- Application Process
- Application Timeline: 2019-2020 Academic Year
- Step-by-Step Application Guide
- Getting Started
- Frequently Asked Questions
Awarded for a year's study or research abroad in many different countries. There are also awards to assist in teaching English as a second language in more than 50 countries.
- Preliminary: July 15, 2019
- Internal: Sept. 6, 2019
- External: October 8, 2019
Who is Eligible?
U.S. citizenship required.
Adviser: Eleanor (Ellie) Stanford, Fellowship Adviser
Preliminary application (strongly recommended): Students interested in applying for a Fulbright are encouraged to contact the Fellowships Adviser early in the summer before the senior year, with a brief write-up of possible project ideas.
Students interested in receiving feedback on their ideas should submit the Fulbright Advising Questionnaire by the preliminary deadline. On the advising questionnaire you will be asked to submit drafts of the following:
- Statement of grant purpose
- Personal statement
Official fall internal application: We are asking students to submit the complete online application by the internal deadline. This application includes the following elements:
- A few pages of biographical information: name, addresses, schools attended, activities and honors, employment, etc.
- A statement of proposed study, research, or plans for teaching, in which you “describe your ... plans and your reasons for wishing to undertake them in the country of your choice.” This statement must not exceed 2 single-spaced pages for a research grant, and must not exceed 1 single-spaced page for an ETA positions. It should have a project title of seven or fewer words and should have a specified field of study from the Fulbright list of fields.
- A personal statement “giving a picture of yourself as an individual. It should deal with your personal history, family background, influences on your intellectual development, the educational and cultural opportunities (or lack of them) to which you have been exposed, and the ways in which these experiences affected you. Also include your special interests and abilities, career plans, and life goals, etc. It should not be a recording of facts already listed on the application or an elaboration of your statement of proposed study.” This statement should not exceed 1 single-spaced page.
- Three letters of recommendation. For study or research grants, all three letters will generally be from faculty, at least two of whom should be in your major field (or the field in which you are applying). For ETA positions, at least two letters should be from faculty, at least one from your major. Recommenders should know you well and be familiar with your proposed project.
From the Fulbright website:
- Useful application advice when applying for a study or research grant
- Useful application advice when applying for an application in the arts
- Useful application advice when applying for an ETA position
- Instructions for applicants: letters of recommendation
- Information sheet for faculty writing letters for study/research applicants
- Information sheet for faculty writing letters for ETA applicants
- Information sheet for faculty writing language evaluations
- A Foreign Language Report, completed by a professional language teacher, if applicable. As with the letters of recommendation, you will need to register the language evaluator electronically as part of the online application. This will give them the opportunity to complete the form online and have it submitted with your electronic application. In some cases the evaluator will need to interview you to assess your language skills.
- Uploaded official transcripts from Bryn Mawr and from all colleges or universities attended during your time here, including study abroad.
On the basis of this application, you will be interviewed by the Fellowships Committee on campus in mid-September. After the on-campus interview, the Committee will complete a Campus Evaluation Form, which will be submitted to the Fulbright Commission. You will also receive some feedback on your application and have a short time period in which to revise materials for your final application. The fellowships adviser will "return" your application to you so that you can make these changes.) The better and more polished your initial application; the likelier you are to have a strong interview, a strong Committee Evaluation, and the strongest possible final application.
External application: You should plan to complete all revisions and resubmit by 5 p.m. at least three business days before the final external deadline.
After the application is submitted: At the end of January, applicants learn whether they have been recommended by the central screening committee. Recommended students’ applications are then sent on to individual countries, where the final decisions are made regarding awarding of grants. Timetables vary greatly from country to country, but may be anywhere from April to June.
May 17-July 19: During the summer it is strongly recommended that you discuss your project, application and any questions that you might have with the deans office for initial review and feedback. If you are on campus for summer research, you are welcome to schedule an appointment to meet with the deans office.
Friday, July 19: Last day by which you submit an internal preliminary application and the Fulbright Advising Questionnaire to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will no longer be able to access the application on line after this deadline.
