How to apply for the PD Soros Fellowship

To apply for the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships, you’ll need to create an account and start the online application. You’ll fill out eligibility and demographic questions, share information about your educational and New American background, and then you will have to submit relevant transcripts, a resume or CV, two essays, and then register three to five recommendations.


The Application for the 2025 fellowship is open

Once we receive and review the applications, the top 77 applicants will be designated “finalists” and will be asked to appear for virtual interviews in late January and early February of 2025. 30 of the the 77 finalists will be selected as Fellows and will be notified in March of 2025. The 2025 Fellows will be announced publicly in April of 2025 and they will begin to receive stipend and tuition support from the program in the fall of 2025, and they will also attend the Fellowship’s Fall Conference, all expenses paid, that October.

Apply by 2 pm ET on

October 31, 2024

Applicants notified of Finalist status

Mid-January, 2025

Interviews with the 77 Finalists

February 2025

Winners Notified

March 2025

2025 Fellows Announced

Mid-April, 2025

2025 Fellowship Begins

Fall, 2025

Things to know Before you apply

  • PD Soros supports all types of full-time graduate and professional degrees at accredited institutions in the United States.
  • You can apply when you’re applying to graduate or professional school, or when you’re in the first two years of the academic program you’re seeking funding for.
  • You can apply more than once and the application is free.
  • The first year of the Fellowship can’t be deferred.
  • All application materials must be submitted online through the online application.
  • We make no exceptions to the 2 pm ET application deadline on October 31, 2024.
Photograph of two women sitting at a table, looking off camera left. They are both mid-clap. The woman in focus and closer to the camera is in her 20s with medium skin tone and her black wavy hair is pulled back. She is dressed in a suit. The other fully visible woman is in her 20s with light skin tone, long dark hair pulled half back. Other people can be seen sitting nearby.

See if you are eligible

Our eligibility requirements include your status as an immigrant or a child of immigrants, your age, and your academic standing. We do not look at school, GPA, or test score range. All eligibility requirements should apply to you as of October 31, 2024. If named a finalist, you will be required to provide documentation of your eligibility.

Creating a Great Application for PD Soros

One of the best ways to learn about The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans is to watch an information session. You can watch a pre-recorded session or join an upcoming live virtual session on Zoom. Webinars are open to everyone with an internet connection and are held on Zoom. Most sessions will include an overview of the Fellowship, how to apply, selection criteria, the benefits of the Fellowship and the Fellowship community. Participants can submit questions during the sessions.

Step 1. Collect necessary information

  • Confirm your eligibility
  • Your demographic and contact information
  • Your higher-education history
  • The graduate program[s] for which you seek support
  • Recommendations (3 required, up to 5 accepted)
  • Required submissions: Resume, two essays, transcripts (college, graduate), scores of standardized tests (if they are or were required for admission to your graduate program)
  • Optional exhibits

We have minimized the official documents required to confirm eligibility, educational, and test results. If you are asked to be a finalist, however, we will specify the official documents that we will need from you before we can invite you to the finalist interviews.

Returning Applicants:

If you have applied to, or been familiar with previous Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship competitions, please note that:

  • You will not be able to resubmit your previous application.
  • You will be required to upload your resume essays, transcripts, standardized test scores and optional test scores through the application system.
  • Recommendations must be submitted online, through the application system. We will not be able to re-use past recommendations. 

Essay Questions

Essay One – maximum length 1000 words

Tell us about your experiences as a New American. Whether as an immigrant yourself, or as a child of immigrants, how have your experiences as a New American informed and shaped who you are and your accomplishments?

Feel free to discuss how individual people (such as family or teachers), institutions, aspects of law, culture, society or American governance made an impact on your life as an immigrant or child of immigrants. The program is interested in understanding the context of your personal, professional, and academic accomplishments.

