Goldwater Application


Applicants must submit the items below to ODS before the UNC Endorsement Application Deadline in November.

All application materials – except for transcripts, photo, and letters of recommendation – should be incorporated into one PDF. Click here to submit materials.

Applying for UNC Endorsement

The deadline to apply for UNC’s endorsement for the Goldwater Scholarship is November 9, 2016; students must first be nominated by October 5, 2016. Students should notify ODS as soon as possible of their intent to apply. Before being nominated, students must now complete a pre-application to be approved by ODS.

Applicants must complete an online application and provide the following materials:

Goldwater Scholarships Endorsement Application Form

The online application for use in the endorsement application can be accessed here. Do not submit the application online or enter your recommenders’ email addresses online. This form should be saved and submitted as a PDF file before the endorsement application deadline. All answers must fit in the spaces provided. Applicants who receive endorsement will then receive instructions regarding the final application.

The application requests details about the student’s background, interests, and plans, including the following information:

  • Essay (3 Page Limit): The essay should discuss “a significant issue or problem in your field of study that is of particular interest to you.” The essay must include “a description of the issue or problem, describe an aspect of the research in which you would be involved, and explain the relevance of the issue or problem to you as a mathematician, scientist, or engineer.” See the Applicant Information and Instructions for additional instructions.
    • Note: The essay must be based on prior/proposed research and may be single or doubled-spaced and in 12 pt Ariel or Times font, have 1-inch margins and be in PDF format.
  • Permanent Resident Documentation: Applicants who have a citizenship status of Permanent Resident must include a copy of their permanent resident card and a letter of intent to become a U.S. citizen.
  • List of Recommenders: Provide a list of recommenders, including includes each person’s title (e.g. Mr./Ms./Mrs./Dr./Professor), full name, position, affiliation (name of their institution, employer, etc.), and email address. 


Provide a recent, high-resolution headshot or passport-style photograph (.jpg or .jpeg file). Label the file so your full name is included as part of the file name.

Letters of Recommendation

Three recommendation letters should be submitted with your endorsement application.

  • Please read this letter of guidance and share it with individuals you ask to write a letter of recommendation. Contact ODS if you need advice on choosing and contacting a recommender.
  • It is helpful to provide context by sharing these endorsement application requirements, your resume, and your specific academic and professional interests and goals.
  • Letters should be from people who can speak in detail about your scholarly work and potential; and, if relevant, your specific interests, background, qualifications, and experience. This may include supervisors and professors. It is preferable to choose a professor instead of a teaching assistant.
  • Two letters of recommendation should come from faculty members who can discuss the applicant’s potential for a career in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering. (The faculty member who nominated you may write one of the letters of recommendation.) One or more letters should be from a faculty member in the applicant’s field of study. The third letter should be from another individual/faculty member who can attest to the applicant’s potential. Please see the Applicant Information and Instructions for additional guidance in choosing recommenders.
  • Be mindful of the time it takes recommenders to write strong, effective letters. Do not ask for more letters than you will need. Stay in contact with your recommenders through relevant deadlines so that both you and your recommenders can respond accordingly.

Recommendation letters should be dated, addressed to “The Goldwater Scholarship Selection Committee” and do not need to include a physical address for ODS or the award organization. Letters should be submitted directly to ODS before the Endorsement Application Deadline by clicking here. Applicants should provide this link (along with your PID) to recommenders for submitting their letter. Recommenders may format their letters as PDF documents and should include the award name (“Goldwater”) and the applicant’s last name in the file name. Applicants should not be given access to their letters of recommendation.

Recommenders who have questions should contact ODS directly.

Note: Applicants who receive UNC’s endorsement will need a total of three letters of recommendation. Recommenders will receive additional instructions if they need to resubmit their letters.

Secondary School Transcripts

Submit an unofficial or official transcript for each secondary school attended.

  • Each applicant should submit a clear unofficial transcript for each secondary school attended directly to ODS when they submit their application for endorsement.
  • As an alternative, applicants may submit an officially sealed transcript for each secondary school attended directly to ODS before the endorsement application deadline.
  • If needed, applicants should request an official transcript from his or her high school. This transcript may be sent directly to ODS. Home-school documentation in lieu of a secondary school transcript is acceptable when applicable.

University Transcripts

Submit an unofficial cumulative transcript for each college or university attended. This transcript should reflect the final grades for the most recent term applicable. If you receive endorsement, you must order and submit to ODS an official and sealed paper transcript(s). (Click here to for help producing a PDF of your unofficial transcript. The PDF should include your full name in the file name.)

  • As an alternative, applicants may bring to ODS before the endorsement application deadline an officially sealed paper transcript for each college or university attended.
  • If you have already submitted an unofficial or official transcript(s) to ODS for another endorsement and the transcript(s) is still current, you do not need to submit another transcript(s) during the endorsement application stage. Instead, provide a typed note with your PID, name, the number of transcripts that should be included with your endorsement application, and the date when you submitted the transcript(s) to ODS.


After reviewing the applications for endorsement, the UNC Goldwater Scholarship Selection Committee will select competitive applicants for endorsement by December.


Application Revisions

Applicants endorsed by the UNC Goldwater Scholarship Selection Committee will have approximately five weeks to make revisions and update application materials with assistance from the Selection Committee Chair and ODS.

Submitting The Final Application

Endorsed applicants must submit their final application materials online to the Goldwater Foundation before the final deadline in late January. Recommenders must submit their final letters online via a prompt that will be sent when endorsed applicants add recommender email addresses to their online application. ODS will mail relevant application materials to the Goldwater Foundation and approve online applications once they have been submitted.

Selection Announcement

Finalists are notified by late March if they have been selected as a Goldwater Scholar or an Honorable Mention.