Fulbright: The Letter of Acceptance from SIUE


SIUE in Illinois, the United States
Cougar as the logo of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

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Other people’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality – Les Brown

If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves – Thomas Alva Edison

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Please watch the following video of the university in which I had been admitted as a graduate student

One thing that I like from SIUE is the concept of The Power of “e”

In the earlier post, I wrote about the process of being rejected, short-listed, and accepted by universities in the United States. This time, I wrote about the admission of mine to SIUE (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville).

First of all, I would like to say that I was so happy when I received information from AMINEF that I had been admitted as a graduate student in SIUE. In this university, I will study in the Department of English, concentrated on Teaching of Writing that also deals with Rhetoric and Composition. English has become a foreign language that I had studied since I was in elementary school. Therefore, to know the information of admission into SIUE from AMINEF was such a great happiness for me, especially for my parents.

When I told my parents about this acceptance, they felt so blessed in their life. They felt so happy and thrilled. I am a first child in my big family who could study into university degree, especially into graduate school. My family was not rich but they know and understand that education is crucial for them. My parents did not study until university degree; therefore, they always put a great emphasize on me that education is really important. Since I was a kid, I studied hard in order to be admitted and able to study at schools. All my best efforts, I could get scholarships since I was in junior high school up to now.

These are the scholarships that I have received since junior high school:

  • SLTP Negeri 7 Padang (State School of Junior High): Scholarships for students in good achievement
  • SMU Neger 2 Padang (State School of Senior High): Scholarships for students in good achievement – I have many achievements when I was in SMU Negeri 2 Padang
  • Andalas University (State University in Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia): Scholarships for students in good achievement – I become the Best Student in the University a year before I graduated in 2007. This is for Bachelor’s degree.
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville: Scholarships for International Students in the form of Tuition and Fee Waiver in accordance with Fulbright scholarship. This is for Master’s degree.
  • I don’t know what kind of scholarship that I will get for my Doctoral degree but I hope I could continue it in the United States, United Kingdom, or in Europe.

For SIUE, thank you very much for accepting me as a graduate student in the university. SIUE will always be a part of my life since 2011 and forever. Best always for you!

SIUE is among the top 15 public universities in U.S. News’ Midwest-Master’s category for the third consecutive year and also is in the top one-third of all public and private Midwestern universities. U.S News bases its overall scores on the academic preparedness of students, graduation rates, faculty characteristics and the reputation of SIUE in higher education. (Taken from: About SIUE)

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Note:

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.

Fulbright: Rejected, Short-listed and Accepted


Waiting time is such a hard thing to do

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Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent – Eleanor Roosevelt

Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you are right – Henry Ford

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Posts that are also related to this one can be found in this link (Fulbright: Pre-Fulbright Experiences)

After I had taken the qualifying examination (TOEFL-iBT and GRE test) as well as receiving notification from AMINEF in terms of submission plan, then, that was the time for me to wait for the outcome of the submission. When I followed the process, it seems like the placement itself was determined by the university. Although I had received information from AMINEF that I had been considered as a Fulbright scholarship recipient, it did not mean that I was admitted in a university. The hard time was in this stage. If all universities in the submission plan did not accept me, then, the Fulbright scholarship would not be any chance for me to study in the United States.

In my submission plan, the universities that would be a place for me to study were Ball State University, Texas State University, Colorado State University, Purdue University, and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. The process of the admission was happening one by one. I was quite shocked to receive information about my application was rejected by a certain university but I was also happy when I knew the application was admitted to some universities. One of these was Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). I was not sure how the university evaluated the application but I believed that it was really competitive because I had to compete with other applicants from around the world. The chance was getting limited in some ways. However, the professional background of the faculty was also the reason why the admission process was a hard competition. They always consider prospective students for the quality of the application, including TOEFL-iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language).

Good Luck with your application process to the university!

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Note:

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 to 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:

  1. Pursue your study seriously and get good grades at the school in which you are enrolled in – you are going to need the grades when you come back to Indonesia to continue your work
  2. Be active to take part in cultural activities on campus in the United States to promote the 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.

 

Fulbright: IIE, Submission Plan, and the Waiting Time


IIE (Institute of International Education) in the United States

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A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her – David Brinkley

A person can grow only as much as his horizon allows – John Powell

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This post is written for those who have been called and invited to the next stage after facing the qualifying examination in the process of Fulbright scholarship. You could refer to this link if you need to read other information related to this process.

