OSSI Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

  1. Where can I go for help?
  2. Will users get an email when an announcement is posted on their homepage?
  3. Does the system allow users to paste text into the free-form fields?
  4. If a student is under 18, will the system require parent/guardian signatures?
  5. What are the session dates?
  6. Do students need to be US Citizens in order to apply?
  7. What is the meaning of underrepresented?
  8. What is the meaning of underserved?
  9. Can NASA Mentors and/or Center Education Offices contact students to arrange an Interview or time to talk?
  10. What browsers/platforms does OSSI support?
  11. What is OSSI?
  12. What does OSSI stand for?
  13. What is a Mentor?
  14. What happens if a student forgets their password?
  15. To whom and when should students send their official transcripts?
  16. What is the difference between an "official" transcript and an "unofficial" transcript?
  17. What steps should be taken if a reference misses the deadline to submit a letter of recommendation?
  18. What is a Broker-Facilitator?
  19. I receive an offer and miss the deadline to respond, what do I do?
  20. What is the minimum GPA required?
  21. Does NASA make any exceptions on the minimum GPA?
  22. Once I submit my application, how long will it take to hear back if I receive an offer or not?
  23. How will I be notified if I receive an offer?
  24. How many days will students have to reply to an offer?

Application Questions

  25. Can NASA personnel view incomplete student applications?
  26. Will a student be able to view his/her own letter of recommendation once it is submitted into the system by the recommending author?
  27. How many letters of recommendation are required in the student application?
  28. What are the steps for applying to a Fellowship?
  29. What should students include in the proposal section of a fellowship application?
  30. What are the student eligibility requirements for using OSSI?
  31. Where can students upload a resume within OSSI?
  32. What is the latest time students may submit an application on the deadline date?
  33. Can students apply in OSSI if they are attending international institutions?
  34. Will previous student applications be available in OSSI?
  35. How will I know if a letter of recommendation has been submitted on my behalf?
  36. I am a student studying abroad. How do I enter my contact information?

Opportunity Questions

  37. For the 15 opportunities that students can submit their application to, can they be spread across multiple Centers?
  38. What is the latest time students can accept an offer?
  39. What should the student do if they wish to modify their personal attributes or skills that would make them a good candidate for an opportunity, after they have applied to the opportunity?
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General Questions

