Steps to Apply for the Fulbright Program
To apply to Fulbright program you need to assemble a variety of materials to help the USEFP assess your qualifications. All materials must be submitted with your application by May 11th 2016. The following serves as a preview of what you need to prepare.
Transcript(s) and Degree(s)
All transcripts and degrees from a 4-year undergraduate degree or its equivalent – equivalent programs include international three-year bachelor programs, ACCA, or a 2 year Bachelor’s/2 year Masters degree. PhD applicants must also submit their MPhil or MS degrees and transcripts.
You can also apply while in your final year of undergraduate studies provided that you get your degree by December this year.
USEFP does not require transcripts or degrees attested by HEC – you could send your unofficial copies attested by the issuing authority (university registrar) from all universities that you have attended. Once admitted to the Fulbright program you will need to submit an official copy attested by HEC. If you have HEC attested documents already you can send those along with your application – attestation by issuing authority in that case is not required.
* The USEFP looks at your transcripts from a holistic perspective – not just your GPA. They take into account where you went for your education, the courses that you took and your performance in individual courses. They also account for the fact that different universities have different grading systems in Pakistan. There is no minimum GPA to apply, although most successful Fulbrighters have strong undergraduate records. Undergraduate academics are just one factor the Fulbright panel uses to evaluate a candidate.
GRE General Test
When submitting your application, you may report the unofficial GRE score given on the day of the test, or your official score if you have received it. Every applicant must request that ETS send an official score report directly to USEFP using the code 9388.
GRE general (international) test scores are required at the time of application. The deadline to submit your GRE scores is 11th May 2016. In case you are unable to find a GRE test date before 11th May, you can take the earliest date available after the deadline and submit a copy of your registration slip with your application. A decent score for Engineering and Sciences on the GRE is 315+ and that for other fields is 310+.
GRE subject test is not required.
The minimum GRE score required to apply for the Fulbright is 138 for verbal and 136 for quantitative. But generally, accepted applicants have a GRE score in the upper percentiles. If you take the GRE test multiple times, you may report your best score, and Fulbright will only look at the scores that score.
TOEFL is NOT required at the time of the application submissions. You will have to take the TOEFL exam if you are called for an interview.
There are two essays for the Fulbright application. Each essay must be written in the space provided in the application form, which approximates to 800 words. Don’t over craft your essays; just write in a clear language so that the Fulbright panel that doesn’t know your world can understand you better.
Before starting the essays you are going to need to figure out a marketing strategy for yourself. Successful applicants generally take 4-6 weeks writing and perfecting their essays. It takes long because it’s the strategizing and how you market yourself that takes a lot of brainstorming and revisions. Good essays are drafter 4-5 times at the minimum.
3 Recommendation letters
You will need to have three recommendations submitted with your application by the application deadline. You can have 3 academic reference letters, OR 2 academic and 1 professional OR 2 professional and 1 academic. In other words, 1 academic reference letter is a must. Your referees need to fill the reference forms given in the application package and then sign, stamp and seal them in an envelope. Envelope should also be signed and stamped across the seal. Online reference can also be submitted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is no set formula for “who should write your references”. Sometimes it is also not possible to ask your employer to write your recommendation – USEFP does not want to jeopardize your current position for the application process. Just find people who know you well enough to answer them. It can be a former employer, teacher or researcher.
A current and most up-to-date resume should be added to the space provided on the application form. You do not need to have it in any special format. You can use whatever you would use to apply for a job.
There is no application fee for the Fulbright program. Applications must be sent to the USEFP by postal mail at the address below – Online submissions are not an option. Optionally only references can be sent via email to email@example.com.
P.O Box 1128, Islamabad
Phone: (+9251) 8431300
Fax: (+9251) 8431555
Applications must be posted by or on 11th May 2016. Applications sent after 11th May will not be entertained. You will receive an email from the USEFP in June regarding the receipt of your application. Do not contact USEFP before June 1, 2016 to check whether your application has been received.
After your written application has been submitted and reviewed, you may be invited to a panel interview. Interview decisions are made by mid-September and interviews are conducted in October. If you do not hear from USEFP by October it automatically implies that you have not been selected.
The interview is a positive indicator of selection, but is not a guarantee of admission. Interviews are scheduled in Islamabad at USEFP’s office. The format, timing or nature of the interview does not tell anything about your application or your candidacy. Interviews are 15 to 30 minutes and are conducted by a panel of 4 people; two Pakistani Fulbrighters and two American employees of USEFP. You have to take your TOEFL registration slip with you on the day of the interview and it is not mandatory to have taken the TOEFL exam by the interview date.