Fulbright Guide for Campus Applicants

First Steps | Grant Types | Campus Application Procedures | Application Components | Frequently Asked Questions

This page is for current undergraduates and recent graduates from the College who are interested in applying to the Fulbright US Student Program.  Graduate students who are interested in applying for a Fulbright grant should contact Jessica Smith in Graduate Student Affairs

First Steps

Before beginning the application process for the Fulbright US Student program, interested students are expected to have thoroughly reviewed the Fulbright US Student program website: http://us.fulbrightonline.org/.  Prospective applicants should also carefully read the Country Summaries for their host countries of interest.

The application for the Fulbright US Student Program opens March 31, 2017. The CCSA will host information sessions throughout the Spring quarter. These sessions will be widely publicized. For regular information on upcoming sessions, workshops, and scholarship deadlines, subscribe to the Scholarships & Fellowships Information Listserv.

Prospective applicants are also encouraged to meet with UChicago Fulbright Program Advisers (FPA) Nichole Fazio-Veigel or Nicholas Morris before commencing an application.  Appointments may be scheduled via Appointment Manager, in person at the College Advising reception desk, (2nd floor, Harper Memorial Library), or by calling (773) 834-0794. Applicants new to Fulbright are encouraged to review our Fulbright Resources page.

Grant Types

The Fulbright US Student Program funds several types of grants. The two main types of grants are "Study/Research" grants and English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) grants. An applicant may only apply for one type of grant in one country per application cycle.

Students applying for Study/Research grants design their own projects and typically work with advisers at foreign universities. Specific program requirements will vary by country. Projects typically involve independent research, formal (i.e. classroom) study, directed study, or some combination of all three. Students may also apply for grants to support projects in the creative and performing arts.

Students who receive an ETA grant are placed in a classroom and assist teachers of English to non-native English speakers. ETA recipients also serve as cultural ambassadors. Specific requirements of ETA grants also vary by country.

Campus Application Procedures

April 3, 2017 -- Fulbright Primer Due Date: the Primer will break the Statement of Grant Purpose into building blocks to jumpstart the brainstorming/drafting process. The Primer should take no more than 30-45 minutes to complete and is entirely non-binding. This will provide a point of departure for the advising process with CCSA staff. The Primer deadline is April 3, 2017. If you are interested in applying after the deadline has passed, please reach out to Nicholas Morris.

May 1, 2017 -- Fallback Primer Deadline

June 1, 2017 -- First Draft Due Date: submit a rough copy of your Statement of Grant Purpose and Personal Statement. This will provide a strategic check-in point for applicants to receive feedback on their essays and the direction of their application.

July 11, 2017 -- Embark Online Application Due Date: through Fulbright's Embark Online Application system, submit the biographical details for your application. 

An important note: please make sure that in Question 25 of the Application Form ("U.S. COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY (through which applying)"), you select "University of Chicago, IL." Regardless of how dire and etched-in-stone the Embark system makes the submission of your application sound (and it will sound alarmingly etched-in-stone) your application goes directly to a CCSA-managed dashboard. This is best envisioned as a kind of "Fulbright Limbo" (provided you have correctly selected "University of Chicago, IL" in Question 25). From that dashboard, we will have the ability to "unsubmit" your application, making it once again editable.

PLEASE NOTE: Candidates who have missed the above deadlines are still eligible to apply for the Fulbright.  Please contact Nicholas Morris [ncmorris@uchicago.edu] as soon as possible to talk through your project and the remaining application processes.

August 29, 2017 -- Campus Application Deadline: please submit your complete Fulbright Grant application - through Embark, including your Statement of Grant Purpose, Personal Statement, Letters of Recommendation, Transcripts, and Language Evaluations (if necessary). The application is submitted entirely online. The content of this application will constitute the materials for your Fulbright Campus Interview. You will be able to revise your materials after this date.

September 18-22, 2017 -- Campus Interview Process: all campus applicants will participate in screening interviews with the Fulbright Campus Committee. It is important to note that students may continue revising their applications up to the final submission deadline.

September 29, 2017 -- Final UChicago Application Deadline: Your completed application must be submitted through Embark by Friday, September 29 in order to receive University endorsement. 

Alumni applicants may directly apply for the Fulbright US Student grant and do not need to apply through the campus process, although they are encouraged to do so.  Prospective alumni applicants should consult Nicholas Morris before deciding on the proper method of application.

Application Components

To participate in the campus application process, students must submit a complete application by the campus deadline.  Fulbright applications are submitted entirely online through the Fulbright US Student Program website.  A complete application will consist of the following:

  • Biographical Data (basic CV information)
  • Statement of Grant purpose (one- to two-page grant proposal)
  • Personal Statement (one-page narrative essay)
  • Reference Letters for the Study/Research Grant (three); Reference Forms for the ETA (three).  NOTE: All letters and references should be uploaded DIRECTLY to the Embark Application system.  Do not send them by email to Center staff.
  • Transcripts

Depending on the type of grant and the requirements of the host country, applicants may also need to submit the following:

  • Affiliation Letter (proof of agreement from host institution)
  • Foreign Language Evaluation
  • Supplementary Materials (for students in the creative and performing arts)

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I apply for a Research/Study grant or an ETA grant?

