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Research Grants Application Guide

Completing a Fulbright application can be a significant investment of time and effort, so it’s important to plan accordingly. Give yourself adequate time before the deadline to collect information and documents, write and polish essays, and prepare yourself for the rigorous interview process. 

After reviewing the first steps below, please use the menu on the right to navigate your way through the guide.

First Steps:

1. Start Early

We cannot emphasize enough that you should start your application as far in advance of the deadline as possible. Preparing a competitive application takes a great deal of time and effort.

A strong application is made up of essays, references, a language evaluation, transcripts, and a campus interview. The essays are the most critical to writing a competitive Fulbright application. To be competitive, your project should be original, relevant, feasible, and clearly defined. What makes a project successful varies by country, discipline, and the qualifications of an individual applicant. The reason why you should begin your application so far in advance is partly because it takes time to develop a project with these successful characteristics.

Although a fully realized application may seem daunting in the early stages, you have many resources to help you. Do not hesitate to ask for assistance or advice from your advisor, professors, the Fulbright Program Director, and the Fulbright Program Adviser.

One thing to keep in mind: applicants also have told us that the time spent thinking and writing about their future plans—whether, in the end, they were awarded a scholarship or not—was well worth the effort. If you plan to apply to graduate schools or interview with prospective employers, the Fulbright application process can provide you with valuable experience. In the essays, you will have to consider your future plans and goals. In this way, applying for the Fulbright Scholarship can help you to further define your academic and career goals.

2. Develop and Utilize Faculty Contacts

It is important, throughout all levels of the application process, to use faculty members as a source for advising and support. Work closely with a faculty member to polish your project idea, improve your written materials, as well as to develop a network of faculty contacts.

3. Determine the Country and Field of Your Proposed Project

When applying for a Fulbright, you must specify the country in which you will teach or study. Read the Country Summaries on the Fulbright website of the country/countries in which you are interested. Pay particular attention to the language requirements, time period of the grant (not all countries follow the standard U.S. academic schedule), and degree level preferences.

If you are open to a few different countries, you might consult the Statistics resource in the upper right corner of the official Fulbright webpage. Keep in mind that these statistics are available to all candidates; everyone has access to the same information and may be inclined to make the same types of choices based on that information.

Last Updated: 2/14/23