Essay Two – maximum length 1000 words

Tell us about your current and near-term career-related activities and goals, as well as why you decided to pursue the specific graduate program(s) and school(s) that you have. How do you see your current work and study informing your early career goals? If you have not been accepted into a program yet, please tell us about why you selected the programs to which you are applying.

I will not have taken my graduate school entry exam before the October 31, 2024 PD Soros deadline. What should I do?

You can select the option that says you will be taking your test after the deadline, and upload your official scores when you have them, or a screenshot of your online account when the scores are posted. 

What standardized test scores are required?

Please note that we only require the test scores that you needed for the program you would like the Fellowship to fund. So, if you are applying to fund medical school and your medical school only needed the MCAT, you only need to upload the MCAT scores to your application. If you are applying to fund another program, and that program only requires the GREs, you only need to include your GRE scores. If your program requires both exams, you can upload the scores you have with a second page that says you will be taking the GREs on x date and will send in your scores when you have them. 

Do I need to submit an official transcript for the application or is an unofficial transcript sufficient?

Please submit an image of your transcript that includes your name and the institution’s name. It does not need to be official. If you are selected as a finalist we will request your official transcript. 

How should I upload my test scores?

The examinee score report is what you should upload. If you don’t have a PDF of that, a screenshot of your account would be fine. If you are selected as a finalist, you will be asked to provide an official score report. Do not type up your scores in a word document and self-report them. 

There is no way to upload a secure PDF into the online application. If there is a password on your GRE PDF, please try to contact the party who provided you the PDF file to see if they can remove the security restrictions. If that is not possible, then please print out the pages that you would like to upload. Then, scan the printed pages into a valid file format and upload this new document onto the appropriate page on the online application. When you scan your document, please make sure to configure the page size output to be standard US Letter size of 8 in x 11 in.

My university does not use a typical Grade Point Average (GPA) system. How should I report my GPA?

We understand that many universities, and particularly those abroad, do not use a standard GPA system. If your undergraduate or graduate program does not use a typical system, please write “0.00” in the space provided.

Is there a word limit for both essays?

Yes, the word limit is 1,000 words per essay. This is a hard limit. You’ll have to copy and paste your essays into a text box.

Can I use essays I’ve already written for graduate school?

While you can use an essay that you’ve previously written, you will likely want to think about whether it best answers the question and conveys what you most want to share. If you have have written a previous personal essay that you think is appropriate in answering Essay One, then perhaps that would be a good place to start.

If I use special formatting in my resume or essays, will the application preserve the formatting?

The application will preserve formatting, since it will convert uploaded and filled in fields into PDF format.  

Where can I find more information about our essays?

More information about essays can be found in Recorded Info Sessions, specifically one video called “Information Session on Essays, Recommendations, and Optional Exhibits.

Step 2. Request 3-5 Recommendations

Guidance for recommenders

Letters of recommendation educate and contextualize the achievements and choices of each applicant for the screeners and panelists, which is particularly important because in 2024 the Fellowship received more than 2,300 applications from applicants in all types of fields—everything from science, to music, to computer science, to archeology—and from applicants from a diverse range of cultures, backgrounds and places.

Recommenders can find full guidance on writing letters here.

Applicants can find guidance on who to select as a recommender here.

Is the deadline for recommenders the same as applicants?

Yes. All recommendations must be submitted by October 31, 2024 at 2:00 pm ET. 

I applied last year. Is there a way for one of my recommendations from last year to be transferred to this year’s application?

We cannot forward a letter of recommendation from a previous application to a current one. All recommendations must be submitted to the current application. 

Does a recommendation letter signed by more than one person count as one recommendation?

Yes, recommendations signed by multiple people only count as one letter. The application system requires three to five separately registered recommenders. Each recommender must be registered separately so we can verify their identities. A recommender can upload a letter signed by more than one person, but the applicant would still need at least two additional recommendations registered and submitted in the application system to have a complete application.

I submitted information for my recommenders, what happens now?

