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ONSF Policies for Applicants

This page outlines the various pieces of an ONSF Application and the General Guidelines and Policies for application submission through ONSF. 

Applicants to U-M Nominated programs should refer to their ONSF Canvas site for the most up-to-date information regarding applications, forms, and policies.  

Before Submitting an Application

ONSF Canvas Site Enrollment

Required for all students submitting application materials for a U-M Nominated scholarship or fellowship. 

ONSF Canvas sites and modules offer an in-depth look at applying to U-M Nominated scholarships and fellowships. The information on these sites is available to U-M applicants only. 

Current Applicants (i.e. students who are in the process of applying for a program) receive announcements, updates, and advising through their program's section on Canvas. If you’re enrolled in an ONSF Canvas site, please make sure your notifications are turned on.

When should a student enroll in Canvas?

Prospective applicants can enroll in Canvas at any time! Once enrolled, students complete the self-guided materials to gain a better understanding of their intended program.

Once you decide to apply, register your intent with ONSF via the embedded applicant survey. This will unlock additional information for applicants only, as well as access to ONSF advising appointments and group workshops. 

ONSF uses Canvas to communicate with applicants throughout an application cycle, so be sure to enroll early and stay up-to-date on announcements and resources. 

Questions about ONSF Canvas sites or modules can be directed to

ONSF Student Waiver ("FERPA Waiver")

Required for all students submitting application materials or letters of recommendation to ONSF.

In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. § 1232g) (FERPA), students have the right to read letters of recommendation sent to an institution upon request unless the student has waived access to the letters. 

When should a student submit this form?

Unless otherwise stated on the program page, this form is the first step when applying to an ONSF scholarship or fellowship! 

  • In addition to serving as a FERPA Waiver, the ONSF Student Waiver also allows ONSF to store letters of recommendation on U-M technology.
  • After completing the ONSF Student Waiver, students will receive an automated email reply to forward to their recommenders that includes an online submission link for letters of recommendation (see Letters of Recommendation below for details).

The ONSF Waiver is submitted via U-M Qualtrics. Access the form via Canvas.

Note: Plan to submit one (1) waiver per application. Students may submit this waiver multiple times either throughout a single application cycle (ex. if a letter writer changes).

Application Components & Forms


Many scholarship and fellowship programs require students to submit transcripts as part of the application package. Typically, unofficial transcripts are sufficient for the U-M nomination process and often for the initial phases of the national competition. However, students should be aware they may need to produce official transcripts if they receive the scholarship/fellowship and should read foundation instructions carefully. 

Check the specific requirements on a scholarship or fellowship page to find out if an "Unofficial Transcript" or "Official Transcript" is needed. 

U-M offers electronic official transcripts via Wolverine Access

  • To send an official U-M transcript to ONSF, simply check the "Send to third-party" option and enter "" as the recipient. ONSF will then download the official transcript and add it to your application.  

Transfer Students & Transcripts: 

Any student who was a degree-seeking student at another university, including 2- and 4-year schools or colleges, is considered a Transfer Student to the University of Michigan. 

  • Transfer students should plan to submit transcripts from their previous institutions when applying to a program that requires unofficial or official transcripts. Each institution is different, and some will only agree to send transcripts via mail or postal service, so plan ahead! Check with your previous school for transcript ordering guidelines.

When are transcripts optional for an application? 

  • NOT typically needed for non-degree-seeking courses taken while still in high school.   
  • NOT typically needed for study abroad courses unless they are relevant to the scholarship to which you're applying. 
  • Transcripts ARE typically required for summer courses taken at another 2- or 4-year institution while enrolled as a degree-seeking student at U-M. 

Consult with questions. 


Letters of Recommendation

How does ONSF accept letters of recommendation?

Students should direct their letter writers to submit letters of recommendation via U-M Qualtrics. After completing an ONSF Student Waiver (see FERPA Waiver above) students will receive an automatic reply email containing a submission link to share with recommenders.

  • Note: The reply email also serves as the FERPA Waiver and is required to be shared with recommenders. Refer to submission instructions for further details.

How might this be different from other institutions or foundations?

ONSF uses U-M Qualtrics software to accept submissions. While at first glance, this software does not offer password-protected logins that recommenders may have used in the past, those were probably from 3rd party application management systems.  We use U-M's Qualtrics instead which doesn't have a "create an account" feature or an individually generated link for each recommender but is secure and confidential once the form has been submitted. 

More information for letter writers: 

Usually, letter writers interact with ONSF when a student is applying for U-M Nomination to a scholarship or fellowship. In this case, ONSF is the first stop for application materials and letters of recommendation, hence the online U-M Qualtrics submission.  

  • Before submitting a letter of recommendation to ONSF, recommenders should double-check that they have received their student's FERPA Waiver. More information can be found on the ONSF & FERPA page. 

