A Fulbright-er future can’t be put off

Medical student Paul Phelps visits an orphanage in India.
Medical student Paul Phelps visits an orphanage in India.

Over the last decade, colleges have increasingly created fellowship and scholarship centers to assist undergrads in applying for competitive opportunities. This month is when those centers start encouraging hopeful collegiates to consider a Fulbright: It can take upward of three months to create a compelling application.

Rona Buchalter, director of the Drexel University Fellowships Office, advises that it’s not easy to get a strong application together: “The core of the application is a one-page personal statement and a two-page proposal. You might think, ‘Oh, well that’s easy. I could do that this weekend,’ but really it takes several months and six to 10 drafts to get it right,” says Buchalder. The earlier the drafts are done, the better.

The application, she says, is about much more than word count. “There’s a lot of detail that needs to fit in there,” Buchalter says. “On top of that, it needs to be a good read and tell a compelling story, she says adding encouragement: “That’s not easy to do on short notice.”

Facts and Figures
Founded in 1946, the Student Fulbright is intended to provide recent college graduates an opportunity to study in foreign country, and to “increase understanding” between U.S. citizens and people from other nations. According to the state department website, congress allocates about $250 million to the Fulbright each year. The Student Fulbright is just one aspect of the program, providing scholarships to roughly 1,500 candidates.

Application requirements for the student Fulbright:
1. College transcripts, detailing a completed undergraduate degree

2. A one-page statement of purpose: Why do you want to study in the nation you have selected?

3. A two-page proposal for the project, research or position you intend to pursue

4. Three letters of recommendation

5. A letter of affiliation from the host institution of the foreign country

6. A language evaluation (for those intending to pursue study in a country that does not speak English predominantly)


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