Killam Fellowship Application Essay

What is the personal statement?

Most fellowship applications include a personal statement. This is an opportunity for you to show your critical thinking skills in a creative format. It is where you get to add your voice to the mix of materials that reviewers see when you apply for fellowships. Use the personal statement to highlight positive aspects about yourself that may not be apparent in other parts of your application.

The personal statement is your place to ask and answer questions about your past, present and future, including:

  • What has brought you to this point in your life?
  • What have you learned from your past experiences?
  • What do you want to do with your studies?
  • How will this fellowship help you pursue you goals?
  • Why should this fellowship want to invest in you?

The personal statement should not be a simple list of your activities and accomplishments. Instead, try to craft a narrative that shows the review committee reader that you have the qualities the fellowship is looking for.

How to write a personal statement

You can approach the personal statement in many different ways. Some students like to start with an outline, while others start by brainstorming. The main points are: What are a few things you want people to know about you? Why is this fellowship right for you?

Writing improves with successive drafts. It is not unusual to write several drafts of the personal statement. As long as the fellowship rules allow it (and most do), you should bring your writing to the OGP advisers. We can discuss your ideas at any stage and talk in-depth with you about your statement. We don't try to fit you into a mold. Instead, our goal is to help you write a statement that you feel best represents you!

Keep these ideas in mind as you write:

  • Use specific examples from your life to highlight your positive qualities--the more concrete the better.
  • Include stories from your life, your favorite quotes, or anecdotes that reveal how you define yourself and see the world
  • Show your reader that the issues that move you are important. Get them to want to "fight the fight" with you.
  • Describe the ways you want to make an impact in the world.

Once you have written your personal statement, invite friends and family to read it. Do they think it portrays the person they know? Fellowship committees value authenticity above all other qualities. Make sure your statement reflects your true values and aspirations.

For a complete list of Carleton exchange partners, please click here.


The Killam Fellowships program is a prestigious exchange program that gives Canadian students the opportunity to study abroad while attending an American university. Students are eligible to study abroad either for one semester or a full academic year.

If selected, students are awarded $5,000 US per semester to help cover the costs of studying as well as $750 US for health insurance allowance. The Killam Fellowship will also cover the expenses for students to attend a Fall Orientation in Ottawa as well as a Spring Seminar in Washington.

In addition, all Fellows are eligible to apply for a mobility grant in an amount not to exceed $800 US. The mobility initiative is to allow students to undertake an educational field trip, providing the Fellows with the opportunity to gain a broader understanding of the culture of the host country. The Killam Fellowship Program also offers specialized programming for alumni.

2017-2018 Killam Fellowships Program Flyer: Download here (PDF)


  • Canadian citizenship
  • Full-time undergraduate student in good academic standing
  • Students must be in second year standing or higher at the time of application
  • Students who transferred to Carleton must have completed at least one (1) full academic year of studies at Carleton at the time of application
  • Students must have enough credits remaining in their degree to study full time at the partner institution
  • Minimum overall CGPA of 10.0


2018-2019 Direct Exchange Program (Deadlines: December 1, 2017 for Carleton application and January 15, 2018 for Killam application)

Carleton students are eligible to apply for the Direct Exchange Program, which allows them to pay Carleton tuition while attending one of the Killam Fellowships Program’s American Partners. Applicants must submit their Carleton University Exchange application (via Carleton Central) by December 1, 2017 AND submit their Killam application to the ISSO by January 15, 2018 to be considered.

For more information contact: International Student Services Office, 128 University Centre,

2018-2019 Open Competition

Carleton students are also eligible to apply for the Open category which allows them to attend any degree-granting institution in the United States. Selected students in the open category are responsible for paying any required tuition at their host university, but can use the funds from the Killam Fellowship to help cover the costs. Open competition students may apply directly to the Foundation or through the study abroad office at their own institution. There are no limits to the number of applicants in the open competition. All applicants forwarded directly to the Foundation will be considered for the open competition.

For more information visit the Killam Followships website.


Click here to review instructions for submitting your Carleton University Exchange Program application via Carleton Central.

Instructions for completing the Killam Fellowships application package can be downloaded from the Killam website  (scroll to bottom of page for the “apply now” menu).The list below is meant as a guideline only and should be thoroughly cross-referenced with the Killam website.  

A complete Killam Fellowships application consists of these components, printed on one side of a page only (not double sided), in the following order, except the transcripts:
– completed cover sheet and checklist,
– completed, signed and dated Killam Fellowships Program application form,
– personal statement (one (1) single-spaced page maximum),
– clear and concise curriculum vitae/résumé (three (3) pages maximum),
– course selection for the top three (3) choices for which you want to be considered, approved and signed by a
student academic advisor at your home university,
– two reference forms (forms are mandatory, letters are optional) in sealed envelopes with the signature of the
referees on the seals. At least one reference should be from a professor familiar with the student’s work (see
application instructions above for more details),
– an official university transcript in a sealed envelope (see application instructions for more details),
– photocopy of your passport (preferable), birth certificate, or other documentation that verifies citizenship,
– report on English language proficiency, if your first language is not English and you are not currently
studying at an English-language institution. Please note that candidates may also be asked to submit a TOEFL score.

All applications will be thoroughly reviewed and the applicants ranked by an independent adjudication committee comprised of faculty members from participating universities and senior officials from the Foundation.

All awards are subject to the availability of funds, acceptance by the host university, and the ability to secure appropriate visa arrangements. Please note that immigration rules and procedures are subject to change and that all applicants must meet the current legal requirements of the host country.

For more information, please visit the Killam Fellowships Program website or contact the ISSO at

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