FULBRIGHT GRANTS IN THE CREATIVE AND PERFORMING ARTS
Fulbright application procedures
Three types of grants are available under the auspices of the Fulbright Commission: research grants, grants in the creative and performing arts, and teaching assistantships. These grants are administered by the Institute for International Education (IIE). Further information can be obtained from their web site: http://www.us.fulbrightonline.org/
Grants in the creative and performing arts are available in certain countries. The application process emphasizes presentation of samples of your work. Consult the informational booklet or the web site for further information. Fulbright awards are also available in creative writing and journalism to carry out a major writing project overseas. Special rules must be followed in submitting a portfolio of your creative work and this portfolio plays a much larger role in the final selection process than other parts of the application. It is examined first by the selection committee, and is the primary basis for success. Nevertheless the written statements are also important.
All three grants provide tuition and other educational expenses, living expenses, travel costs, and insurance.
Holy Cross students have not previously applied for arts or writing awards in large numbers, so our not having received one so far is probably not significant. As for all grants, factors determining success include (of course) a well prepared application and a good reason for undertaking the proposed activity, but other factors beyond your control may determine whether your application is successful. These include the number of opportunities available in the country to which you have applied and the number of other applicants for those opportunities. Thus you should consult the web site for competition statistics in recent years.
Choosing Your Place
and Your Project. The key to a good Fulbright application is
in the academic validity of your project. That means you must have
a very good academic reason for going where you propose to go. It
is not enough to propose a good academic program in Brazil if you have
no academic reason for pursuing that program there. The best reason
to go to any particular country is that you could study a subject there
better than anywhere else, perhaps because there is an expert in the field
who teaches there. Seek your mentors’ advice so that you can choose your
destination well, and make sure there is a good fit between the project
and the place.
Affiliation. Before you can apply for the Fulbright Grant you must arrange an affiliation with a university or with some other appropriate individual, institution, or entity in the country of your destination. E-mail makes this much easier than it sounds. Once you have carefully chosen your project and your place, write to the appropriate person and ask that person if they would be willing to oversee your work (to accept you as a student or as an assistant in their lab or whatever) if you were to be awarded a Fulbright Grant. They seldom say no if you have a good project and have the necessary academic background to carry it out.
Languages. It is usually expected that you know the language of the country to which you are applying. There are countries where courses are commonly taught in English and where you may not need the local language to carry out your project, but you will surely want to communicate with your neighbors and live in the culture, so you must be prepared to use the language of the country. The level of competence required may vary from country to country. A foreign language report is part of the application and must be filled out by a teacher of the language who has interviewed you. Frequently, no more than intermediate level competence is demanded, and if you have a strong project but are weak in the language, the Fulbright Commission may pay for your tuition at a special language school for a month or more before the academic year begins.
The Fulbright Commission requires that Holy Cross interview all applicants
and supply a committee evaluation of all applications. A preliminary
application is necessary for the interview. See the special instructions
for the preliminary application.
Letters of Recommendation. Three references are required. They should be from professors in your major field, and preferably from professors at Holy Cross. Make sure you supply those who are writing for you with up-to-date information about your project, because they must comment not only on the work you may have done for them in the past but on the academic validity of your project, on its feasibility in terms of resources available abroad, and on your ability to carry out the project. If you are applying after a year of study abroad, you may ask for a reference from one of the professors you had during your junior year, but make sure that your referee knows what kind of information is asked for on the form, and make sure their mailed response (no e-mail or fax) can arrive at Holy Cross on time.
If a faculty member has already supplied one of the two letters for your preliminary application (to the Commitee on Graduate Studies and Fellowships) he or she may be able to use the same letter for your final application, but remember that you might really need a different letter if in your preliminary application you were applying for more than one fellowship. Again, make sure your referee is informed about your specific project and ask him or her to comment on it.
Letters may be written on letterhead instead of on the form, but in that case the writer should print your name, your field of study and your country of destination on the top of each page of the letter. The writer should also sign both the letter and the form. No letter can be faxed or e-mailed.
All Fulbright letters must be sent to the Graduate Studies Advisor at Holy Cross, who will send them along with your application (and all the other applications from Holy Cross students) to New York.
Transcripts. The Preliminary Application Form submitted in September has a transcript release form. If you have signed that, you need not order a transcript for the final application. The Graduate Studies Advisor will obtain them directly from the Registrar. Do make sure that your transcript is complete, especially if you have been away for a semester or have taken courses during the summer. Remember, the Registrar cannot post grades for a course until it has been approved by a department chairperson, and it is up to you to obtain that course approval.
Mailing. All materials for the Fulbright application must be submitted through the office of the Graduate Studies Advisor.
The first essay is
the STATEMENT OF PROPOSED STUDY or project essay (page 6 of
"All candidates should
submit projects indicating in detail their reasons for choosing a
The project essay might follow this format:
1) Begin by specifying the university or institution (museum school, etc.) you want to attend, the course of study you want to pursue there (also indicating the specific creative issue you might focus on) and explain why that course of study is especially suited to that institution in that country.
2) Explain why this course is worth pursuing and the "results you hope to obtain."
3) Explain why on the basis of your prior experience you are qualified to do it.
4) Say what
steps you have taken or will take to investigate the program of study
and to secure
5) Explain how the program of studies relates to your future career interests.
The second essay is the CURRICULUM VITAE or personal essay (Fulbright
application p.7). “This statement should be a narrative giving a picture
of yourself as an individual. It should
This essay gives you the chance to present yourself as intellectually alive and culturally aware, a tactful person of goodwill who will make an excellent ambassador in the Fulbright year. Explain how your proposed program of studies or teaching assignment relates to your personal intellectual growth at the close of your undergraduate years. Stress any special intellectual interests, avocations, artistic or musical abilities that you could develop or contribute during your Fulbright year. Coordinate this personal essay with the project statement and with the portfolio of your work, so that they complement and do not repeat each other. Finally, your essay must display a graceful and concise command of your native language, so plan to revise, revise and revise. Both Fulbright essays are only a page long, single-spaced. (A 500 word limit for the personal essay is strictly enforced. The project essay can go over a page, but that should probably be avoided.)
For more suggestions on writing proposals please refer to "Proposal Writing: the Art of Persuasion."
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