National & International Scholarships
Fulbright U.S. Student Program
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The program currently awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.
Applicants may receive Fulbright Student Grants for: English teaching assistantships or study/research awards, in which students typically study at foreign universities or conduct a research/creative project abroad. Both types of awards include round-trip transportation to the host country; maintenance for the academic year, based on living costs in the host country; and limited health benefits. Study/research awardees may also be eligible to receive funds for books, research allowances, full or partial tuition, and language study programs.
Applicants must hold at least an undergraduate degree by the time the grant period begins; many students begin the application process in the second half of their junior year. Grants are awarded in nearly all fields and disciplines, including the sciences, professional fields and creative and performing arts.
Fulbright Frequently Asked Questions
The Fulbright Program is a long-established State Department initiative to encourage mutual understanding between Americans and the rest of the world through educational exchange. Fulbright funds programs for current undergraduates, recent graduates/graduate students, professors/scholars, and teachers.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Programis targeted at recent graduates and current grad students (U.S. citizens only).
An application submitted in October 2018, if successful, will mean a year abroad beginning in Fall 2019 (or January/February 2020 for some southern hemisphere countries). The timing works best for 2019 grads, although if you aren't locked into a job or grad school immediately following a 2018 graduation, you should also strongly consider applying. I'm happy to advise 1st-2nd year students on things you can do now to make yourself more competitive later.
Virtually anything. You can teach English, conduct research or creative/performing arts projects, or study for a postgraduate degree. Special grants fund additional opportunities in business, journalism, and other fields.
Virtually anywhere. You can do a research/study Fulbright in about 140 different countries. You can teach English in about 70 of these countries.
You may make only ONE application, so you must decide ETA or Research/Study and apply to only one country.
Are you interested in spending 9-12 months abroad, fully funded by the Department of State?
Do you have relevant experiences (academic, extracurricular, volunteer, etc.) that you can draw on to make an argument about why you'd make a great Fulbrighter?
Will your career plans benefit from communication, teaching and/or community engagement, academic research, professional and/or creative experience abroad, or developing any number of skills required for successful intercultural exchange?
Do you have a reasonably solid academic record? (Generally ≥3.0 GPA, but the relative competitiveness of different countries may require higher.)
If yes, then yes.
The program provides funding for grantees to spend 9-12 months abroad after graduation. This includes at least airfare and a living stipend and depending on the country, it can cover tuition waivers if you're studying at a university.
A Fulbright award constitutes major national recognition and can make a significant difference in your competitiveness for graduate/professional school or career opportunities in the US.
Writing application essays is fabulous practice for grad school applications, job applications, and any other exercise that requires you to make a case for yourself in writing.
If graduate school is in your immediate future, many programs are happy to defer your enrollment for a Fulbright year.
The core of the application is two essays: a statement of grant purpose and a personal statement. These must be concise (1 or 2p single-spaced, depending on the grant type) and nailed down tight.
You also need 3 letters of recommendation or reference forms (depending on type of grant) from people who know you well and can use specific examples of your skills and qualities that are relevant to your ability to study/conduct research/teach English.
Other materials (letter of affiliation, language evaluation, transcript, etc.)
YES! As the Fulbright Program Advisor for WKU, it's Dr. Grimsley-Smith's job to guide you through the whole process. In the months before the September campus deadline, I talk through essay and project ideas with applicants, read draft after draft after draft, and keep them on track toward submitting a competitive application as painlessly as possible.
If you want a “training plan” with intermediate deadlines, goals, and structured guidance through the summer, sign up for Summer Application Support.
To begin, spend some quality time in the "Countries" tab of the Fulbright website and begin narrowing down a list of possible application destinations and types. I'm happy to help you talk through this list and help you decide where you'll be the most competitive. Fulbright Week (April 2-6) is a great way to get started.
Between April and August I'll work with you to develop your application essays.
By the first day of classes of the fall semester, you should register your Embark application account.
Our campus deadline is Tuesday, September 4. You will submit a complete application (including letters of recommendation/references) by this date.
Campus committee interviews (15-minute interviews with WKU faculty) take place the second week of September. You’ll have 3-4 weeks to polish your application before final submission.
The national deadline is Tuesday, October 9, 2018.
Dr. Melinda Grimsley-Smith
Coordinator, International Scholarships
Dr. Grimsley-Smith works with students applying for this scholarship. If you are interested in learning more or applying, you can set up a meeting with Dr. Grimsley-Smith online, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 270.745.5043.
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