Frequently Asked Questions

Call for Applications: 

We are now accepting applications for our Class of 2019 fellowships. The deadline to apply is Thursday, February 1, 2018. Please visit our FAQ page if you have any questions about the program or the application process.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the application deadline for the Class of 2019 fellowship?

The deadline to apply for our Class of 2019 fellowship is Thursday, February 1, 2018, at 5 pm EST. Unfortunately, we are not able to consider late submissions.

You can access the application here.

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What are the start and end dates of the fellowship?

Fellowships generally begin on September 1st and run until August 31st of the following year.

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What kind of support does the Fellows Program offer?

  • Funding:  New America provides stipends at varying levels to support the work of our fellows. Precise terms and stipend amounts vary, as some fellows work full-time at New America developing their projects, while others maintain outside professional commitments during the term of their fellowship.
  • Community:  In addition to supporting individual projects, New America encourages fellows to engage with each other. We typically hold gatherings for fellows every two months that include lunches where fellows take turns presenting their work to the staff of New America; casual get-togethers where fellows compare notes on topics such as dealing with prickly sources, organizing research, or finding an agent; informal learning sessions where professionals share their expertise on skills such as talking on television or creating data visualizations online. We also hold an annual retreat.
  • Platforms and Partners:  New America offers fellows leverage for joining the public conversation, including opportunities to hold and attend events at our DC and New York spaces, to publish with our digital magazine New America Weekly or with one of our many media partners such as Slate's Future Tense channel, or the Better Life Lab channel with Slate. Further, fellows will have an opportunity to connect with our network of editors and agents, and to work with our media relations team on reaching broader audiences. We also encourage fellows to interact with our various policy programs, which house some of the top thinkers in their respective fields, and to contribute more broadly to the intellectual verve of New America and its longer-term focus. 
  • Logan Nonfiction Writing Program:  In addition, the New America Fellows Program has been working with the Carey Institute in upstate New York to fast-track interested Fellows for their nonfiction residencies (you can find out more about them here).
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How selective is the application process?

Our application process is highly selective. For our Class of 2018 fellowships, we received over 500 applications, and we accepted 13 National Fellows during that cycle.

It is also worth noting that the number of National Fellows we take on each year varies and is subject to funding changes and other considerations.

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What is your timeline for decisions?

In general, the timeline for reviewing applications is subject to change and depends on the number of applications we receive as well as on the availability of reviewers.

The Fellows Program staff and members of the Selection Committee will review all of the applications in March and April. This first review will winnow the group down to 40 to 50 finalists. Those who have not made it to the next round will be notified in May.

 Those who are selected as finalists will be contacted in May as well. At this point, finalists will be asked to schedule interviews with the program as part of the selection process. We will also ask for contact information for references at this stage (they are not requested before this time).

Concurrently, we will send applications for review by our Selection Committee, which is made up of the Director of the National Fellows Program, the Deputy Director of the National Fellows Program, New America’s President, current and former New America National Fellows, and others in New America’s network. Applications are private—we ask anyone involved in the selection process not to share or discuss any of the candidates or materials with outsiders.

We expect to make our final selections in June and will contact finalists about our decisions at that point.

National Fellows will be publicly announced when they begin their fellowships in September.

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Can I apply for the Fellows Program if I have and plan on keeping a full-time position?

Yes! Many of our current Fellows continue on with full-time positions outside of New America during their fellowship year. Some also keep these positions part-time or take book/project leave at various points during the year. We do want fellows to carve out time and space to pursue their fellowship proposal and expect that they will make considerable progress on these projects, but we do not require that they drop other professional obligations to do so.

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Can I apply for the Fellows Program if I am not based in Washington, DC or am not a U.S. citizen?

Yes! New America is headquartered in Washington, DC, but we also have an office in New York, San Francisco and a newly-opened office in Chicago that can serve as local hubs for fellows. That said, we welcome applications from those located outside of these metropolitan areas.

The important consideration is that no matter where you are based, we expect Fellows to be involved in the New America community. That may involve traveling to our various offices for events, attending or calling into our Fellows Program sessions, and otherwise being engaged in conversations we are having at New America.

We also consider applications from those who may be based abroad for all or part of the year. We generally look for those who have compelling reasons to be based abroad (e.g., we have current Fellows developing projects related to Russia and Syria, and we understand how important it is for them to do their reporting from those respective regions).

We also accept applications from non-U.S. citizens under the same considerations as above.

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Can I apply for the Fellows Program again if a previous year's application was not accepted?

Yes, you are welcome to apply to the program again. You will be asked about any previous efforts to apply when you submit your application.

That said, if the project you are proposing this year is the same, or similar, to the project you've submitted as part of your application in the past, we ask that you tell us more about the progress you've made on the same project since you last applied to the program. If you are proposing a new project, then please mention that in your application, and we will read your statement of interest with that in mind.

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Can I apply for the Fellows Program if I haven't completed a formal book proposal? Haven't secured a publishing or equivalent contract? Do not have an agent?

Yes to all of these. We take on Fellows at various project stages—from those who are still writing their book (or documentary or other) proposal to those who are well on their way to completing their second or third book. What we do look for is individuals who have well-articulated and compelling ideas that they want to develop.

