The Top 10 FAQs for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for Study/Research

Jun 16, 2017

When starting the rigorous application process for a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award, applicants often have many questions. Fulbright Program staff recently recorded a webinar that detailed the application components and explained other important information about the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for Study/Research. Here were the top questions asked by applicants. Visit the Fulbright webinar page to access the full recorded seminar on the 2018-19 Study/Research Awards, and other helpful presentations.

1. How should applicants first go about developing a project?

You should first try to reach out to your college or university’s Fulbright Program Advisor. You can search for your Fulbright advisor on the U.S. Student Program website. They will help you define the scope of your project and identify your project goals.

You should next determine your eligibility and determine which award is right for you. Review country options and look up eligibility requirements for each country you’re interested in as it varies by country.

2. Are professionals who have graduated more than 5 years ago eligible for this award?

There is no age limit on Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards. The program sometimes accepts professionals who have graduated up to 10 years ago, so long as they make a case regarding their professional track and career goals. Applicants in more advanced professional stages may instead want to consider other Fulbright opportunities.

3. Can those with dual citizenship apply to a country that they already have citizenship in?

You can’t apply to a Fulbright in countries that you have citizenship. The Fulbright Program prefers to sponsor new cultural experiences, so you can apply to other countries that you don’t already have citizenship in. For more information about eligibility, see the “ineligibility” section on the Fulbright U.S. Student Program website.

4. If applying through my college or university, will I have the same deadline as listed on the Fulbright website?

No. You will have a campus deadline set by your university (usually in late August / early September) and your full application will need to be submitted to your Fulbright Program Advisor at this time. You will then go through an on-campus interview process. The interview is designed to help you strengthen your application and is not a mechanism to eliminate applicants. After your on-campus interview, you will have time to polish your application before the national deadline.

5. Can I apply for a study/research award if I’m in an arts-related field?

Yes. Study/ Research awards can be awarded to those in all academic categories, including the creative arts.

6. Can international humanitarian organizations or non-governmental organizations host independent research or act as affiliations?

The Study/Research award requires a letter of affiliation from approved institutions. Qualified institutions will vary country-to-country, but usually for-profit entities are not qualified to write letters of affiliation. If proposing to work with a humanitarian organization or NGO, you must emphasize your personal inquiry in your application and describe what you would like to know by working with and organization, not for one.

7. In my application, can I leave the language self-assessment question blank if I’m currently unfamiliar with the language(s) primarily spoken in the host country?

Don’t leave the language assessment question blank, even if you currently have no experience with the host country’s language(s). Describe how you plan to engage with the language in the time leading up to your potential grant and note any experience you’ve already had with the language, even if you’ve never had any formal instruction.

8. What constitutes “extensive” study abroad experience?

Fulbright prefers those who haven’t yet spent extensive time in the host country which they are applying to. Studying abroad for a semester usually does not constitute as extensive experience in the host country. Spending your high school years or 6 months to one year in the proposed country after your bachelor’s degree, however, would most likely be considered extensive experience. You can still apply even if you have had extensive experience in your proposed host country, just make a case about why you need to return with Fulbright funding.

9. Is there a way to see if specific countries have sponsored similar Fulbright projects in the past?

The Fulbright Grantee Directory will list what types of projects in which countries have been done before. Don’t get discouraged if your type of project hasn’t been completed in a specific country yet and don’t rely too much on what has been done in the past.

10. If you win a Fulbright, can you defer the grant for a year?

Unfortunately, Fulbright grants are non-deferrable. Only apply if you know you’ll be able to complete a grant for the proposed year. You can, however, sometimes defer a U.S.-based master’s or PhD program if you get a Fulbright award.

Interested in applying? Bookmark the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for Study/Research to your ProFellow account.

Also see our articles on Fulbright Application Tips for more insights on developing a strong Fulbright application.

© Victoria Johnson 2017, all rights reserved.