Fulbright Application Tips; SoP, and Essay Guidance

Some insider tips to perfect your Fulbright Application

Applications for the Fulbright scholarship are open and the deadline has been extended to July 15, 2020, due to COVID-19 lockdown. This extension in the application is a chance for all the aspiring applicants to polish their application essays, improve on GRE if you haven’t taken yet, and write your application prompts perfectly. Here in this guide, we present you with some useful tips to perfect your Fulbright application. We’ll give you some insider tips by a current Fulbright scholar. So without further ado, lets head towards our Fulbright application tips.

Fulbright applications are open now. Visit the website for details and eligibility criteria: Fulbright Degree Program

Common Questions about the Fulbright Application

Common questions about the Fulbright application process asked are:

  1. When should I take GRE and how much time should I invest?
  2. My degree isn’t complete yet, should I apply or not?
  3. My grades are low and I don’t have an extraordinary profile, should I still consider applying?

Here are the answers to these common questions regarding the Fulbright application process:

1. Assess yourself to find out how much time you need to prepare for GRE. Take a mock test from ETS and consider your weak areas to work on.

2. Fulbright asks you to submit the final degree by December of that year. An incomplete degree doesn’t hurt your chances.

3. Even If you have low grades or not a stellar profile, still apply, for two reasons;
1. You don’t know if you will get selected or not, let’s find out by applying.
2. You would learn from the process even if you fail. Perfect opportunity to improve yourself and the application doesn’t even cost you anything

Furthermore, there are a lot of things that could compensate for low grades. Fulbright is a cultural scholarship and they consider leadership qualities, extracurricular activities, cultural activities, and also some underprivileged areas, fields of study, and gender are given preference.

Check also: Australia Awards Scholarship 2020 for International Students to study in Australia on a fully-funded scholarship

Important points about personal statement and research objectives for Fulbright Application:

A personal statement is your life story, your journey, you as a person, your motivations, and achievements that make you who you are. While research objectives are your study goals, your future plans, your academic journey and experiences, and your passion which compelled you to opt for a research degree in the field of your choice.

Don’t Regurgitate your CV in your Admission Essays and Fulbright Application

But you are the same person and you have the same experiences to include in both so it might overlap? Well, that’s the point. You don’t have to just write down a detailed CV as if someone is interviewing you. Give a perspective, a presentation. The important part of your experience is not the duties you performed or the academic honors you achieved, but the things you learned, the skills you gained, the impact it created on you, and the impact you created in return, the outcome you gave back to the institute or organization or society. In short, how an experience CHANGED you and how did you bring a CHANGE in return.

Read: Apply for the Fulbright Scholarship 2021 to study MS/Ph.D. in the United States

Show How You Grew as a Person

Now that you have similar experiences you have to mention in both essays but keeping in mind the point stated above, you can have two perspectives. You learn and grow in two ways, personal growth, and technical/knowledge-based growth. You attend a lecture, you don’t just go and learn formulae, you always learn something new, you learn how to communicate, how to write, how to behave, how to ignore negativity, how to be patient, how to be consistent, etc. All these learnings change you, make you a better person. You learn, you grow, you influence others positively and you bring a change. This is all very important and should be included in your personal statement. While you learn technical stuff, it goes to your study/research objectives.

Link the Dots in Your Fulbright Application

And in the end, don’t forget to link all these to the main point, how would your experiences and learnings help you during your research and stay in the US. And how does it make you a better candidate for Fulbright? Remember it’s a cultural scholarship, so your social engagement and your passion to solve a crisis in the country matters a lot.

Express yourself

See yourself as a new person, recalling all the journey that brought you here so that you could grab this opportunity to change your life once again. Go for it, pour your heart out. First, just express things out, don’t worry about fancy words and grammar at this point. Take out that story of yours, those passionate goals of yours, when you feel this is what you always have wanted from you, then send it to someone for review.

Here’s a complete Sample Application for Fulbright Application

Leverage but Don’t Manipulate Fulbright’s Preferred Disciplines

Note that Fulbright has a preferred quota for interdisciplinary studies like energy, water, agriculture, etc. But that ‘heat, sweat and load shedding’ motivation for energy/environment studies is too old and overheard now, bring something new. You will be competing with at least 10,000 people, brace yourself.

Know Your Strengths to Focus in Personal Statement and Fulbright Application

To know about your strengths and specialty in you as a candidate, I suggest spending some time to take personality tests. It will give you confidence and you will learn about your strengths more if you are confused. Some good websites are:

https://high5test.com/ (for strengths and traits)

https://www.16personalities.com/ (personality test)

But again, in the end, it’s your skill how you present yourself to others. Learn to show the best of yourself, believe in yourself, and learn from your mistakes instead of demoralizing and underestimating yourself.


Muhammad Sarwar

Muhammad Sarwar is an Electrical Engineer by profession and a blogger by passion. He loves to teach and share knowledge. He's a Fulbright scholarship awardee. He reads books, play games, blogs and program in his spare time.

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