After completing my graduation (B.Com from Delhi University), I was also confused like most of you. What to do next? I didn’t want to jump straight up into the corporate world but still had a thirst to gain more knowledge about the world.
I was looking for something that could challenge my thinking ability and my existing skill set. I wanted to develop my overall personality while learning about different perspectives of a subject. Studying from one of the top universities in India, I still felt that something was lacking in my education. I wanted to explore something that could add meaning and value to the education I had already acquired. This is when I was introduced to the postgraduate Liberal Arts program offered by Ashoka University.
In this article, I’ll take you through the basics of the admission process – the application, interview and selection criteria – to acquaint you with the Young India Fellowship (YIF) program and what you’ll need to get in.
What is the Young India Fellowship (YIF)?
Young India Fellowship Program is a one-year postgraduate program in Liberal Arts that lets you explore different subjects across science, humanities, and commerce. In addition to the subjects taught, the faculty, curriculum and diverse set of students are something to look forward to. It includes studying through Experiential Learning Module (ELM) where the fellows (enrolled students) work on live projects for different organizations and individuals representing diverse sectors. Not only this, but you are also exposed to regular lectures, workshops and other programs with well-regarded speakers and performers to gain exposure to diverse areas of excellence.
Recommended Read: The Revolution in Learning: A Guide to Pursuing Liberal Arts Education in India
What is the Application Process for Young India Fellowship? (How I Got In)
For all you liberal arts aspirants, I am sharing with you my journey of the selection process. So, pay attention!
The Most Crucial Element- Your Application
Your application for the program is the most important element of the admission process as it defines who you are! You need to take the proper time to fill in the details before you hit the “submit” button. The application is divided into 7 main elements- Applicant’s Profile, Academic Details, Employment/ Internships Details, Parent’s or Guardian’s details, Extra-Curriculars, Essays, and Referee Details.
Profile- This section pertains to your elementary details like your name, address, contact number, etc.
Academic Details- Your academic scores from class 10th & 12th, graduation scores and post-graduation (if applicable).
Employment/ Internship Details- It requires you to fill in your current or previous employer’s details, the work responsibilities you had and the challenges you faced on the work.
Parent’s or Guardian’s Details– This area is to be filled with the parent’s personal details including their income. It helps in deciding the amount of scholarship granted to the applicant.
Extra-Curriculars- This part requires you to fill in the details of any co-curricular activity that you have been a part of in your school or college. It also requires you to fill in 5 books that you have read. Make sure you mention only those books you have read and have a good knowledge about.
Essays- The application requires you to write 4 essays-
- “What matters the most to you and why?”
- “What has been your biggest achievement so far and why do you consider it to be so?”
- “What do you hope to accomplish from the Young India Fellowship?”
- “Do share with us any other details that you think might add to your candidature for a Young India Fellowship.”
The key to writing these essays is truth and truth alone. You don’t need to write fancy essays nor do you need to sugarcoat/make up anything. Just keep it simple and write what you truly believe in. You can also upload copies of your extra-curriculars/ academic certificates to lend more credibility to your achievements. These certificates are optional but recommended.
Referee Details- Here you need to fill in the details of the person who will be submitting the LOR on your behalf. Although it is optional, it is recommended that you put in your referee details. In case you are a student, you can refer any of your professors or if you are a working professional, you can fill in the details of your supervisor/manager.
Recommended Read: How to Write (and Perfect) a Winning Letter of Recommendation: Tips & Guidelines
“Hello? This is a Call from YIF”
Once your application has been screened thoroughly, you will be intimated about your next round, i.e. telephonic interview via email itself. Well, the experience of this round is different for every applicant. My experience was like a pretty general conversation. Everything revolved around my application. You might be asked questions related to current affairs, otherwise, the main area of the discussion is around the reason behind your application to YIF, the books that you have mentioned in your application, and your extra-curriculars.
Tip- Think beforehand for the questions you want to ask your interviewer. It shows how committed/ serious you are for the program.
“Congratulations! You are invited to visit the venue for your personal interview”
Once you receive this email, you have already completed 70% of your journey. On the day of your interview, you would be first required to write a 30-minute comprehension test followed by your interview.
As part of the test, you will get a small paragraph that you will have to critically analyze and present your viewpoints towards, in 30 minutes. Following this, you will be called for your interview.
How to Prepare for the YIF Interview?
From my experience, here are some of the tips you should keep in mind:
- Read and know about the program that you are applying to, its curriculum, subjects offered, any existing fellow’s experience with it, etc.
- Go through your application thoroughly and be well versed with what you have written.
- Know about the books that you have mentioned in your profile, as questions revolving around them are asked both in the telephonic and personal interview.
- Be clear on the reason why you are applying for the fellowship and what you aim to accomplish through the program.
- In case you can get in touch with a current fellow, it would prove really helpful as you can find out what exactly the program is all about and get tips for your interview prep.
- Just be yourself and you are good to go!
The whole process takes time to complete and there is usually a gap of 3-4 weeks before you are informed about your result at every stage via email. This process took 4 months for me. I recommend that you apply as early as possible as the admission is done on a rolling basis.
Hopefully, if you do all things right and have a clear goal for applying to the program, you’ll soon reach this stage to receive your acceptance letter.
All the best!
Have any specific questions about the Ashoka University Young India Fellowship (YIF) admissions process? Share with us in the comments below!