Education Pioneers

Graduate School Fellowship: Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ: Eligibility

FAQ: 10-Week and Yearlong Placements

FAQ:  Admissions Process

FAQ:  In-depth Interviews

FAQ:  2014-2015 Program Dates

FAQ:  Other Frequently Asked Questions


  • I am an international student, am I eligible to apply?

All candidates who apply must be authorized to work in the United States. International students are eligible to apply only if they are authorized to work in the United States and do not require any visa assistance.

  • How many years of work experience do I need to be eligible for the Education Pioneers Graduate School Fellowship?

On average, our Education Pioneers Graduate School Fellows have 4 years of full time work experience; however, we require all of our candidates to have at least 2 years of full time work experience by the start of the program (June 2014).

  • I finished graduate schools 4 years ago but I am really excited about your program, am I eligible?

Yes, the Education Pioneers Graduate School Fellowship Program is available for students currently enrolled in a graduate degree program as well as for candidates who already hold a graduate degree. 

  • I haven't started graduate school yet, but I am very excited about Education Pioneers.

Great! We love early interest in our program. You are welcome to attend one of our presentations. We look forward to considering you for our program once you have begun your graduate degree program.  

Additionally, you may want to consider our Analyst Fellowship, which is for people with two or more years of professional experience in a highly analytical role. If this is an option for you, please visit for more information.

  • I am in a certificate program at a graduate school that is not a formal graduate program; however, I am taking graduate classes. Am I eligible for your program?

At this time, the Education Pioneers Fellowship Program is only available for students who are currently enrolled in a graduate degree program or hold a degree from a graduate program. Students enrolled in certificate programs or graduate classes outside of a graduate degree program are not eligible to participate in the Fellowship Program.

10-week and Yearlong Placements

  • I'm interested in the 10-week Placement and the Yearlong Placement. Can I be considered for both opportunities?

Yes! The online application will provide you with the opportunity to select the placement option(s) for which you wish to be considered.

  • Do I need to submit additional essays or application materials if I am interested in the Yearlong Placement?

No. The admissions and selection process is the same for all Graduate School Fellowship placements.

  • Everyone talks about the cohort experience being a tremendous asset of the overall Education Pioneers experience. How does that work with a Yearlong Placement?

All Graduate School Fellows with 10-week and Yearlong Placements will participate in leadership and professional development workshops and activities throughout the summer. Yearlong Fellows will be fully integrated into this cohort during the summer and into the broader Education Pioneers network within their city during the rest of the year.

  • As an Education Pioneers Alumnus/a, am I eligible to apply for the Yearlong Placement of the Graduate School Fellowship?

Yes, Education Pioneers Alumni are eligible to apply for the Graduate School Fellowship through a modified admissions process. Please email us at to
request a link to the Alumni Application form.
Each year a small number of Education Pioneers Alumni are part of the Yearlong Placement.  

Admissions Process

  • Can you please explain your 2013-2014 Fellowship admissions process?

Our application page contains detailed information about our process. However, at a high level, we have two application deadlines. The priority deadline is December 11, 2013. We strongly encourage you to apply during this timeline because a majority of our Fellowship positions will be filled during the priority round. Our final deadline is February 1, 2014.

The Graduate School Fellowship admissions process includes the following steps:

a. Online Application: Candidates first complete an online application and upload a resume. This is the stage at which candidates indicate their location preferences.  We encourage all
candidates to be geographically flexible.

b. Critical Thinking Exercise: Candidates who move forward in the process will be invited to complete a 90-minute online exercise. The exercise must be completed within seven days of invitation.

c. In-depth Interview: Candidates who advance past the critical thinking exercise will be invited to an in-depth interview, which will take place either on-campus or by phone.

d. Group Interview Day: Candidates who progress past the in-depth interview will be invited to a mandatory Group Interview Day where they will have an opportunity to meet other candidates and partake in an evaluated group activity. Travel may be required.  Please visit our website for a list of GID dates and locations.  In most cases, candidates are invited to the GID session closest to where they live.  Group Interview Day is the final step in the admissions process. Travel reimbursement is available to those candidates that live more than 250 miles away from their nearest GID location and can cover up to $200 of their expenses.

e. Fellowship Offers Extended: After Group Interview Day, all candidates will be notified by phone of final admissions decisions. Candidates will receive offers, be declined from the program, or become Finalists. Finalists are candidates who meet all admissions criteria but may not be able to match with a project, due to their skill sets and interests. Finalists will be admitted if and when Education Pioneers is able to secure projects that suit their skill sets and interests.

  • My resume has changed substantially since I uploaded it, can I re-upload it?

No. However you are more than welcome to bring an updated version of your resume to your interview. We highly encourage all candidates to make sure the resumes they submit are up-to-date, including current club/organization membership, leadership experience, undergraduate GPA, honors and awards, and volunteer work.  Further questions on this should be directed to

  • I applied 3 days ago and haven't received a notification about the critical thinking exercise. What should I do?

Our email has likely hit your spam box. Please check your spam and please add as a contact in your email address book to avoid this happening in the future.

  • I was rejected from Education Pioneers for the 2013 Fellowship; can I apply again?

If you are still eligible, you are welcome to apply for the 2014 Fellowship. Please keep in mind that candidates, if rejected for 2014, cannot apply for the same Fellowship year. 

In-depth Interviews

  • What if I can't attend an on-campus interview?

We always prefer to interview candidates in-person. If this does not work, we will work to set a time to interview you over the phone. 

  • Education Pioneers isn't coming to interview at my school and I have a phone interview. Will I be at a disadvantage in the process?

