Advantages to an Early Start on your Fulbright Application

It’s never too early to start the Fulbright US Student Program application process. Writing the proposal itself won’t take many months, but finding the right host country and brushing up on your language skills (or even learning a new language!) can make the difference between a successful application and a rejection.

Here are three advantages to starting an application now, even though the deadline isn’t until the Fall:

  1. Time to take courses relevant to what you might want to pursue—you can take a course involving independent field work, research methods, and/or language. This is most relevant if you’re in college or a graduate degree program, but even if you aren’t: taking an online or community college course can make a big difference.

  2. You can meet with your institution’s Fulbright Program Adviser while it’s easy to get a meeting slot, before the late-spring rush. Again: this advantage is mostly relevant if you’re still in college, but some institutions will let you apply through them even if you’re a recent graduate, and the campus Fulbright advisor from your alma mater might be happy to talk to an alumnus, particularly if you contact them when they’re not slammed with last-minute requests.

  3. The leisure to dive deep into several possible scenarios, come up with a strong research question, think about different host countries, and even different projects. While the ETA (English Teaching Assistantship) program has many openings in host countries, you should pick that particular program only if you want to teach English, and not because you don’t have enough time to think of a good research project. The earlier you start, the more time you have to develop a strong research proposal and make the necessary host country connections to carry out your work.

Lauren Valdez