Navigation

Tips

The most competitive EOPC proposals are those that demonstrate innovative thinking, careful planning, and also for renewal proposals, excellent program administration and positive outcomes. Excellent ideas and programs may not be funded if proposal writers do not effectively communicate the need, goal(s), outcomes, actions, and so on as identified in the proposal. Particularly important are the description of program participants and the outcomes assessment. These components should be concrete and specific, and the outcomes assessment must be measurable and should comport as closely as possible to your goal(s). “Process” outcomes (e.g., the number of students engaged in study sessions or program attendance) are not the best outcomes because they are not “results” that directly relate to the goal(s) you are trying to accomplish (i.e., the final goal is not to engage students in study sessions). Better outcomes would be student performance, albeit based on attending study sessions, or changes in attitudes that arise from program attendance as measured, for example, in a post-program survey.

To view examples of previously funded Equal Opportunity Planning Committee (EOPC) proposals as well as a sample budget, please visit the EOPC Box folder. These examples should not be considered “model” proposals, rather, they are intended to serve as an example of what well-constructed proposals cover and explain in key component areas such as the abstract, objectives, goals, and assessment.

Below are some concrete tips for writing good EOPC proposals and evaluations.

Read the Directions: EOPC proposal guidelines contain detailed directions for writing good proposals. Please read them carefully and follow them explicitly. Most sections include prompts. Make sure you are including the information asked for in these prompts.

Descriptions and Terminology: Be explicit in your choice of words. Avoid acronyms and other potentially ambiguous phrases. Terminology is especially critical in the Target Population portion of the proposal. Words like “underrepresented” and “minority” students can have several different meanings. “African American” or “students with learning disabilities” provide more specific information.

Get Help: Although we try to make our guidelines as complete and clear as possible, they are not intended as a substitute for attending EOPC workshops. We have made the workshops available in our EOPC Box folder for your convenience. Even if you have experience writing EOPC proposals and have attended workshops in the past, it is a good idea to review the workshop material to ensure that you understand the proposal writing process thoroughly. Also, you should contact the EOPC office (eopc@psu.edu) whenever you are unclear on a given point or want further guidance on any part of your proposal. If you find a mistake or problem in the Web guidelines, let us know so that we can correct it.

Presentation Counts: EOPC evaluation teams expect your work to be neat, well-organized, and well-written. It's always a good idea to have someone with excellent writing skills proofread your proposal before you submit it. 

Keep it Short and Simple: Long proposals are not always better than short, to the point, proposals. Keep your proposal free of jargon or generalizations. “Reader friendly” proposals, with key components presented in easily identifiable formats, will help the reviewers assess your proposal most completely. Keep everything simple and to the point.

Focus on Facts: While you may “know” how much your program is needed, you can best communicate these ideas through the use of data. Look carefully at the Annotated and Example Proposals for ideas on how to make your best case.

Goals, Outcomes, and Actions: Make sure you understand the difference between goals, outcomes, and actions. Goals describe what you're trying to accomplish. Outcomes operationalize the goals and describe the learning that will take place. Actions identify how the program will be delivered.  

Assessment: One of the most important component of your proposal is assessment section. This section should answer how will you determine the extent to which you accomplished the desired outcomes and what evidence do you need or have that will help communicate the success of the program.