Fulbright Scholarship - Masters - Environmental Sciences
Shumaila Javed Bhatti
Islamic University Islamabad
I graduated with a BS in Environmental Sciences from International Islamic University Islamabad with GPA 3.56. I had worked with many organizations over the span for 4 years from being a summer intern to volunteering some of which include: WWF-Pakistan, NARC, EPA-Pak, PAGAJ and Lok Sanjh. Due to lack of practical activities involving environmental sciences on university level I started my own non-profit (Environmental Watch Trust) in 2011 and got it officially registered in 2012. I was also selected for Undergraduate Exchange Program for Spring 2013.
Fulbright 2016 Cohort:
MS in Environmental Sciences (specialization in Water and Wetland Resources) from State University of New York, College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry (2016-2018).
GRE and TOEFL Score:
I scored a total of 305 in GRE with 153 in quantitative, 152 in verbal and 4.5 in analytical writing section. This was my second attempt at GRE the first time I score 299 and 4.5 in analytical writing section so I thought I would give it again. The first time I prepared with Barrons only and went to the USEFP’s GRE classes. The second time I studied by using all 5 books Barrons, Manhattan, Kaplan, ETS, and Princeton Review.
I scored a total of 107 in TOEFL with 24 in reading, 27 in listening, 27 in speaking and 29 in writing. I only studied using the online book available the night before the exam.
My take away from all this is that it’s all about practice. The more questions you practice the more comfortable you will be at solving them. For analytical writing, I believe the USEFP GRE class really helped in improving my score. I studied for a month and I gave the mock GRE which helped me get acquainted with the environment of this 5-hour long exam.
Personal Statement and Research Objectives:
I can provide these upon request. I would suggest reading these from people who are NOT in your own field because you will end up copying or plagiarizing from their statements and seriously that’s not cool. Don’t make plagiarism a habit because where you plan on applying this is very strictly monitored and punished. Brightlink prep has some online and Scholar Den also has some uploaded.
As far as I recall following questions were asked during my interview. Tell us about yourself. I told them that I am an environmental scientist, a philanthropist, an aspiring teacher, and a journalist. How do you plan on contributing to the cultural exchange? I told them participation in different on campus activities and presentation. I was also asked what I had learned from my previous exchange program and how do I plan on changing this experience. We talked about my various activities here and how I plan on moving them forward after I come back. They then asked me what my plans would be after I come back. They also mentioned that since I planned on applying to PhD in the future too why didn’t I directly apply for MS leading to PhD instead and I didn’t know you could do that on Fulbright. Overall the interview lasted for 15 minutes or so (I don’t recall so well). I was the last one to give the interview in my group and I had to wait for 5 hours approximately. So be prepared for that. Cool part is that they do have coffee and tea for you so no worries. I also had to write an essay in the beginning before the interview in 30 minutes on drug abuse (about which I don’t have much information).
My application was submitted to 4 universities: University of Wyoming, University of Idaho, New Mexico State University and State University of New York. I got rejection from the first two and acceptance the last two. I told my PO that I would prefer to be placed in State University of New York and gave her a list of reason why I believe I should be placed there based on how it would help me in achieving my future goals and objectives. And since my PO was super awesome I was placed exactly where I wanted to go. I love this place!
If you people need more information let me know, I would love to be of help.