Summer Fellowships - Guidance for Applicants

Guidance for Summer Fellow Applicants


Dwight Hall at Yale administers two summer fellowships, Dwight Hall Summer Fellows and YANA-Dwight Hall Summer Fellows.  

Dwight Hall Summer Fellows was created in the summer of 1968 with a singular challenge: establish the environment for students to create social change through full-time, paid engagement in coordination with community partners.  Typically, Dwight Hall Summer Fellows work with New Haven nonprofits or civic organizations to craft and execute an eight-week project.

YANA-Dwight Hall Summer Fellows was created in 2017 by the Yale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance (YANA) and Dwight Hall at Yale for students with a passion for social change and financial need.  The idea was simple: passionate students may be required to earn money to support themselves, but social change opportunities are often unfunded.  Now working in complement to the Domestic Summer Award, the YANA-Dwight Hall Summer Fellows specifically supports Yale students who have either used the Domestic Summer Award or are a graduating senior.

Acceptable Forms of Summer Activity

Summer Fellows may request funding to support a project, internship, or research proposal. Typically, summer activities will be accomplished within eight weeks, and must be fully supported by a supervisor/mentor. Further definition and examples:  

  • Project - Carefully planned and designed to achieve a particular aim, projects build the capacity of an organization to fulfill its mission statement. Projects have a clear, demonstrative end.  Example: developing and testing the social media strategy of partner organization.
  • Internship - Covering a specific period of time, internships are professional experiences written and guided by the host organization.  Example: “2020 Summer Intern” with partner organization. 
  • Research Proposal - Research proposals describe what will be investigated, why it is important to do now, and exactly how you will do the research. Research may prove the efficacy of a program model, investigate social sector questions, or be more academic by nature.  Example: developing and analyzing carbon emissions data in New Haven with xyz partner researcher.


To meet the needs of students, selection will be done in three rounds.

  • January Decisions - Application Deadline January 7th - decisions by January 31st
  • March Decisions - Application Deadline February 28th - decisions by  March 27th
  • May Decisions - Application Deadline: April 20th - Decisions no later than May 4th


For Summer 2020 applicants, Dwight Hall Summer Fellows and YANA-Dwight Hall Summer Fellows will use the same application.  The application is available starting December 1st, 2019 and will close on April 20th, 2020.

The application is comprised of several short answer (150-200 word) and some long answer (500 word) questions. Applicants will be asked to share information about themselves, the summer activity they hope to take on, and the nature of their relationship with their guiding community partner.

Before completing the form, students should consider their answers to these questions:

  • Please briefly describe why you picked your major. (150-200 words).
  • What are your (tentative) career goals? (150-200 words).
  • Please provide a brief description of your summer activity. (150-200 words)
  • How many weeks will you require funding?
  • Demographic information on your sponsoring agency and mentor, including a date that you expect a support letter to be provided.
  • Briefly describe your relationship with your sponsoring agency and how you will work with you supervisor/mentor. (100-150 words)
  • Describe your motivations for pursuing this summer activity and its anticipated impact on the community. (500 word limit)
  • Please provide us with a breakdown of milestones and/or aims for this summer activity. How will you be able to measure whether it was successful? (500 word limit)
  • Please describe how this summer activity will impact your academic and/or professional career. (150-200 words)

Upon submission, a copy of your responses will be sent to your email address and to staff at Dwight Hall at Yale.  Your supervisor/mentor will also be notified that an application has been submitted.

Letter of Support

The Summer Fellows application may be submitted without a Letter of Support, but a funding decision cannot be made until a Letter of Support has been submitted. The Letter of Support should be written by an individual with close knowledge of your summer activity and who is committed to supporting your work. Ideally, this person will be able to serve as a supervisor and mentor for the duration of your summer experience.

In some cases, Dwight Hall and/or YANA are able to facilitate conversations with potential supervisors/mentors.  If this is the case, please plan to submit your application early. It is the responsibility of the applicant to seek guidance for your summer.  Under no circumstances will a student be funded without a Letter of Support.

Please see this link for a preferred Letter of Support format.


Each applicant is screened to ensure that the student and summer activity meet basic eligibility requirement. Then the application is blindly reviewed by a committee of Dwight Hall professional staff, students, and other stakeholders with these evaluative questions:

  1. Does this student show a commitment to social change?
  2. Is the proposed summer activity feasible? Will these be able to be completed remotely?
  3. Does this summer activity value the knowledge and guidance of community experts?  Does the applicant have an adequate support letter?
  4. Does this summer activity have a meaningful impact on the student’s academic and professional aspirations?

Scores are compiled centrally and the highest scoring applicants will be called for interviews. For YANA-Dwight Hall Summer Fellows, interviews will take place during the week of reading period and final announcements will be made on May 4th at the very latest.

Additional Summer Funding Resources

President’s Public Service Fellowship

Domestic Summer Award

Yale Fellowships and Funding

Office of Career Strategy - Common Good & Creative Careers


Read Dwight Hall’s criteria update and deadline changes at this announcement.


Use this Qualtrics form to start your application.



Office Hours

If you have any questions about the application process or are looking for support, you can set up a time to meet with Mark using this Calendly link.


If you’re interested in social change work but are unsure of where to start, please look through our Opportunities page or the Office of Career Strategies.