Frequently Asked Questions

What is Fulbright looking for? 

Fulbright is looking for interesting, strong, well-structured projects proposed by mature students with the ability to carry them out. The student should be prepared academically and linguistically to undertake the project in the time allotted and with the resources available. Moreover, Fulbright is looking for open-minded students who will make a contribution to and learn from their interactions with the host country.

Should I apply for a Research/Study Grant or an ETA Grant?

Students who have a focused interest in the host country that could be pursued through research should apply for a Research/Study Grant. Students who have a strong interest in a foreign language and in culture should consider applying for the ETA.

How can I decide to which country to apply?

Applicants should offer compelling reasons for their choice of host country. Research/Study grant projects should be tightly connected to a host country. ETA applicants should provide a strong reason to work in their chosen host country. Applicants should demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the host country’s culture and possess requisite language skills.

Can I apply to more than one country? 

No, you can only apply to one country. Fulbright places a strong emphasis on cultural immersion and expects its grantees to live and work in one host country for the duration of the grant.

If applying for a Research/Study Grant, how developed does my research idea need to be? 

A key part of the Fulbright application is the importance of your project and your need to be in the host country to conduct it. Before applying, you need to have or be working toward having a solid idea and plan for a project, one that makes sense to carry out in the host country.

Shouldn’t I just apply to the country that offers the most grants?

In preparing a successful application, you should ask yourself: are you genuinely interested in the host country and will you immerse yourself in the culture? It is important that you have genuine enthusiasm for the host country and its language and are curious and open to learning about the people and the culture. Fulbright is first and foremost an inter-cultural exchange program, not solely an academic scholarship.

Are the affiliation requirements for research grants identical across the board?

Affiliation arrangements vary by country, so you should carefully review the affiliation information provided in the country summary. Countries differ in the kinds of host affiliations that are acceptable. Examples of affiliations include universities, laboratories, libraries, non-governmental organizations, and so on. Email potential contacts with an introduction of yourself and a description of your interests, and (when appropriate) an outline of your research or study proposal.

Do I need extremely high grades to get a Fulbright? 

Not necessarily. Your grades should be good, but you do not need to be a straight-A student.

Can I apply after I graduate? 

Yes. Applicants need not be enrolled at the University of Utah to apply. After graduating, you can apply through the University or as an “At Large” candidate. The Fulbright Director will be glad to work with recent graduates.

I studied abroad in the country to which I want to apply. Will that hurt my chances?

No. Study abroad does not make you less desirable as a candidate. In fact, it might work to your advantage as you may have a lead in terms of establishing contacts. However, if you have lived for a significant amount of time in your potential host country, it could jeopardize your chances of winning a Fulbright.

How much time should I expect to spend on my application?

Applying for a Fulbright takes considerable time and effort. Many students who have gone through the process of applying have compared it to taking a course. Planning ahead and factoring in the time necessary to produce a competitive application is the key to success.

If I won’t be on campus during Summer or Fall, can I still apply? 

You can still apply if you will not be on campus. However, you will need to be in contact with the Fulbright Director throughout the summer. Before you leave campus, try to meet with potential recommenders.

Are there deadlines for submitting applications?

There are two significant deadlines in the Fulbright process—the campus deadline and the national deadline. You must ensure that all of your own materials and letters of recommendation are submitted by the campus deadline. If a recommender cannot meet the campus deadline, you should ask another person to write the letter.

Who should I ask for references and for advice on essays and programs of study? 

Fulbright requires three academic references and, for non-English speaking countries, a language evaluation. Letters are a very important part of the application, so make sure you ask people who know you well and who can speak in detail about your candidacy and the proposed project. It’s a good idea to seek feedback from the same faculty members that will write your recommendations.

Can I see an example of successful Fulbright essays? 

Yes. Contact the Fulbright Director or the Fulbright Program Adviser to obtain a copy of previous essays.

Can I get help with my application and my essays over the summer? 

Yes. We encourage you to be in contact with us over the summer and to seek feedback on your essays and application. The Fulbright Director is willing to answer your questions and support your application efforts during the summer.