FAQ

Getting Started
Application Components
Campus Deadlines
Campus Interviews
Advisement
Miscellaneous


Getting Started

I’m interested in Fulbright.  Where should I begin?

If you are just learning about Fulbright, we recommend that you do the following to familiarize yourself with the countries and grant types available:

What is the difference between the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and the Fulbright Scholar Program?

The Fulbright Student Program enables graduating college seniors, graduate students, young professionals, and artists to study, teach, or conduct research. Generally, a bachelor’s degree or equivalent is required by the start of a Fulbright grant. The Fulbright Scholar Program enables college and university faculty members to teach and/or conduct research. It is also open to artists and professionals. A small number of grants are offered each year to the U.S. international education administrators through the Scholar Program.


Application Components

Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?

Fulbright requires three letters of recommendation. It is best to ask people who know you well and can speak to your Fulbright project in the host country.  It is also helpful for recommenders to express how Fulbright is a stepping stone for your future career. The more specific your letters of recommendation are, the better. Study/research applicants tend to ask three faculty members while ETA applicants ask 1-2 faculty members and 1-2 supervisors who have observed your teaching, coaching or tutoring skills. You should provide a draft of your essays and resume to all of your recommenders so they can support your application content and provide a robust letter.  Since most Fulbright countries do not conduct interviews, letters of recommendation are an incredibly important way for the review committee to get to know you.

How do my recommenders send their letters to Fulbright? 

Applicants enter the names and contact information of recommenders and language evaluators in the References section of the Fulbright online application. An auto-email will be generated prompting the recommender to submit the letter. You can use the online system to monitor whether recommendation letters have been submitted and send reminders.

What is the difference between the Language Self Evaluation and the Foreign Language Evaluation? How do I access each one?

The Embark application links the Language Self-Evaluation and Foreign Language Evaluation, thus requiring both the completion of the Language Self-Evaluation and the registering an evaluator for the Foreign Language Evaluation. The Language Self Evaluation (LSE) is completed by the applicant while the Foreign Language Evaluation (FLE) is completed by a faculty member. Applicants who request language forms must complete the Language Self-Evaluation (LSE) and register an evaluator for the FLE.  If you do not intend to have your language level evaluated, then you must change your response in Preliminary Question 5 to I do not need the Language-Self Evaluation and the Foreign Language Evaluation.   This response will remove the LSE from your application.

You can give your evaluator access to the Foreign Language Evaluation Form by entering their name and contact information in the Recommenders section of the Fulbright online application.  An auto-email will be generated to prompt the evaluator to complete the form on your behalf.

Candidates with little or no knowledge of the host country language and who have plan to acquire some skills in the language are encouraged to include these plans in their statement of grant purpose.

Who should I ask to complete my Foreign Language Evaluation? 

The ideal person to ask for this evaluation is a faculty member who teaches the target language at the university level.  If you have not taken target language courses here at USC, you are welcome to email the department the offers the language and request to meet with a faculty member to have an evaluation completed on your behalf.  If it your responsibility to arrange a time to meet with the evaluator. If you are applying to a country where the language is not offered at USC, you can contact another university or community college where the language is offered. **Do not have an evaluation completed for a language other than your countries target language.

What transcripts should I submit?

We recommend submitting official university transcripts because they provide a professional presentation of your academic work.  Although Fulbright states that an unofficial transcript is acceptable, we do not recommend using STARS since this format is long and difficult to read.  There are two ways to access your official transcript from USC:

1) Request an official electronic transcript through the Registrar’s Office.  It is $10 and will be delivered to your inbox instantly.  From there, you can download as a PDF and attach to your Fulbright application.

2)  Request an official transcript in-person from the Office of Academic Records and Registrar in John Hubbard Hall (JHH) from 9:00 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday.  Let them know the transcript is for Academic Honors and Fellowships and you will receive the transcript for free. Scan and attach the transcript to your Fulbright application.

