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How to Score a Fulbright Scholarship

How to Score a Fulbright Scholarship

Fulbright Scholarship recepients are exposed to global learning.

By Bridget Kulla

April 21, 2009

Typically, graduating college seniors and recent graduates supplement their independent work with regular university lectures. Graduate students usually work independently on theses and dissertations without close supervision. Projects may focus on most fields of study, although some countries limit eligible subjects. No matter what your field of study, you must be self motivated and have a strong interest in your project topic. “The Fulbright is among the more autonomous programs, in that it allows absolute freedom to pursue knowledge,” says Adam Ellick, a Fulbright Scholar who studied journalism in Indonesia.

With more than 1,000 applicants each year, the Fulbright is a competitive award. If you are serious about winning, get started on your application early. “The application is demanding, and it’s highly selective, so don’t waste your time unless you are going to do it right,” Ellick says. For application advice, attend an IIE guidance session, which are held around the country. Talk with a local Fulbright program advisor and your academic advisor as you work on your proposal.

When preparing your Fulbright proposal, consider:

  • With whom do you propose to work?
  • What is unique, new or exciting about your project?
  • Where will you study or research? Why is it important to go abroad to carry out your project?
  • Why do you want to do it?
  • How will your project help further your academic or professional development?

The Fulbright program selects winners based on: academic/professional record, language preparation, feasibility of the proposed project, personal qualifications, and extent to which the project will further the Fulbright aim of promoting mutual understanding among nations.

Some countries receive more project proposals than others. The number of available positions for Fulbright scholars varies from country to country. Last year, for example, 182 students applied to undertake projects in Argentina where only 24 positions were open. In contrast, eight students applied for seven open positions in Bulgaria. If the country where you hope to study with your Fulbright is very competitive, consider selecting another country where your odds of being accepted are higher.


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