Goldwater: UNC Endorsement Application


Three separate forms must be submitted prior to the endorsement deadline in order to complete your application. These include:

  • Personal Information form
  • Goldwater Online Application
  • Submit Recommenders form

We have separated the forms so that you may complete the steps at different times. The Personal Information and Recommenders forms cannot be saved and must be completed in one sitting.

**Note: You must have been nominated by a UNC faculty or staff member to apply for endorsement for the Goldwater Scholarship.**

Personal Information Form

This form allows you to provide information about you, your education, and your future plans to ODS and the Goldwater Selection Committee. You may complete this form prior to submitting your other application materials.


You will be asked to upload a high-resolution head shot photograph (.jpg or .jpeg file) for promotional purposes. It does not need to be professionally taken.

University Transcripts

Upload a copy of your current unofficial UNC transcript. Click here for information on how to obtain your transcript online. If you have taken higher education courses that are not reflected on your transcript, provide those transcripts as well.



Create an account for the Goldwater application. Before accessing the full application, you must first complete and submit a short Student Profile (Name, email address, telephone number, etc.) and Pre-application (Year in school, major, GPA, brief career interest statement, highest degree anticipated, etc). ODS will respond to your Pre-application within 2-3 business days. Be sure you complete this step well before the endorsement deadline so that you have time to complete the full online application.

Online Application

The online questionnaire, in addition to gathering background academic information, seeks to help the Goldwater Foundation understand a student’s commitment to pursuing a research career, intellectual intensity and potential for making a significant future contribution to research in one of the Goldwater eligible fields. A sample copy of the online questionnaire may be viewed here.

Research Essay

The strongest Research Essays are typically based on prior or current research experience. The Research Essay should include (1) a description of the issue or problem, (2) a discussion of the research methodology, and (3) a discussion of the student’s findings. Research Essays should be single spaced and use 12 point or larger Arial font. Margins should be 1 inch on all sides. Page length, including bibliographic information and references, must not exceed 3 pages.

More instructions for the Research Essay can be found under steps in the nomination process, application tips, and FAQs for applicants. Research Essays should be saved as PDF files and uploaded to the online application.


  • When application and research essay are complete, press “Lock & Submit” to submit to ODS
Goldwater Online Application

Letters of Recommendation

Request letters of recommendation directly from faculty using the form linked below. We encourage you contact your recommenders at least one month prior to the endorsement deadline and to share your personal statement, resume, and future goals with all recommenders. Please read this letter of guidance and share it with individuals you ask to write a letter of recommendation, along with the webpages Recommendation tips and Letters that are helpful.

When choosing recommenders, consider the following:

  • These should be individuals who know the student’s academic and research strengths and weaknesses well
  • Those who have served as faculty mentors for a student on a research project are among the student’s most important references
  • Letters can also come from faculty or post-docs who may not have served as the student’s research mentor but have interacted with or observed some aspect of the student’s research work
  • Letters from faculty who know a student well from the student’s science, math or engineering classes, particularly those who can relate course materials to the student’s research career interests or who can comment on the student’s research aspirations, are also among the group of appropriate letter writers
  • Evaluations from former high school teachers, coaches or family friends are generally of minimal value

When you complete the following form, your recommenders will receive an email with instructions to upload their letters as PDFs. You should ask potential recommenders personally before completing this form.

Letters of Recommendation should be no more than 3 pages, have 1-inch margins on all sides, be single spaced, use 12 point Arial font, and be printed on letterhead. Contact ODS if you need advice on choosing and contacting a recommender. Recommenders who have questions should contact ODS directly.

Submit Recommenders Form



After reviewing the applications for endorsement, the UNC Goldwater Scholarship Selection Committee will select competitive applicants for endorsement in December. Endorsed applicants will be able to to make revisions and update application materials with assistance from the Selection Committee Chair and ODS.

Endorsed applicants must submit their final application materials online to the Goldwater Foundation before the final deadline. ODS will upload transcripts and recommendation letters and approve online applications once they have been submitted. Finalists are notified by late March if they have been selected as a Goldwater Scholar or an Honorable Mention.