Natalie Hegenstebeck (Fulbright Winner 2011)
"I strongly encourage those with passions for academics, research, travel, and adventure to apply. If you decide to apply, I found the best way to success was to (a) start early; (b) reach out to the DePaul Fulbright contact as soon as possible [Phillip Stalley, firstname.lastname@example.org]; (c) Find former Fulbright recipients (like me!) and request copies of their essays; (d) organize a team of mentors -- including but not limited to your letter writers, professors, friends, and former Fulbrighters -- who you can count on for critical feedback; and (e) prepare to revise your application extensively based on the feedback of anyone you can recruit to read your essays."
Kevin Cole (Fulbright Winner 2015)
"The selection process is competitive; however, applicants who are able to convey their personal investment in teaching, studying, or conducting research abroad already have their first foot in the door. I would advise all applicants to give serious thought to the question of how their potential placement abroad would yield dividends not only for the applicant themselves, but also for their host country, students, classmates, or colleagues. These are two critical factors that selection committees are looking for.
I would also recommend that applicants take into account the critiques and suggestions offered by the on campus committee. Members of the committee are respected instructors and academics who undoubtedly have accrued valuable experiences in writing grant proposals."
Ian Alexander Moore (Fulbright Winner 2015)
"My advice for those pursuing a research grant would be to choose a topic that has immediate and current interest beyond their specific discipline. For example, I work on medieval philosophy and the 20th century German philosopher Martin Heidegger, some of whose notebooks were published in 2014 that contain incontestably anti-Semitic passages. I was able to show how my dissertation laid the foundation for a critique of this aspect of Heidegger’s thought, without however dismissing his philosophy altogether. If possible, they should also try to have a specialist in their topic write a recommendation letter from abroad. I wrote to the editor of Heidegger’s notebooks, who was perfectly happy to write a letter of support for me. This should all be done as early as possible.
I would also recommend to the applicants to try to find something about them that makes them stand out from other applicants. I remember first writing a personal statement about my love of foreign languages, which the DePaul Fulbright commission told me, quite rightly, was too generic (everyone applying for the Fulbright has experience with, and presumably likes, foreign languages!). So I rewrote the statement and focused instead on my training as a classical guitarist and why I decided to switch to academic philosophy."