Application Tips

Make sure to review all the components and requirements for your application submission:

  • Go through every paragraph, note the main point(s) of those paragraphs and look carefully at what’s there, not there, repeated, and how things are ordered. Check this against the notes below for each essay. IT IS IMPORTANT -- you need to make sure that the content needed in the essays is there!
  • Be concise in your phrasing and only include information that is relevant for this grant.
  • Avoid vague statements. Avoid discipline-specific jargon (you are writing for an educated audience, but not necessarily in your field).
  • Use examples to illustrate what you want to convey.
  • Avoid repeating information provided in other sections, though it’s fine to elaborate in the essays on specific items that are important. Avoid making general statements (e.g., I love learning languages! I love learning about new cultures!
  • Review the country information for your grant type. Look for any specific instructions about what info to include in the Statement of Grant Purpose, and where to include it, then make sure you do so! This may include placement preferences and supplementary projects for English Teaching Assistants.
  • Last year Fulbright made some changes to the application, expanding space for some short answer questions (e.g. host community engagement, plans after returning), and asked that English Teaching Assistant applicants focus primarily on motivation teaching, related experience, and ideas in the Statement of Grant Purpose.
  • REMEMBER -- these essays and other application components should form a compelling application for the proposed project and the candidate’s qualifications.
  • Use this essay to talk about the development of your mind, your interests, your ambitions, and your priorities.
  • Think about people, books, experiences, and ideas that have shaped your interests, especially as they relate to your proposal.
  • Think about your own experiences working in related fields and cross-cultural experiences in particular—exploring your motivation to work in these areas could be fruitful.
  • How will you engage with the host country? Give specific ideas for civic engagement—these should be consistent with your short answer on this topic in the application. These should be outside of or in addition to your teaching or research project.
  • Make sure to proofread for grammatical, spelling, and word choice issues.
  • Share your draft with other readers, including the fellowship advisor, your recommenders, as well as other faculty, for feedback.

English Teaching Assistant Grants

This should focus primarily on your teaching experience, motivations for teaching English and US culture in this country, and ideas you have for teaching language and culture. You may also choose to include brief reference to host country engagement and how this grant helps you in your future professional objectives or you may find it better to integrate into the Personal Statement. Specific questions to these points follow.

  • Why do you want to teach English in this country? Be specific. You may wish to include this in the opening paragraph(s) or integrate elsewhere into the essay. Even if you have not spent time in this country, you should have done enough research on it to explain why you want to teach in this specific country. You may also decide to explore your interest in this country/culture in the Personal Statement. REMEMBER, if the reader can easily substitute the name of another country in for your country then it is not a compelling case.
  • What teaching (or teaching like) experiences prepare you for this role? Be specific about the kinds of responsibilities you have had, the age groups you have worked with, etc. Your experience with and ideas about teaching need to be a significant part of this essay.
  • What ideas do you bring with you for the classroom? Draw from your own interests, teaching or teaching-related experiences, and language-learning experiences.
  • How will you engage with your host community outside of the ETA work with your school? This can be woven in since you have a longer short answer question about this. It is also fine to integrate into the Personal Statement instead, but should be in one of the two essays.
  • How will your project help further your academic or professional development? Also fine to integrate into the Personal Statement instead.


Study/Research Grants

  • What exactly do you propose to do? This should be clearly stated in the first or, at the latest, the second paragraph. What is important, significant, or innovative about the project? What are the specific research goals and methodologies? You need to get very specific.
  • With whom do you propose to work and how will this person(s) and affiliation be of help to you?
  • When will you carry out the project? Include a rough timeline of your research activities.
  • Where do you propose to conduct your work, and why was this location chosen?
  • Do you have sufficient language skills to successfully complete the program?
  • What are your qualifications for carrying out this project? Draw from your professional and student academic experiences.
  • How will your project help further your academic or professional development?
  • What is your plan for host community engagement outside of your research project or study? If you don’t have room here, you may include in the Personal Statement. While it is true that this is shared in the short answer section, it should also be woven into one of the two essays.

Identifying an Affiliate

  • The first step is to check the country specific information.
  • You want to find someone who is academic area/professional work is aligned with your project, who can be of help to you, and when possible, provide access to resources from their organization/university. A majority of Fulbright applicants will affiliate with universities, although in some countries it is possible to affiliate with other types of organizations, such as research institutes or government ministries. Make sure your proposed affiliation is acceptable for your country and appropriate for your project.
  • To find potential affiliations:
    • Talk faculty and administrators at Babson, and those you may know from schools abroad. They may have suggestions or possibly even connections that they could reach out to on your behalf.
    • Research where work on your topic is being done in your proposed country.
    • Search for who is publishing research in your area.
    • Reach out to Fulbright Scholars in your proposed country, as well as those who are currently in the US from your proposed country, for suggestions of potential affiliation contacts.
    • Inquire with contact you have from companies and organizations where you have worked, they may have connections.


Requesting an Affiliation Letter

Once you have identified a potential affiliation you will need to request the letter, which in most cases will be done via email.

Make sure to include:
  • A brief email introduction of yourself and that you are applying for a Fulbright grant.
  • A description of your project.
  • A request asking them if they would be willing to let you affiliate with them.
  • An explanation of what you hope they may be able to provide.
  • If the contact has not worked with Fulbright before, you should explain that the affiliate host does not provide any financial support but instead provide support for your project work. You should include some possible ways that you believe would be helpful such as the ability to audit courses, access archives, labs or libraries, participation in research conversations, or to be part of a research group, etc.
  • It is fine to send out a few requests at once, but remember you will have to manage expectations.
  • Keep your request short and attach a current resume.
  • The Affiliation Letter they provide should confirm that you would be able to affiliate with this organization and describe ways in which they will provide resources or assistance to you for your project. It is important to make sure the affiliate has a good understanding of your project, and it is always best if they can speak to the importance of the project work you are proposing.


