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             Fulbright Fast Track

 

Introduction to Fast Track

Updated 7/16/14

LAUNCHING YOURSELF
Submit your short answers
to the quick questions at
http://www.smith.edu/fulbright/questions.php
after doing the reading below
(including the links on the left and right)
.

CONTENTS
1. Introduction
2. Mission
3. Act Now: Single Most Important Factor
4. Your Contact
5. Enquiry Questions
6. Help is Here
7. Strategizing
8. Registration
9. Enquiry Deadlines
10. Inspiration
11. Alumnae/Ada Questions

Apply for a Fulbright and watch yourself
G R O W   I N   M U L T I P L E   W A Y S
through the process.

1. INTRODUCTION

GREETINGS and congratulations on your interest in our Fast Track to becoming a candidate for this exciting fellowship, the Fabulous Fulbright that can take you to one of about 155 countries for a year after graduating from Smith to do whatever you wish to propose, including teaching assistantships, for an invaluable experience that will leave an indelible, positive impression for the rest of your life.

We assume you are acquainted with Smith's tremendous success in producing distinguished Fulbright Fellows
http://www.smith.edu/fulbright/news.php
and realize how exceptionally fortunate you are to be in the right place at the right time to have about the best chance possible to win the prestigious and lucrative Fulbright Fellowship that will stand you in good stead in the world and open doors to a meaningful career of fulfilling purpose and enriching reward.

This website is designed systematically to be read in a methodical way following the order in which the information is presented.
Every next step is explained so there's no guess-work, no intuitive clicking recommended.
If you jump around, you are likely to get lost, confused or overwhelmed.
Worse, you risk missing vital information.

There is quite a bit of reading, especially in the beginning, to be properly informed.
This unfortunately tends to make the whole process look longer and harder than it is.
Once over this "front-loaded" hump, the going gets easier, like pedaling up a hill and then cycling along a plateau.

Students are thus sometimes intimidated in the beginning and put off plunging in, only later deciding to go for it.
Please do not be daunted because starting earlier makes it much easier and increases your chances of winning.
When you are done, you will join many before you who have happily hit the "That Was Easy" button on my desk! 

Summary of Steps: Follow the instructions and trust the process.
Juniors, Sophomores, and First-Years are guided accordingly.

1) Read everything below in order.
2) Submit your Enquiry answers/questions.

2. MISSION

You know that a Fulbright will allow you to give to the world while benefitting yourself from an extraordinary experience building bridges of understanding between nations.

As outlined by Senator Fulbright, the purpose of the program is threefold:

1) To promote mutual understanding through a commitment to the free flow of ideas and people across national boundaries.

2) To expand, through this understanding, the boundaries of human wisdom, empathy and perception.

3) Through cooperation in constructive activities among people of different nations, to create true and lasting world peace.

This is truly a chance in a lifetime and, yes if you feel this might possibly be you and perhaps see yourself in this role, or would like to, now's the time to get started no matter your year, or grad school or job/career plans.

Some get stalled before they even start because they erroneously believe they must have a research project concept before they can proceed, or must have a country to go to, or must know if they want to do an English Teaching Fulbright or a Research Study Fulbright.

Not so.
The magic of our program is that you can go in almost blind and will be led through a process that will unveil possibilities you would not have imagined on your own.

3. ACT NOW: SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR

It is immensely important to start your Fulbright Enquiry (this webpage) as soon as possible from Sophomore year and onto your Fulbright Registration (explained later) at the start of your Junior year.
There are profoundly sound reasons for this that will affect your capability and success in this endeavor:

1) Even if you do not know whether you want to do a Fulbright, you will not be clear until you have informed yourself fully about what it offers -- by completing the Enquiry on this page.

2) Even if you are unsure what you might like to do with a Fulbright, gaining access to the Registration (by answering the Enquiry questions below) will give you that crucial foothold on the process.

There are even more important reasons:

1) By completing a Registration early in your Junior year (even if you are still unsure exactly what it is you want to do) you will be assigned to your own personal Faculty Fulbright Mentor who will help you figure out your possibilities.