  1. Where can I go for help?
There is a link at the top of the Student pages (for registered students) that says "Need Help? Click here." By clicking that link, students can submit a question to a Broker-Facilitator. Broker-Facilitators are career path liaisons who engage, inspire, and guide students toward career self-understanding; this includes helping students with their applications and providing information about NASA student opportunities, as needed. There is also a "Contact Us" link at the bottom of the page, which should be used for questions by students who have not yet registered or by anyone who has technical questions/issues regarding the OSSI system itself.
  2. Will users get an email when an announcement is posted on their homepage?
No, it will just appear on their homepage.
  3. Does the system allow users to paste text into the free-form fields?
Yes - You can copy and paste from a word processor, but make sure you remove any non-standard characters.
  4. If a student is under 18, will the system require parent/guardian signatures?
No – the system will not require parent/guardian signatures. Additionally, the student's profile/application does not track the student’s age or date of birth. However, the student's Terms of Acceptance page states that each Center may have additional requirements. If a Center needs a parent or guardian's consent for minors, the Center Education Offices may add that to their offer letter.
  5. What are the session dates?
Session dates are specific to each NASA Center and opportunity. Start and end dates may be able to be adjusted to the students' needs. Below are general start and end dates: Spring: January-May Summer: May/June-August Fall: September-December Year-Long: Year-Long opportunities are those opportunities that do not fall within the conventional summer, fall, or spring session timeframes. Typically, these opportunities span multiple sessions. All Fellowships and Scholarships are considered Year-Long. Each of these sessions offer great opportunities. Students should consider applying for the session that best fits their schedule.
  6. Do students need to be US Citizens in order to apply?
Yes - U.S. Citizen (either by birth or naturalization) is required in order to apply in OSSI to be a NASA intern or fellow. If selected, students will be asked to provide proof of citizenship before the internship or fellowship begins. If students have questions regarding their citizenship, please refer to the U.S. Department of State website. (http://travel.state.gov/law/citizenship/citizenship_782.html) A Permanent Resident Alien (PRA) or Legal Resident is not considered a U.S. citizen and is not eligible for NASA student opportunities available through OSSI
  7. What is the meaning of underrepresented?
Underrepresented: Refers to persons from racial and ethnic groups whose enrollment in STEM education or participation in STEM professions is much smaller than that group's representation in the general population. African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and Native Americans and Pacific Islanders currently fit this definition.
  8. What is the meaning of underserved?
Underserved: Often used interchangeably with "underrepresented," particularly as it relates to the sciences and engineering. Specifically, it is used to promote access and opportunity to persons of diverse backgrounds - racial, ethnic, gender, religious, age, sexual orientation, disabled, and other populations with limited access - to decent and affordable housing, gainful employment, and other services. In the STEM area, "underserved" has typically referred to women and persons with disabilities.
  9. Can NASA Mentors and/or Center Education Offices contact students to arrange an Interview or time to talk?
Yes - Mentors and Center Education Office personnel have access to the student's phone numbers and email address. However, the students don't have access to contact the Mentors (unless the mentor provides it). All official offers will be sent through OSSI after the application period closes.
  10. What browsers/platforms does OSSI support?
OSSI supports Windows XP, Mac OS X and Linux operating systems. OSSI supports browsers such as Internet Explorer 7.x, Firefox 3.x, and any other browser that is compatible with XHTML 1.0.
  11. What is OSSI?
OSSI stands for the One Stop Shopping Initiative. The initiative is an innovative, mission-enabling, NASA-wide approach to communicating and providing students at all Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) access to a portfolio of internship, fellowship, and scholarship opportunities offered by NASA Mission Directorates and Centers. While many NASA student opportunities are in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, OSSI also has non-STEM opportunities (i.e. Business, etc.). OSSI enables eligible students to access student opportunities through a single portal (http://intern.nasa.gov) and single application (OSSI). OSSI also enables NASA to continually reengage students throughout their academic careers. For more information, go to http://intern.nasa.gov
  12. What does OSSI stand for?
OSSI stands for One Stop Shopping Initiative.
  13. What is a Mentor?
A mentor (i.e. scientist, engineer, administrator, etc.) is the person who is responsible for the student opportunity and provides oversight to interns and fellows.
  14. What happens if a student forgets their password?
There is a "Forgot your password?" link on the login page where the student can request a new temporary password. The student will receive an email with the new password; it is recommended that the student check their junk/SPAM folder if they do not receive an email.
  15. To whom and when should students send their official transcripts?
Students should not send their official transcript in until they receive an offer letter. The offer letter will direct them where to send their official transcript. (Unofficial transcripts should be uploaded into OSSI in the Educational History section of the application).
  16. What is the difference between an "official" transcript and an "unofficial" transcript?
The Official transcript contains a stamp of the institution and may be sent directly from the college/university within a sealed envelope. The unofficial transcript does not usually contain the institutional stamp. In order to complete an application in OSSI, students will need to upload an unofficial copy of their transcript as an attachment to their application in the Educational History section.
  17. What steps should be taken if a reference misses the deadline to submit a letter of recommendation?
If the student application period is still open, the student can make the Letter of Recommendation request again, which will give the reference login credentials with a new two-week window to submit the recommendation.
  18. What is a Broker-Facilitator?
Broker-Facilitators are career path liaisons who engage, inspire, and guide students toward career self-understanding; this includes helping students with their OSSI applications and providing information about NASA student opportunities, as needed. There are four groups of Broker-Facilitators, and each group represents one of the four types of institutions (Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI), Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI), Predominantly White Institutions (PWI), and Tribal Colleges & Universities (TCU)). To contact your Broker-Facilitator, click the "Need Help? Click here" link at the top of the Student pages (for registered students) in OSSI. Your inquiry will be automatically sent to the Broker-Facilitator associated with your type of school.
  19. I receive an offer and miss the deadline to respond, what do I do?
You should contact your Broker-Facilitator immediately. NASA student opportunities are highly competitive, so there is no guarantee that if you miss the deadline that you will still be able to accept at a later date. To contact your Broker-Facilitator, click the "Need help? Click here" button at the top of the page to submit a message.
  20. What is the minimum GPA required?
The minimum (cumulative) GPA that is required to apply for NASA opportunities is 3.0/4.0. However, some opportunities require a higher GPA. The cumulative GPA used must be from your current academic institution. If your institution uses a different grading system, you must convert your GPA to its equivalent on a 4.0 scale and input that value in the application. If you have recently transferred to a new institution and will not have an established GPA until after the application deadline, you may use the cumulative GPA from your previous institution. This is the only case in which the GPA from a previous institution may be used. (Please note this on your uploaded transcript.)
  21. Does NASA make any exceptions on the minimum GPA?
Unfortunately, no, NASA is firm on the 3.0 GPA or higher.
  22. Once I submit my application, how long will it take to hear back if I receive an offer or not?
Offers can go out as early as the day after the application period closes up until the session begins.
  23. How will I be notified if I receive an offer?
You will receive an email notification from the OSSI system. Make sure that your SPAM filter is set up to allow emails from the OSSI system's email address, which is: NASASOSSI@nasa.gov. If you do not respond to the offer during the 5 business days, your offer will be rescinded. Make sure your contact information (email address and all phone numbers) is accurate as your Broker-Facilitator may contact you within the 5 business days to ensure you received the offer.
  24. How many days will students have to reply to an offer?
Students will have 5 business days to respond to an offer, or else it will be rescinded (business days for NASA are Monday-Friday). The day that the offer is sent is not included in the 5 business days, so if you receive the offer on a Monday, you will need to respond by the following Monday; if you receive the offer on a Tuesday, you will need to respond by the following Tuesday.
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Application Questions