Friday, Sept. 6: Last day to submit official Fulbright fall Internal Application via the Fulbright portal.
Mid-September: Attend on campus interview with the Fellowships Committee. Receive feedback and comments from Committee members provided to students. Students make revisions to their applications. Committee sends evaluation forms to Fulbright.
October 5 at 5 p.m.: Recommended deadline to submit final external application.
October 8 at 5 p.m.: National deadline for Fulbright. You must submit your application via the Fulbright portal. No exceptions.
October to January: All applications will be evaluated in a preliminary national screening. Results will not be announced before January.
Mid-to-late January: In recent years, news about the first round has arrived during the second half of January. You will receive an email notification of your status of Recommended or Not Recommended. Not Recommended means that you will not be going forward this year. If you receive this status, you can re-apply during the next cycle and often people are successful after revising their applications or selecting a different country. Recommended means that you will advance to the panel in the country to which you’ve applied.
January to March: The panel in the host country reviews recommended applications and makes the final award decisions. If you receive this status, your chances are good but not yet definite. Sometimes, students might be invited for a phone interview.
Mid-March to June: Final award decisions are emailed on a country by country basis. Some countries notify students sooner than others.
Step 1: Submit Internal Preliminary Application (strongly recommended)
- Students interested in applying for a Fulbright are encouraged to contact the Fellowships Adviser early in the summer before the senior year, with a brief write-up of possible project ideas. Students interested in receiving feedback on their ideas should submit the Fulbright Advising Questionnaire by the preliminary deadline.
Step 2: Submit Official Fulbright Fall Internal Application via the Fulbright application portal
Once students have submitted their preliminary application for review and have received the necessary feedback, we are asking students to submit the complete Fulbright online application for the internal deadline. This application includes the following elements:
- Biographical information: name, addresses, schools attended, activities and honors, employment, etc.
- A statement of proposed study, research, or plans for teaching
- A personal statement “giving a picture of yourself as an individual.
- Three letters of recommendation. For study or research grants, all three letters will generally be from faculty, at least two of whom should be in your major field (or the field in which you are applying). For ETA positions, at least two letters should be from faculty, at least one from your major.
- A Foreign Language Report, completed by a professional language teacher, if applicable.
- Uploaded official transcripts from Bryn Mawr and from all colleges or universities attended during your time here, including study abroad. If you have a hold on your account, please note that you will not be issued a Bryn Mawr transcript
Step 3: Attend an on-campus Fulbright interview
- On the basis of this application, you will be interviewed by the Fellowships Committee
- The dean’s office will contact you to schedule your interview
- Interviews are generally in late September or early October.
Step 4: After the interview
- The Committee will complete a Fulbright Campus Evaluation Form, which will be submitted to the Fulbright Commission.
- You will receive some feedback on your application.
- Revise your materials for your final application.
Step 5: Submit Official Fulbright Fall External Application via the Fulbright portal (Oct. 2)
- Plan to complete all revisions and resubmit at least three business days before the final external deadline.
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:
- When using the Fulbright website, make sure you’re looking at the U.S. 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.
- 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.
- 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 percent or even higher) of applicants receives grants.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 U.S. is as important as your intellectual and academic credentials.
Why is the Fulbright application process so confusing?
One important reason is that the same application process and forms are used for a wide variety of grants. Students apply for Fulbrights for formal graduate study leading to a degree, for independent research, for work in the creative and performing arts, and for ETA (English Teaching Assistant) positions. Not all the forms are relevant for all candidates. Read the instructions carefully, start early, give yourself plenty of time to ask questions if you need to.
I am applying for a Fulbright as a teaching assistant in Country X. What do I write about in my project proposal?
You should describe in detail your reasons for wanting to undertake work as a teaching assistant in Country X and your ideas about what you would want to do in the classroom to enhance your students’ understanding of the English language and of American culture. You may choose to talk about experiences you would draw on, but you should make sure that most of your proposal looks forward and towards the work you would be doing in Country X. Your answer should also display some knowledge of how the educational system in Country X works.