Requirements for a Sponsor’s Affiliation Letter  

The affiliation letter should come from the institution/individual in the host country with whom you are proposing to work. It should be written in or translated to English, printed on official letterhead and should be signed by the author. When requesting the letter, you should provide the author with a copy of the Statement of Grant Purpose.

The affiliation letter should:
  • Indicate the author’s willingness to work with you on the intended project;
  • Speak to the feasibility, and validity of what is being proposed; and
  • Indicate any additional resources or contacts that the adviser can provide to support the work.


Make sure the affiliation letter adheres to the proper format:
  • The affiliation letter must be printed on institutional letterhead and must be signed by the author.
  • Affiliation letters written in a foreign language must be translated into English and both the original letters and the English-language translations must be uploaded into the application. An ‘official’ translation of the letter is not required.
  • Since affiliation letters are not confidential, you will upload the letter yourself into the online application system. Scanned versions of the original hard-copy letters with hand-written signatures should be uploaded into the application. Letter writers can send either the original hard-copy letters or electronic copies to the applicants.
  • Copies of email correspondence will not be accepted.
  • Instructions on uploading letters of affiliation are available in the Fulbright online application system. Affiliation letters will NOT be accepted via email or fax – they MUST be uploaded into the application.


Once an affiliation is confirmed, you can share information from the following:
  • There are no specific requirements for the letter of affiliation from the host institution. Every affiliation relationship will be different and depend upon the candidate’s project.
  • Letters of support are to be on institutional letterhead and sent with the application.
  • The letters should state how the supervisor/host institution will help the applicant to facilitate the project (i.e., what resources will be offered, what kind of supervision will be given, etc.).
  • Some applicants propose to do independent research, so these letters of support are important for establishing the feasibility of a project. Other applicants propose to study at an institution/program, so letters of support are really a complement to the overall application, but they do attest to feasibility. Therefore, you should try to get a letter of support that is as detailed as possible. Ultimately, it is up to your host affiliation as to the level/kind of support that they are willing to offer you.


The letter of affiliation can be short, as long as it includes the following:
  • A statement of who your host is and what they do;
  • Knowledge of your project and aims (can be broad strokes);
  • The nature of the connection you will have with the institution/lab [this is likely to include how they might assist you (e.g., help you network, provide certain facilities, offer you a position in a lab, supervise your research, mentor you, etc.)]; and,
  • Enthusiasm about your chances of being awarded the Fulbright.


NOTE: The salutation of the letter of affiliation should simply read “Dear Fulbright Selection Committee:” A sample letter follows for your reference; you may share it with your potential affiliate host if they would like a model.

Sample Letter of Affiliation

This letter must be provided on letterhead (either in hard copy or a PDF version)

Dear Fulbright Selection Committee,

I write in support of (name), an excellent candidate for a Fulbright fellowship in (location). I am (title, organizational role, etc.) and look forward to working with (name) in the coming year. (Name) and I have been in contact since/I first met (name) in (date) and find (name)’s proposed project both interesting and feasible. (This paragraph usually includes some information about the connection between the applicant’s proposed work and that of the writer, and can include information about whether the applicant will be working closely with the writer/have access to institutional resources at the writer’s location and/or the opportunity to make contacts, network, or otherwise benefit from access to the writer/the institution or organization/etc.)

The next paragraph usually indicates, if it is the case, that the applicant may have access to courses at a university or other academic opportunities.

Finally, the letter generally closes with something like “Thank you for your consideration of (name). I look forward to working with (name) during (name)’s Fulbright and collaborating into the future.” If the relationship is not quite as close as that, the letter may close simply with the thank you and a reiteration of support for the proposal/project/applicant.



Name, Title

Visit the Recommendations Section on the Fulbright Website

There is a link in this section that you can share with the recommenders you have chosen once they are confirmed.


Brainstorm as Many Potential References as Possible Based on the Guidelines

Ask yourself:

  • What makes each potential person a good choice?
  • How well do they know you?
  • What can they say about you and your specific project


Contact the Top Three Recommenders on Your List

Let them know your plan and ask if they can write a strong recommendation for your application by the internal Babson deadline of Tuesday, September 22. Give them the option to say no if they are unsure or don’t believe they have the time. If they do say no, thank them and move on to the others on your list.

If they say yes, provide them with the following:
  • The link for recommenders on the Fulbright website
  • Your resume
  • Your transcript
  • A draft of your Statement of Grant Purpose
  • A draft of your Personal Statement
  • An overview of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and the country summary
  • Any other samples of work, notes you would like to share, or specific aspects you would like them to include

** Also remember you will need to register them in your online Fulbright Application, Step F. This registration will give the recommenders access to submit their letters online, as Fulbright requires.


Last, Some Suggestions for What Might Be Included in the Letter:

  • Strong level of knowledge and potential for future growth in the chosen field
  • Ability to carry out research and think and write analytically
  • Emotional stability, maturity, motivation, and seriousness of purpose
  • Appropriate linguistic preparation and ability to adapt to a different cultural environment
  • A proposed project that is feasible and has merit
  • Likelihood of making a favorable impression as a United States citizen abroad
  • The best Fulbright recommendation letters detail the student’s background in connection with the proposed project, and are written in a tone that is energetic and genuine.