The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is a highly selective, competitive program. The application process is a multi-step process that requires that you have ongoing support from the staff and faculty of your school, and the time to devote to pulling together all of the necessary elements of the application to make it compelling and ensure that it stands out.
The first step in the Fulbright application process is to thoroughly read through all of the information available on the U.S. Department of State’s Institute for International Education website.
Information on the website is absolutely essential, and will give you a sense of what types of projects have previously been funded, although it is important to note that the Fulbright Selection Committee is also interested in students who are looking to do something different with their Fulbright experience.
Once you’ve learned everything you can about the Fulbright from the website, you should find out the name of your college or university’s Fulbright Program Adviser (FPA). Each university has an assigned FPA who serves as the contact person for students as they prepare applications. Since each university has its own application deadline, you should find that out as soon as possible. The general deadline is mid-October, but it is recommended that you start your application at least three month before. A list of all FPAs is available on the Fulbright website. If you are not currently enrolled in college or university, you may apply directly to the Institute for International Education. You can also contact the FPA from your alma mater to see if he/she will accept your application and serve as your adviser.
Next, you should identify the country in which you would like to be placed as a Fulbright scholar. Each country has it’s own requirements (as far as project type and language), and you will need to be thoroughly familiar with with these requirements to make sure that your application is complete. You may have to submit a Foreign Language Report to document your fluency in your host country’s foreign language. Most countries will also require that you find a university in the host country (for research projects) to oversee your work. You will also need a letter of recommendation from someone inside your host country as part of the application. Teaching Assistants will be assigned a host school, and do not need to find one of their own.
The most important part of the application process, and the focus of the entire Fulbright program, is the Fulbright Project. This is the research that you will undertake as a Fulbright Scholar, and should represent a subject that you are passionate about. It is best to work with your favorite professor or other faculty member to think through your project as you prepare to write your Study/Research Grant Statement.
The Study/Research Grant Statement is your chance to share what makes your project proposal so special. You should work to create a compelling explanation of the lasting impact that your study or project will have on the community. The Grant Statement is more than just a great idea, it is a full picture of how you are going to spend your time abroad. You should propose a project or course of study that will take between six months and one year to complete. Please see the website for project examples, and take advantage of the knowledge of your FPA to find out more.
For students applying for an English Teaching Assistantship, there is also a required Grant Statement, which should focus on the reasons that you have decided to pursue English teaching abroad.
As you prepare the statement, you should be thoughtful about what kinds of things you plan to do outside of the classroom, and show that you are committed to immersing yourself in the country and culture that you choose.
As you prepare your application for the Fulbright U.S, Student Program, remember to make good use of all of the information available on the Institute for International Education website, to check-in with your FPA, and to choose your country and project carefully. As strong application is the key to your participation in the top international exchange program in the country.
Fulbright Scholarship Requirements (FAQ) >>>