Applying for the Fulbright Scholarship

By Jared Sonnickson ’01

Editors Note:  Jared graduated from Wabash in 2001 and earned a Fulbright Scholarship.  Upon being approached by Art Howe and with the Fellowship upswing at Wabash, Jared was kind enough to share this advice about applying for this prestigious opportunity.  If you would like to contact him, the Career Services office will provide contact information for you.  Enjoy!

The Fulbright Commission offers a variety of scholarship opportunities to a host of countries around the world – nearly of them actually! I was fortunate to receive a scholarship toward the end of my senior year at Wabash, which provided an excellent opportunity to go abroad for about one year, in my case to Germany. However, this undoubtedly would not have been possible without the assistance (and critique) of the Wabash community. The selection committee above all proved to be a crucial factor in helping me prepare my application for the scholarship, which constitutes my first piece of advice or tip – to take advantage of this opportunity. As a first step though, prospective applicants or interested students should start, more or less early, with looking into the Fulbright programs, for example in the summer after junior year. Around the beginning of the fall semester of senior year would be a good time to reach more concrete ideas about a possible program and destination.

For a convincing application, students should develop a project to be conducted or researched during the time abroad. This is particularly important for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, which is the one that will most likely interest Wabash students and for which you will most likely qualify (and is the same program I originally participated in), though there are other possible programs such as the English-teaching program. Regardless of major/minor, it would be helpful to have a project idea that, in addition to its academic merit, relates to the country of destination, which also demonstrates the applicant’s knowledge and especially interest in the country – both of which are important for the final selection process. In this context, faculty members at Wabash can provide a particularly helpful and necessary source of constructive critique, which will help applicants all the more in preparing a solid application.

With regard to the rest of the application, like with any application (for internship, job, college program, etc.), it is imperative to allow oneself time and consideration in order to gain feedback as well as to rethink, rewrite and revise the various application components. This approach was certainly helpful for me and ultimately I can only recommend these simple tips: take your time, seek advice and feedback from the wide palette of expertise and assistance provided by the Wabash community, which also includes the alumni. And on that note, I would be delighted to be of further assistance – feel free to contact me with any questions concerning this program or other study/living abroad aspirations.

All the best,