Many Fulbright ETA positions are less than full-time, and you are also supposed to have a secondary project. You should spend the last paragraph describing this project. If you do not speak the language of Country X, you should choose a project that would be feasible even without language skills.
I attended high school in Country X. Does that make me ineligible?
No, but if it was for a period of six months or more, it may make you uncompetitive. Contact the particular country’s program manager for guidance.
What about studying in Country X as an undergrad through a JYA program? Does that also make me uncompetitive?
No. The Fulbright commission does not consider college study abroad as a disadvantage, even if it lasts longer than six months. .
I am applying for a Fulbright ETA position in a country that does not require any language proficiency. Do I still need to submit a Foreign Language Report Form?
No. However, if you do have some proficiency in the country’s native language, it may be useful to go ahead and submit a Foreign Language Report. You may also want to indicate if you plan to work on any hospitality/survival language skills in the statement of
I am applying for a Fulbright in a country that doesn’t specifically require proficiency in the native language, and my project can be undertaken using only English. Do I still need to submit a foreign language report?
According to an article published in the Fulbright applicant newsletter, you should still submit a report. Rather than being evaluated by a professional language teacher, you should merely indicate on the form how you will acquire a basic survival/hospitality level of proficiency.
My JYA program sent a copy of my transcript to Bryn Mawr. Can I just use that for the Fulbright application?
No. We are required to keep your official JYA transcript in your permanent record here. You must obtain an additional official transcript directly from your study abroad program. Make this request early.
What does institutional affiliation mean? What is involved in getting it?
This varies greatly from country to country. In most cases, you will be expected to arrange for affiliation with a university or other research institute by the time of your application. In other cases, the Fulbright Commission will help arrange affiliation after you have been named a Fulbright recipient.
In cases where you are responsible for arranging affiliation, you should include a letter from a faculty member at the institution. The letter at the very least should indicate support of the project and willingness to work together. The letter might also include specifics about the support that will be given and the resources that will be made available. If the faculty member knows you, he or she should also explain how and to what extent. This should be a signed hard copy, not a fax or an email.
Specific Application Questions
Are there any guidelines for titling my proposal?
Yes. As the instructions make clear, titles should have no more than seven words. If you are applying to be an ETA, your title should be “Teaching Assistantship.”
Why am I asked twice for “fellowships, honors, publications, exhibitions, extracurricular activities"?
On 1A, you are given very little space and should merely list items without description. On page 2, you are given the space to add additional items and to include any description of previously listed items that may be necessary or useful. You should still be succinct. Don’t feel bad if you don’t use up all the space. Remember that this same application is used by advanced graduate students who have had several more years to accumulate honors!
For question 25, I don’t have any “occupational experience.” Should I leave it blank?
Probably not. If your occupational experience helps show what kinds of skills or interests you have, then it would be useful to list it.
For question 27, I really don’t have any other funds available. Will this hurt me?
Only if you’re planning to travel with a spouse, child, or other dependents. Realize, though, that the Fulbright stipend is fairly limited. You may want to try to have some savings to rely on in emergencies or to allow for a little bit more flexibility or comfort in your life abroad.
My essays are a little long. May I put them in 11-point font?
No. The instructions state clearly that your application should be prepared in 12-point Times New Roman.
Must all three of my letters come from professors in my field of study?
No. This is the expectation for graduate students applying for Fulbrights, but it does not apply to graduating seniors.
I would like to submit a reference letter from a supervisor. Would that be acceptable?
Maybe. According to the Fulbright Applicant newsletter:
"In general, as stated above, it is best to ask for references from people who have knowledge of your field of study, project or host country. However, some applicants may find it difficult to obtain all three letters of recommendation from people who can fulfill these guidelines. It may not always be possible to include references from professors or other field specialists. You will need to use your best judgment on who would make the best reference letter writer for your project. These letters can come from peers, supervisors, or employers. We recommend trying to obtain as many letters from people who meet our guidelines, but you can submit a reference letter from anyone that you wish."