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Frequently Asked Questions

Below you can find answers to some of the most common questions about the Caldwell Fellows application process.

This is a common question as many of our applicants come to NC State with advanced standing hours from accelerated programs in high school. We do not consider whether by name you are a ‘freshman’ or other designation . . . as long as you are in your first year at NC State.

  • Maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 throughout your time in the program.
  • Participate in annual class retreats, beginning with the freshman retreat.
  • Enroll in and successfully complete the Caldwell Leadership seminar in the fall of your sophomore year. Participate purposefully in a service-learning team in the Raleigh community as part of the class.
  • Submit annual correspondence with your endower.
  • Demonstrate commitment to endeavors of the Caldwell Fellows community including consistent attendance at Caldwell dinner seminars, and support of Caldwell service, leadership, and community initiatives.
  • Maintain excellent moral character.

Attending an information session is not required. Information sessions are provided for students to have as much in-depth knowledge as possible about the program including its opportunities and expectations.

No. All application reviews will begin at the same time, after the application deadline.

The review process for each application is as follows:

  • Each student’s application file is reviewed and scored by three reviewers, working independently. More than 100 alumni and faculty serve as our reviewers. Staff members oversee the process; they do not serve as reviewers.
  • The compilation of folder review scores and feedback from the group interview session will determine the selection of 90 semifinalists who will be invited to first-round interviews.
  • 60 finalists will advance to Selection Day in February.
  • Program alumni and campus faculty conduct finalist interviews on a single day in mid to late February. Each finalist is interviewed and individually scored on our selection criteria by seven interviewers. For one interview session, finalists present a prepared stipend proposal to a panel of reviewers. (Guidelines for preparing the stipend proposal will be provided to finalists when they are notified of their finalist status.).
  • The compilation of scores from finalist interviews determines the final twenty-five students who are selected for the new class of Caldwell Fellows.

The Caldwell Fellows receive between 200 to 300 applications on average every year and select 25-26, which is approximately 10% of the applicant pool. The selection committee looks for students who want to maximize the opportunities offered by the program. Aside from the weekly commitment of the sophomores seminar, program events average one a month. We function with understanding when a Fellow has a compelling reason to miss an event, otherwise, it is expected that Caldwell Fellows give high priority to program events. The freshman retreat is a foundational activity that welcomes you into the program and introduces you to your cohort of Caldwells. Missing all or part of the retreat is strongly discouraged and delays your introduction into the Fellows community. Since the point is moot unless you are selected for interviews in February, we wait to discuss such situations until that time.

Yes, it is an expectation that you will be on campus and you must take the ECD 296H (001) Caldwell Fellows Seminar: Foundations in Self-Development. By on-campus, we mean that you must not be studying abroad or involved in a co-op that keeps you away from campus during the semester. Living on or off-campus does not impact this requirement. You must be available for the Caldwell class, service learning projects, dinners, retreats, and other Caldwell commitments.

Only the requested information will be reviewed. The academic standard for Caldwell Fellow consideration is strictly the common ground of your first-semester academics at NC State. Thus, the student who may have had a less than stellar high school career or had limited enrichment programs in high school but who has achieved excellence and shown involvement at NC State is just as competitive as the student who performed very well in high school and/or had the advantage of vast high school enrichment experiences.

Certainly. You are still considered a first-year student.

Yes, absolutely. The Caldwell Fellows are a highly diverse community and we welcome students of all backgrounds, nationalities, ethnicities, and orientations. A respect for diversity and openness to learning from other points of view is one of the hallmarks of the Caldwell Fellows community.

Caldwell selection is based on a student’s fit to the program ideals and their commitment to participation in the full curriculum of the Caldwell program. Students are discouraged from applying who are already enrolled in one of NC State’s scholarship programs with a full menu of programs as well as funds for tuition and experiential learning support.
A candidate whose tuition is funded from another NC State scholarship source but without program or experiential learning components is welcome to apply. If selected, these candidates cannot receive tuition funds but are eligible for all other components of the Caldwell program.  Any students with a high level of commitments already set for their undergraduate plan should carefully consider whether they can meet the expectations of the Caldwell Fellowship; our reviewers will be asking these same questions.

All of our applicants are typically deeply engaged people and are involved in a wide range of campus endeavors. Deep and meaningful engagement on and off-campus, in projects that align with their specific individual interests is a hallmark of successful Caldwell Fellows.

Any student in their first year at NC State, with at least five semesters ahead of them to complete a degree is welcome to apply. 

Typically, between 200-300.

90 students are selected as semifinalists. 60 advance to our finalist interviews.

Currently, the amount is $9,000 annually. These funds are distributed between tuition $6,300 and experiential learning stipends, $2,700. Please note that there are stipulations for how the experiential learning stipend can be spent. These guidelines will be shared with students who are invited to join the program.

If you have additional questions that are not answered here, please feel free to contact our Director, Janice Odom.