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General Questions

What is ONSF?

The Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships is an office at the University of Michigan that recruits and prepares U-M undergraduates, graduate and professional students and recent alums for major national scholarship and fellowship competitions such as the Rhodes Scholarship for postgraduate study at Oxford. 

ONSF was created in 2017 to address the knowledge gap students faced when seeking opportunities and support to apply to nationally recognized scholarship and fellowship programs. We hope that students will use ONSF as a single, comprehensive source of information for nationally- and internationally-competitive scholarships and fellowships. 

What is the difference between “scholarship” and “fellowship”?


  • Scholarship refers to an award designated for educational purposes. 
  • Fellowship refers to an award designated for experiential based programs. 
    • For example, the Wallenberg Fellowship is a self-designed year of humanitarian action. Students who receive the James C. Gaither Junior Fellowship join a public policy cohort to work as research assistants to senior scholars at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


Who does ONSF work with?

We work with students from all 19 U-M schools and colleges! Even though we are housed within LSA, we welcome all undergraduate and graduate students, recent alumni included. 

Please refer to specific scholarship and fellowship pages for eligibility guidelines.

What scholarships and fellowships does ONSF work with?

  1. Short answer: U-M Nominated National Scholarships and Fellowships

  2. Long answer: Students work with ONSF to apply to programs all over the world! ONSF works with approximately 30 scholarship and fellowship programs per academic year, however this number fluctuates depending on which programs attract candidates during any given application cycle. 

    • Keep in mind, some opportunities mentioned in the ONSF Application & Opportunity Guides may be administered by another U-M office. For example, students interested in Fulbright Fellowships can find information here, but should seek additional resources from the International Institute

    • Note: If you are interested in an opportunity, but do not see it on our website, make an appointment or let us know via email!

What is the success rate of ONSF students?

This is a great question! While we are still working on the data, we are proud to say that U-M students continue to remain at the top for many national scholarship and fellowship competitions. In the past few years, we have been privileged to work with finalists for the Rhodes Scholarship, Mitchell Scholarship, Marshall Scholarship, Gates-Cambridge Scholarship, not to mention Truman Scholars, Beinecke Scholars, Gaither Fellows and more! 

Check out the Scholarship Recipients page to learn more. 

How do I contact ONSF?

You are welcome to email us at or call us at 734-763-2422. Students can make an advising appointment at any time during their academic career! The ONSF office is located in 1330 Mason Hall. We are currently sharing space with the LSA Honors Program. Come in and say hi!

Faculty and staff are encouraged to use our referral form to connect students directly with ONSF. 

Who is the ONSF Advisor?

Dr. Henry Dyson is the Director of ONSF and the Advisor for all of our students! He works with students throughout the University who are interested in applying for scholarships such as the Rhodes, Marshall, Gates Cambridge, Knight-Hennessy, Truman, Goldwater, and many more.  

Dr. Dyson originally came to the University of Michigan in 2005 as a research fellow in Philosophy and Classical Studies, having previously taught philosophy at The College of William and Mary. His favorite thing about advising is the opportunity to work with U-M's best and more enterprising students all across our curriculum! Learn more here

Check out the Director's Blog for articles and posts for students, advisors and the U-M community at large.

Does ONSF offer financial aid?

No. This is not a financial aid office. While many of the scholarship and fellowship programs found on the site have an attached monetary award, current students looking for financial aid support should contact the U-M Office of Financial Aid.

Does ONSF fund student summer travel?

No. This office does not offer travel scholarships, grants or other funding. Students seeking funding for travel or other experiences should contact their department of study, the International Institute, the International Center or the multitude of other U-M offices and departments that work in those areas.

Student Questions

When should I begin to think about ONSF?


While the majority of students applying for competitive national scholarships and fellowships are in their junior or senior year, ONSF frequently works with first-years and sophomores as well. This is because many of the programs found on these pages offer opportunities for graduate study and post-undergraduate experiences.

Nevertheless, it's never too early to get on the right track to be a competitive applicant! We encourage all interested students (no matter what year!) to make an advising appointment and learn more about these amazing opportunities. 

Refer to Getting Started and the Prospective & Current Applicants Resources sections for more information. 


What other useful information is on this website?


We have a variety of resources for students! Whether you’re interested in applying to a competitive program like the Marshall or Mitchell Scholarships, or you simply want advice on writing essays for graduate school.

Check out the following resources: 

I am studying abroad or otherwise off campus for the semester. Can I still request an advising appointment?


Yes! We accommodate video or phone advising. Simply schedule an advising appointment for yourself and add a note with your contact information requesting a phone or video call. We will be in contact soon to confirm your method of communication. Review ONSF Advising before scheduling. 


I am a student at another university, can I still work with ONSF?

Unfortunately, no. ONSF was created to serve students at the University of Michigan. While we occassionally partner with U-M Flint or U-M Dearborn to support exceptional students, we encourage students outside U-M to work with their own academic advising offices for any necessary support. 

Is applying to these programs *really* worth it?

  1. Short answer: yes! 
  2. Long answer: Our ultimate goal at ONSF is for every student to submit a successful application and receive the award of their choice! However, we know with these ultra-competitive programs, this is not always possible. 
    • Therefore, we believe that national scholarship applications and interviews can be valuable learning tools in their own right. This is because programs like these are almost always means to a greater end -  to a graduate degree, to a particular career, or to making a valuable contribution to the world - ends that can usually be achieved in other ways.
    • Even though some applicants will not be successful in obtaining the scholarships to which they apply, most of them are fabulously successful in obtaining their greater ends, often because of what they learned from the application experience itself.