Frequent Problems with Applications

The Udall Scholarship is a highly competitive award. Readers look for the following characteristics:

A Strong Commitment - A deep passion for the environment, tribal policy, or Native health care is evident from application (career goals, aspirations, activities, service, academic pursuits, references, etc.). The application gives insight into the student's motivation or the driving force behind her/his passion.

A Strong Trajectory - The application provides a coherent narrative of the student's path. The career goals, activities and service demonstrate that the student has begun to work towards a career that will allow him/her to make significant contributions to environmental issues, or to tribal communities and Indian country through political or public service, community action, or scientific advances.

A Strong Character - This is "The Mo Factor": civility, integrity, and consensus. Application reveals a desire to make a difference and solve problems. Demonstrated leadership experience goes beyond sitting on a committee or planning an event to motivating others and producing results that benefit the campus or community. General well-roundedness.

The principal reasons an applicant may not be awarded a scholarship are:

  • Coursework and plan of study unlikely to lead to career related to the environment, or tribal public policy or Native American health care;
  • Career plans not supported by goals of the scholarship program;
  • Poor use of the short essay questions to reveal values, interests, and motivation;
  • Little evidence of leadership;
  • Lack of community involvement, particularly in the case of tribal public policy or Native American health care applicants;
  • Few activities or research that reveal interest in and commitment to the environment, or tribal public policy or Native American health care.

Faculty representatives may request feedback from the Foundation concerning unsuccessful nominees and Honorable Mentions who are eligible to reapply their junior year by contacting Jane Curlin. (The Foundation does not provide feedback directly to individual nominees.)

For more on the selection process and how applications are read, take a look at Insight from a Former Reader, Frequent Problems with Applications, and the Rating Form.

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