STEPS IN THE NOMINATION PROCESS – STUDENT
STEP 1: Review the Goldwater Eligibility Requirements
Do you meet the college sophomore or junior definition? Do you have a GPA > 3.0 on a 4.0 scale? Do you intend to pursue a research career in the natural sciences, engineering, or mathematics? Are you a citizen or permanent resident? If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you are eligible for nomination for a Goldwater scholarship. You may review the Eligibility Requirements here.
If you are worried that you are not competitive enough, do NOT “count yourself out” without first talking with your Goldwater Campus Representative.
STEP 2: Identify Your School’s Goldwater Campus Representative (CR)
Identify your school’s CR by opening the Campus Representative Locator. If your school is not listed on the Locator, please contact the Goldwater Help Center at 507-931-8335 or by email at email@example.com.
STEP 3: Complete a Student Profile and Pre-Application and Contact your Goldwater Campus Representative
Complete the Student Profile and Goldwater Scholarship Pre-Application. When submitted, your student profile and pre-application are emailed to your campus’ CR. If you do not hear from your CR in a reasonable period of time (e.g., within a week), contact your CR at the email address or telephone number provided in the Locator. If you are unable to contact this person, call or email the Goldwater Help Center. Read more
While the process varies from one campus to the next, on most campuses the profile and pre-application materials are a “conversation starter.” Most CRs will review the pre-application materials and provide you with additional campus-specific application information. On many campuses, this will involve a meeting with the CR.
Finally, the Foundation does not use the information you submit in your pre-application and profile as part of the Goldwater selection process. This information is used to start a conversation between you and your institution’s Goldwater CR.
STEP 4: Complete the Online Goldwater Application
The online application has several components, including: 1) online questionnaire, 2) research essay, 3) three letters of recommendation, 4) transcript(s), and 5) for a Permanent Resident, a copy of your Permanent Resident Card. Read more
Application Online Questionnaire:
You may VIEW and PRINT the online questionnaire. Review the entire set of questions prior to beginning to complete them online. In addition to providing the Foundation with background academic information about you, these materials help us understand your interest and commitment to pursuing a research career, your intellectual intensity, and your potential for making significant future research contributions.
As each element of the application is developed, keep in mind that the Foundation’s reviewers will be evaluating the likelihood that you will pursue a career and become a research leader in one of the supported fields. All elements of the application should help demonstrate that you possess the qualities and attributes of a successful research scientist, engineer, or mathematician.
Writing career goals and professional aspirations:
In the online application, the Career Goals/Professional Aspirations section asks for narrative responses to questions about your goals and background. You should draft answers to these questions, refine the drafts and then refine the drafts again. During this process, you should talk with faculty – both research mentors and non-mentors, other professionals in the field, and, if possible, post-doctoral research associates and graduate students, about their research and career experiences. This will help you better understand what a research career entails and will help write a stronger statement.
As part of the Career Goal responses, you should provide your specific plans for graduate school, post-doctoral research (if possible). Research experiences, seminal courses and/or other learning opportunities that you have had that support your career goals should also be presented.
Computing your GPA:
COVID-19 affected spring 2020 grades and will potentially affect 2020 fall courses and grades. As such, for the 2021 competition you may report your GPA as of the end of the fall 2019 academic term or you may report your GPA at the end of either the spring 2020 or fall 2020 terms. The choice is yours and what you report will depend on how COVID-19 affected your campus. There will be no penalty associated with whatever term you chose to report. To be eligible, you must have a GPA of at least 3.0 up through the term you report.
Review the Research Essay materials in the “Developing the Research Essay.”
Letters of Recommendation:
The Goldwater pre-application asks you to list three potential letter writers. While these three individuals might be good letter writers for you for other purposes, they may not be your strongest letter writers for your Goldwater application. It is important that you talk with your Goldwater CR about your potential letter writers prior to seeking letters. Once you and your CR agree on your letter writers, it is then your responsibility to approach these individuals to see if they will write Goldwater nomination letters on your behalf.
Individuals who have served as a research mentor for you are your most important letter writers. These can include research project directors from other institutions, faculty, post docs, and in some situations, advanced graduate students (these can be effective letters particularly when they are written jointly with a faculty member). Letters from faculty who know you well from your science, math, or engineering classes, especially those who can relate course materials to your research career interests or who can comment on your research aspirations, are also appropriate letter writers. Evaluations from former high school teachers, coaches or family friends are generally of minimal value. If you do not provide a letter from a faculty member who has been a significant mentor, you should explain why this person did not provide a letter at an appropriate place in your application. Otherwise, this will raise a question in our reviewers’ minds.
Do not forget to provide your references with an “information packet”.
Discuss your transcripts with your CR EARLY in the Goldwater nomination process 1) to determine whether you need “official” or unofficial” transcripts and 2) to ensure your transcripts can be submitted before the nomination deadline. YOU are responsible for getting all transcripts to your CR in a timely fashion. Goldwater CRs are responsible for uploading transcripts to the Goldwater nomination site by the deadline.
If your current transcript lists all the courses you have taken at your current institution and any previous schools you have attended, as well as the course grades, then your current transcript is all that is needed. If courses and grades are missing, then you will need to obtain a transcript from the institution(s) where these courses were taken. Make sure you arrange to get these well in advance.
While official transcripts are always accepted, the Foundation also accepts unofficial transcripts under certain conditions. On some campuses, a Goldwater CR can download a student’s unofficial transcript directly. When this is the case, the CR can download your transcript and then upload it to the Goldwater online site. On other campuses, only you can download your unofficial transcript. In this case, you can use this transcript if you download it in the presence of your Goldwater CR. If you cannot print an unofficial transcript in the presence of your CR (e.g., you are studying abroad), you will need to arrange to have an official transcript sent to your CR. All transcripts need to include your name, college name, and must be easily readable. For scanned transcripts, institutional logos, ink marks, etc. should not obscure courses and grades. The key/guide that the university provides to read the transcript must accompany all transcripts!
If you are a Permanent Resident, upload a copy of your Permanent Resident Card (sometimes called a Green Card) to the online Goldwater nomination site.
STEP 5 – Nomination:
The names and the complete set of application materials for students selected as an institution’s Goldwater nominees must be uploaded to the Goldwater nomination site by an institution’s Campus Representative on or before the application deadline, the last Friday in January at 5:00 p.m. Central Time. Typically, CRs have an earlier final campus deadline by which they must have the nominees’ final materials. Check with your CR.
If you need help or assistance with any part of the application, contact the Goldwater Help Desk at 507-931-8335 or, by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.