P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans
Is it for you?
Established by the Hungarian immigrants and American philanthropists Paul and Daisy Soros, this fellowship provides opportunities for continuing generations of able and accomplished new Americans to achieve leadership in their chosen fields. The fellowship supports full-time graduate study in a professional, academic, or artistic field (including the visual and performing arts) in any graduate program in the U.S. Awards include up to $25,000 in maintenance and up to $20,000 in tuition support annually for a maximum of two years of graduate study. In addition, Soros Fellows participate in a cohort program. The award cannot be deferred.
What are the key dates?
The application cycle for 2023 has closed. Please check back in the spring/summer of 2024 for updates on the next cycle.
Soros Fellowship program staff offer virtual information sessions during each application cycle. Please see the Soros website for details. You can access recorded information sessions on the Soros website as well.
Deadline for NFP draft review: TBD for 2024 (usually mid-October)
Official deadline: TBD for 2024 (usually late October)
Are you eligible?
A Soros Fellowship candidate must:
- be a new American. If born abroad, you must be a green card holder or naturalized citizen by the application deadline; if born in the U.S., you must be a child of parents born abroad, neither of whom was a naturalized U.S. citizen, nor eligible for U.S. citizenship at the time of your birth. You are also eligible if granted governmental Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) by the application deadline. Should the DACA program be rescinded, PD Soros applicants who no longer have active DACA status will still be able to apply.
- be under 30 years of age or younger as of the application deadline.
- be a college senior who has chosen a field of study and identified full-time U.S. graduate programs to which s/he wishes to apply; or have a bachelor’s degree, having made the same choices; or be in the first or second year of the full-time graduate degree program for which you request support. Support may also be requested for a second graduate degree. *The Soros does not fund executive MBA programs, online degrees, and BA/MA programs.
- fulfill the Selection Criteria for Soros Fellows, and meet the Eligibility Requirements for Soros Fellows.
How do you work with the NFP?
JHU nomination is not required for the Soros. Applicants submit their own materials to the Soros Foundation, though are encouraged to work with NPF staff, who are available to advise them and read drafts of their essays.
The timeline gives an overview of the application process and when to reach out to us. In preparation, see “have a closer look” below for more resources about the Soros.
|September||Contact NFP to learn more; start gathering application materials (e.g. recommendations)
|October||Submit drafts of your essays to NFP for feedback
|early November||Meet the Soros official deadline
Are you competitive?
The Soros Fellowship Committee funds 30 awards each year. The Soros Foundation seeks candidates with demonstrated creativity, originality, and initiative; academic and extracurricular accomplishments; commitment to the Constitution and Bill of Rights; and a promise of future significant contributions to their field and/or society. Candidates are funded for their vision and evaluated according to the following criteria:
- Two essays:
- In no more than 1,000 words, the first essay should illustrate how applicants’ activities and accomplishments reflect creativity, originality, and initiative over a sustained period of time, particularly in light of their unique immigration stories. The committee defines creativity and originality broadly across social, professional, academic, and artistic endeavors; initiative refers to how students resolve issues in their own way. It seeks candidates with the potential to become influential leaders capable of distinctive, sustained contributions to their respective fields. In this essay, do not skip over growing up—you must discuss your new Americanness from a young age in this essay, and, specifically, what has it meant to you, how it’s shaped who you are, and how it’s influenced your future goals. The essay must almost exclusively focus on you, and not on your parents and your thankfulness that they gave you opportunities by immigrating to the U.S.
- The second essay, of 1,000 words or less, should address the relevance of candidates’ graduate training to their long-term goals, and the extent to which their training will enhance their future creativity and accomplishments. You must justify the type of degree to which you are applying is the best one for your professional goals; if you could gain the skills you want from a Masters program, you shouldn’t write that you’ll apply to an MBA program, for example.
These essays may also elaborate on the candidates’ commitment to the values expressed in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. This could include support of human rights and the rule of law, opposition to unwarranted encroachment on personal liberty, appreciation for an infrastructure behind the legal framework, and advancement of the responsibilities of citizenship in a free society.
- The overall trajectory of applicants’ lives: While demonstrating the ability to successfully complete a graduate program is fundamental to selection, grades represent only one indicator of success for the Soros Fellowship. The committee recognizes that candidates’ backgrounds, educational development, and immigrant experiences differ substantially, and seeks to account for these differences in assessing each applicant’s potential for future success. Please note that when deliberating over selections, the committee does not consider candidates’ political agendas, country of origin/heritage, university, or financial need. Nonetheless, you will not be penalized for discussing your heritage and financial need in your application.
- Letters of recommendation: Three letters of recommendation are required, while two additional ones may be submitted; the foundation strongly suggests more than three letters. These letters represent a critical component of the application and should be written by individuals who know you well, particularly in the context of the Fellowship’s criteria. One recommendation should come from a faculty member or research supervisor who is familiar with your academic performance. The second letter should come from a supervisor who can assess and comment on your involvement in one or more non-academic activities. The others may come from whichever context better demonstrates your ability to meet the selection criteria delineated for the essays. If you are a first-year graduate student, you may include a letter from an admissions officer or another individual with whom you had contact before matriculating; you should also include a letter from an undergraduate professor who has known you for several years. Because recommenders should validate and/or elaborate on the specific qualities and experiences candidates articulate in their essays, applicants would be well-advised to submit their essays to their recommenders and suggest that they follow the “Guidance for Recommenders” section of the Soros website.
- Résumé: A one- to two-page résumé that emphasizes academic and non-academic activities relevant to the selection criteria is required. The résumé should also document periods subsequent to the completion of the bachelor’s degree, if relevant. You should strive to demonstrate what makes you different (an activity, for example) to distinguish yourself from the applicant pool.
- Official transcripts: These are required from all undergraduate (including community college), study abroad, and graduate institutions.
- Standardized test scores: Scores from any aptitude tests taken for the graduate study program for which you are applying for funding (e.g., GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, etc.) are required and help the program assess candidates’ academic opportunities.
- Exhibits: Though not required, the committee recommends that applicants submit up to five additional pages that illustrate their creativity, originality and/or initiative. You should upload anything that will support what you’ve told about yourself or present a more well-rounded picture of who you are. Appropriate exhibits might include:
- copies of newspaper or magazine articles about you and/or your accomplishments.
- excerpts from a portfolio/links to a website with artwork or musical performance.
- letters of commendation.
- abstract of journal articles you have authored or co-authored.
- photography/photo collages.
- recipes (from a chef).
- creative writing (prose excerpts, poetry, a scene from a play, etc.).
- first pages of a senior thesis.
- any certificate you’ve received (for studying a language, for an extracurricular activity, etc.).
If you are applying for support in the fine or performing arts, or if you feel that your performances or contributions to films, documentaries, etc. are important aspects of your accomplishments, you can submit CDs or DVDs or no more than 12 slides.
Have a closer look:
Visit the Official Website
The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans offers online information sessions about the fellowship, its goals, and the application process. Webinars are typically offered once a week in September and October (view a full schedule).