2) It is vital that you establish this formal relationship with an official Smith mentor well before the end of your junior year: If you wait until the summer that you are a Rising Senior, you will inevitably find that faculty members are virtually impossible to contact at all.

This leads to several difficulties, including:

1) You may be forced to try to begin a Fulbright application in earnest at the start of your Senior year when, alas, it will be too late because you would have missed critical deadlines.

2) Research projects require securing host-country affiliates but only after you have formulated your proposal concept that must first be shown to be suitably feasible and viable.

3) You have to line up recommenders but only after it is clear what you are proposing, and they can write their letters only after you have completed your application.

The above three situations lead to the same result: Impossibly squeezed for time, you get squeezed out of the application process.
Problem is, many students don't know what they want to do until it is too late to begin a Fulbright application.

SOLUTION: Follow our sage advice to begin the process early even if you are uncertain because only by starting the process can you really discover a way forward or decide clearly that the Fulbright is not for you.
The key factor is that you need -- by Early spring of Junior year (ideally by J-Term) -- to have established a "Fulbright" relationship with a professor (formally introduced through our Fast Track program).

Upperclasswomen have not a moment to pause so you don't miss the boat.
It is never too early for Sophomores, even First-Years, to begin to position themselves through
Fulbright Preparations

If you are interested in learning more, shoot off a quick message, from your Smith email address, to the Fulbright Program Adviser (FPA) at Smith
dandrew@smith.edu
with your answers to the questions farther below BUT only after first familiarizing yourself with the Fulbright by self-qualifying yourself at
http://www.smith.edu/fulbright/eligibility.php
(including U.S. citizenship and ~3.4 GPA).

Then scan the following Fulbright pages to give yourself just enough knowledge of the program to be clear about your interest but do not get bogged down in the detail or worry about what they say you should do.
Don't do anything except speed-read these pages to help orientate yourself and then follow our instructions which take you on Smith's step-by-step Fast Track.

Quickly read
http://us.fulbrightonline.org/about/fulbright-us-student-program
and
http://us.fulbrightonline.org/award-benefits
(read all the drop-down sub-links but ignore the I.I.E. Competition Timeline as Smith has its own Deadline Schedule that runs much earlier)
and read
http://us.fulbrightonline.org/applicants/getting-started

4. YOUR CONTACT

Our FPA is Donald Andrew, the college's Fellowships Adviser, in the Class Deans' Office.
Appointments to speak, often by phone in the beginning, are made directly with the FPA via your Smith email to
dandrew@smith.edu
after exchanging a few messages to confirm your eligibility and earnestness, which includes your answers to the Enquiry questions in the first instance.

Want to get good advice and or get ahead with the Fulbright?
Establish a relationship with the FPA by keeping him informed about where you are in the process, starting from your Enquiry originating from this webpage, all the way through Registration, which comes later, and then Admission into our application-support program.

Keep emailing him little updates about your thinking, your progress or lack of it, whatever is going on with your even vague (or eager!) interest in the Fulbright.
There are no right or wrong things to tell him because if you keep him abreast of developments or delays, he is able to see in advance how he can work with your situation, what to expect.

If you are stuck, bogged down or have hit a brick wall, let him know.
If you are struggling to figure a way into the Fulbright, how possibly to conceive some approach to it, let him know.

Ask him questions that are not answered by information on this website or seek clarifications.
If you keep yourself on his radar*, you will benefit handsomely.

*When emailing with the FPA, always include all your and all his previous messages in your emails so the thread of the conversation is recorded.
The FPA is emailing with about 100 students at any one time and must always have this thread to refer to regardless of the duration between emails.

5. ENQUIRY QUESTIONS

After reading this page and the links off the top left corner, quickly answer the short Enquiry Questions at
http://www.smith.edu/fulbright/questions.php
to introduce yourself to the Fellowships Program.
(Alumnae and Ada Comstock Scholars have additional questions. Find detail on alumnae applications at the bottom of this page under section 10.)