The Fulbright Program requires a complete academic record of your higher education. You must provide transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions from which you received degrees. Transcripts must also be submitted from other institutions where you studied and received credit for coursework.

How do I secure a Letter of Affiliation?

It is best to start early in your search to find a proper affiliate in the host country.  You may find a match in a week, but in most cases, the process takes months.  We recommend starting with your faculty mentor(s) to see if they already have a contact in your field living in the country in which you are interested.  The more people you talk to about Fulbright, the sooner you will find an affiliate that is excited to work with you on your project. Some applicants meet their affiliates during a study abroad program and take a class with a visiting professor from the host country.  Others meet them at conferences, through friends but the vast majority send out cold emails to an affiliate after doing research about their work.

Other places to search are:

  • Fulbright Scholar Directory – Search scholars by Type (U.S. or visiting), Program Country, Host Institution, Home Institution, Discipline and Academic Year awarded.  As recipients of a Fulbright Grant, these faculty understand and embody Fulbright’s mission of cross-cultural understanding and can be a great leads for an affiliate contact!
  • Fulbright Grantee Directory – Search recipients of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant either from USC (use that Trojan Family Network!) or by field, country or grant year. Someone who has already carried out a project in your host country may have a great contact for an affiliate for your project.
  • You can also watch the Fulbright Study/Research Grant Recipient Video to learn how past recipients identified their affiliates.

Questions #28 (abstract/summary of proposal), #29 (host country engagement) and #32 (career and/or education plans) in the online application seem redundant.  Can I cut and paste content from my statements to include here?

These short answer responses should not be copied word for word from your statements since doing so would be a missed opportunity to utilize space well and demonstrate your writing skills.   Instead, these questions should provide a summary of what you touched on in your statements and if space provides, you can include additional details about your ideas here.  Do not present brand new ideas that are not mentioned anywhere else in your application in your abstracts. We recommend waiting until your essays are nearly finished before completing questions 29 and 32 so you will be in the best position possible to offer an overview of yourself as an applicant.  It is worth being thoughtful about how you answer these questions since it is one of the first pieces of writing the reviewers will see.  It may help to understand that Fulbright committees read many applications and these questions provide a quick way to refer to you as an applicant and get an overview.


Campus Deadlines

What is the difference between the USC campus deadline and the Fulbright national deadline? 

Meeting USC campus deadlines allows you to participate in the Campus Evaluation Interviews with USC faculty.  This is an opportunity to enhance your application and participate in a mock national screening committee process.  Our office compiles your materials and sends your application to faculty who take the time to review and meet with you to provide feedback.  You will be able to edit your application after the interview and before the national deadline.

What do I need to submit by the campus deadline? 

All of your application materials are due by this date.  The complete application includes:

  • Biographical Data (Embark online application)
  • Statement of Grant Purpose
  • Personal Statement
  • Transcript(s)
  • Affiliation letter (if applicable)
  • Three Recommendations
  • Language Evaluation Form completed by a faculty member (if applicable)
  • Transcripts
  • **Arts applicants only – in addition to the Embark application submission, email supplementary materials directly to kcalvert@usc.edu. (Do not submit supplementary materials on Fulbright Upload Portal yet.  This will be done after your campus interview.)
  • **Nat Geo applicants only – Resume and Digital Storytelling Portfolio

How do I submit my Fulbright application by the campus deadline?  Will it go to Fulbright?

When your Fulbright online application is ready in Embark, go to the Submit Application tab on the left.  You will be prompted to enter your electronic signature and run through Application Inspector.  Once all portions of the application are complete, you will have the option to Submit your Application.  Because you have registered to apply through USC, your application will come into our management.  It will not be sent to Fulbright yet.

What if my affiliation letter is not ready by the campus deadline?

If your affiliation letter is not ready, you may upload the email communication that you have had with your affiliate by the campus deadline as a placeholder.  You will need to replace the email content with an actual letter by the national deadline.

