Writing the Personal Statement Essay
Your personal statement should be an intellectual autobiography that conveys something about you, your background, and your reasons for wanting to participate in the Fulbright program. It should illustrate how a Fulbright grant is the next logical and necessary step in your life, and how you are qualified to carry out. Where did you grow up and what were your family and community like? What challenges have you faced? What advantages have you had and how have you used them or not used them? What formed your interest in the country for the Fulbright grant? Give the committee a picture of yourself, your background, and the kind of contribution you will make toward cultural exchange. What do you hope to gain from this cultural exchange, and what do you hope to give in return?
Fulbright emphasizes the candidate’s engagement in the host country so be sure to discuss how you will become involved in addition to the specific work of the project. Use the personal statement to give the committee a picture of yourself and how you might participate in communities while in the host country.
Here are questions to consider while writing.
- Overall, is your PS interesting and easy to read? Does it show, rather than tell, who you are and make the reader want to know you better?
- Does your PS demonstrate your motivation and ability to work independently?
- Does it show who you are, and make the reader want to know you better?
- Do you demonstrate your experience and interest in intercultural learning and sharing? Will the reader feel confident you would act as an “ambassador” for the US?
- Do you maintain a theme or connecting concept throughout the PS?
- Does your PS explore connections between your academic life and the rest of your life?
- Do you repeat information included in other parts of your application? Omit them unless they are necessary for further explanation or emphasis. Be careful not to turn the PS into an extension of the proposal.