After much uncertainty due to COVID-19, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is continuing with its programs and grants.
Even though the program is moving forward, the pandemic has had plenty of time to influence decisions. Some of these include the delay of the program for students in the fall and sending some of the scholars home in the spring before the program was over.
“There have been some interruptions with the scholars that have been chosen for this past year,” said Dr. Jason Morris, dean of the Honors College. “Normally most Fulbright participants start in September, but they delayed the start of all the grantees until January. Even that is still up in the air depending on the countries and how things are going to be at that time.”
The Fulbright Program is run by the U.S. State Department. At ACU, it is one of the most prestigious grants you could earn through the major scholarships criteria of the Honors College.
Typically students that are chosen have been seniors or graduate students, looking to have a gap year, but also want to learn and serve people on an international scale.
Over the past couple of years, ACU has earned a track record of students being accepted into different parts of the program. Two years ago, three ACU students were accepted into separate parts of the program, which was the highest number of students who have been chosen over one year.
“Generally the students that go work really hard on their application,” said Dr. Morris. “They also have some teaching experience and high grades, plus they meet the criteria for the country that they apply to. They are flexible and adaptable, and they are usually accepted by Fulbright because they view them as a person who can go into a foreign country and have a significant impact through teaching students, doing research or working on another academic project.”
Though this program is aimed at seniors and graduate students, there are opportunities starting freshman year for an individual who wants to apply for the program in the future.
“As for freshman, it is important to start volunteering and having things on a resume that looks good to a committee,” said Dr. Tracy Shilcutt, associate dean of the Honors College. “It is also not too late for sophomores and juniors. I would encourage it anyone who is interested in being away from the United States. It is for anyone who wants to contribute to a group of students and then also receive and learn.”
With the campus deadline for applying quickly approaching, any student interested in applying or learning more information can contact either the Honors College or Dr. Morris.