Essays & Proposals

Getting it ‘write’

The writing portion of your essay is the most important component. It is imperative to start early, read past essays available at the Office of Fellowships, and solicit readers to review your work. Be prepared to write many drafts.

Before starting, remember our “Rule of Ten.”

  • Reviewers spend ten minutes per application
  • Introduce your major points in fewer than ten sentences
  • Write at least ten drafts
  • A font smaller than ten point will disqualify you

How to demonstrate leadership in an application

Fellowship committees want to know about the outcomes of your leadership. Merely stating you held office is not enough. For each of your activities write down the following:

  • Summary
  • Target
  • Action
  • Result

How to develop a research proposal

You must convince readers unfamiliar with your work that you deserve funding.

  • First, assert the importance of what you study.
  • Next, demonstrate you have a sound methodology and adequate time to answer the questions you have posed.
  • Finally, demonstrate that you possess, or will quickly learn, all necessary skills to achieve your goals.
  • Begin by reflection upon the following questions:
    • I am studying . . .
    • Because I want to find out . . .
    • In order to understand . . .
Here is an example of how a past Fulbright winner developed a research project from a topic of interest.

Topic: The Philippines have a very interesting and lively Pro Basketball league. They play 11 months a year and are one of the most basketball-crazed nations in the world. The most famous Filipino basketball player is Robert Jaworski, the son of an American G.I., who played 34 years and led a team to the Philippine Basketball Association championship when he was 49. Dozens of businesses in Manila are supposedly named after him.

From there, the student conducted additional library research to determine a direction the research might take.

Direction: I am studying basketball in the Philippines, because I want to find out why it became a dominant force in the lives of modern-day Filipinos in order to understand how the country has adapted the remnants of U.S. colonialism to its own ends.

For more information about this process, we recommend "The Craft of Research" by Wayne C. Booth and Gregory G. Colomb, which is available online through several retailers. 

How to write an intellectual autobiography

In an intellectual autobiography, you must explain how you decided to dedicate your life to a given topic. Do not recount what you've accomplished in the past. Rather, describe what you have learned from your past experiences. Begin by reflecting upon the following questions:

  • I knew I wanted to study . . .
  • When . . .
  • Because . . .

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