Global Engagement

Application Process

The Application Process
Important Notice: If you are enrolled at Clemson you MUST apply through the Clemson Fulbright Program Advisor. If you are a Clemson alumni, you are eligible, and encouraged to apply through our office as well.

The Online Application:

1. Create an Embark account. Go to http://us.fulbrightonline.org/applynow.html, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “US FULBRIGHT APPLICATION ONLINE”. PLEASE CREATE AN ACCOUNT AND FILL IN THE BASIC INFORMATION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! Do not submit your application until you are ready. Please email Dr. Steve Wainscott at shwns@clemson.edu if you have any questions about the online application.

The Campus Deadline: WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2013. The campus deadline is a FINAL deadline. Unless there are serious errors, you will not be able to revise your application after this point. For the campus deadline, please do the following:

1. Proofread your online application

2. Print out your online application (see checklist on next page).

3. Submit your online application (through the Embark Fulbright site).

4. Once you have submitted, you may sign up for an interview time slot. (More details via email.)

Please make sure you remind your recommenders that their letters are due by the campus deadline. Fulbright requires that recommendation letters be submitted online. Please make sure you have entered your recommenders’ information in the online application system. This will generate an email to them with a username and password, which allows them to upload their letters. Recommenders do not submit hard copies.

It is your responsibly to make sure that all of your letters of reference and foreign language evaluation(s) are uploaded by the campus deadline. Please do not call to ask about the completeness of your application. You can check on the Fulbright Embark system to see if letters of recommendation and language evaluations have been uploaded and submitted.

What is the purpose of the campus interview?
The purpose of the campus interview is to provide additional information about your candidacy to the National Screening Committee. The interviews are your only chance to articulate, in person, your reasons for wanting to study or conduct research abroad. Each applicant will be interviewed individually for about 30 minutes by a panel of Clemson faculty and staff. Panelists may question students on contacts they have made overseas, academic preparation for the study, knowledge of the host country, and language training.

How does the panel evaluate applicants?
The panel’s rating of your application is based on an evaluation of your complete application and the campus interview. A panel of the Screening Committee will assess the content and feasibility of your proposal, your language preparation, your knowledge of the host country, etc., and then complete the Campus Committee Evaluation Form. The panel will rate your candidacy. The campus interview is NOT a mechanism for disqualifying applicants, but it is a mechanism for rating—not ranking—the applicants. Your rating will not be disclosed to you at any time, nor will you be given feedback regarding the confidential Campus Committee Evaluation Form.

PLEASE NOTE: No one is eliminated from the competition at the campus level. Clemson is asked by IIE (the organization that administers the Fulbright Program) to forward all applications submitted, regardless of the rating given by the campus committee.

What is the makeup of the panel?
In most cases, we try as best as possible to tailor the panels to fit your project and host country. Members may in fact be previous Fulbright recipients, natives of the host country, or an individual in your area of expertise. While we do have a large number of faculty and staff who serve as committee members, it is not always possible to be interviewed by someone in your field. Committee members have often had years of experience in working with Fulbright applications, and they are very aware of what makes a good application. In addition, your application at the national level will not only be read by people specifically in your academic field, but by others who have knowledge of the country or area where you wish to go.

Please do not worry if your campus interview panel is made up of faculty and staff from outside your area of study. In fact, one of the key concepts of the Fulbright is to be able to articulate your proposal to a “lay” audience. 

Please be aware that the campus interview is meant to support your application and is not the deciding factor in your application. The interview and evaluation is meant to give the National Screening Committee as much information to work with as possible, and is, thus, very important. The campus level interviews will be your only interview through the Fulbright process, except in a few cases (e.g., the performing arts).

What if I will be away from campus during the fall semester?
Please notify us immediately. Most students who apply for the Fulbright at Clemson have a campus interview.

*TIPS FOR A BETTER INTERVIEW*

  • Be yourself! Do not forget, however, that you are being interviewed in a formal situation.
  • Dress code: Dress in a manner which will make you feel comfortable, but do not dress too informally.
  • Don’t worry about being nervous. Everyone is. The interviewers just want to challenge you.
  • Language Ability: The feasibility of your proposal is very important in the evaluation process. For this reason, foreign language skills are carefully considered, if you are going to a country where the native language is not English. The interviewers may ask you questions in the language of your country. Always reply in the language in which you are asked a question, even if it is to ask the committee member to repeat the question. The committee is not so much looking for fluency, but more for your potential to communicate in the language.
  • Know something about the country to which you are applying. Familiarize yourself with current events, politics, literature, cultural events and what is going on in your field in that country. Some interviews will not go into these subjects with much depth, but some will.
  • Know something about what is going on in the US (especially issues relevant to what you study).
  • Reread your application (including your transcript) before going into the interview. Interviewers may ask you about any and all parts of your application, and you need to be prepared to talk about any statement you have made. It is so easy to forget a seemingly insignificant point you may have made, and it is quite embarrassing to draw a blank concerning an essay you wrote.
  • Do not be afraid to state your opinions and argue them. As long as you are able to support your opinions, and do so without becoming angry or defensive, you will do fine. Some interviewers are curious to know how you will react in a situation where your beliefs are being questioned. The same interviewer who presses you to the wall about your thoughts on a particular matter may agree with you completely, so don’t waffle for the sake of agreement. Just be straightforward and stand by your convictions.
  • Channel your nervous energy into enthusiasm. Be genuinely enthusiastic about the scholarship and the opportunities it can afford you. Be positive and don’t hesitate to let them know you really want the scholarship.
  • Unsure of a question? If you are unsure of what a question is getting at, you can do one of two things: Take a definite line on what you thought the question was, or ask politely and briefly for clarification. Some applicants, when asked an especially tough question, request clarification in order to gain a little time to think.
  • Know something about the origin and intent of the Fulbright Program. Read the Fulbright US Student Program Handbook or website for this information.
  • How you enter and exit is important. Smile at everyone when you come in and leave time for a casual or humorous comment or two at the beginning. Let them set the pace. Thank them and make a polite exit when they indicate the interview is over, but don’t rush out the door.

The National Screening Process
After the campus process, Fulbright applications are screened in two stages. Applications will first be reviewed by a nationally appointed committee. Except in a few cases (e.g., performing arts, Russia and UK short-listed applicants), you will not be asked for any further interviews. The Institute of International Education (IIE) will notify you via email in January whether or not you have passed national screenings. If you pass (that is, are “recommended”), your application will be sent to the supervising agency in the country to which you are applying, and the final decisions will be made.

You will receive final notification from IIE anywhere from mid-March to late June. Alternates sometimes receive notification as late as July or August. There is no standard timeline by which country committees make their decisions—every year can be different. Please contact us when you receive official notification, as we are often not informed until a later date.

LAST THOUGHTS

  • Make this scholarship application a priority and manage your time well!
  • Get everything in on time. Supporting materials can be submitted late, but you should make every effort to have a completed application by the campus deadline. Incomplete applications will reflect poorly on you at the campus and national levels.
  • Please contact us with any questions you may have.

 Good luck!