities (psychology, sociology, criminal justice, anthropology, history, english, women studies, etc.) from previous years? Just wondering is all.  

You can download the awards from last year into Excel to run analyses on them, if you'd like. It's available if you search the past awards list.

Going back to the programs question, I graduated undergrad last year and start grad school next year, so this is my first time applying (social science - sociology).

Edited by passere

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1 hour ago, academiabrokemybrain said:

I'm a first year graduate student applying for the first time. I applied under Life Sciences - Evolutionary Biology. I am starting to regret applying this year instead of waiting until my second year because I know that my application materials would have been better if I had more experience. Does anyone know if the reviewers are likely to take into account what stage you are in when you apply? 

From what I understand having asked people, there's no firm answer. But i've heard people say you might be judged more leniently in your first year since you're still building your CV and just getting started in research. By the time you're a second-year, you're given less 'benefit of the doubt,' so to speak.

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12 hours ago, ScienceGeek said:

I went to an NSF panel prior to applying and they said that senior undergrads are compared with senior undergrads, first years with first years, and second years with second years

Hmmm.. that’s interesting.. 

I always felt like more fellowships went to 1st and 2nd year PhDs than undergrads.. I wonder if anyone has kept tabs on this. 

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I would imagine (hope) the fellowship numbers per group are proportional to the number of those who apply per group!  However, they made it seem like individuals among subgroups are compared with each other to ensure fairness. I'd love to know if any of that's true though haha

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I remember hearing somewhere that NSF is especially eager to award senior undergraduates, but take that with a grain of salt.

Crossing fingers for results this week...

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16 hours ago, ScienceGeek said:

I went to an NSF panel prior to applying and they said that senior undergrads are compared with senior undergrads, first years with first years, and second years with second years

What if you’re in a gap year? It seems unfair to be compared to either undergrads or current grad students. 

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10 minutes ago, isk20 said:

What if you’re in a gap year? It seems unfair to be compared to either undergrads or current grad students. 

I mean, I'm sure they just compare you somewhere in the middle. Is it fair to compare students at prestigious institutions with those at schools with less resources? Not really, but metrics for scholarship judgement are never perfect. 

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FWIW, I was in a gap year when I applied 2 years ago, and from my reviews, it felt like I was compared against current graduate students (the reviewers kept noting how I had no publications, and one review complained that I only talked about things I did in my undergrad?).

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52 minutes ago, urmum said:

FWIW, I was in a gap year when I applied 2 years ago, and from my reviews, it felt like I was compared against current graduate students (the reviewers kept noting how I had no publications, and one review complained that I only talked about things I did in my undergrad?).

I'm pretty sure the bar is just high enough that reviewers expect publications from even undergrads. Also, I think the personal statement prompt asks people to explain any break in their studies? Maybe they expected you to discuss you work experience more in depth.

I want to point out that it is not up for speculation whether they segment the applicants- undergrads are compared with undergrads grad students are compared with grad students. I'm pretty sure Science Geek is right about 1st and second years being in separate categories too but I can't find that stated explicitly online. Until you enter grad school (even if in a gap year), you compete at the undergraduate level (https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2017/nsf17123/nsf17123.jsp#q3).

if they didn't do this no undergrads would get any fellowships lol! if you read example proposals from different levels they get MUCH better as you go up each level imo.

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Has anyone else noticed that though there had been a notification about fast lane being unavailable last night, it was working fine, but there isn't a notification about now and the website isn't working? 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, urmum said:

FWIW, I was in a gap year when I applied 2 years ago, and from my reviews, it felt like I was compared against current graduate students (the reviewers kept noting how I had no publications, and one review complained that I only talked about things I did in my undergrad?).

I'm pretty sure they have a category only for people on gap years (level 2, so basically right above senior undergrads, but right below first years). I remember it was a classification on the app.

And yes, based on what I've heard from panelists/reviewers, you're only compared to those in your own level.

Edited by struggleknot

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Posted (edited)
On 3/21/2020 at 2:46 PM, jmillar said:

Assuming the same amount of people apply this year as last year (~12,200), the acceptance rate this year would be about 13%, which I've placed on the graph below with the question mark (green is stipend level, blue is acceptance rate).

ePFdJJa.png

 

It's looking like the NSF will fund 2000 individuals again this year. Information from an article from Feb. 13, 2020:

The 2021 budget proposal also puts NSF’s flagship graduate fellowship research program (GRFP) under the knife, proposing a 20% drop from 2000 annual fellowships to 1600. Begun in 1952, the fellowship program is a pillar of NSF’s investment in training the next generation of scientists, and several labor economists have argued that its success warrants growing it to 3000.

[NSF Director] Córdova, however, has repeatedly proposed trimming GRFP since President Donald Trump took office, in some years down to 1500. In 2017 she said it was time to compare its impact with that of other mechanisms for supporting graduate students, notably traineeships and through research grants. And NSF’s current program announcement says the agency plans to make 1600 awards in fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

The Senate has rejected previous attempts to trim the program, however. For example, the final 2020 spending bill approved a few months ago ordered NSF to stay at 2000 slots. An NSF spokesperson says the agency will comply with that language.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/02/how-congress-could-reverse-cuts-trump-s-budget-request-nsf

Edited by statisticalsleuth

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2 minutes ago, statisticalsleuth said:

 

It's looking like the NSF will fund 2000 individuals again this year. Information from article from Feb. 13, 2020:

The 2021 budget proposal also puts NSF’s flagship graduate fellowship research program (GRFP) under the knife, proposing a 20% drop from 2000 annual fellowships to 1600. Begun in 1952, the fellowship program is a pillar of NSF’s investment in training the next generation of scientists, and several labor economists have argued that its success warrants growing it to 3000.

Córdova, however, has repeatedly proposed trimming GRFP since President Donald Trump took office, in some years down to 1500. In 2017 she said it was time to compare its impact with that of other mechanisms for supporting graduate students, notably traineeships and through research grants. And NSF’s current program announcement says the agency plans to make 1600 awards in fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

The Senate has rejected previous attempts to trim the program, however. For example, the final 2020 spending bill approved a few months ago ordered NSF to stay at 2000 slots. An NSF spokesperson says the agency will comply with that language.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/02/how-congress-could-reverse-cuts-trump-s-budget-request-nsf

If only the NSF awarded 3000 GRFPs! That would be amazing. In any case, it's good to hear they're keeping it at 2000.

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Is the site loading slowly/not at all for anyone else? I'm getting excited that they're (probably) doing site maintenance!

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, SolarPanelz said:

Is the site loading slowly/not at all for anyone else? I'm getting excited that they're (probably) doing site maintenance!

The website won't even load for me! Neither fastlane nor nsfgrfp.org will

Edited by guckymeister

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nsfgrfp.org won't load, but research.gov/grfp/ loads just fine. I'm hopeful that they're doing maintenance on the main site, but it could be anything.

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research.gov/grfp loads fine for me and I can see my application and everything

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I keep wondering if I'll wake up to a maintenance notice tomorrow, since it seems like they almost always go up between 9 AM and 9PM the day before release. Ugh! I just want to stop being so nervous every time I remember this is happening!

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