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Advice From...

​​​​​Previous DePaul Fulbright Applicants

  1. Yes, I did. The entire application experience was educational in itself, and no matter the outcome, I feel satisfied with my application.
  2. Yes, I've already noticed an improvement in my essay writing ability simply from completing the Fulbright process.
  3. Absolutely. Even if I don't get in, having a reason to put all my relevant experience together like this and spell it out in the application is a great thing to have done at least once before graduating.
  4. Absolutely!! The Fulbright application was especially beneficial because the skills I gained from this process are definitely transferable.
  5. While it was demanding, rigorous and time-consuming, it taught me valuable lessons regarding the importance of revision and collaboration when compiling essays.
  6. I found the application process to be very helpful in identifying both strengths and weaknesses in my academic and personal experiences.
  7. It allowed me to seriously consider global issues and my career options. It challenged me to build a plan of study independently which is extremely important to be able to do now that I'm finished with my undergrad training.
  8. Regardless of the outcome, I learned valuable information about how to write a grant, a personal statement, and how to network.
  9. I found it quite beneficial, as it gave me the opportunity to formulate my project and interests concisely and for a general audience.
  10. I learned about the grant writing process and feel more confident about applying for other grants in the future.
  11. I really enjoyed the process overall. Professor Stalley was great to work with and very helpful with every step of the process. Overall, I am very pleased with the process.
  12. Although the application is for a specific grant, the work I did and the skills I worked on are very transferable. For example, the essay writing and editing is very similar to writing a cover letter, drawing in on professional and educational components and making an argument for why you are the best candidate.
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,]; (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."

​​​​DePaul Faculty​​​​​​​​​​​​

Robin Mitchell (Assistant Professor, Department of Women's and Gender Studies)
"What do I look for? Passion and preparedness. Both show you want it. If you want it, you will prepare for it (have a plan). If I don’t see it in the language or on the page, I don’t feel it. Neither will the Committee that has to pick a recipient.
Important for preparation? Go to every seminar or meeting about the scholarship/fellowship. Ask professors to look at drafts. Pay attention to their advice. 
Final words? Good luck, and when you’re ready to turn in your application, proof it one last time!"

Jason Schneider (Assistant Professor, Coordinator of the Graduate Certificate in TESOL)
"I would offer this advice for writing personal statements and statements of purpose:
When you write a personal statement or statement of purpose, keep the specific scholarship or program in mind.  Your goal is not to convince the audience that you are an exceptional person.  There are lots of exceptional people, and some of them will be applying for the same scholarship.  Your goal is to convince the audience that you are exceptionally well-prepared and well-suited for the program that they offer.  To this end, you should connect specific aspects of your preparation to specific plans and goals connected to the scholarship.  Remember, you are asking an organization to give you a great deal of money, so you need to convince them that you are a reliable investment."