Although I was notified that I was a winner on May 9th (only a week after the interviews), I'm going to start off describing the experience of being one of the 40 finalists. Even if you aren't selected as a winner, getting this far still speaks loads to your potential! There are typically between 600 to 1000 applicants for this program per year for 20 spots. One thing that they did not highlight on the official website is that the graduate schools which are eligible for funding are only the ones on the APSIA members list. This is not really an inconvenience since these are all schools most of us want to attend like Georgetown, GWU, Harvard, etc. During the interview, the staff disclosed that this would likely be opened up to other schools in coming years.
I submitted my application in early February. There was a problem with blank text boxes in the preview of the submitted application. If this happens to you, do not worry. It is likely to be your browser cache trying to mess with your sanity. Reload in another browser or clear the cache. I received a confirmation email that my items were received on March 1st. The email also informed finalists will need to have an electronic headshot of themselves, access to a Skype account, and a webcam. Mid March, all applicants received an email to send in a headshot and a Skype username. We were also told of the exact date of notification for finalists (April 9th for my selection year).
Late April 8th, I received a magical one sentence email notifying me of my status as a finalist! Attached to it was the award letter (a physical copy is on its way being mailed to you). Do not wait for the physical copy because it will likely not arrive in time for you to send it back before the deadline. The letter invited me to a written exam during finals week (of course...) and to an interview in Arlington, VA on May 6th.
Details on the fine print of the letter, the exam, and interview in subsequent posts. If you are reading this, I'm assuming you're likely a finalist yourself or will be soon. For more info on the Graduate program, there's a dedicated blog here. :) Congratulations!