Fulbright: The First Stage (Application) in Q and A session


I like dreams of the future better than the history of the past – Thomas Jefferson

Learning too soon our limitations, we never learn our powers – Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960


My friends and other colleagues asked me about the Fulbright scholarship application form. However, I would like to write about this again to help them understand things related to the application form. For all my friends in Indonesia, I hope you could find helpful things about the application form. If you want to read the historical background of mine before I come to the United States, you could read it here (Fulbright: Pre-Fulbright Experiences), you could choose which topic you would like to read on the list provided in the post.

  • Why application form is important in Fulbright scholarship?

As far as I could understand about this scholarship, the application form is a critical stage where you could have an opportunity to be included into selected applicants or to be rejected by the scholarship panel. You will find many questions asked in the application form so make sure you answer the questions well and clearly. Write the answers as the way you write, especially English is not your first language. Don’t forget to fill in the application form as honest as it is. You will not have better opportunity to be selected for interview if you wrote your application dishonestly.

  • What should I do to fill in the application form correctly?

Well, you need to read the instructions written in the application form. If you are asked to write about your academic background, personal identity, reasons of why you want to study in the United States, what type of field of study that you will undertake when you arrive in the United States, and great things about you should be written in the application form. Explain about these concisely and never be beating around the bush. Therefore, all you need to do is to read the instructions and questions and answer those honestly. At least, this will help your application to be noticed as “application from an honest person”

  • What are the important things in the application form?

Technically, you will be asked to write about yourself and your statements about why you want to study in the United States. In general, the important thing that you need to consider when you fill out the application form is your ability to prove that you are eligible for Fulbright scholarship. Every section in the application never left empty. You need to make sure that you have filled everything Fulbright selection committee needs to know about you. Telling the good things about you is a good idea but you have to proof it by attaching relevant documents.

  • Is there any good and easy tips to make my application accepted by selection committee?

For this question, no applicants who have succeeded in receiving this scholarship know the answer. The committee will decide whether your application form is worth or not to be considered for further stage or the interview selection. Unfortunately, there are no things called as easy tips but as long as you have filled in and answered the questions in the application properly and have provided the needed documents, your application would probably be considered for interview. The chance for you to be called for interview depends on the things you express in your application form.

  • What are the needed documents when I want to send the application form?

When I sent my application form, I had sent the following documents to AMINEF:

– The completed application form

– Photo 3 x 4 cm (3 pieces) – colour, must be a new one

– Statement of Purpose (some scholarships provider called it as Purpose of Study) —> This document is important because it reflects your reasons to study in the United States and the length should be only in one page. You need to show your ability to write clear and critical ideas in your essay. It does not have to be a “scientific essay”. If you write it as if you write it for scholar groups, that will be better.

–  Copy of your Indonesian card (KTP) or your passport if you have one that is still available and officially legal

– Curriculum Vitae —> This document is important for you to send to AMINEF. When I sent my application, I sent this document although AMINEF did not ask it by mentioning it explicitly in the website. However, if you send it along with your application, that will be a good idea, too. You will have a space where you could show them how well you are as a Fulbright scholar candidate. If you need a larger space to show off your achievements or awards or your academic and non-academic achievements, then, your Curriculum Vitae is a good space to write about it. “Show off” means tell the truth about you in terms of achievements that you have done and achieved as a student.

– Score of TOEFL-iTP at least 550 or IELTS at least 6.5. Since I come from Padang, West Sumatra, you could go to Rohana Kudus street in which you can find ITI (International TOEFL Institute) of Padang. This institution usually conducts TOEFL-iTP test which is accepted in Indonesia. For the purpose of your application, you could go to this institution. However, I suggest that you should do Try Out Test of TOEFL before you take the TOEFL-iTP because the cost of taking it is quite expensive. If you could reach your TOEFL-iTP more than 550, then, you could apply Fulbright scholarship. For IELTS (International English Language Testing System), you could go to Edlink+Connex in Lubuk Begalung, Padang. This institution usually conducts IELTS test several times a year depending on the number of applicants tested. I paid for almost 3 million rupiahs in order to be able to attend this test. My first score in IELTS was 6.5. The chance is even bigger if you have scores higher than what Fulbright needs from you.

