There are so many resources available to the aspiring Fulbrighter–however, I thought that I would put my two cents in as well.
- Have a solid reason for your country preference. I chose India because of my very specific interest in Modern Indian Art. Of course–for many people, this is easier said than done. Just be aware that you need to qualify your interest in your particular country. Having a dream to visit there someday is probably not going to cut it.
- Find an affiliate early. I reached out to the Professor I wanted to work with over 6 months before my internal deadline. I was very lucky in that my first choice agreed to write my letter of affiliation and work with me on my proposal. But for many people, their first choice doesn’t pan out! Be aware of the timeline and contact your sponsors as soon as possible.
- Write at least 5-6 solid drafts of both your personal statement and grant purpose. (I wrote over 11 for each! The progression from my first draft to final copy is astounding) Send each draft to a trusted advisor (or two! or three!) Stay true to yourself but do take criticism into account to really craft a beautiful application.
- Be thoughtful when choosing recommenders–I tried to get a holistic approach by asking one professor in my field (art history), one who taught me South Asian material, and one that I spent a summer researching with. I made sure to keep all of my recommenders involved with the process (early notification, sending them drafts for them to read through, etc.) I am on very good terms with all three recommenders as well; they are some of my favorite professors and I knew that they enjoyed having me as a student as well.
- Do NOT drive yourself crazy by waiting for the results. I wish I had more self-control but I spent the last two weeks of March refreshing my email incessantly. Take a walk, concentrate on other parts of your life, and don’t fall into the pit of waiting.
- Have other options! I have applied for quite a few fellowships and I know the sting of denial so I made sure that my Fulbright application wasn’t my only post-graduation path. I applied to jobs, other programs, and even took my GRE in case I wanted to apply to graduate school.
If you have any specific questions, please feel free to write to me!