Student Academic Grants and Awards

Writing Letters of Recommendation for the Fulbright

Although the U.S. Student Fulbright program has several types of grants, the general requirements for writing recommendations for the program may be applied to any of the types of opportunities.

First, the rules for writing any recommendations apply: the letter should be specific about your relationship to the student, and the length of time you have known them, and offer a candid and detailed assessment of their abilities. The most useful general rule I can give you to guide you as you write for the Fulbright is that the program is both academic and ambassadorial, and the program takes both functions very seriously. We will be sending our students out as individual scholars and teachers, and as cultural ambassadors who we believe will have a productive experience and be good representatives of Willamette, of their home communities, and of their country.

Good things to mention might include:

  • academic background as it relates to this project or plan, and the applicant's capabilities as a student; the student's potential as a scholar may be discussed if the student is planning to conduct an independent research project, but is optional if they are pursuing a teaching assistantship. If they are applying for a creative project, any experience you have with their creative work will be helpful.
  • any anecdotes about your interactions with or observations of the student that you feel particularly illuminate her abilities, personality, or character can be especially helpful-the Fulbright program is interested in gaining a sense of applicants as people, and these personal accounts can help your student stand out as an applicant
  • comment if you can on the applicant's interpersonal skills-have you had the chance to observe them effectively resolving conflict, solving problems, meeting non-academic challenges? Has she been a leader in the classroom or on campus, a mentor to peers or in the community? Is she an effective communicator? Is she adaptable?