  25. Can NASA personnel view incomplete student applications?
NASA Mentors and Center Education Offices can not view student applications until they are complete/submitted. However, Broker-Facilitators can view all student applications (incomplete or complete) so that they can help students complete their application.
  26. Will a student be able to view his/her own letter of recommendation once it is submitted into the system by the recommending author?
No, the student will not be able to view the letters of recommendation. Those letters will be kept confidential.
  27. How many letters of recommendation are required in the student application?
Only one letter of recommendation is required in order for students to be eligible for opportunities in OSSI. Once the recommendation has been received and the student has finished his/her application and agreed to the Terms of Acceptance, the student will be able to apply to opportunities and mentors will be able to search and select the student from the applicant pool. Since students need at least one letter, it is recommended that students contact the reference in advance to ask if they are willing to submit a letter of recommendation and, if so, submit the request, via OSSI, as early as possible. More than one letter can be accepted by OSSI. For students applying to fellowships, a letter of recommendation from the student's faculty advisor is required.
  28. What are the steps for applying to a Fellowship?
To view the fellowship application process and forms, go to this URL: https://intern.nasa.gov/ossi/web/public/main/index.cfm?solarAction=view&subAction=content&contentCode=HOME_PAGE_FELLOWSHIPS
  29. What should students include in the proposal section of a fellowship application?
If you have been invited by a NASA mentor to submit a proposal, please submit the full proposal in OSSI adhering to the requirements below. The proposal must: be authored by the applicant be five pages in length provide a clear description of the student's proposed research be written in response to the fellowship opportunity listed in OSSI contain the following technical elements (in the sequence listed below) (1) Statement of the Problem (2) Hypothesis (3) Approach (4) Predicted Outcomes (5) Proposed Timeline (6) Conclusion (7) References (8) Appendix A Explanation of applicant's anticipated use of center and university facilities and resources (9) Appendix B Biographical Sketch of the applicant's Faculty Research Advisor
  30. What are the student eligibility requirements for using OSSI?
To view the basic student eligibility requirements, go to this URL: https://intern.nasa.gov/ossi/web/public/main/index.cfm?ossiAction=view&subAction=content&contentCode=HOME_PAGE_BASIC_ELIGIBILITY_FOR_STUDENTS
  31. Where can students upload a resume within OSSI?
There is no need for students to upload a resume in OSSI when they apply. The resume is essentially built through the student's responses to the questions within the online application.
  32. What is the latest time students may submit an application on the deadline date?
Students may submit applications up until 11:59 P.M. Eastern Time on the final day of the application period.
  33. Can students apply in OSSI if they are attending international institutions?
To use OSSI, students must be U.S. citizens who are attending accredited U.S. colleges or universities on a full-time basis. U.S. accreditation is a requirement of the OSSI System, but not a requirement of all NASA opportunities. If a student is attending a non-U.S. school (as opposed to attending an overseas campus that is associated with a U.S.-accredited institution), they can review the opportunities listed at http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/programs/descriptions/Students-rd.html. Some of these opportunities require the use of OSSI, but others have separate sites and/or persons of contact and do not have the same school restrictions as OSSI.
  34. Will previous student applications be available in OSSI?
The first session that is open for students to apply for in the OSSI System is Summer 2011. Therefore, if you create an application in OSSI for Summer 2011 or any sessions after that, those applications will be available in OSSI. Unfortunately, applications that were completed prior to the Summer 2011 session will not be available in OSSI.
  35. How will I know if a letter of recommendation has been submitted on my behalf?
Once you have completed the form to request a letter of recommendation, you can check the status of your letter of recommendation by going to the 'My Applications' tab, selecting 'Letter of Recommendation,' and viewing the status in the table. You will also receive an email once your letter has been submitted.
  36. I am a student studying abroad. How do I enter my contact information?
If you are a student studying abroad, please use the following values for your international contact information: (1) Mailing Address: If you need to reference an international address, use your APO/FPO address. If you do not have an APO/FPO address, use the State-side address of the U.S.-accredited institution that you are attending. (2) Phone Number: If you need to reference an international phone number, use 111-111-1111.
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Opportunity Questions

  37. For the 15 opportunities that students can submit their application to, can they be spread across multiple Centers?
Yes – they can be at multiple Centers or they can all be at one Center; there are no restrictions.
  38. What is the latest time students can accept an offer?
Students can accept offers up until 11:59 P.M. Eastern Time on the final day of the student offer acceptance period. Otherwise, the offer will be rescinded.
  39. What should the student do if they wish to modify their personal attributes or skills that would make them a good candidate for an opportunity, after they have applied to the opportunity?
The personal statement cannot be modified after the student has applied to the opportunity. However, if the student believes his/her statement would be beneficial to other opportunities as well, the text can be added directly to his/her application (perhaps in the "Skills, Awards and NASA-Affiliated Educational Activities" section). The application can be modified until the application period closes.
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