 We also have resources available for those who are new to the process including professional development sessions with experts in the industry, contacts with agents and publishers, and a host of current and alumni Fellows who have published books, produced documentaries, etc. that can help answer questions that come up.

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What kind of work samples are you looking for?

Please pick out the work that best shows off your abilities related to the project you are proposing (within the limits of the page count, of course).

For writing samples, this could be drafts, unpublished works (book proposals, excerpts from sample chapters, etc.), or published works (articles, book excerpts, op-eds, blog posts, etc.). It is up to you which you would like to include. Please note that we only allow three samples—anything beyond three, even if it falls within the page count limit, will not be considered.

For certain proposals, it may also make sense to include non-written works. This could be documentary clips, highlight reels from television appearances, photo essays, etc. Please note that we allow only three total work samples (e.g., three written works and an additional three video clips would not be considered).

We would suggest choosing work that best represents:

  • Your ability to communicate to broad audiences一with storytelling and narrative, clarity of explanation, compelling arguments, striking images, etc.
  • Your expertise in the area that you are proposing AND/OR your abilities to do the kind of research, reporting, thinking, or other types of work required for your proposed project.
  • Shows off any other talents you would like to showcase that you think would be helpful for us to consider as we weigh your proposal.

TED talks do not count as original work and should not be submitted as a component of your work sample (written or video). All videos must be your original work and be produced by you.

Applications are kept private, so any work in progress will not be shared beyond those involved in our selection process.

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Can I ask someone with the Fellows Program to review my project idea or to read through any components of my application?

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide candidates with direct feedback either on a project idea or on the components of an application; we don't want our feedback to be viewed as an endorsement of an application.  

We are certain that you can find enough information on our website to guide you as you prepare your application.  Reading through the bios/project summaries for those Fellows in our current class may be a great starting point.

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Can I submit a combination of written and non-written work samples?

Yes, but you may not submit three writing samples in addition to three video clips.

You can choose to submit either three writing samples only (not to exceed 40 pages), three video samples only, or a combination of written and non-written work samples that should not exceed the three pieces in total.

Please use your best judgment when dividing your three count work sample maximum between the two types of samples (i.e. if you'll be submitting two writing samples and one video clip, the writing sample page count should not exceed 27 pages; or if you'll be submitting one writing sample along with two video clips, the writing sample page count should not exceed 14 pages).

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Do you require a list of references or letters of recommendation as part of the initial application?

No, we will only ask finalists (once notified in May) to submit contact information for references that we can reach out to.

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Is it possible to learn more about the program?

We held an information session in Washington, DC on December 6, 2016 and you can view a video recording of the session online through the event page.

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I understand that funding varies widely but can you share the range of funding amounts?

Stipends generally fall into the following levels: $15,000-$30,000. The mix of stipends offered each class varies widely depending on the type of applicants we take on and the funding we get for that year. .

There is no need for candidates to address stipends, budgets, etc. in their proposal—you should use the space in your Statement of Interest to pitch your idea, unless certain funding considerations are directly relevant to the ability of the individual to complete their proposal (e.g., you have secured outside funding for expensive travel).

There are a number of factors that contribute to funding decisions, including whether or not the individual will be pursuing their project full time or keep other professional obligations, how involved the individual will be in the New America community, and whether or not the individual secures outside funding on their own or one of our funders is interested in supporting their work.

Fellows are free to use the stipends they receive in the manner they choose: it may be full or supplementary income that year; it may be used for travel, research assistance, multimedia help, or other expenses related to developing the project; etc. Again, how you use the stipend does not have to be addressed in the application—we are far more interested in the ideas upon first consideration.

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If you are writing with a co-author, can you apply as a team?

The short answer is yes, we do consider teams of two or more (co-authors or otherwise).

We also have supported individual members of pairs and larger teams in the past.

Although applying as a team would not disqualify you, especially if an outstanding project was proposed, it would raise funding concerns that single applicants usually do not. We will also note that we have never funded two or more members of a project team in the past, but we've only had a handful of applicants who have applied as such.

If you would like to apply as a team, we suggest that one of you apply and explain what kind of team arrangement you would like to have—if you would be co-Fellows, one Fellow and an outside collaborator, etc.—either in the statement of interest or in a separate addendum.

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I’m confused. I see a lot of different fellowships at New America. Are they all through this New America National Fellows Program?

In brief, no.

The National New America Fellows Program we are discussing here supports a number of our fellowships, including our general pool of New America National Fellows (named Eric & Wendy Schmidt Fellows), our Emerson Fellows, New Arizona Fellows (a partnership between New America and the Center for the Future of Arizona), our ASU Future of War Fellows as well as our Southern New Hampshire University Fellows. You can see a full roster of the fellows that we support here.

There are no special deadlines or application procedures for these different aforementioned fellowships.

New America policy programs also support a variety of their own fellowships that do not go through our official National Fellows Program. We suggest contacting the program associates of these individual programs for more information about these fellowships.

 New America has also recently launched a New America California Fellows Program, which is administered separately from the National Fellows Program through our office in San Francisco. For more information about applying for that program or about their current roster of Fellows, click here. Applicants are welcome to apply (but have to do so separately) for the national and the California fellowships.

In 2017 New America recently launched the Millennial Public Policy Fellows program for candidates who will be 24 years old or under at the start of the program in late August 2017.  For more information about applying for that program, click here.

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