How to Win a Fulbright Scholarship

How to Win a Fulbright Scholarship in – There are many companies that provide scholarships and some of the companies even offer the students tuition fee reimbursement. These all kinds of programs benefits the students as they can get their money refunded and along with work-study side by side. Apart from that, they can also get various types of scholarships. There are different types of scholarships that are available. These scholarships can help the students experience many things and broaden their horizons on various subjects. If you want to know about some of the best scholarships, then you should continue reading this guide to know more.

The Fulbright program was founded in the year 1946 and one of the most amazing things is that it has given away three lakhs and seventy thousand scholarship grants to the applicants that were eligible and whose application was worth it. Fulbright is one of the most famous programs/scholarships of its kind. In this scholarship, the selected candidate gets the chance of studying and living in abroad for one year.

But again there is some eligibility criteria in the Fulbright scholarships i.e. this scholarship cannot be availed by undergraduates. In order to avail this scholarship it is very important that you should have completed your bachelor’s degree. The eligible candidates are those who hold graduate degree, or are working etc. You can also check online for details of the same. In addition, there are many companies that gives tuition fee reimbursement, like that of amazon that gives up to 95% of tuition and fees for year, so likewise you can search many such companies online or check the previous post.

In order to get scholarship for Fulbright U.S. Student Program the students are needed to prepare an application which is very good and competitive. In this guide the topics that is covered are –

  • The different types of scholarships of Fulbright for the students who are citizens of U.S.
  • What should you see or check to pick the right scholarship?
  • Eligibility criteria,
  • Worth of the scholarships, and the steps in which you have to submit the application
  • Time limit for the application
  • Some tips and suggestions for the students to create a winning application for Fulbright
  • How the pandemic has affected the Fulbright scholarship program?


What is a Fulbright Scholarship?

This scholarship is mainly given to the students who have completed their bachelors’ degree and scholars both from abroad as well as States. However, in this guide you will get to know about the grants and the scholarships that are offered, i.e. specifically a particular program i.e. “Fulbright U.S. Student Program”.

The scholarships for which the Fulbright program gives is for English teaching assistantship and till now for this platform they have already given 1,250 scholarships. Apart from that for research projects, creative study and academic the Fulbright US Student Program has given till now 1,000 scholarships. It is very important for the readers to know that this guide will mainly focus on Fulbright US Student Program scholarships. One of the best ways in which you can apply for these scholarships is to find out which award types will suit your career objectives. The award types are described below, you can check that and decide. Plus, there will be eligibility criteria also that is mentioned in the guide.

Academic Study/Research Awards

With this award, you are permitted to do the following –

  • Design/complete independent study/research project
  • Take classes as a non-degree student at a foreign university
  • At local university, directly enroll in a graduate degree.

For applying for this award you will be required to make your project/study and it should clearly state or elucidate as to why your study needs to carried out in that particular country? For instance, you want to use the award to conduct research in USA, your proposal should include the details like why a particular state in USA is the ideal location for your project. Plus, there are 2 criteria’s from Fulbright that your project must have. They are –

  • Fostering mutual understanding
  • Achieving diversity with foreign nations

Many online videos are there of former scholars of Fulbright who have shared their experience with the people about various countries like that of India, you can watch those videos online and know better how the Fulbright US scholarship program for students work.

Creative & Performing Arts Study/Research Awards

This award is same as that of the academic award. Create your research or project and complete it, take class as a non-degree student in foreign university, and enroll directly in a graduate /degree program at local university. But there is a eligibility criteria and that is that one has to enhance their skills in creative arts by practicing in the country. Apart from that the candidate needs to display experience which is qualified and of high level and also should have some achievement in the artistic field. Plus, they also have to submit an art portfolio.

In addition, the project or art should also have or demonstrate as to why this project or art needs to be carried out in a particular country. For instance, if you want this award to study the African sculpture in Ethiopia, then you will have to give information as to why you have chosen Ethiopia compared to other African countries.

Apart from that, you can also broaden your horizons on the same by watching videos of former scholars who have described about their experience with documentary filmmaking while in Kiribati.

English Teaching Assistant Awards

In this award, the scholarship program will place you in a school or education center in foreign country where you will have to teach English. Your role will be of the cultural ambassador and your teaching duties will include giving presentations on the culture and communal activities of US. In addition, they will also give you a chance to pursue independent project or do work like a volunteer etc.

Apart from that you can also watch videos by former scholars who have shared their experience of teaching in Jordan.

Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellowship

This fellowship is for the candidates who are interested in using digital media and storytelling to empower and enhance cross –cultural connections with more than one host countries or one host country. Through this fellowship award, the professional national geographic editors will train, support, and mentor the candidates. Apart from this, the work of the candidates shall be featured on the blog that is hosted national geographic and online publications of various types.

You can watch videos of the former scholars or candidates who have worked in Botswana and you can learn more about the fellowship and how it works?

How much is a Fulbright Scholarship Worth?

There is no exact amount/dollars that can be described for the scholarship as the cost of the host countries differ and changes, which includes cost of living and other expenditure.

Once you get a Fulbright scholarship then you can avail the following kinds of benefits –

  • To and fro tickets to the host countries
  • Funding for the cost of living in the host countries like room, board etc. costs
  • Sickness and health benefits
  • 24×7 support online for any urgent situations or non-urgent situations
  • Non-competitive eligibility (NCE) hiring status for period of 12 months that too within the federal government.

For some countries the scholarships can also comprise of the following –

  • Allowances for books and research
  • Allowances for mid-term enrichment activities
  • Allowances for full or partial tuition fees
  • Allowances for language study programs
  • Allowances for Pre-departure and in-country orientations

Fulbright Scholarship Eligibility Requirements –

The following is the eligibility criteria for the Fulbright scholarship –

  • At the time of application, the candidate should be a citizen of the United States of America. Exception – Permanent residents are not eligible.
  • The candidate has the bachelor’s degree before applying for the grant. Additionally, if the candidate is applying as a professional who is in the field of creative and performing arts, then the candidate requires or should have 4 years of professional training or experience. This is one of the requirements that should be met.
  • The candidate should meet with the requirements of the language of the award for which the candidate has applied and show enough proficiency that can help to complete the project and also capability to adjust in the host country life.

There are certain additional requirements i.e. dos and don’ts that the Fulbright program has, they are as follows –

  • The candidate applying should not hold a Fulbright grant previously
  • The candidate should have pursued higher education in the States, but at the same time, studying at other colleges in abroad or the other universities in US is not a disadvantage.
  • The candidate should not have resided or studied in the country to which you are applying for more than six months
  • Not counting undergraduate study abroad
  • The candidate should not have duty abroad in the Armed Forces of the United States is not considered disqualifying within the meaning of this section.
  • If the candidates have served in the Armed Forces of the United States, then they will be given preference, provided their qualifications are approximately equivalent to those of other candidates.
  • The candidates should not have had extensive, recent previous foreign experience in the host country they are applying for. Still the candidates will be eligible to apply, but this will be a disadvantage.

If the candidates are applying as a professional then they should also know the following rules –

  • The candidates can hold a J.D. at the time of the application.
  • If the candidate is a doctor of medicine, they shall get grants for advanced academic studies, but they shall not receive grants for internships or residencies.
  • In addition, the candidates should also note that the award does not in anyway authorize activity for which license to practice medicine is required or nursing is needed.
  • Apart from this, the Fulbright scholarship program does not authorize proposals or applications for medical research or project that comprises of clinical training like patient care or patient contact.

How to Apply for a Fulbright Scholarship

The Fulbright scholarships vary depending on the application, which the candidates have made. It also depends on the type of country and award. But there are few common steps that you can take no matter what type of award or country you select.

Step 1: Find out whether you are applying through a U.S. institution or at-large

It is better for a candidate to apply through college if the candidate is a senior year college student or a college graduate who has recently passed out. The reason for this is that your college can have a Fulbright program adviser who can help you through the process of application, on-campus interview, etc. They will make sure that you submit your project/application in time.

Apart from that the adviser of college will give you a deadline for submission that is earlier than the original deadline. So, this way you will not be late in giving your submissions. Apart from that, you can look online, so that you can search for the Fulbright Program Adviser at your college, so that you can connect with the adviser and get all the detailed information.

You can also choose to apply for Fulbright scholarship on your own, as you will be known as at-large candidate. It means that you will be liable for submitting your full application through the Fulbright online application system & that too in the given deadline.

