Decide on the focus of your graduate studies or year abroad and find the program that's ranked highest in your field; don't merely select an institution based on overall reputation or prestige. Be able to justify your choice. For example, you will need a more compelling argument than "I want to study in England because it's Shakespeare's birthplace." Many of the world's greatest Shakespearean scholars teach in American universities.
Send off for applications and course brochures (if awarded a Fulbright you are in most cases responsible for obtaining admission to the university yourself); if appropriate (especially for scientific research,) initiate contact with faculty at the institution. Providing evidence of "affiliation"-a letter from faculty expressing willingness to supervise your research, documentation that you have begun the application process-will help to persuade the committee that you have seriously considered your project's feasibility.
All proposals-for scholarships, grants, or study programs-share a principal goal: persuading the readers that your project deserves their support. The best proposals anticipate the kinds of questions that a selection committee is likely to ask.
Proposal formats vary, but you should address the following:
- What are you going to do, and where are you going to do it? Specify the university or institution, the course of study you want to pursue there, and the specific research topic you wish to focus on.
- Why does it need to be done? Explain why this research is worth pursuing, why it is especially suited to that country and that institution, and what results you hope to obtain.
- How will you do it? Specify your preferred methodology: how you will collect your data, what sources you plan to consult.
- What are your qualifications? Indicate what coursework, research, professional or extracurricular experiences have prepared you to undertake the project.
- How does this relate to your career interests? Your Fulbright proposal should seem like the logical next step in your academic and professional development, the project towards which your life has been building.