Fulbright Scholarship - PhD - Electrical & Computer Systems Engineering
My name is Ali and my field of study is electrical engineering/computer systems engineering. After completing my Masters and working on my research based thesis, I resolved that I should continue my research in my further higher education. Since my field of study is electrical engineering/computer systems engineering, I also wanted to gain some practical experience working in industry before getting into PhD program. So, I worked for two years in power production industry before applying for Fulbright scholarship. Fulbright scholarship provides an opportunity for the students of Pakistan to study in top US universities. The scholarship covers full tuition fee, air travel fare, living and food allowance, health insurance and visa assistance and free visa application. So, I started working on my Fulbright application in February, 2016 when USEFP announced the Fulbright awards. Since Fulbright requires GRE test scores along with the application and without GRE scores the application is rejected, I started preparing for GRE exam. GRE exam is not a very difficult exam but it requires some good knowledge of English language and some basic math concepts. The exam needs a lot of timed practice which I only realized after taking the exam :D. Apart from GRE, Fulbright application consist of personal statement, study objective and three letters of recommendations from professors or employers. I start working on my personal statement and study objective very late in my Fulbright application timeline due to some personal reasons but I strongly recommend the prospective Fulbright applicants to start working on these aspects of the FB application as early as possible. I was running short of time and I had no idea and experience writing a personal statement. I did not know what to write and how to organize the contend of my personal statement.
I asked my friend who was also applying for Fulbright, for some guidance and he suggested me to join a Facebook page by the name of “Fulbright Pakistan - Scholar Den”. I found this page very useful and informative during the entire application preparation period and I really wished I had joined this page earlier. The admin of the page, Faisal bhai, is one supportive and sagacious guy that I know and I am glad that this Facebook page provided me an opportunity to connect with him. This Facebook platform allowed me to connect to other Fulbright prospective applicants as well, and to discuss common issues and problems that we faced during the entire application process. We still seek support regarding different matters from Faisal bhai even after selection, like, after my selection, IIE and USEFP asked me to retake GRE since my GRE score was a bit low. I consulted Faisal bhai for GRE preparation and guidelines and as expected, he provided me the best GRE preparation materials along with free Manhattan online GRE test account subscription. As a result, I improved six points in my overall GRE score in a very short period of time.
So, obtaining Fulbright scholarship is not an impossible task as most of the students think in Pakistan. The Fulbright body selects the candidates based on the overall profile and intellect of the person. Some students with low GPA or low GRE scores do not apply for Fulbright scholarship because they, I would say underestimate themselves. Getting Fulbright scholarship for students not having a stellar profile is also possible with proper guidance and counseling. So, I would suggest the prospective students to give proper time and attention to all aspects of your Fulbright application and apply no matter what. There is no harm in applying and please do not underestimate yourself and overestimate others, believe in yourself and your skills and capabilities. Fulbright is one of the best opportunities to gain knowledge, skills and insights to gain success in your carrier and to change the world.