Role of the Nationally Competitive Scholarships (NCS) Office

The NCS office supports current Duke undergraduates and alumni in finding and applying for scholarships from external foundations. NCS advisors offer workshops and one-to-one advising sessions for potential applicants. In addition, the office administers the nomination process for candidates applying for opportunities that require institutional endorsement. Although we support all candidates applying for scholarships that require university nomination, graduate students should also seek support from their faculty mentors.

Have questions about other types of scholarships or funding? Check out our partner offices:



Duke expenses, loans, and scholarships for undergraduate study

Duke Financial Aid

grants, scholarships, and expenses for graduate students

Duke Graduate School

study abroad funding

Duke Global Education

internship funding

Duke Career Hub

civic engagement and volunteer opportunities

Office of Durham & Community Affairs

If you are applying to Duke as a high school senior, please see Merit Scholarship Programs, Financial Aid, and other sources of financial support.

If you are applying to graduate or professional school at Duke, please see Duke’s Graduate School website to learn more about financial resources.

NCS Mission

Applying for scholarships promotes learning through self-reflection, persuasive writing, and active mentorship. NCS advisors are available to support this learning process every step of the way. The NCS team is dedicated to equity, transparency, accessibility, and advocacy in the advising, selection, and endorsement process. Advisors will encourage applicants to pursue the number and type of opportunities that are most appropriate for their specific goals and aspirations. NCS advisors will share lessons learned from their past experiences advising students as well as guidance on specific approaches, although they cannot guarantee success.

Recognizing that applying for nationally competitive scholarships can be a laborious and stressful process, NCS advisors strive to be transparent with candidates about the time and effort it takes to complete an application. Candidates should consider how much time they wish to dedicate to the process and how NCS advisors can support them along the way. NCS advisors empower applicants to set goals and boundaries, enabling them to recognize and celebrate when they have reached the finish line with their application process.

Advising Students

Duke’s Nationally Competitive Scholarship advisors have honed their practice of active listening during advising sessions from Felicia Rose Chavez’s The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop: How To Decolonize the Creative Classroom*. They aspire to offer critical consciousness advising. This approach draws from Chavez’s guidance on working with students in ways that bolster and empower them.

The team is committed to advising scholarship candidates in ways that are supportive and inspire creativity, confidence, and courage. They do this by encouraging students to:

  • Write to achieve their best work—not simply for results
  • Do the drafts “wrong” before doing them “right”
  • Manage their ongoing development through consistent self-assessment and reflection opportunities
  • Grow in confidence as writers and as scholars

All scholarship candidates should be—and remain—in good academic standing with Duke during the application and awarding process. Duke is a member of and abides by the National Association of Fellowships Advisors (NAFA) Code of Ethics. NCS advisors embrace and promote the core values of NAFA, which include integrity, collaboration, respect, and fairness.

*Chavez, F. R. (2021). The anti-racist writing workshop: How to decolonize the creative classroom. Haymarket Books.