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After I faced the qualifying examination in the form of TOEFL-iBT and GRE, I was then  waiting for the outcome of the examination. In that waiting condition, I received notification from AMINEF about Submission Plan by IIE (Institute of International Education) in New York, the United States. Therefore, what I am going to explain in this post is about the Submission Plan and the mission and values of IIE (Institute of International Education) in relation to this prestigious Fulbright scholarship.

Submission plan is a process where all applicants’ documents going to be sent into four to five universities that are match with their study purposes in the United States. The documents (application package) will be reviewed by the university in order to decide whether the applicants’ documents and study objective are relevant with the vision and mission of the department in which they will study or not. If there is a good match with these two things, then, the possibility for the applicant is high. Although this is only my assumption, but so far, this is what I have known from my friends who are also applicants of the Fulbright scholarship. Have you read “The Importance of Social Networking” in this blog? I explain about this in that post.

Meanwhile, IIE is an institution that organizes the program of international education in the United States. This institution handles the placement process of students from other countries to study in the United States and students from the United States to study in other countries under the Fulbright scholarship. Below is the information that I have copied from IIE website:

Founded in 1919, the Institute of International Education (IIE) is a private nonprofit leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. In collaboration with governments, foundations and other sponsors, IIE creates programs of study and training for students, educators and professionals from all sectors. These programs include the flagship Fulbright Program and Gilman Scholarships administered for the U.S. Department of State. IIE also conducts policy research, provides resources on international exchange opportunities and offers support to scholars in danger.

Mission and Values of IIE is:

Peace and prosperity around the world depend on increasing the capacity of people to think and work on a global and intercultural basis.


Our Mission

  • Promoting closer educational relations between the people of the United States and those of other countries.
  • Strengthening and linking institutions of higher learning globally.
  • Rescuing threatened scholars and advancing academic freedom.
  • Building leadership skills and enhancing the capacity of individuals and organizations to address local and global challenges.

IIE Core Values

IIE is committed to its goal of Opening Minds to the World ®.

The following core values guide all that we do:

  • Integrity. All our actions and relationships are based on honesty, authenticity, accountability, and trust.
  • Global awareness. Achieving diversity within our staff and program participants helps increase mutual understanding of our world and its people.
  • Collaboration. Working together creates a better result by tapping into our collective wisdom.
  • Professionalism. All our actions reflect on ourselves and our partners. We act and communicate with courtesy, respect and discretion.
  • Excellence. Passion, innovation and a commitment to serve drive us to deliver the highest quality work.
  • Service. We care deeply about our beneficiaries, sponsors and colleagues and respond to their needs with flexibility, reliability, and dedication.

As an institution, IIE has also made great historical movement. The link is here (History of IIE). The benefit of the scholarships for international education is not only for the American students but also for students in other countries. The core idea is that to build a mutual relationship that based on collaborative partnership is a great idea in the world today because many problems that still exist among countries that need further attention. “One country cannot work alone to solve the problem; therefore, we need to build strong and positive communication between countries to help one another”, one of statement in the video published in IIE website.

Dealing with the Fulbright scholarship, when an applicant has been admitted by a university, s/he will be taken care by IIE. All correspondences will be made and conducted through IIE. From what I had experienced, the process of this Fulbright scholarship is really professional. Every single thing related to the applicant is an important aspect by IIE and that was why this scholarship becomes prestigious in a way that those who receive this scholarship are highly selected people. All I can say is that there is no corruption, collusion, or nepotism in the process of this scholarship. At this point, I am writing this post to encourage bright students to apply for this scholarship. The chance is in yours while you keep trying to get the best for yourself and for other people whom you care and love so much.

For my friends in Indonesia who want to be a young ambassador of Indonesia through this Fulbright scholarship, go apply to AMINEF and good luck!

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Note:

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 obtain good grades at the school in which you are enrolled in; Second, be active to participate 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.

Fulbright: The Importance of Social Networking during the Selection Process


Social networking is important nowadays

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It’a all about people. It’s about Networking and being nice to people and not burning any bridges – Mike Davidson

Social networking sites like MySpace, Friendster, and Facebook have literally exploded in popularity in just a few short years – Mike Fitzpatrick

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The word “social networking” here means that connection to people that we have in the society. At the time I had done the qualifying exams, I was so worried about the result. First, I never faced those types of examination. I never had the TOEFL-iBT test before so I was a bit nervous. Second, I never did any GRE test before so I had no idea how to handle the nervous that I faced. In order to cut this kind of feeling, I contacted all new friends that I had met during the selection process. Besides, I also contact them whenever they have new information about their application.

