December 9, 2021
The PSVF Organization-Based Fellowship 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. 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. Note that there are specific eligibility rules for LL.M. candidates.
- Secure a host organization and closely review the host eligibility guidelines 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 entry-level jobs and fellowships that demonstrate a genuine commitment to post-graduate public interest work that is not exclusive to just one organization.
- Meet with an OPIA adviser about your job search: Reserve an advising appointment 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, reserve an appointment to prepare for all interviews.