We will learn more about you and your aspirations later, as you will about our campus program.
A quick expression of interest via Smith email will get you on our speedy Fast Track right away!

Speed is of the essence.
The main reason students fail to complete a Fulbright application in time is because they delay starting the process for too long.

This procrastination is because they underestimate the time it takes or feel intimidated not realizing how much support they get from Smith to figure everything out all along the way.
Yes, there's a lot to do but, with all the help you get, it is not as hard as it looks.

Before you can even start the application itself, you first must figure whether to apply for a Research/Study Fulbright or a Teaching English Fulbright.
But like with everything else, we help you figure out what's best for you.

All you have to do is take the first step and answer the above questions.
Show us you have the intellectual rigor and emotional fortitude to do the reading and follow the instructions.

If you do not receive a response to your questions from Don Andrew, please resubmit your form.
If you still do not receive a response, please email fellow@smith.edu.

6. HELP IS HERE

We are here to help with this all along the way.
But since the ball is in your court, you have to help yourself first by sending in your answers NOW when you read this.

Nothing is fixed in stone at this stage.
Your answers are tentative – just to get the ball rolling – as the biggest thing of all initially is in actuality to start the process.

Be sure to catch these two hint-filled links on the left:
Fulbright Preparations
Winning Proposal Abstracts

It is never too early to begin from first year on because there is always some preparation you can be doing ultimately to strengthen your case, such as learning a language.
Pondering what your objectives might be is productive, so read again what it says on the front page at
http://www.smith.edu/fellowships

Ideally (though not everyone is able to start this early) the sequence of your involvement would be:

First Year – Enquiry and Preparations.
Sophomore – Begin Registration.
Junior – Complete Application.

Deadlines do however apply, so be sure to study them below.

7. STRATEGIZING

For Teaching English, you need related experience and some qualifications, the former usually requiring preparation quite far in advance, in order to have a wide choice of country options.
Otherwise there are some countries where little to no experience is required although, always, the more you have, the better your chances of winning the Fulbright.

For Research/Study, you must figure a research project, which could be more of a practical fieldwork type of proposal, more hands-on professional development apprentice internship volunteering type of project from which you perhaps arrive at some research-type findings or simply study in addition to the practicum, such as the winning abstracts for Japan or Jamaica, both via
http://www.smith.edu/fulbright/abstracts.php
though more formal research projects are the norm and more likely to be considered important by the host country.

Before you can propose anything, or simultaneously, you must find a country where you speak the language well enough for what you want to do there.
Figuring this and a research project in which you have some background experience usually takes at least many weeks, often several months.

It is only after coming up with a project concept that is feasible for you in a certain country that you can even begin to design that research project.
This initial conceptualizing is half the battle as you try on one idea and then test another against the realities of what makes for a viable Fulbright.

Do not attempt this on your own because you do not know enough about how you could make an idea feasible that, in the original form you conceive it, is not feasible.
Bounce all ideas off the FPA who will brainstorm with you and possibly show you how a non-starter idea can become a Fulbright reality with expert tweaking.

The Fulbright is first a diplomatic mission, second a research, study or teaching fellowship and as such some ideas dealing with advocacy, history, minorities, politics, religion, refugees, roots or sexuality may not be welcome in the host country.
Best to think of how you may get to know the people in your target country really well by exploring their culture, in the broadest sense, rather than how you can use the Fulbright simply to further your personal passion, although these two ends can sometimes both be served.

8. REGISTRATION

Please beware there are Deadlines to Register to apply for a Fulbright through Smith.
Answering the Enquiry stage questions above does not constitute this next Registration level but is only an expression of interest, an Enquiry to set your opportunity in motion.

If your answers to the Enquiry questions above confirm your suitability, only then will you be offered the Registration Form.
In order to meet the rolling Registration Deadlines, please see the Enquiry Deadlines below that precede these Registration Deadlines.

