Applicant & Recommender Frequently Asked Questions

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Qualifications & Experience 

What are the minimum qualifications for being a fellow? 

1. Completion of a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution by September 1st of the fellowship year and either a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher or a GPA of 2.5 or higher in the last 60 (semester) or 90 (quarter) units. No preference is given to the type of major or how recently the applicant has graduated. Individuals with advanced degrees and those in mid-career are encouraged to apply. 

2. Be 20 years of age or older by Sept. 1 of the fellowship year. 

3. Non-U.S. citizens must provide proof of appropriate immigration status. The Capital Fellows Programs do not meet the requirements for F-1 or J-1 visas, nor any work permits requiring participation in the E-verify system. 

 

How much does G.P.A. weigh in on your decision of who is accepted? 

Although your G.P.A. is important (see minimum qualifications); it is only one consideration among many that selection committees weigh. 

 

Do I have to have my four-year degree at the time I apply? 

You may apply while finishing your degree.  You must obtain your degree by September 1, of the fellowship year. All incoming fellows must provide proof of a conferred degree from an accredited college/university prior to the start of the fellowship. 

 

Is previous legislative or political experience required and do you have to be a member of a certain political party? 

Applicants with ANY party affiliation are welcome to apply, including Republicans, Democrats, and people affiliated with third parties or no party at all. No previous legislative or political experience is required. Fellows in the Assembly and Senate programs are placed in offices with shared party affiliation.   


Do I have to be a political science or policy major to be a competitive applicant? 

Capital Fellows have come from all academic backgrounds and disciplines. We have selected Fellows with degrees in the humanities, sciences, and more. . We encourage students from all majors and backgrounds to apply. 

 

Do you accept international students or non-US citizens? 

Yes. Please see the minimum qualifications for specifics regarding this question. 

 

I am very interested in learning about the California government but have never lived or studied in California. Will this affect my chances of being accepted? 

No. Applicants need not be residents or have studied in California. However, applicants should be able to demonstrate knowledge of and a commitment to  public service and to California. 

 

Application & Interviews  

When is the deadline to apply for the 2023-2024 cohort of Capital Fellows? 

The deadline is February 6, 2023, at 5:00PM PST.  No exceptions will be made for late applications. 

 

Can an applicant apply to more than one of the fellowships of the Capital Fellows Programs? 

Yes. You may apply to as many programs as you like. Each program must be applied to separately.   

 

Can an applicant use the same recommenders and recommendation letters for multiple applications?  

Yes, you may use the same recommenders for multiple fellowship programs. Please note that you will still need to invite each recommender individually from each application. The recommender will then receive one email per program and need to complete all recommendations individually. They may upload the same letter to each recommendation.  

 

Is it ok to submit unofficial transcripts as part of my application?  

Yes. You can submit unofficial, internet-generated transcripts for the application.  


Can I submit my application before my recommenders have completed their recommendation?

Yes. Once you are finished with all parts of the application, including requesting recommendations, you may submit. You can view the status of recommendations after the application has been submitted. Click here to view our guide on viewing the status of recommendations. 

 

How long do recommenders have to submit their recommendation?  

Recommenders have until February 13, 2023, at 5:00 PM PST to submit a letter of recommendation. No exceptions will be made for late letters. An application without three letters of recommendation will not be considered. 

 

When do applicants receive notification of their selection for interviews? 

Invitations to interview are sent via email in mid-April. 

 

When and where are the interviews?  

Interviews for all four programs take place in late April/early May. Currently, all interviews until further notice will take place remotely.  

 

With the interviews taking place in late April/early May, they may conflict with final exams week and/or commencement weekend. What can be done to accommodate this? 

All interviews must be conducted during the interview period. There are no exceptions. 

 

Placements & Seminar 

I would rather do my fellowship outside of Sacramento. Is this possible? 

Yes. The Judicial Fellowship Program places Fellows in selected courts across California, and all Assembly, Executive and Senate Fellows work in Sacramento. There is no guarantee that if you were to be placed in the Judicial program that your placement would be in a specific location. 

 

Is it possible to do a fully remote Fellowship? 

Fellows should plan to live in the city of their placement office. Fully remote placements are no longer offered, but some do offer hybrid schedules depending on the office's structure and function. Both the Assembly and Senate program require Fellows to work in-person. 

 

Is it possible to defer your placement as a Capital Fellow? 

No. Once the position is offered to you, you must decide whether to accept or decline for the current year. 

 

What is life as a Capital Fellow like? 

Capital Fellows spend 10 -11 months working in one of the three branches of state government dedicated to serving all Californian's. Fellows work full time in a placement office, attend regular academic seminars, and are deeply connected to the wide range of issues impacting the state. 

Fellows earn 6 units of graduate credit through Sacramento State's Political Science (Senate and Assembly Fellows) or Public Policy and Administration (Judicial and Executive Fellows). Upon successful completion of the fellowship, a graduate certificate in Applied Policy and Government. 

This is an extremely rigorous but rewarding program. Former Fellows have gone on to serve in public office, as judicial officers in the courts, heads of agencies, leaders of non-profits, community organizers, CEO's and more. 

 

Compensation, Housing & Transportation 

Is this a paid fellowship? 

Yes, fellows are paid a monthly stipend of $3,253. The program also offers medical, dental, and vision benefits to all fellows. Fellows may also be eligible for federal student loan deferment. 

 

Is there any other financial assistance offered? 

Fellows accepted into the program will be eligible to apply to the Timothy A. Hodson Capital Fellows Assistance Fund. This fund helps incoming Fellows with financial support for program-related expenses such as relocation costs and professional clothing. Assistance is not guaranteed but any fellow in need is encouraged to apply.  https://youtu.be/IXsxQgZ034c 

 

Is there transportation aid for the fellows? 

Fellows are provided a commuter sleeve for the Sacramento Regional Transit systems that is valid from their first official day until the last day in May. Required program-related travel costs for the Judicial Fellowship (a statewide program) are paid by the program. 

 

What is the public transportation system in Sacramento? 

Sacramento Regional Transit (RT) has a bus line service and a light rail system that serves the greater Sacramento area. Visit www.sacrt.com for more details. 

 

Does the fellowship provide housing options at Sacramento State or any off-campus locations? 

Unfortunately, no. Fellows are responsible for arranging their own housing. Current fellows are always a good resource and often fellows share housing with others in their class. 


Recommender Questions & Resources

How do I submit a recommendation? 

Click on the green "GIVE RECOMMENDATION" button in the email you receive. From there you will be guided through the process. You can also see our step-by-step guide for recommenders HERE

Why did I receive multiple emails from the same applicant?

Your applicant may be applying to multiple programs. The Capital Fellows Programs are comprised of four separate programs, each with its own Director and Selection Committee. To ensure your letter of recommendation is attached to each application, you will need to complete the recommendations separately. This is a quick process and you are welcome to use the same letter of recommendation for each application. 

Why does my letter of recommendation have to be a PDF file?

In the past we have had some issues with receiving file types we were not able to access or experienced formatting errors in the upload or conversion process. To avoid these issues and ensure your letter of recommendation is accessible, we only accept PDF files. If your letter of recommendation is currently in a different file type you can likely easily convert it to a PDF. See this guide published by "How-to-Geek" for step-by-step instructions. 

 

Additional Questions 

I have a question not covered on this list, what should I do?  

The Center for California Studies is happy to answer any questions. Please do review the information available on our website to see if you can find the answer first: 

https://www.csus.edu/center/center-california-studies/ 

If you still have questions, you can email Jenna Westbrook-Kline at j.westbrook-kline@csus.edu. Emails are answered in the order received and generally within 2 business days.