The best resources for starting a Fulbright US Student Program application

You just heard about this thing called a “Fulbright” and you are curious. You are not sure if it’s right for you or where to get started. After a quick google search, you are already overwhelmed by the amount of online information. Before you spend hours going through waterfalls of information, check out our recommendations for the best resources to get started.

Confirm Your Eligibility

Before anything else, make sure you are eligible to apply by reviewing the requirements for the Fulbright US Student Program. A key requirement is that you be a U.S. citizen or national. Permanent residents are ineligible. Check the eligibility restrictions for dual nationals; these vary by country, but for some countries you can’t receive the Fulbright if you hold dual nationality with that country (although you can apply to other countries).

You also have to have received your undergraduate degree before starting the grant. That means you can turn in an application at the beginning of your final year of college and be eligible as long as you graduate before the award starts (which is likely a year or more after applying). If you are applying in the creative/performance arts category, you need at least four years of experience or professional training.

The requirements state that “[a]pplicants must have sufficient proficiency in the written and spoken language of the host country sufficient to communicate with the people and to carry out the proposed study/research.” Even if you don’t speak a second language, there are countries that will allow your research to be done in English and ways to structure your project for success. You can also start language study or work on improving your language skills as soon as you know you want to apply.

Check out your university resources

If you are enrolled at a university (or a recent graduate), make an appointment to see your university Fulbright Program Advisor (FPA). You can find your Fulbright program advisor here and view your university internal deadline. While the Fulbright application is due October 8th, 2019, internal university deadlines can be as early as August. Most people enrolled at a university will apply through their institution, although it is possible to apply at-large.

Each university offering is distinct. Some Fulbright Program Advisors offer hands-on support, panels, and workshops to support applicants. On the other end of the spectrum, Fulbright Program Advisors may not have the capacity to support students individually. Check in with your FPA to get details on their support and get your questions answered. You can also ask if you can review previous applicant essays and ask for connections to alumni who have been awarded the Fulbright.

Even if you have graduated from college and are not on campus, you can still reach out to professors from your alma mater. You can also use the Fulbright Grantee Directory to see past grantee winners from your alma mater and try to contact them through social media. Most Fulbright alumni are gracious about sharing their experiences.

Check out online webinars and tutorials

The Fulbright program staff host regular webinars and tutorials on various topics. Additionally, we have created the quickest and most comprehensive introduction to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program in our free Fulbright 101 course, which takes about 30 minutes to complete. The course is designed to get you up to speed fast on everything you will need to submit an application.

Join a community

Having a supportive community can make a huge difference during the application process. We highly recommend having an application buddy (or group), who you can share notes with, get feedback from, and hold you accountable to working on the application.

There are also supportive online communities on Reddit, Facebook, and GradCafe. The community is super responsive to very detailed questions and individual circumstances.

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Additional Resources

We also created a short downloadable Fulbright Ultimate Resource Starter Guide, which includes most of the links mentioned above as well as links to country statistics, sample essays, and writing resources. Subscribe below to download the starter guide.

Lauren Valdez