Step 2: Choose the award type and gather the required application materials

For Academic Study/Research Award, the materials needed during an application are as follows –

  • Your biography that includes everything including your previous experience abroad.
  • Summary of your application, i.e. project/study like what are your plans regarding the host country and education and career plans etc. You can also ask your adviser.
  • Statement in 2 pages about what and why you plan to research or study as a Fulbright recipient in the host country.
  • An affiliation letter from the host country’s institution with whom you plan to work or study.
  • One page statement on your personal details history and aim related to what you want to achieve as a Fulbright scholar
  • Demonstrating proficiency in the host country’s language through a foreign language evaluation form.
  • At least 3 reference letters from the people who can mention about your ability to carry out the study or research or project that you have chosen.
  • Academic transcripts from the institution where you have achieved the highest education or degree.
  • If you ever plan to work on your project or study in which tests needs to be conducted on humans or animals & want to publish or use the results then you need documents validating the ethics of your study/research.

Application for a Creative & Performing Arts Study/Research Award, the following materials are needed –

  • Same as above
  • Plus, you will need to submit your art portfolio i.e. requirements for the arts portfoliodiffers depending on your artistic skills.

For English Teaching Assistant Award, the following materials are needed –

  • Same as above

For applying for a Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellowship, you need the following materials –

  • Same as above
  • Apart from this you will also need a portfolio or storytelling collections that is connected with relevant samples of work.

Step 3: Choose a country and review additional eligibility requirements –

At present, the Fulbright scholarship allows the students to work/study/research in more than 170+ countries. Apart from this for some countries you can get the award, but for some other countries there is no award. For instance, you can apply in New Zealand for different kinds of awards, but cannot apply for an English teaching assistant award. Therefore, it is very important that you check the country in which the awards are available. Plus, do check if there is any kind of additional information that is needed.

Step 4: Submit your application and prepare for potential follow-up steps

After you have gathered all the information and have chosen your proposed country, you can prepare your application and submit it after completion. Remember that your application has to be a winning one. So, you have to make an exceptional application.

But if you are applying on your own i.e. you are a at-large candidate then, you will have to be alert and keep getting online updates including the national deadline updates. But if you are applying through a college adviser then the adviser will give you a deadline which is early than the original deadline i.e. mostly 6 weeks before the official deadline. Plus, the advisers also train for an on-campus interview.

After your application is received, the adviser will hold an on-campus interview and the interview shall be some of the faculty’s members and they shall question you about your application. One of the biggest benefits of this on-campus interview is that after the interview if you feel that its not up to the mark then you can revise your application and re-submit it before the official deadline.

Fulbright Scholarship Application Timeline

The details of the application timeline for the candidates who have applied for award 2021 are here – The latest application timeline for the year 2022-23 are as follows –

On February 2021 the Fulbright scholarship application opens. Then, in the month of August – September, 2021- there is deadline for those applications that has been applied through the academic institutions. Plus, there can also be on-campus interview. The final official deadline for submitting the application for 2021 is in the month of September i.e. 15th September at 11:59P.M. (PST).

The, in between October-November, 2021 the applications of the candidates shall be reviewed. This will ensure eligibility and the comprehensiveness of the application. If any additional documents are required, the candidates shall be notified accordingly. In the month of November – December 2021 the candidates will be sent e-mail on whether their application has been recommended or not for further approval in the host country.

From December 2021 to May 2022 – the public affairs sections of the United States Embassy or Bi-national Fulbright Commission overseas will review the recommended applications and they shall nominate the candidates for selection. The, from January to June, 2022 the applications of the candidates that are nominated gets forwarded to the Fulbright foreign scholarship board for acceptance/approval. After which the candidates shall be notified i.e. whether they have been chosen to receive a Fulbright award.

Tips to Increase Your Chances of Winning a Fulbright Scholarship

One of the things that students should know is that there are more than 1000 of application that Fulbright receives every year and only 20% of the applications are accepted. But after reading this don’t be hesitant to apply. Even if you don’t have a apt application you can still apply and check the videos of scholars and recipients who were not perfect yet they applied. Here are 7 tips that can help you to win a Fulbright application or scholarship –

Apply through your college or alma mater

If you are not going to college or never went to college then you can apply as at-large candidate. But otherwise, it is recommended that you apply through your college i.e. academic institution rather than by your own. Even if its has been years after you have graduated.  One of the reasons why you should apply through academic institution is because you will get support and proper guidance from the advisers from college. Then, after an on-campus interview, you also get chance and time to revise your applications. So, there are good chances you get after receiving the feedback to make your application even more competitive.

Study the host country’s language even if it’s not required for the application

To make your application more competitive and enhanced it is very necessary that you learn foreign language & mention it in your application. You should also know that one of the pivotal objectives of Fulbright program is to foster good relation and engage with local community. So, to make it possible it is very important that you know the foreign language. This is like an added qualification.