  • I have completed all documents needed, and, what should I do after that?

If you have fulfilled all the needed documents, then, what you should is, of course, check it again! When I sent my application for the first time, I forgot to check my application. As a result, I was not included as one of those applicants called for the interview. Then, in my second attempt, I tried to check and recheck my application so that I knew in what part of my application was not complete. The point is check and recheck. If you are sure with your application and you feel you have fulfilled all of its documents, then, that’s the time for you to send it!

  • Do you know where I could send the application form?

AMINEF office is located in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. The office was in Balai Pustaka building but now it has moved to the new building. The address is:

CIMB Niaga Plaza, lantai 3

Jl. Jenderal Sudirman Kav. 25 Jakarta 12920, Telp. +6221-52961966

For complete information, you may click the following link. AMINEF

  • How much is the percentage of my successfulness in the application form if I have written all the things asked on it?

Well, I can’t say for sure since I am not the one who works as one of the officers in AMINEF. The best thing you can do is to read all instructions carefully and fulfill all requirements asked in the application form. Sometimes, you need to read and reread your statements in the application before you send it. Remember, you may only have chance to send your application form ONCE. Therefore, please be really sure that you have written all the crucial things asked by AMINEF. Your application form will be read by two Americans who have experiences in selecting students who could go to the United States to study and who have great ability to compete with students worldwide. Although this is only an application form, but, again, it is a really important stage that you have to do your best to “show off” in order to make you “stand from the crowd”. Other applicants may be better than you, but, I assume that AMINEF is not looking for “perfect” people but they are looking for people who are sincere, willing to learn new things, able to adapt with new surroundings without losing identity as an Indonesian, able to represent Indonesia and its culture, and, the most important thing is, able to transfer good values from Indonesia to the United States and good values from the United States to Indonesia. This is the point of being a Fulbright scholar. If you are selected to be one of Fulbright scholars, you will be one of the young-ambassadors of the Republic of Indonesia in the United States.


Next post: Fulbright: The Second Stage (Interview)


This writing is intended for Indonesian students who might be interested in pursuing higher studies (M.A or Ph.D) in the United States under the Fulbright scholarship. In Indonesia, this scholarship is organized by AMINEF (American Indonesian Exchange Foundation). Once you are admitted in this scholarship program, you will be taken care by IIE (Institute of International Education) in New York. If you are selected, you will have to do two things: First, pursue your study seriously and get good grades at the school in which you are enrolled in; Second, be active to take part in cultural activities on campus or in the United States to promote cultures of your country. This second thing is compulsory; therefore, it is expected that you need to do cross communication with American students to expand mutual understanding of two different countries. This is the main aspect of being a Fulbright scholar.

Author: Syayid

Syayid Sandi Sukandi is a person who is just like you. He loves to meet new people. He likes to learn new things and opens his horizon to understand how this world works. He is happy to help you when he can. His personal blog is Sparkling Silent Silhouette (https://www.syayidss.com/). He can be contacted at e-mails: syayid@gmail.com or said_sandi@hotmail.com. He has a YouTube channel @Mr.Syayid's Corner. He is active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You may follow and subscribe to his creativity and works there. Enjoy different perspective and insightful ideas!

4 thoughts on “Fulbright: The First Stage (Application) in Q and A session”

  1. I have some problem in filling the form. I dont know what to write in responsibility column. Is it a person who have resposible in it? And about the attachment, should all attachment like organization proof should be translated in english? Thank you. I really need help to fill everything correctly. I try to send email to aminef, and still delayed..


    1. Thanks for your question.
      I am not sure about the responsibility column. Could you please be more specific?
      If it says that you are the one who will be responsible regarding the scholarship, then it might be “yes”, you need to elaborate your reasons for that part well. For the attachments, you only need to attach required documents. If they did not ask such documents, please do not send them. Otherwise, if you would like to add more emphasis on your application to make you stand from the crowd, I guess it is worth to try.
      Aminef Officers are really busy these days, Dee. Therefore, your patience is really needed and appreciated.
      Hope my answers help your questions. Please ask me if you need more answers. By the way, my answers do not relate to overall process of this scholarship anyway. This is only my perception for the process. Good luck. (Be prepared!)


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