Roadmap Guide to Fulbright Scholarship 2019/20
Fulbright Pakistan 2020 Complete Guide
The Fulbright journey takes approximately 19 months, starting in February (when the application opens) to September of next year when you depart to the USA for your studies.
Step 1: GRE Test Preparation
✓ Preparation for GRE:
The first step of the Fulbright journey is preparing for the GRE General Test. In Pakistan, you must appear for the GRE test before you submit your Fulbright Degree Application. For this year, the deadline for Fulbright application is 15 May 2019. However, there are certain exceptions to the GRE submission deadline and based on the past practices, the United States Educational Foundations of Pakistan (USEFP) extended the GRE deadline beyond the deadline date till the end of May. Such an exception is announced well in advance i.e. a month before the deadline date. But please note that you STILL need to submit your application before 15 May, no matter if they extend the deadline for GRE Test.
For GRE Test Prep, strategy, guides and material, look at Scholar Den GRE Preparation Facebook Group (www.fb.com/groups/ScholarDen) or visit GRE Step-wise guide under admissions guides or view Blog section, you would find all the material that you need to prepare for an outstanding GRE score.
For 2020 Fulbright aspirants, Scholar Den is also launching a very high-quality GRE Practice Questions with explanation videos and cool analytics. You can find those resources on Scholar Den website.
✓ Target Scores:
Based on the successful students' data, the following score ranges will provide you with an overview of the score required depending upon where you want to apply.
+290 = Less Competitive Schools
+310 = Competitive Schools
+320 = Top 15 Schools
Please do not confuse the above scores with the minimum eligibility scores of 138 in the verbal and 136 in the quantitative sections for the Fulbright scholarship.
✓ GRE Registering:
You can register for the GRE test and check the schedule on www.ets.org. We recommend you create an account first, check the schedule and then pay the fees. You should register for the GRE test as soon as possible as there can be other students across Pakistan taking GRE exam close to the deadline date, therefore, finding a vacant slot would be difficult close to the deadline.
✓ Ideal Time:
GRE can be taken any day before 15 May 2019 or whatever the deadline date is for the year. You can even take the test one day before the deadline but ideally, we recommend taking the test at least 30 days before the deadline and keeping the last crucial days for the application.
✓ How to send GRE scores:
You would get the unofficial scores right after the exam on the computer screen. At the GRE test center, after the exam, you would be given an opportunity to send FREE scores to 4 institutions. We recommend sending 2 scores to USEFP (9388) and IIE (2326). Official scores will be available to you after 10-15 days. Please note it is completely fine if you just send unofficial scores (Scan copies) with the application.
✓ Smart NIC or Passport:
You would need either a SMART NIC or Passport to take GRE Exam. Please note, you don’t need to have a Passport for the application.
Step 2: Application Process
Application opened in mid-February and submission date is on 15 May 2019 this year.
The important components of Application processes are as follows:
● Personal Statement (PS)
● Study / Research Objective
● Recommendation Letters
● GRE Scores
● Academic Records (GPA)
● Universities (USA) Shortlisting
● Resume (One-Page)
● Publications (Ph.D. Applicants Only)
- Achievements & Awards
- Community Work
- Leadership Skills
- What benefits/impact will you bring back to Pakistan after studies?
- What’s so unique about you that no one else can replace you?
- How aligned your future program is with your current and historic profile?
- People from rural background & Females are given priority too.
Now individual parts of the application:
✓ Personal Statement:
1. A personal statement is about who you are and what makes you tick. Why would you want to go back to school? Why do you want to fix whatever you want to fix? Ignore word or line limits and try to come up with something that would excite the reader. You don't have to be extravagant and deviate from reality, it should be a mix of emotion and pragmatism. Why they should take you seriously? Ask yourself this question every time you revise the statement.
2. Write it yourself and proof-read yourself and by the experts who have already availed the Fulbright. It usually takes a minimum of 4-5 iterations to prepare a reasonable Personal Statement.
✓ Study / Research Objective:
In study/research objective the admissions committee tries to gauge a student’s focus and his commitment to the field of study and his or her overall aspirations. In your study/research objectives document, you are going to state your overall objective for studying in the US, subjects you are going to take (this can also include research work and is also applicable for students of master’s program), the exact outcome you wish to achieve with what you are planning to study and how it will help you and your country. You will mention your long-term goals and your plans once you come back to your home country with a clear and concise roadmap if applicable.
