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Fulbright Student Program

Brittany Nichols pictured at the Edgar research lab.
Brittany Nichols, Fulbright U.S. Student Research Grant 2018

Since 1969, Virginia Tech has produced 66 Fulbright Finalists.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for individually designed study/research projects or for English Teaching Assistant programs.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the U.S. and over 140 countries through community engagement, academic integrity, and intellectual freedom.

  • U.S. citizenship (dual citizen restrictions may be in place for certain countries).
  • See Fulbright website for U.S. Department of State restrictions.
  • Hold at least a B.A. (However, you can apply in the Spring of your junior year).
  • Proficient language skills (if applicable).
  • Preferred Qualifications: not previously held a Fulbright grant, not resided, or studied in the country of choice for more than six months (not counting undergraduate study abroad), no extensive recent previous experience in the country of choice. Applicants who have had extensive, recent previous foreign experience in the host country are at a competitive disadvantage but are still eligible to apply.
  • General: They are mostly looking for interesting people, with interesting projects who have relatively little international experience.
  • GPA: High GPA is not required; if you have had setbacks/lower GPA, it is ok if there are good reasons, or the bad grades do not relate to your Fulbright program.
  • Community engagement: Fulbright places a lot of importance on this and expects you to independently participate in academic or service projects (anything from clubs, sports, volunteering, taking a language course). They want you to convey a positive picture of Americans/American culture. Some connection between your community engagement and grant is helpful, but not required. It is good to identify opportunities in advance, reach out, and ideally get a ‘letter of affiliation’ from them.
  • Language requirement: if there is one, you could start with Rosetta Stone (free in the library) or enroll in a course (which is good if it shows up on your transcript in time for the application).

Between 6 months up to a year, (a few shorter than 6 months and some are 2-year grants). Programs line up with the academic year in that country (so in some cases it differs from the U.S.).

Covers airfare, room and board, health insurance. For some countries, it may also include full or partial tuition, book and research allowances, enrichment activities, language study, pre-departure, and in-country orientations. Grants sometimes pay out as lump sum, sometimes monthly.

  • April 1: Competition opens.
  • All summer long: Work on your application (we can give feedback)
  • July 1: Optional, but it is preferred you submit a draft (word document) of your statement of grant purpose and personal statement.
  • August 1: First campus deadline to submit a draft of your statement of grant purpose and personal statement.
  • September 1: Second campus deadline. By this time, you need to have submitted: 
    • Online parts of the application
    • Language self-evaluation (if applicable)
    • Hokie transcript
    • Preferably also 1 or 2 letters of recommendation
    • Preferably some email correspondence with your affiliate on your steps/progress
  • September 2:  Submit your entire application online to include your unofficial transcripts and your language self-evaluation (if required and/or beneficial). Order your official transcripts. Schedule your professional foreign language evaluation.
  • September: On-campus interviews (off-campus candidates can Skype/Zoom for a 30–45-minute-long interview). Interviews are close to mandatory. They are not pass/fail, but rather meant to be helpful as you get feedback. We can send someone forward without an interview if circumstances did not allow for an interview.
  • October: National deadline (exact date varies per year)
  • November/December: National Screening Committees (by world region or discipline) review applications. These committees consist of people who have experience in a certain country, but not necessarily in a discipline (authors, historians, sociologists, anthropologists, political science). The national panel ranks (they might recommend students that the VT panel did not and vice versa). The national committees recommend applications for final consideration in the host country. Final award selection will be made by the supervising agency in the host country.
  • Late January: You receive notifications if you have been recommended for forwarding to Fulbright commissions/U.S. embassies in the host countries, which is the equivalent of a semi-finalist status. Some semi-finalists are invited for Skype or phone interviews.  
  • March/April: Winners (finalists) and alternates are announced. Alternates often can step up and are promoted to winners (non-acceptance reasons from winners are graduate school, job offer, funding issues, other priorities). Note: students do not become official winners until they pass the medical exam and receive research clearance.

VT Campus Representatives (Fulbright Program Advisors)           

  • Marielle Wijnands, Assistant Director for Student Services, Global Education Office
  • Christina McIntyre, Director of Professional Development, and National & International Scholarships

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