9 Application Tips As You Prepare for the Upcoming 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowships for Africans

Applying to be a 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow: 9 Application Tips

On July 28, 2014, in front of the inaugural class of Fellows, President Obama announced the renaming of the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in honor of Nelson Mandela. The Mandela Washington Fellowships for Young African Leaders is now the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

The Mandela Washington Fellowships for Young African Leaders empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. It is not designed to help Fellows identify funding for projects or organizations.

Are you thinking of applying to the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship? The application season is fast approaching, so begin to prepare now! The YALI Network Team interviewed 2017 Mandela Washington Fellows and asked them to share their advice on putting together a successful application. Applications start this September, see how to apply here.

Nine application tips to help you

1). Advocate for Yourself

When you are timid or shy, you don’t fully explain what you have accomplished through your activities. You are not demonstrating who you really are and how you’re a leader in your community or within your organization. Your written application needs to be able to stand out in a large pool of applicants.

2). Reach Out

Don’t wait for someone to come to you and give you advice — take initiative and seek it. There are many Mandela Washington Fellows looking to help prospective applicants. Look up past Fellows and find their contact information, send them an email, or drop them a Facebook message and introduce yourself.

3). Visit yali.state.gov

When filling in their application, current Fellows found the online blog posts and FAQ page very helpful.

4). Take Your Time.

Start early and familiarize yourself with the application questions. Do not rush your application or try to complete it at the last minute.

5). Be Specific and Truthful.

Narrow down your focus. It’s great that you’re interested in a lot of different projects, but make sure to emphasize your expertise on a certain topic. Know your projects, know your passion. Don’t pretend to be interested in something you’re not.

6). Be Resourceful.

If internet access is scarce or expensive, find a place to print out the application forms and fill out the answers directly on the form. This also gives you a chance to reflect on and refine your responses. Once you have finalized your answers, go back online and fill in the application based on what you already wrote.

7). Ask For Help.

Find someone (or a couple of people) to review your application and provide feedback, especially if English is not your native language.

8). Take a Chance!

If you’re reading this list, you’re already a step ahead! You’re here because you want to better your community — believe in yourself and what you can do, and apply!

9). Stay Cautiously Optimistic.

Applying for the Fellowship doesn’t guarantee you’ll get it. (Last year there were more than 64,000 applicants!) Having realistic expectations can help you articulate your goals and what you would hope to achieve through the Fellowship. Keep in mind that there are a lot of other opportunities open to you under the YALI program aside from the Fellowship — like the Regional Leadership Centers and YALI Network courses and resources.

PLEASE NOTE:
President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa. The Fellows, who are between the ages of 25 and 35, have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries.

To know more about this and apply for the Mandela Washington Fellowships, please visit the link just below.

Related: Mandela Washington Fellowships in USA for Young Africans

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