The more WASPy the name of the fellowship, the better. Fellowships with ultra-WASPy names were all created a long time ago by wealthy patrician families, who made them extremely generous since they'd be won by one of their children anyway.
Avoid any fellowship that requires you to be fluent in French, as this may indicate that the fellowship sends you to France.
Fellowships can be objectively compared by assigning each one a numerical score using the formula D=3t/l2 + 7f3, where d is the desireability of the fellowship, t is the average yearly temperature where it sends you, l is the length of its application, and f is the amount of frequent flier miles you'll accumulate.
If you hate everyone else who's applying for a particular fellowship, you can be certain that that fellowship is just perfect for you.
III. Some of the More Well-Known Fellowships
The following is a list of a few of the many prestigious fellowships that you stand no chance of winning and which I've thrown in here just to make you drool.
The Rhodes: The Rhodes gives students from all over the world the opportunity to spend two years at any one of Great Britain's many fine universities: Oxford and Cambridge. These schools are almost exactly like Harvard, only their Deans of Students are English men with fake American accents.
While Rhodes candidates have traditionally been required to "be athletic and display vigor of body," today all this only means that you can't wheeze too much during your interview.
Nobody knows why the Rhodes is the most sought after of all the fellowships. It is not the most flexible, it is not the most financially generous, and it is certainly not the most exciting. Perhaps the only plausible explanation for the Rhodes' enduring popularity is that it's stated mission--to increase international awareness and understanding--is just so utterly, irresistably goofy.
The Marshall: This fellowship is basically the same as Rhodes, only they show a sexier movie on the plane ride over to England.
The Fulbright: Also a Rhodes clone, but somewhat less classy: during the fellowship the name of your corporate sponsor must be stitched on the back of all your clothes in large, black felt letters.
The Brian D. Reich: This fellowship provides a year of unrestricted travel and an enormous cash prize to a student who writes long, self-promoting articles during his senior year in a blatant attempt to bolster his resume by getting on his college's newspaper. Actually, no such fellowship currently exists, but I'm hoping some rich, philanthropic alum will read this article and set up something like it before I graduate.
IV. The Application Process
Almost every fellowship applicant is tempted to lie about his or her experiences and qualifications to better fit "what they're looking for" in a candidate.
I strongly advise you to remain scrupulously honest at all times while filling out your application. This would mean, for example, not writing that you are currently a Big Brother or Big Sister unless you actually do have younger siblings, or at least an intelligent dog.