No, we put an equal weight on phone interviews and in-person interviews. The majority of our interviews are actually phone interviews, not in-person interviews.

  • What if I can't attend Group Interview Day because I am out of the country?

If you have applied by the first application deadline and are unable to attend, we will ask you to attend the Group Interview after the second application deadline in late March. If you have applied by the second application deadline and will not be available, we will evaluate the circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

2014-2015 Program Dates

10-Week Summer Program & Yearlong Program Dates

• Programs dates are yet to be determined, please check back for updated information.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the city locations that I can choose from for the Graduate School Fellowship?

In 2014, Education Pioneers will place Graduate School Fellows with Partner organizations in the following locations:

- Greater Boston Area (includes Lawrence and Lowell)

- San Francisco Bay Area (includes San Jose) 

- Los Angeles, CA

- New York Metro Area (includes locations in New Jersey)

- Houston, TX

- Chicago, IL 

- DC Metro Area (includes Baltimore) 

- Dallas/Fort Worth, TX 

- Sacramento, CA 

- Austin, TX 

- Nashville, TN 

- Memphis, TN 

- Hartford/New Haven, CT

- New Orleans, LA

- Newark, NJ

- Bridgeport, CT

- Seattle, WA

- Denver, CO

- Trenton/Camden, NJ

- Detroit, MI

While each site offers unique projects and partnerships, the high quality of the Fellowship and professional development curriculum remain consistent.

We encourage all candidates to be geographically flexible so we are able to place you on the project that best matches your background and experiences with our Partners' needs.  If you are entirely geographically flexible, please select the National location option in your application.  With the National option, you will be considered for all city locations. 

  • Is this a paid opportunity? 

Yes, as an Education Pioneers Graduate School Fellow, you will work full time for one of our Partner organizations in a consulting capacity. Your Partner organization will pay you a $7,000 stipend (pre-tax) for a 10-week placement, or a $60,000-$80,000 annual salary for a yearlong placement. The yearlong salary within the specified range is determined by our Partner organizations and is based on Fellows' skills and experience.Graduate School Fellows are also encouraged to apply for public interest funding/matching funds through their schools.

  • What are the ideal qualities of a successful Graduate School Fellow? 

- Experience in: finance, strategy, marketing, operations, human resources, curriculum design, professional development, policy analysis, urban education or law

- Strong commitment to Education Pioneers' mission and core values of courage, optimism, collaboration and action

- Track record of excellence and success in academic and professional settings

- Exceptional interpersonal and written and verbal communication skills

- Exceptional project management skills

- High level of self-awareness and keen desire to work with and learn from others with diverse backgrounds and perspectives

- Passion for K-12 public education

- Initiative to drive results, even in ambiguous situations.

  • I am very interested in becoming an Education Pioneer Fellow. I am only interested in being in one of your locations. Is it possible to make sure I can do the program in a specific city?

The online application includes a section for candidates to provide information about their geographic preferences. We are very often able to honor candidates' geographic preferences.

  • I am very interested in your program and have a specific Partner who I only want to work with. Is there a way to guarantee this through Education Pioneers?

No.  You could express your keen interest in a specific Partner throughout the interview process; however, we cannot guarantee that you will be placed there, as placements depend on the projects available in a particular city and the background and skill sets of the candidates. It is actually of utmost importance that our Fellows are flexible when it comes to their project placement.

  • Can you provide me with a few examples of placements?

A few examples include:

- Developing a budget for a charter management organization

Designing curriculum for a non-profit providing housing support for foster youth

Information systems implementation and financial analysis for a non-profit bringing healthy foods to schools

- Analysis of a teacher appraisal system for a school district

- Policy research and strategy for teacher magazine

We encourage you to visit the Alumni section on our webpage for more information.

  • I am very interested in your program, and would like to speak to some of your Alumni. Is it possible for you to put me in touch with them?

As part of Group Interview Day, we give candidates an opportunity to meet with numerous Alumni. You can also learn more about our Alumni on our website.

  • I have no experience in education. Is this a disadvantage to me in your process?

Not at all. Each year close to half of our Fellows have not worked full-time in education prior to their Education Pioneers Graduate School Fellowship.

  • How competitive is the Graduate School Fellowship? How many applications did you have last year for how many spots?

The Education Pioneers program is highly selective but very open to a variety of perspectives, backgrounds, degree types, and skill sets. For the 2013 Fellowship we received little over 4,000 applications for 347 Graduate School Fellowship opportunities.

  • Once I receive an offer to join Education Pioneers, when is my placement confirmed?

Once a candidate accepts his/her offer from an Education Pioneers city, the conversations around placement begin. Our Education Pioneers site team strives to work with our Fellows to ensure their skills sets fit the needs of our Partner projects. The placement process typically begins in March or April, and continues through the end of May. 

  • I am a little uneasy about accepting an offer before knowing the exact project I will be working on.

I appreciate your concern.  In fact, 28% of accepted Fellows last summer said they were ‘significantly concerned' with our atypical process. However, year-over-year over 95% of our Fellows have a good experience with our program. This indicates to us that the trepidation Fellows have with placement is alleviated once they start the summer.

  • How is my placement determined? 

Placement is something we have A LOT of experience in.  We've successfully matched nearly 2,000 Fellows to projects with our Partner organizations.  When making placements, we work to match your skills and experiences with the needs of our Partner organizations.  While we will certainly take into account your preferences in terms of type of project, we cannot guarantee that you will be placed on any one specific type of project. 

  • What should I do if I have questions along the way?

Please email We check this email every business day.