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Fellowships Bryn Mawr College
101 N. Merion Ave.
Bryn Mawr. PA 19010-2899
Phone: 610-526-5375
Fax: (610)526-7560

Fulbright -- Getting Started

The Fulbright Program sponsors a huge variety of grants. This makes for many different opportunities, but it also makes for a complicated and often confusing application process. Try not to let the complications discourage you. BRYN MAWR STUDENTS WIN FULBRIGHTS VIRTUALLY EVERY YEAR!

Here are some tips:

  1. When using the Fulbright website, make sure you’re looking at the US Student home page.  The dropdown menu from the About tab provides basic information about the program; the Countries tab provides a wealth of information about the extent of the program; the Applicants tab walks you through the process of applying.
  2. You may register online at the Fulbright website by clicking "Embark Online Application"  (the last item under the Applicants tab) anytime after May 1. Registering gives you access to the online application and ensures that you will receive the useful and sometimes inspiring Fulbright Applicant Newsletter. It also alerts Bryn Mawr’s Fellowships Adviser to your interest in the program. It does not commit you to applying.
  3. Once you’ve begun looking through the website, you will soon realize that the Fulbright differs tremendously from country to country. In some places, the Fulbright is incredibly competitive, and it is very difficult for anyone other than a top graduate student pursuing dissertation research to win a Fulbright in those countries. In other places, a comparatively high percentage (20-30% or even higher) of applicants receives grants.
  4. The Fulbright ETA positions tend to work especially well for graduating seniors. No specific teaching experience is usually required, although previous work as a TA or in some other similar capacity can help you write a stronger application. Although teaching takes up the bulk of your working time (and the bulk of your application), in many countries you are encouraged to develop a “secondary project” to work on during your time abroad.
  5. Candidates are usually expected to have some degree of language proficiency appropriate to their projects, but specific language requirements vary tremendously from country to country, and within one country, from project to project. Many positions teaching English assume no preexisting knowledge of the host-country’s language.
  6. In some regions of the world, many countries participate in regional programs, which permit multi-country proposals. However, it is usually recommended that graduating seniors apply to a single country.
  7. All regular Fulbright grants (i.e., all except TA-ships) require candidates to have an institutional affiliation during their time abroad, with either a university or some other research institute. In many cases, you will have to arrange this affiliation in advance. Faculty in your major department or in a related language department can help you learn more about appropriate places to seek affiliation. You will then need to write (probably email) individuals at that institution, seeking their sponsorship. Save this correspondence to use as supporting documentation! In other cases, the Fulbright Commission will help you arrange affiliation. Check particular country descriptions for details.
  8. Most graduating seniors seeking a regular Fulbright grant will be attending university lectures, supplemented by independent work. You should not necessarily expect close supervision from your faculty sponsor.
  9. Bear in mind that the purpose of the Fulbright is to promote international understanding. Your ability to serve as a good informal ambassador of the US is as important as your intellectual and academic credentials.