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Writing a Recommendation for the Fulbright Grant

First of all, thank you for agreeing to write a letter of recommendation for one of our students who is applying for a Fulbright Grant. In order to facilitate your task, we want to give you a few pointers.

Fulbright grants come in two basic flavors. “Full grants” are individual research or study grants based on candidates’ own proposals. For these, the candidate generally has to establish his/her own affiliation with a host institution, which can be a university, NGO, museum, think tank, etc. Many of our students apply for the other type of Fulbright: an English Teaching Assistantship (ETA). For these grants, the candidate’s main task is
clear; the host country will place him/her as needed.

While applications for full grants require standard letters of recommendation, ETA applications are a bit different--they require reference forms instead of reference letters. These reference forms ask a series of questions about the applicant's ability to teach English abroad. You can find our internal reference form for ETA applicants here [doc] ; directions for writing Full Grant references can be found here.

Save the Date: September 22, 2014

By the above date, please submit your letters of recommendation and/or reference forms both to Pomona and to Fulbright (please use the ETA reference form here [doc] ):

1) Email them to jennifer.locke(at)pomona.edu. Emailed references will be shared with faculty and staff involved in the on-campus interview and endorsement process.

2) Upload them to the Embark application system, using the instructions in the Fulbright pages linked above.

Additional suggestions for effective recommendations

  1. Be specific. Try to tell us why you think this particular candidate will (or will not) succeed with this specific project. In order to do this, you must have information from the candidate about his or her project.
  2. What things in the candidate’s past academic career have especially prepared him/her for this next challenge?
  3. Is this a next logical step for the candidate?
  4. Does the candidate have the personal “grit” required to get the job done? If yes, why do you think so? If no, why don’t you think so?
  5. Are the candidate’s language skills appropriate for the project he/she proposes?
  6. Has the candidate outlined an appropriate and realistic methodology for his/her project?
  7. Is the candidate’s project too sensitive (or insensitive) in any way? Will it raise eyebrows or questions when the grant is reviewed in the host country?
  8. Is the candidate able to make subtle and nuanced judgments? Is he/she mature intellectually and personally?
  9. Has the candidate outlined a project that is too ambitious (or not ambitious enough) for his/her abilities and current skills?
  10. Will this candidate represent Pomona College and the United States well?

See the Fulbright page for more information, a link to the U.S. Student Fulbright Program website, and contact information for Pomona’s Fulbright advisors.

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