Since 1946, the United States government has been offering grants to recent graduates, graduate students and college faculty to conduct study and/or teaching projects all over the world.
These grants usually last between six and 12 months and cover all livings cost as well as providing a modest stipend. These are very prestigious awards, and are available to graduates of larger universities and liberal arts colleges such as Hope.
If you are interested in an academic year abroad right after graduation, either studying at a university or teaching English, a Fulbright Grant may be just what you are looking for! It can be anywhere in the world, not just Europe!
Information on Applying
The application process begins in the spring semester of your junior year (earlier, if off-campus); seniors can also join the regular application process if you have other plans for the first year following graduation. Information sessions are held each October and January for the following fall application submission. Check Hope's calendar for times and location.
- 2021 application timeline
- What to do if you missed the information sessions
- Writing requirements
- More information on the application process
Hope College is recognized as a top producer of U.S. Fulbright students.
About Fulbright Scholarships
There are many different types of Fulbright awards, but the programs of interest to Hope graduates are comprehensive grants, which support you for a year of study at a foreign university, and English Teaching Awards, which place you at a high school or high schools to teach English as an assistant part time. To look at the various opportunities, check out the Fulbright website.
For comprehensive grants, students propose a project that they conduct at the foreign educational institution, and are given basic travel and living support to carry out their project. You specify the location.
For English Teaching Awards, grantees usually teach about 15–20 hours a week, mostly assisting a teacher in the classroom (i.e., not actually being the teacher). The rest of the time awardees usually work on the language, travel and 'hang out'. You select the country, but that country chooses your placement location.
Hope professor Lee Forester had a two-year Fulbright award in Vienna, Austria, as a graduate student. He taught about 10–15 hours a week whenever school was in session (which wasn't that often) and otherwise hung out, finished his dissertation, traveled extensively and got married in the process. It was a great experience for him!
To apply for a Fulbright Grant, you must be:
- A US citizen
- A recent graduate or graduate student
- In good health
Because this program is quite competitive, your academic credentials should be good. A GPA of 3.5 or higher is advised, though we did get an award for a student with a lower GPA who made it as an alternate.
You also must be ready to spend a lot of time on your application, writing and refining your essay, your project proposal and discussing it discussing it with faculty advisors. It is quite doable but not a project to be taken lightly or at the last minute if you want feedback.
If you're interested in a Fulbright, you should spend some time at the Fulbright website.
Here are a few files that may be of interest:
As you will see, some countries are more competitive than others. A competitive application will have an excellent personal essay, a defined, feasible and interesting project proposal, strong letters of support and will target a country where you have a reasonable chance (England and Australia are tough!).
Please see the timeline above for May and September.
If you wish to apply for a Fulbright Fellowship through Hope College, you must apply through our on-campus advising process. The process starts ten months to a year before the application deadline. If you will be off-campus in the spring of your junior or senior year, you will begin the process in October, before you leave campus. If you will be on campus during the spring semester of your junior or senior year, you will begin in January. (Juniors will apply for grants that begin the fall after their graduation. Seniors will apply for grants that begin a year after their graduation.) Students in the process will work with Professor Gibbs (firstname.lastname@example.org ) and Professor Maiuillo (email@example.com ) on drafting and revising their application essays. If you are applying for a research grant, you should also be working with your departmental faculty mentors. The most important pieces to submit for feedback are your Statement of Grant Purpose and Personal Statement . These should be emailed to Professors Gibbs and Maiullo in Word format. Please see the section on Writing Requirements, and visit Fulbright's 'Academic Application Components' web page for details.
The "non-online" materials include:
- If you are applying for a research grant (not a teaching assistantship) please provide a letter of affiliation from someone at the institution you hope to work at in the host country, if such affiliation is required for your program. (This is not required for some countries, e.g. Japan, nor for some programs, e.g. the teaching assistantship programs.)
- If your field is creative or performing arts, there are additional instructions for submitting samples of your work. Example: slides of artwork, photographs, portfolios, video recordings and audio recordings all have specific criteria and can be found on the Fulbright web site.
Then you sit on your hands and wait until the spring (April–June) to find out whether you got an award!
This program is offered by the US Deptartment of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers.