9 Ways to Strengthen Your Fulbright U.S. Scholar Application

The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program’s 2020-21 deadline is fast approaching! Below, program staff offer their advice on how you can strengthen your application before hitting “Submit” on September 16th.

  • Make sure you’re applying to the right award

    • Closely read award descriptions to ensure that you’re qualified. Look through the Catalog of Awards to make sure you haven’t missed an award that you’d be an excellent fit for and check out our recent blog post about Hidden Gems that are often overlooked.

  • Remember the three Cs: Concise, Compelling, and Clear. Be sure to discuss your project’s potential impact and outcomes. Successful projects are innovative and impactful and create lasting connections with the host country.

  • Why Fulbright? Discuss your interest in the program and serving as a cultural ambassador of the United States. Fulbrighters are flexible, adaptable and eager to engage with people of other cultures to promote mutual understanding.

  • Get a strong, detailed letter of invitation if it is required, strongly preferred or preferred. The letter should specify who you will be collaborating with, what you will researching or teaching, and the timeline. The host should also discuss why you project is important to them and how you will contribute to their academic goals.

  • Check the Fulbright Scholar Directory to learn more about past projects and country priorities

  • Choose three referees and discuss your project with them. If you plan to teach on your grant, one recommendation should come from someone who observes your teaching. Recommenders should know you well and be able to comment on your project and contributions to the field. Be sure to share your proposal with them and the link to the award description. See our guidelines for more information.

  • Proof read and get feedback on your proposal:

    • Strong applications aren’t built in a day—most applicants go through several rounds of revisions before submitting their proposals. Reach out to colleagues, friends, and resource centers on campus (Fulbright Scholar Liaisons are a good place to start) and ask them to read and provide feedback on your project statement and other application materials. Make sure to provide them with a link to our review criteria so that they have a firm understanding of what reviewers are looking for.

  • Register for a regional Virtual Advising Webinar or listen to one that was previously recorded. You may pose questions to our program staff and hear what other applicants ask about as they finalize their application.

  • Compare your application to the Review Criteria. This is the criteria that peer reviewers will be using to evaluate your application. Use the context of the review criteria to understand what the Fulbright committee is looking for in your application.