Learn as much as you can about the host country’s culture and history

You will have to do research about the host country, because in the interview, you will be asked why you chose the proposed country and simply telling that you wanted to travel or like, etc. is not enough. You should research and know well about the country.

There should be enough justification that you should have which justifies your connection between your interests or work and your future plans with the host country’ their history /culture. This should be mentioned in your personal statement.

Don’t apply for an award in a country where you have a lot of previous experience

Even if you want to or feel like going back to the country where you were born or have lived, but still it is best you choose some other country and not for Fulbright scholarship. You may even be asked to start your research their rather than applying in Fulbright. It is like a disadvantage if you have experience in a host country. You should apply in a country about which you have learnt a lot when you were in the USA.

Choose the people writing your recommendations wisely

The Fulbright scholarship program members do evaluate the reference letters and through those letter they will be better able to understand about your capacity to finish the study/research/project etc. So, make sure that before anyone writes references for you they know what to write or else it can happen that those reference letters are just exaggerated with your story and about your character etc. that the Fulbright is not interested in knowing.

In order to give the best reference letters, it is suggested that you attach even your statement of grants including personal statement. Apart from that you should give the people writing reference letter for you at least 3-4 weeks time to complete the recommendation letter. You can also give your recommender tips on how to write a scholarship recommendation letter.

Get feedback on your abstract, proposal, and essays

You should at least have one person like a friend, adviser, or college lecturer who can give you advise on your abstract, application, statement of grant including personal statement –

  • Whether you have provided full and sufficient reasons to show that you are having the capacity to carry out the following research or others (which you have chosen)
  • Whether the reason you have given for choosing you’re the proposed country is enough and clear
  • Whether your plans are clear and goal oriented to engage with the host community
  • Whether you left any important information etc.

Their feedback can help you revise your application and make needed corrections. You can also revise your application after on-campus interview.

Start preparing your application as early as possible

“ Early bird catches the worm.” So, it is better that you start early because there are some materials for applications like the affiliate letters which takes a lot of time like months to get. So, start your application early, it will also give you time to think what to add and what to delete, etc.

How Has the Coronavirus Pandemic Affected the Fulbright Program –

Due to the pandemic traveling to some countries have become impossible, but there are certain things that you should be aware of. Going to some destinations have become impossible and students must be wondering whether getting a Fulbright scholarship is worth it. So, continue reading to know more.

Here is a bit of the most recent statement from the Fulbright Program:

“The Fulbright Program Team is closely monitoring the progression of COVID-19 (also known as the Coronavirus) in the United States and around the world, and taking all necessary steps to protect the health and well-being of our grantees and staff. We are working closely with partner governments, Fulbright Commissions, U.S. Embassies, Fulbright cooperating agencies, and U.S. and foreign host institutions to provide guidance and information to our exchange participants.

In planning for the resumption of in-person exchanges for U.S. participants, the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Program continue to prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of participants and host communities. Fulbright is a global program and is tailoring its plans on a country-by-country basis to resume in-person exchanges for U.S. participants after January 1, 2021. These plans will take into consideration the varying degrees to which the pandemic is affecting countries and communities around the world.”

Of course, these things can change quickly! So, for the most up-to-date information, check the Fulbright Program Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Where to Find More Scholarships

One of the best places where you can find more scholarship is to look online in buchananreform. It is one of the best applications around the globe. There are more than hundreds of scholarships that you can get through scholly search. You can also check the blog  in which you can get tips on how to win scholarships and other forms of fiscal aid, pay off your student loans, etc.


This is one of the best ways in which you can get scholarships. Apart from that one of the most interesting parts is that you can travel around the world like the host country that you have chosen, get a chance to experience their culture and also teach English. But there are some criteria and eligibility. Apart from that, you also have to make a application that is winning application, like your application should be competitive one. Besides, this one of the best ways to apply for a Fulbright scholarship is to apply through academic institutions. One of the reasons for the same is that during an on-campus interview you get a chance to revise your application, add or delete certain materials, which otherwise you will not get if you are applying as a at-large student.

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Alberto Rovanski

Alberto Rovanski is working for human welfare. he joined hand with Universities like Harvard and Stanford to help needy students with scholarships and grants. Alberto Was formerly Working with various Non Profit Organizations such as Redcross to help People across the Globe

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