Frequently Asked Questions

Humanity in Action Senior Fellows: Dženana Preljević, Lorenz Narku Laing, Aseem Mehta.

The following is a list of frequently asked questions about the John Lewis Fellowship. Please read through the information outlined here prior to beginning your application for the Fellowship. This list is organized by questions related to the application process, eligibility for the Fellowship and the program itself. 

Application • Eligibility • Program

Application Questions

When is the deadline for applications?
All applications for the 2018 Humanity in Action Fellowship programs, including the John Lewis Fellowship, are due on by 11:59pm PST January 8, 2018. All applications must be submitted through our website, 

When will I be notified about the results of my application?
Humanity in Action will contact 2018 applicants by February 23 to let them know whether they have been selected as a finalist. All finalists will then be interviewed by a member of the Humanity in Action Selection Committee before March 15. The Selection Committee will announce decisions by email before mid-April.

How is my application reviewed?
The selection process involves two phases. During the first phase, a panel of Humanity in Action staff, Board members and Senior Fellows reads all of the applications and selects a pool of finalists for further review by Humanity in Action's Selection Committee. During the second phase, the Selection Committee reads and evaluates all finalist applications, and one of its members interviews each finalist. The final selections are made based on this second reading and the interview.

My references say they never received a request for a letter of recommendation in their inbox, but the system told me the request was made. What gives?
Please make sure that your reference has checked his/her spam or junk mailboxes. Once you have done this, log back into your application and click the link next to the reference list to re-send the request. If your reference's email service allows for email addresses to be added to a "white list," please have them add

Do I need to upload an official transcript?
No. You should upload an unofficial copy of your transcript into the online application system. Then, if you are accepted into the program, you will be required to have your registrar send a copy in the mail for verification. Any evidence of tampering with the digital transcripts will result in immediate disqualification.

I am having trouble uploading my CV and/or unofficial transcript. What should I do?
If you are having trouble uploading your files, please try using Google Chrome as your web browser.

Can I send my application by regular mail?
No. All applications must be submitted online in order to be considered eligible.

Who should write my letters of recommendation?
References should be people who know your work and character extensively, and be able to speak honestly and effectively about your interests and abilities as they relate to the program goals. At least one letter must be from a college/university teacher or advisor.

Should I submit more than two references or include supplementary materials with my application
No. Humanity in Action will discard any materials that are not explicitly requested.

How do I submit my application and pay the application fee?
Once all sections of your application is complete, you should see a link on the left side of your screen that says "Pay & Submit Application." Please note, you should submit your application and pay the fee even if your letters of recommendation have not been submitted. We will give your references a one-day grace period after the deadline to complete their recommendations (as long as you have submitted your recommendation requests by the January 8 deadline).

One of my references is abroad and does not have Internet access. Is it possible for her to submit a reference letter via regular mail?
In extenuating circumstances, Humanity in Action does accept application materials via regular mail. If you cannot submit materials through our online application, please contact us at for further instructions.

I am currently studying abroad. If I am selected as a finalist, can Humanity in Action arrange a telephone interview?
Yes. Humanity in Action will arrange telephone interviews when personal interviews are not feasible.

The application system cannot verify my PDF. What do I do?
A common reason why PDFs, especially college transcripts, will fail verification is that they are password-protected. One work-around to this problem is to open the PDF and use your computer's print-to-PDF function to create a new copy, which will not carry the password protection. You may also consider compressing the size of your PDF by using a program such as this one.

I applied for the 2018 Humanity in Action Fellowship. Can I apply for the John Lewis Fellowship?
Yes. Applicants may be considered for other Humanity in Action Fellowship programs and the John Lewis Fellowship. Individuals interested in both programs, must indicate their program preferences on their applications. Please take into consideration the program dates for both the European and American Fellowships when making your selection.

Eligibility Questions

Is there a GPA requirement?
No. An applicant's GPA is just one of many criteria that our committee evaluates during the selection process. Although Humanity in Action values applicants who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, we do not require that they clear a specific GPA threshold.

My college graduation date and/or exams occur during the program. Can I participate?
No. Fellows are required to be present and to participate in all days of the John Lewis Fellowship. You may not arrive late, leave early or miss program dates for obligations outside of the fellowship. There are no exceptions for this rule.

I am currently a freshman, but I will be a rising sophomore at the time of the John Lewis Fellowship. Am I eligible to apply?
No. In order to be eligible to apply, students must have sophomore standing at the time of the application deadline.

I am currently a freshman, but I have sophomore standing due to my AP credits. Am I eligible to apply?
No. We require that applicants be in at least their second year of college when they apply.

I am a graduate student. Am I eligible to apply?
Graduate students are eligible to apply as long as they graduated from their undergraduate studies in 2016 or 2017.

I am an American student currently enrolled in a European university. Am I eligible to apply to the Humanity in Action Fellowship?
If you are an American citizen studying at a foreign university, you are eligible to apply to the John Lewis Fellowship through the U.S. office. 

I am not a United States citizen, but I currently study at a college or university in the United States. Am I eligible to apply?
Yes. All sophomores, juniors, seniors and recent graduates (undergraduate class of May 2016 and later) from US colleges or universities are eligible to apply, regardless of citizenship.

I am a graduate student studying at an American university, but I am a foreign student and completed my graduate studies at a foreign university. Am I eligible to apply?
Yes. Foreign graduate students at American universities are eligible to apply, as long as they completed their undergraduate degrees in 2016 or 2017.

If I need a visa to participate in the fellowship program, will Humanity in Action help me to obtain it?
Humanity in Action will help Fellows obtain any visas necessary for participation in the programs. However, it is the full responsibility of Fellows to obtain the visa on their own. Fellows must initiate the process, request supporting documentation from Humanity in Action in a timely fashion and follow through to make sure they receive their visa on time. If you require a visa for your Fellowship, you must begin the process as soon as you are placed in your program country. Humanity in Action will not be responsible for obtaining your visa for you.


Program Questions

What are the program dates for the 2018 John Lewis Fellowship?
The 2018 John Lewis Fellowship will run from July 10 to August 5.

Where do Fellows live during the program?
Throughout the program, Fellows will stay in either hostels or university dormitories. 

What issues are explored in the John Lewis Fellowship?
The John Lewis Fellowship explores historical and contemporary issues of diversity in the United States. Key areas of inquiry include the Civil Rights Movement, diversity and minority rights, with a particular emphasis on restorative justice in Atlanta. Unlike other Fellows in the Humanity in Action Fellowship programs in Europe, John Lewis Fellows will explore primarily American-based issues. Issues specific to Iraq, Iran, Darfur, China, Afghanistan, Israel-Palestine and global issues such as climate change are not the principal focus of the John Lewis Fellowship.

What costs does Humanity in Action cover during the program?
Humanity in Action covers the costs of participation, accommodation and day-to-day transportation during the fellowship program. However, all Fellows will be responsible for financing the cost of round-trip airfare to and from Atlanta. Humanity in Action will cover this cost for Fellows with documented need.

Although Humanity in Action provides a modest food stipend, Fellows should plan to bring spending money for food and social activities during the fellowship program (approximately $750). 

Further Questions

If you have any questions that are not covered here, please email