Fulbright Application Tips From Former Fellows

Jul 31, 2014

If you’re working on your Fulbright application this summer, it’s good to get advice from the pros! The Fulbright Program – Official Group LinkedIn page recently hosted a discussion for the question, “What was the best advice you got when applying for the Fulbright?” Below is some great advice from former Fulbright grantees:

The best advice I received came from a staff member in Turkish Fulbright Committee at the very first social gathering where they introduced the program. She told us to work on the essays – as a part of the application – very hard and make them sound personal and real. That was very helpful for me at the time because even though I was a sociology graduate and had written many essays by that time, I was stressed about those two essays. I chose to write with an open, honest and passionate tone of voice. I underlined the vitality of the scholarship and the program I wanted to be educated in for my future goals. And it worked! Good luck.

-Nazlıhan Eda Erçin, Performer/Researcher – PhD Candidate in Performance Practice at University of Exeter

Work the application from both ends. In other words, get a foreign university to be interested in you and, in the best of all possible worlds, obtain a letter from that institution in which they express their interest in you and your field of expertise. And then submit their letter of interest to the CIES. Good luck.

-Craig Beles, JD, LLM, MCIArb, Experienced Independent Arbitrator & Mediator/ Fulbright Specialist in International ADR

If you are applying for a teaching Fulbright, do not overemphasize what you can do for them. Instead, balance this with some of the many things you’ll learn while you’re there and what this will enable you to do for others upon your return.

– Ann Garry, Professor of Philosophy, California State University, Los Angeles

Having been a reviewer for Fulbright, what we look for is a strong proposal with clear goals and feasible outcomes. The better that you summarize that in the upfront introduction, with clear research or teaching goals, showing how your proposal will impact work with other scholars, contribute to an ongoing area of research or help with developing approaches to certain types of scientific, educational, economic, cultural, political or environmental issues, the more likely your proposal will be considered to move forward. Provide some background academic references or past work that supports your proposal, but be succinct. I know that many people write proposals with long detailed prose about why they are drawn to a particular country. Have a real reason that your research must take place in the country you are proposing such as facilities, the groups your are working with are only in this country, you have a relationship built with colleagues and you need to spend a significant time working in-person or that your research subject is in-country. Please do not include that it’s your life dream because you saw a movie or read a book.

– Kathleen Fritz, 2011-12 Fulbright Visiting Lecturer at the Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology, Bangalore, India

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© Victoria Johnson 2014, all rights reserved.