It should clearly define the following points:
● Your proposed research and its title.
● Why did you choose it?
● Its logistics and cost-benefit comparisons.
● How are you planning to execute each part?
✓ Recommendations Letters (Minimum 3):
You will also need a minimum of 3 letters of recommendation (you should follow the format given on your application and these letters of recommendations
should be posted independently in a sealed envelope by the referees).
✓ University Shortlisting:
Shortlisting is a very important component of the Fulbright admissions process it helps IIE to shortlist universities for candidates. Also, it is helpful in the interview process, sometimes the admissions panel asks the candidates about their university selection and it helps them judge candidates’ seriousness level of research and overall aspirations.
Do include universities of all tiers in your choices do not limit your selection to only top tier schools. While shortlisting, be realistic and mention only those schools where you think your profile matches with university program class profile (you can get those details from university websites).
✓ Resume (one-Page):
Resume or CV must be a one-page document for masters’ students and it can be more than 1 page for Ph.D. students (in case if you have many publications or at least 10 years of experience). Resumes must be error-free; formatting should be correct and should look professional to impress the shortlisting committee.
✓ Degree Verification:
Scanned transcripts, including an explanation of the grading scale of the university issuing the degree, should be uploaded. Please note that HEC- attested documents are not required with the application. Only UniversitiesDegrees and transcripts photocopy needs to be attested by the issuing authority at your university (Professors or Head of Department or Registrar etc.)
There is no need to attest Matric/O-Level, FSC or A-Levels Certificates.
Step 3: Interviews
Fulbright Interview is the most crucial stage of your selection.
Based on the years of experience, Fulbright Interview is getting tougher and tougher, so you need to prepare really well as most of the applicants shortlisted until this stage have exceptional profiles.
The Interview can last for 2 minutes usually or 15 minutes at maximum. All Interview will be conducted at the USEFP center in Islamabad.
If you got shortlisted, you will be called for interviews from around mid-August till Mid-September. Usually, MS applicants are called earlier and PhDs are called for interviews in early September but to be honest, there is no such rule that applies to the interview process every year.
Step 4: TOEFL
TOEFL is not required for the application (the one which you submit on 15 May 2019), however, if you are shortlisted for interview, you are required to at least register for the TOEFL exam before you appear for the interview. The TOEFL exam date needs to be within 2 weeks after the interview date.
Step 5: Final Selection
All principal candidates (final selected ones) are informed in the last week of September or first week of October 2019. After you are selected you would need to do documents verification and would be contacted by USEFP Program Officers (PO).
✓ Documents verification:
After you are selected, degree and transcript attestation would be required from HEC. The verification takes only one day. You would need to go to the HEC office early, get the token, have the lamination removed from your documents and submit them, you will get everything back by 4 pm the same day.
If you don’t have a passport or if it’s getting expired within 6 months, you will have to make a new one for 10 years period (72 Pages). The process takes 2 days. Get the draft made on day 1 and do the necessary passport processes on day 2.
✓ Schools Placements:
Based on your profile and list of schools you mentioned in the application, USEFP will send those schools to IIE (Institute of International Education USA) for the placement. If IIE selects a school that does not match your academic goal, do write to them and request for a change.
After placement at US University, all those with dependent family members will receive an email.
Please be advised to send the scanned passport copies of your dependents (only spouse and children) within the next five working days from the day email was received if you are planning to take them along to the U.S. during your first semester. The reason for asking the scanned passport copies is because they need to issue a J-2 form (DS-2019) for your dependents, which is an important document for their visa interviews.
Step 6: Medical
During medical, you need to go for certain vaccinations. USEFP will give you a form and you need to submit it by the due date.
Step 7: Visa
USEFP will apply for your J-1 visa. For some students, it can take 1 day or for some other, it can maximum up to 4 months. In worse case scenarios, you can get a visa after 1 year based on your security clearance/sensitive program etc.
Step 8: Bonding Process
There are certain bonds to be made with HEC as well as USEFP. The aim is to ensure that the candidate will return and serve the country for at least 2 years in case of Masters and for at least 5 years in case of Ph.D.
Step 9: Departure to the USA
Around August next 2020, you would be leaving for the USA for your masters or Ph.D. programs. In case, if you did not score well in the TOEFL exam, you will have to leave for the USA and enroll in an English training program of at least 3-4 months prior to the program start date. To apply for the Fulbright Scholarship 2020, visit Fulbright Official Website