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Frequently Asked Questions: SRDF Program

I will not have completed my sophomore year by the application deadline, but I will by the time the fellowship begins. Can I still apply?

Yes, to meet application requirements you must have completed either your sophomore or junior year of undergraduate studies at the time the fellowship begins. You do not have to have completed your sophomore year by the application deadline.

What is considered a complete application?

The first part of the application is completed via the Interfolio website. The site will prompt you to answer a series of simple questions and will ask you to write two 500 word essays on provided prompts. We also ask that you submit a resume and a writing sample from any academic discipline. The second part of the application will be your official transcript of all academic courses completed at the time of application. The third part is a letter of recommendation from a faculty member familiar with your work. This must be sent directly to the ABF by the recommender via mail or email. All pieces of the application must be received (not postmarked) by the posted deadline in the format requested in order to be considered.

What is an official transcript?

To be considered official, the transcripts must come directly from your school’s registrar. The registrar may send it to the ABF electronically or via mail.

Is this an annual opportunity?

Yes, this fellowship is offered on an annual basis. Application information and materials, including due dates, are updated in the fall and can be accessed through the ABF website, americanbarfoundation.org.

Do you have to be from Chicago to apply?

No, we accept applications from any student who meets the posted application criteria. Transportation to and from Chicago to participate in the program will be paid for by the ABF.

Is housing provided?

Yes, housing for the students is provided by the ABF. Other living expenses are not provided, but students do receive a stipend.

What is the stipend payment schedule?

The stipend is split into two payments throughout the duration of the fellowship, usually at the beginning and the halfway point.

What are the dates of the fellowship?

The fellowship is an eight week program. It begins the first full week of June and ends the last week of July. The exact dates vary from year to year.

How many fellows are chosen each year? How many usually apply?

Four students are chosen annually. The number of applicants varies from year to year, but we tend to receive between 150-250 applications each year.

Do I choose my own research topic?

No; the purpose of the fellowship is for you to assist a research professor with a project they have already established.

What sort of writing sample should I submit?

This is completely up to you. This is to give us a sense of your personal voice, style of writing, and the way you express yourself or develop an argument. The writing sample could range from a paper for a philosophy class to a short story for a fiction class. Please simply submit a piece of academic work you feel proud of and that showcases who you are as a writer and thinker.

How often will I come to the ABF?

You will come in to the ABF from 9am-5pm Monday through Friday, though several off-site visits will also be scheduled during the week.

What sort of site visits are part of the program?

Past site visits have included meeting the deans of Chicago-area law schools, visiting law firms, attending a trial at Cook County criminal court, visiting nonprofits with missions related to social justice, visiting the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern’s Bluhm Legal Clinic, sitting in on editorial meetings with the editors of the ABF’s academic journal Law & Social Inquiry and several more. You will also have scheduled lunches with research faculty and doctoral fellows who are part of the ABF community.

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