The OPIA Blog

3L E-Advising Series: Preparing for the Harvard Public Service Venture Fund (PSVF) Applications

The [link_to id=46396 title=”PSVF Organization-Based Fellowships”]PSVF Organization-Based Fellowship[/link_to] is an exciting way to launch the public service career of your dreams at a non-profit or government agency in the U.S. or abroad, while the [link_to id=46398 title=”PSVF Seed Grants”]PSVF Seed Grant[/link_to] provides entrepreneurial start-up support to establish a new non-profit to serve the public interest.

PSVF Organization-Based Fellowships

PSVF Organization-Based Fellowships are competitive, so following a few key tips now can make a difference. For PSVF Organization-Based Fellowships at host organizations:

  • Review your own eligibility for the fellowship.
  • Secure a host organization and closely review the [link_to id=46367 title=”PSVF Org-Based Host Organization Guidelines”]host eligibility guidelines[/link_to] to ensure it is in fact an eligible host. Not all non-profits, government agencies, or international courts are eligible hosts.
  • Review the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) host organizations must sign with Harvard with your proposed host: Ensure your host organization has reviewed the MOU by January 7, a month before the complete application is due, and is prepared to sign it or to present any requests for changes to HLS on or before that date. The MOU will not be modified by Harvard after full PSVF applications are submitted. If the organization proposes that the fellow sign any other contracts or documents as a condition of the fellowship, those will also need to be submitted to OPIA by January 7. OPIA will not accept mandatory arbitration clauses in any materials governing its fellowships.
  • Compile a list of your prior efforts to find a public interest job: Track your history of applying for other [link_to id=135171 title=”Fellowship and Entry-Level Job Deadlines Feed”]entry-level jobs and fellowships[/link_to] that demonstrate a genuine commitment to post-graduate public interest work that is not exclusive to just one organization.
  • Meet with an OPIA advisor about your job search: Reserve an [link_to id=47038 title=”Public Interest Services for Current Students”]advising appointment[/link_to] or bring questions to drop-in office hours.
  • Request letters of recommendation: Ask for letters of recommendation (one from someone who employed you and one from a faculty member who taught you in a clinical or classroom setting). The third letter is from your host organization (see guidelines detailing the role of the host organization). Be sure to follow our professionalism guidance on requesting recommendation letters.
  • Draft your application and seek feedback: Upload your application materials to the OPIA materials review portal for feedback well before the February 7 deadline.
  • Start your application in the CARAT platform: Register in the CARAT system and provide email addresses for your recommenders to upload their letters of support.
  • Continue to apply for other opportunities and update your prior efforts list even after you have submitted your PSVF application. If you are selected to interview for the fellowship, be sure to submit a new prior efforts form before your April interview.
  • Mock interview: If you are invited to interview, [link_to id=47038 title=”Public Interest Services for Current Students”]reserve an appointment[/link_to] to prepare for all interviews.

PSVF Seed Grant

PSVF Seed Grant applications to start a new non-profit organization are due on January 14. Learn more about the PSVF Seed Grant process.