Your recommenders will receive an email giving them instruction on how to access the application portal. You will be able to see their status as “Requested” at this time. This status will change to “Received” after a recommendation has been submitted. You will also receive an email from SMApply confirming a recommendation has been attached to your application.

What should a recommender do if they have not received the registration e-mail?

The applicant and recommender should confirm what e-mail the registration e-mail would have been sent to. Applicants should also verify that they have clicked “save” after registering each of their recommenders. Recommenders should check their junk mail folders, since the e-mail is from a address that sometimes gets filtered out. If your recommender still hasn’t received an email, you can resend the request by clicking the “…” next to their request on your application portal and then clicking “Resend Invitation”. Note: there will be no confirmation after you click “Resend Invitation”, so only click it once so you don’t spam your recommender.

What should a recommender do if they can login but cannot update their letters?

If you have a question regarding uploading issues within the application system, please contact [email protected]. SurveyMonkey is available Monday through Friday 8 am – 8 pm Eastern Time; PD Soros staff are only available 9 -5 pm Eastern Time Monday through Friday.

Is there a page or word limit for recommendations?


Can I submit my application before my recommendations have been submitted?

Yes, you can submit your application before your recommendations have been submitted. Once you submit, you’ll still be able to login into the system to check on the status of your recommenders. In order for your application to be considered complete it must have a minimum of three recommendations submitted as of the October 31, 2024 deadline.

Can recommendations or application materials be submitted by mail?

We do not accept any materials by mail or e-mail. All materials must be submitted through the online application system.

Would it be possible to upload recommendation letters using Interfolio?

Interfolio should provide instructions on their website. We recommend submitting recommendations directly via our system. 

Step 3. Submit an Online Application

All application materials must be submitted online through the online application. Any hard copies of materials received will not be included in the application or returned to the sender. The 2024-2025 application cycle is now open.  Applicants can access the portal here.

I’m having trouble logging into the application, what should I do?

Be sure you are not trying to log into, which is our Fellowship website, not our application website. You can find the appropriate link here.

How do I request a new password?

Click on the “Forgot your password?” link under the green Sign In button on the application site. Click here to access the main application page. 

If I use special formatting in my resume or essays, will the application preserve the formatting?

The application will preserve formatting, since it will convert uploaded and filled in fields into PDF format.  

Do you make any exceptions to the deadline for applicants?

No. All applicants must have their applications in by 2 pm Eastern Time on October 31st, 2024 to be considered. We are very strict about our deadline for applicants.

after you apply

Once we receive the applications, our team of diverse readers will review the applications and select the top 77 applicants, who will be designated “finalists.” The finalists will be asked for documents to confirm their eligibility and to take part in our virtual interviews in late January and early February of 2025. The 30 2025 Fellowship winners, selected from among the 77 finalists, will be notified in March and they will be announced in April of 2025. The Fellows will begin to receive stipend and tuition support from the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships program in the fall of 2025, and they will also attend the Fellowship’s Fall Conference, all expenses paid, that October.

Find Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows with similar backgrounds in our directory

Discover the inspiring stories of over 800 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows. You can explore and filter Fellows based on their university and heritage, providing a rich insight into the diverse backgrounds and achievements of our community. Learn how each Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow is making an impact and find connections to your own journey. Dive into the stories that define the essence of the Fellowship.

Photograph of seven people in their 20s of varying heritages, in a makeshift photo booth, they are standing in front of a Paul & Daisy Soros logo navy step and repeat. They are all wearing various props (masquerade masks, giant bow, sunglasses, etc.) and smiling or making a silly face at the camera.

“Everyone arrives having walked their own unique journey, and yet there is a profound shared understanding among us of the challenges and sacrifices our families made to immigrate and adapt to life in the United States. It’s the collective empathy and lifelong friendships that make the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship such an empowering and truly special community.”

Charlie ChangWon Lee, 2021 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow

Resources For Applicants