Frequently Asked Questions

How do I submit an application for the fellowship?
The online application can be found here on our website.

How are the Fellows chosen?
Our Fellows are selected through a competitive application process that emphasizes genuine passion for mentoring students, an innovative concept for a discussion series (“study group”) to be conducted over the course of one semester, and commitment to being fully present on Harvard’s campus for roughly ten weeks. Applications are reviewed by IOP staff members as well as a dedicated “Fellows Search Committee” of undergraduate students.

How long is the fellowship? What is the time commitment for the Fellows?
Fellows are expected to be in residence in Cambridge, MA for the duration of the Fellowship, which is one academic semester (ten weeks). Spring Fellows generally arrive on campus during the first week of February and depart in late April; Fall Fellows usually arrive in early September and remain until early December. While occasional travel is acceptable, Fellows are expected to spend the majority of their time on campus to work with students. The IOP prioritizes Fellow candidates who can meet this expectation.

What are the requirements of the fellowship?

1. Attend Fellows Orientation and IOP Open House. All Resident Fellows attend the IOP’s Resident Fellows Orientation to learn about the Harvard community, review logistical and programmatic details, and meet with IOP staff and student leaders. Fellows will participate in a public event in the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum followed by the IOP Open House, where undergraduates can meet the cohort of Fellows and be formally introduced to their backgrounds and study groups.

2. Organize and lead weekly Study Groups. Study groups are the core of the Fellows and Study Groups program. Each Resident Fellow will lead a weekly, 75-minute discussion for eight weeks on a theme of their choice. These discussions are open to the Harvard community, closed to the media and not for attribution, and designed to engage students in discussions on a topic related to the mission of the IOP and the Fellow’s prior experience. Fellows are welcome to incorporate up to four guests into their study group to enhance discussion. Note that guests can video conference into study groups without having to travel to Boston, which Fellows should keep in mind when formulating their guest lists.

3. Oversee (and mentor) six undergraduate student liaisons. Each Resident Fellow will be assigned a team of six student liaisons for the semester. Liaison teams assist Fellows throughout the entire semester and are responsible for preparing for the weekly study group, recruiting students to attend study groups and other events, and increasing Fellows' exposure and involvement across campus. Fellows are expected to meet at least weekly with their liaison team and serve as mentors during their semester at Harvard. Fellows form deep relationships with their liaison team and enjoy weekly activities with them, ranging from meals in undergraduate Houses (dorms) to sporting events, theater productions, and other community events.

4. Conduct weekly office hours. Fellows are required to hold four hours of office hours per week, in which students sign up to visit the Fellow's office and interact one-on-one. Ideally, office hours are split up over two days. Fellows are welcome to hold more than four hours of office hours if they wish.

5. Attend the IOP Senior Advisory Committee Meeting. The Institute’s Senior Advisory Committee meets once per semester, and Fellows are expected to be in attendance to share and reflect on their IOP Fellowship experience.

6. Attend the Fellows’ Farewell. Fellows are expected to join an end-of-semester farewell event, where student liaisons and leadership, staff, and fellow Fellows celebrate the end of a successful semester.

7. Participate in IOP programming. The Institute hosts numerous events throughout the semester, from Forums to Pizza and Politics. Fellows typically headline at least one additional event per semester outside of their study group, whether as featured speakers, moderators, or other contributors. We also welcome Fellows' suggestions on speakers and can assist to bring those guests to campus for events outside of study groups.

8. Immerse yourself in the Harvard community. The semester is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the Harvard community, share your experiences with our students and to access the myriad of intellectual opportunities on campus.Fellows join students for meals in the dining halls, visit a CIVICs classroom, participate in our voter registration efforts on campus and audit courses if their time allows - the opportunities are endless and we strongly encourage Fellows to embrace their time on campus. Resident Fellows are sought after by other programs and student groups across campus, including requests from professors to be guest speakers in their classes and requests from student groups to speak at organization meetings. While accepting these requests is entirely at each Fellow’s discretion, we hope Fellows become a resource for the entire community.

9. Serve as an ambassador for the IOP. Ideally, Fellows will actively promote the Institute not just on campus, but in the rest of their activities. Fellows can serve as some of the most persuasive ambassadors in our efforts to lead the nation in engaging undergraduates in politics and public service.

Is housing provided?
Fellows are provided with a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in Cambridge (about a ten-minute walk from the IOP) for the duration of their Fellowship. The apartments are fully furnished and ready for move-in. Fellows are invited to bring their spouses/partners and children to Cambridge during their stay, and all are invited to attend IOP events at their leisure. Each apartment also contains an office space for the Fellow if they need to work from their residence.

What is the stipend?
Fellows are awarded a modest stipend for their engagement; for more information, please contact Cassidy Bissell, Fellows and Study Groups Coordinator.

Do the Fellows receive a benefits package from the University?
Fellows are considered Harvard employees during their appointment and are thus eligible to receive benefits through the University (with the exception of dental insurance).

Are the Fellows provided an office?
Fellows are provided with a private office at the IOP, which includes a phone and computer. The Kennedy School also has a full media studio where many Fellows perform their television hits remotely during their Fellowship. In general, Fellows are welcome to pursue personal or professional projects during their Fellowship (such as writing a book, continuing some involvement in a career, etc.), but must be primarily committed to their role as a Fellow and prepared to devote a majority of their time each week working with students.

May Fellows audit classes at Harvard?
Yes, many Fellows audit courses across Harvard’s many schools during their time on campus. Instructions for selecting and auditing courses will be shared with Fellows during their first week on campus.