Fulbright’s prompt for the Personal Statement
- Make it Personal: This statement provides you with an opportunity to introduce yourself to the screening committee members on a personal level. The style is up to you, but the content should convey your background and your motivation for applying to the program in question and how this background relates to your proposed project and your future goals.
- Do not repeat information from other parts of the application.
Personal statement pointers and caveats
- Some describe this personal statement as an intellectual autobiography. It should capture your voice and personal trajectory as it relates to this experience, broadly defined. It should not be a prose version of your resume, nor a personal narrative with no relationship to what you are proposing to do.
- As in the other Fulbright essay, clear prose is important. A reader who gets lost in convoluted clauses sometimes doesn’t continue reading.
- While you cannot anticipate your audience’s preferences and biases, you should be mindful of how the personal information you choose to disclose may be perceived by readers both in the national screening process and in the host country. For example, open discussion of homosexuality may be uncontroversial in an application to Denmark but problematic in an application to Egypt.
- If you’ve recently studied abroad in the country to which you are applying, don’t let that hijack this essay and be careful not to give the impression that you are simply looking for an opportunity to return to the country. Emotional gushing about how wonderful your previous experience in the country was isn’t a good choice.
- If you have heritage connections to the country to which you are applying, don’t let those dominate your essay and appear to be your primary motivation. A selection committee is unlikely to be impressed by an “I want to seek my roots” argument.