The Fulbright application deadline is upon us. Over the years, all of us Fulbright applicants have been hearing time and again that references are an important part of the application. Every single time you consult someone and seek an opinion on what elements constitute the major part of your application in terms of success, you will hear them tell you that references carry a lot of weight. Especially when you are proceedings for an education abroad and that too, one that is sponsored by the State Department at the United States.
Are you applying to the Fulbright Scholarship this year? If so, do check out my post on steps you take before filling the Fulbright application. And here are a few things that you need to remember when finalising your referees and reference letters:
- Some referees might ask you to submit a sample of what you think the recommendation letter should include. It is a perfectly logical request and you can send them a draft clearly mentioning what personal characteristics, habits, profile elements and past experiences you would like to have included in the reference letter. It is also helpful to divert the focus of the referee to the points that matter. It is always better than to have a reference letter in hand which bears little relevance to what the sponsors are looking for.
- For professional references, try to look for someone at a level higher than yours and it would be best if the person giving the reference has been your direct supervisor/boss at some point. It is normal practice that if you can manage, try to get the reference of a person from within your organisation that can speak of your professionalism and vouch for your dedication and that can even be the CEO.
- For an academic reference, again, it would be beneficial to get the reference from a person who can authoritatively vouch for your academic skills, research capabilities, willingness to learn; so on and so forth. If you can get it from your professor, that is good; if however you manage to get it from the head of department where your studied, that is awesome.
- For a personal reference, again the point to be stressed is that this person should be able to vouch for your over all skill set as a person. That means that this reference letter should positively comment on your overall portfolio; your communication and social skills, your ethics and willingness to make a change; and basically whatever else might help you secure the scholarship and win over your sponsors.
Attached below are some actual reference letters as a sample for the convenience of the candidates applying to this cycle of the Fulbright Scholarship.
For downloading the sample Professional Reference, please click here: Professional Recommendation
For downloading the sample Personal Reference, please click here: Personal Reference
For downloading the sample Academic Reference, please click here: Academic Reference
I do hope that this blog post proves helpful for the candidates and may success be theirs.
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Side Note: The GRE date has extended till 15th June 2019. Keeping coming back to the blog as I will post more informative posts soon.
All the best, applicants!