Dr. Brian Polkinghorn, a Fulbright Ambassador and past Fulbright Scholar in Israel, visited Kennesaw State University in conjunction with the Master of Science in Conflict Management program to promote reasons why faculty and students should apply to be Fulbright scholars. Kennesaw State University supports faculty, administrators and students applying to be Fulbright scholars because the benefits from these international experiences overflow into the surrounding student body and faculty research.
Here are five tips for your Fulbright application:
1) Find your perfect fit.
The Fulbright selection committee looks for applicants who fit their institutions like a hand in a glove. When the institution, within the country you are applying to go to, recommends that they must have you because only you can fill their need or find the perfect solution, then the selection committee takes notice. Dr. Polkinghorn discussed that students and faculty of conflict management have an advantage because less than five applicants in the field of conflict management apply each year.
2) Prepare Early.
Starting your application preparation 8 months in advance at least is ideal. Having the appropriate letters of recommendation, the completed paperwork and the details finalized, not only give you peace-of-mind, but also highlight how you truly want the opportunity.
3) If at first you do not succeed, try again.
While your first attempt at applying for a Fulbright award might get rejected, do not let that stop you from continually trying. The Fulbright program removed the limitations on the number of times scholars can receive an award, so keep applying. It just keeps benefiting you in the long run.
4) Pick a country that is not a common travel destination.
800 positions are available during the Fulbright application process, which is one of the reasons the award is exceedingly competitive. There are 500 different types of awards that fall into four categories: teaching, research, special projects, and blends. By applying for a position in a country that is not as popular (say Madagascar instead of England), you increase the chances of being chosen because not as many people apply to positions in those countries.
5) Remember this is a learning opportunity.
The Fulbright program is an opportunity to learn about new cultures while working or studying in the field. Getting outside of your comfort zone is one way to make the most of the opportunity. There are always people on the ground in the country you will be traveling to that are smarter and more knowledgeable about the situation than you, but the experience of partnering with them and learning together is the beauty of the Fulbright program!
Posted: October 30, 2015