While it is in junior year that you apply for the Fulbright, you should in sophomore year begin to set this up by familiarizing yourself with the territory ahead.
First-Years are not introduced to the Registration level of the program but are urged to send in their answers so as to strike up an acquaintance with the FPA who will then be in a position to advise you through your years of preparation as you keep an eye on this awesome prize, the Fabulous Fulbright.

Do NOT register on the Fulbright Embark website as that stage comes much later.
Follow only the instructions on this Smith Fulbright website.

9. ENQUIRY DEADLINES

Because Registrations can take awhile to complete, or figuring a Research Project even longer, you must allow yourself plenty time to think about and prepare a Registration, which itself will take you a good ways towards completing the actual Fulbright application itself.
The initial Teaching Fulbright deadlines (only the initial ones) are two weeks after the research deadlines because there is no project to conceive although you may register earlier, as is always advised to all to increase your chances of ultimate success.

All these research Enquiry deadlines below apply to junior year or in the summer as a rising senior.
Sophomores, even First-Years, are encouraged to Enquire formally with answers to the questions above because the sooner we know your interest, the more we are able to guide you in preparing to be a winner:
Fulbright Preparations
http://www.smith.edu/fulbright/prep.php

The reason there is more than one deadline is because the sooner a Junior gets going with her application (following Registration, following Enquiry) the faster the track we can get her on.
This means you will have more time to improve your proposal and thus have a greater chance of landing yourself in your target country the year after you graduate!

But nothing beats making preparations from First-Year on.
Set your goals to make the world your oyster – and a better place for all.

Each of these deadlines is rolling in that juniors can be entrained on tracks in between campus programs.
It is just that the later you begin, the harder it is to get into this program to apply through Smith, to the point that at some stage our program fills up -- and that might be before the final Deadline to Enquire of July 15 (for Teaching August 1).

The moral of the story?
Act NOW!

Priority Enquiry Deadline March 4.
Alumnae Enquiry Deadline June 20.
Petition Senior Enquiry Deadline July 15 (Teaching August 1).

10. INSPIRATION

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -- Marianne Williamson (and quoted by President Nelson Mandela in his inauguration speech).

Applying for a Fulbright through Smith, you will develop capacities you did not know you had by tapping resources hidden within yourself.
The challenging application process inevitably proves rewarding, even for those applicants who are not selected.

"I've come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that's as unique as a fingerprint -- and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you." -- Oprah Winfrey (who built and funds a boarding school for bright underprivileged girls in South Africa).

11. ALUMNAE/ADA QUESTIONS

We accept qualified (as per above) Smith alumnae who live close enough to attend at least three consultative or interview sessions at the college over a period of months roughly at a time when the Fellowships Program requires.
This applies particularly between September 16 and October 12 when multiple interviews are conducted in person and interactions finalizing applications with paper copies occur face-to-face.

If you cannot physically be at the college over this period then we will consider conducting the process via Skype but this can be done only up until end-August which means you must complete and submit your entire application, including Research Affiliations, by August 31 except for recommendations which can be added by September 21 by the recommenders.

If attending another higher-educational institution or are graduated from one, and they have an FPA (Fulbright Program Advisor), you must apply through them.
Otherwise we are happy to consider enquiries case by case.

Graduate students in their first year at a university often wish to apply through the institution at which they were previously enrolled.
This may be possible with the Fulbright interview, that is required, conducted via phone provided there are professors here who remember and can vouch for you.

In exceptional circumstances, we may consider others who live farther afield and already have a developed, realistic idea what they want to do and preferably where.
If you are over 30 years old (Ada's excepted) or graduated more than five years ago, then Fulbright no longer considers you a student and you should explore
http://www.cies.org/

If you are applying for a Teaching Fulbright then some of the restrictions above may not apply because Teaching applications are far less complicated, much easier and relatively straightforward.
We welcome and encourage alumnae to apply for Teaching Fulbrights to one of the countries listed at
http://us.fulbrightonline.org/eta-program-charts
if you have some teaching experience.

After reading this page and the links off the top left corner, quickly answer the short Enquiry Questions at
http://www.smith.edu/fulbright/questions.php
to introduce yourself to the Fellowships Program.