What if I miss the USC campus deadline?

If you are a current student, you can still apply for Fulbright through USC, however, you will not be eligible to participate in the campus interviews and receive an evaluation. The Campus Committee Evaluation Form is like a fourth letter of recommendation, so not participating in the USC process is a missed opportunity.  If you are a USC alum who missed the campus deadline, we recommend that you apply as an “at-large” applicant.


Campus Interviews

What is the purpose of the campus interview?

The Fulbright campus interview is mandatory for applicants applying through USC and is meant to enhance your application, not weed anyone out of the process. The campus interview serves two purposes: 1) It is a chance for faculty from a variety of fields to provide feedback on your application and 2) Your interview committee will complete an evaluation based on the quality of work they see, proposal feasibility and potential you have for improvement.  (You will have time after your interview to incorporate changes before final submission.) Your campus committee will also assess your interpersonal skills and ambassadorial potential. This evaluation will be attached to your application and sent to Fulbright. For your reference, this is what the Study/Research Campus Committee Evaluation Form and ETA Campus Committee Evaluation Form look like.

What can I expect for the campus interview?

Campus interviews are approximately 30 minutes minutes long.  Committees consist of 2-3 USC faculty and/or professionals.  We try our best to match you with at least one faculty member in your field and/or world region, however, this is not guaranteed due to availability.  Reviewers will be familiar with Fulbright and likely Fulbrighters themselves.  This structure is meant to mimic the Fulbright National Screening Committee whose members may not be in your area of expertise. As such, it is important to not use a lot of field-specific jargon in your statements.  (The only exception to this are applicants in the Arts.) The committee will have received your application ahead of time and read through all of your materials.  They may ask you general questions, but will mainly focus on your Statement of Grant Purpose and Personal Statement. You are welcome to ask them questions as well and often times, an interview feels more like a conversation. The campus interview is an opportunity to make final touches on your application based on feedback from a broad academic audience. Your application should be in its final stages rather than your first draft when you meet your committee.

How can I prepare for the campus interview?

We suggest reviewing your application before your interview as the committee may ask a question on any part of it.  However, most committees focus on the Statement of Grant Purpose and Personal Statement. Here are Sample Questions the committee may ask.

What should I bring to my campus interview?

Bring either a hard copy of your application or your laptop to take notes.  We also suggest bringing a recording device to record your committee’s feedback so long as they allow it.  Interviews go by fast and a lot of information will be exchanged, so keeping a sound byte will be helpful as you go back to revise.

What should I wear to my campus interview?

Dressing business casual makes a good impression and demonstrates your professionalism as well as ambassadorial potential as an applicant.

I will be studying abroad/away from campus during campus interviews.  Can I still meet with a committee?

Yes!  We will offer Skype interviews for those who are not on campus.

Can I edit my application after my campus interview? 

Yes! After your campus interview, we will un-submit your application back into your management.  You can then make any changes you’d like to your online application before final submission. This is also a good time to upload your official transcript if you have not already done so and ensure all letters of recommendation and evaluations are in.


Advisement

Do you take drop-in appointments? 

Since Fulbright advisement is so time intensive, we do not take drop-in appointments.  However, you are welcome to email us with a question or schedule an appointment with an advisor after you have watched or attended the Fulbright Writing Workshop Series.  Schedule an appointment by completing an AHF Intake Survey.


Miscellaneous

What are my chances of being selected?  

Fulbright is very transparent in their statistics.  You can review how many students applied to your type of grant and country over the last three years here.

How competitive are USC students for Fulbright? 

USC has been ranked a Top Producing Institution for U.S. Students since the 2012-2013 grant year by The Chronicle of Higher Education. See below of a breakdown of how many students moved on as semi-finalists (for host country consideration) in the 2017-2018 competition and ultimately, 19 were selected as recipients.

 

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