Once a letter is submitted, ONSF employees are the only people with access until application materials are shared with the appropriate U-M Scholarship/Fellowship Selection Committee or packaged and sent to the corresponding national scholarship or fellowship foundation as a completed application.   

  • Occasionally, small edits are suggested or required (e.g. changing "UM STEM RCA" to "Goldwater Scholarship"), in these instances ONSF will contact the recommenders for permission before any changes are made. 

Our decision to make the letter submission link openly accessible was to ensure ease of access for letter writers who may be submitting from a variety of institutions or timezones, as well as accommodate the 40+ application processes for which ONSF collects letters of recommendation throughout the calendar year. 

If an applicant is selected as a U-M nominee to the national competition, letter writers may be asked to resubmit their letters to the application management system used by that scholarship/fellowship foundation.  In some cases, ONSF is able to upload these letters directly on behalf of the letter writer as part of the university’s nomination.  As with all questions of this type, the applicant should refer to the appropriate scholarship/fellowship page for detailed instructions.


Class Ranking Request Form

National scholarship foundations such as Rhodes, Marshall, and Mitchell look at many different parts of your academic record including your Class Ranking at U-M. Class Rankings help national foundations contextualize what a GPA means at different colleges and universities, along with information provided by your recommenders. 

  • Not all scholarship or fellowship applications require this form. Check the specific Canvas site or module page for details! 

In order to add your Class Ranking to your final application packet, a signed release form needs to be completed by the applicant and sent to the U-M Office of the Registrar. 

Please note that the Office of the Registrar may choose to reject any request that includes a digital signature, a signature in ink other than black or blue, an email sent from a non-UMICH email address, or a form that is otherwise incomplete.

How long does it take to submit this form?

The processing time is seven business days for the Office of the Registrar to receive your request and send the documentation to Dr. Henry Dyson to be included in your application file. 

We recommend you submit this request to the Office of the Registrar as soon as possible to avoid any late submissions and please be sure to copy when you do so. 

If you are applying to multiple scholarships, you only need to submit one request but you should include all relevant scholarship names on the form. 

Where can I find the Class Ranking Form?

A copy of the Class Ranking Form along with detailed instructions can be found on the Canvas Site or Module where applicable. If your Canvas site does not list the Class Ranking Form as part of the application materials, then one is not required for your application. 

Submitting an Application

U-M Nominated Programs

Applicants for programs such as the Rhodes Scholarship, Udall Scholarship, or Truman Scholarship are technically applying to ONSF for nomination to a specific foundation.

There are two ways a student can apply to a program that requires U-M Nomination: 

  • Some foundations, like Truman and Udall, require prospective applicants to register to access their online applications. 
    • Students complete the online application while their letter writers submit letters to ONSF. 
    • In these cases, hitting “submit” sends the application to ONSF rather than to the national foundation.
  • Others, like Rhodes or Gaither Fellows, ask that the University of Michigan carry out an internal nomination process before submitting nominees to the foundation.  
    • Plan to complete the application materials found on the specific page and follow the instructions on your Canvas site or module to submit all necessary components to ONSF. 
    • In these cases, hitting “submit” sends the online application to the national foundation and only occurs after the U-M nomination process is completed.

As always, be sure to read the specific program page and requirements carefully! Email if you have any questions about how to apply for a U-M Nominated scholarship or fellowship. 

Non-nominated Programs

Students who wish to apply for programs that do not require U-M nomination should follow the instructions on the individual program or foundation page. 

Please email ONSF at if you have questions or concerns about applying to a scholarship or fellowship found on this website that does not require U-M Nomination. 

ONSF Deadlines & Late Submission Policies

All applicants for ONSF programs must follow the deadline(s) as stated on the application Canvas site or module. Deadlines do not change often, but when they do applicants will be notified via Canvas.  Remember to pay attention to the U-M Nomination Deadline as stated on ONSF application guidelines as these deadlines occur earlier than national deadlines. 

ONSF Application Submissions Policy 

As a general rule, ONSF does not accept late application submissions. Exceptions will be made only in cases of extreme hardship or proven technical challenges. Appeals to this policy should be directed to Dr. Henry Dyson at

ONSF recommends you submit application materials at least one business day prior to ensure delivery. All applicants will receive a receipt of submission within 1 business day of an application deadline. This is to ensure that ONSF has received all materials, including those from third parties such as letters of recommendation or Class Ranking Forms (where applicable). 

Late Letters of Recommendation Policy

In the event that an application is incomplete due to the non-submission of a letter of recommendation or other third-party submissions (e.g. Class Ranking Form), the applicant will not be penalized. When appropriate, such as in case of a passed deadline, ONSF may correspond directly with a recommender to resolve the issue.  

Please note that an incomplete application, while accepted for consideration, may still impact the ability of the Selection Committee to review all applicants and deliver an invitation for interviews or a final decision. 

ONSF strives to regularly communicate with applicants throughout an application cycle - if you have any concerns about a late letter, late submission, incomplete materials, etc., please email us as soon as you become aware of the situation!