Students who have a focused interest in the host country that could be pursued through study or directed research should apply for the Research/Study grants.  Students who have the appropriate background and academic/professional aspirations should apply for the ETA.  If you are stuck between two seemingly equal options, we encourage you to set up a meeting with CCSA to discuss your approach.

Should I apply for a Partner Award to the UK?

Probably not, if you plan on applying to: Imperial College London, London School of Economics, University College London, Oxford University, or the UK Open Award. While we at the CCSA will encourage your ambitions in almost all instances, the Fulbright Partner awards to the UK are hellaciously competitive -- to the point of it generally not being a very good idea to invest the necessary time and energy to apply for one. When we say "hellaciously competitive," we mean, "statistically, two or three times more selective than the Rhodes Scholarship." This is true for the following awards: Open Award, Imperial College London, London School of Economics, University College London, Oxford University. That said, there are 43 other Partner Awards available to top flight UK institutions (Manchester! Sussex! Kent!) that are an order of magnitude more reasonable. In this singular instance, we will be cagey and encourage you to play the numbers game. 

Should I apply through the campus process or apply at-large?

All currently enrolled students are expected to apply through the campus process.  Anyone who is eligible for the Fulbright may appy at-large; however, currently enrolled students who do not apply through the campus process may be viewed suspiciously by the national selection committee.  Alumni are strongly encouraged to apply through the campus process. 

How can I decide which country to apply to?

Applicants should offer compelling reasons for their choice of host country.  Research/Study grant projects should be tightly connected to the host country; ETA applicants should offer a compelling reason for their interest in the host country.  As well, the applicant should demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the host country's culture and possess the requisite language skills.  A "strong desire" to visit the country or a "passion" for the culture is insufficient. If you're at the very beginning of the process, the CCSA encourages you to brainstorm a handful of countries you might be interested in applying to -- looking through the region and then country pages can give you a bit more of a sense of what the in-country experience might be like. When you've whittled it down to a handful, set a meeting with the CCSA and we can talk through the decision making process!

Who can help me with the application essays?

The first and best resource is the Fulbright website, which provides ample guidance on how to approach the application essays.  The IIE also holds several webcasts throughout the application season. The team at the College Center for Scholarly Advancement will provide excellent guidance throughout the application process and, especially, with the personal statement.  All candidates are encouraged to meet with staff early on in their writing process.  For the Statement of Grant Purpose, applicants are strongly encouraged to engage discipline and area experts, including their faculty and graduate students.  All applicants are encouraged to make use of UChicago's writing center for general support and editorial revisions.

How do I get an Affiliation Letter?

Most Fulbrighters undertaking Research/Study grants will affiliate with universities, although in some countries it is possible to affiliate with other types of organizations such as research institutes or government ministries. The Affiliation Letter should come from the institution/individual in the host country with whom the applicant is proposing to work. Affiliation requirements vary by country, so before starting the application applicants should note the specific requirements for the proposed host country. The Affiliation Letter should be printed on official letterhead and should be signed by the author.  There is no "secret" method for obtaining Affiliation Letters - applications should initiate direct contact with potential affiliates well ahead of the application deadline. For general guidance, please consult: Basic Information for Establishing an Affiliation (Word Doc).

How do my references submit their letters or forms?

All letters and reference forms must be uploaded directly into the Embark application system.  Once you enter in your recommenders details, an automated email will be generated for them with instructions.  Please advise your writers to submit by the internal campus deadlines, if possible.  You are required to submit at least two of the three for your internal process. 

How do I get a Foreign Language Evaluation?

The Foreign Language Evaluation Form is part of the online application and should be completed by a professional language teacher.  The University offers a wide range of languages, and applicants should be able to find a faculty member who can do the evaluation.

What hard copy materials do I need to submit to the College Center for Scholarly Advancement office?

None.  The entire application is submitted online.

What are the screening interviews like?

The Campus Committee interviews are conducted by interview teams comprised of three to four faculty members and professional staff.  The two main purposes of the interviews are to 1) gather enough information to complete the required evaluation form that will accompany the final application; and 2) provide constructive feedback to the applicant.  No applicant can be rejected by the University - every completed application is submitted.

Can I keep working on my application after the August 29 campus deadline?

Yes - the applications will be returned to "in progress" status shortly after the campus deadline.  Students may continue to revise the applications until the final campus deadline established by the Fulbright Program Adviser, which is typically one week before the national deadline.

When will I know if I get the grant or not?

The selection process occurrs in two stages.  In the first stage, the national reading committee selects applicants that it will "recommend" to the host countries.  These announcements are made by the end of January each year. Finalists are then selected and notified by the Host Country Selection committee; this final notification can come anytime between mid-March and late-April.