When I attended the TOEF-iBT test, I stayed in Hotel Alia Cikini, East Jakarta. All the costs that I had to pay for this test was covered and arranged by AMINEF. The cost of the ticket from Padang to Jakarta and Jakarta to Padang was paid by AMINEF. AMINEF also paid the cost that I had to pay for staying in Hotel Alia Cikini. I was so happy to face that experience. Staying in a four star hotel and having delicious breakfast as well as sleeping in a nice bed were so unforgettable for me. For some people, these might be a common thing to face but for me, these things were adorable. Well, at night, I tried to study about this TOEFL-iBT test and in the following day, I had to attend TOEFL-iBT test in Mangga Dua, Jakarta. I still remember when Mbak Isye told me, “You have to make yourself familiar with this test”. When I heard she was saying that, I did not really catch what she meant but two days after that, I started to learn the TOEFL-iBT. She was encouraging me to learn this test. Because this test was conducted in a computer, I had to get used to use computer. Unfortunately, I did not have any computer but only a small laptop (HP Mini). Nevertheless, whatever the condition was, I had to do my best.

Then, after taking the TOEFL-iBT test, I had to take the GRE test. This test, for me, was such a nightmare! The computer system which made me “have to be correct all the time” in the first question had made me so “scared”. This test had three sections; writing, verbal, and quantitative. Despite this test was easy to face because it was performed in a computer, still, the system of “the first question must be correct” had made this test as a nightmare for many prospective graduate students. Fortunate enough, I had tried my best in this test although the score was “almost” good. Am I feeling ashamed to tell this? No. For me, a test could not guarantee a student’s ability in performing his or her study in the graduate degree but it was used only as a measurement. Now, after I am studying in SIUE, so far, I did not have worst score in the courses that I am taking now (Fall semester 2011). By the way, it depends. I am taking Master’s degree in English (Teaching of Writing/Rhetoric and Composition) in SIUE; therefore, GRE did not really represent my ability in this field. For other departments, such as Chemistry, Mathematics, or any Science major, GRE test will take place as a major consideration for admission by the university, including SIUE.

Then, what is the relationship between these tests and the social networking? The answer is practically simple. When you do not know anything how to solve the problem that you face during the selection process, you have your friends as a place for you to ask. Nelly Martin, who is taking her Ph.D in SLA program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, created a Facebook account for Indonesian Fulbright Scholars 2011 for all selected applicants across the archipelago – all over Indonesia – but only for those who were selected for 2011 term. This network was important. I could not imagine if I did not follow the current development of others I would probably be left. Sometimes, they talked about common good things and sometimes, they talked about the progress of their application. If you are selected to take part in this Fulbright scholarship, please also remember that, you are not alone in facing this scholarship. There are many of Indonesian students who want to get this opportunity. By having them as your friends in Facebook account is a good idea. What I did was adding these new folks into my Facebook account. Facebook is a social networking tool so there is nothing wrong with using it for some purposes that might be useful for you and for your friends too. You can send them message directly without necessarily sending email anymore and you can ask or discuss about particular process that you might face but you do not know how to face that or you do not have people to ask about it. Typically, you could also ask AMINEF Officer about questions that you do not know the answers but sometimes, the response were not that fast because they also have other things to do in the office, such as handling hundreds of Fulbright applicants every year. However, technology has made things more practical and easier for us, as long as we use it for positive purposes. Take an advantage of it or lose it.

Good Luck!

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Note:

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. After the period of your study, you should go back home to study and

Fulbright: The Third Stage (The Qualifying Exams – TOEFL iBT and GRE)


Be Prepared for the Two Tests - TOEFL-iBT and GRE
TOEFL - iBT stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet based Test

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A man is the product of his own thought. What he thinks, he becomes – Mohandas K. Gandhi

Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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This session is written for those who have already been notified by AMINEF as selected applicant. The next stage that an applicant has to face is the qualifying exams (GRE – Graduate Record Examination and TOEFL-iBT – Test of English as a Foreign Language internet based test). This session is written in the form of “you” style in order to help you better understand about these two tests. If you need more information about these tests, you could click this link, ETS.

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TOEFL-iBT and GRE were two tests that were required to follow by all selected applicants under the Fulbright scholarship. All costs and accommodation to attend these tests were provided by AMINEF. Typically, these tests were used by AMINEF and IIE (Institute of International Education) to complete your application which was going to be sent to four to five universities on the list of submission. The universities were always selected by IIE, and, of course, the universities would be those which are match into Although you had passed the interview session for the Fulbright scholarship, it did not mean that you were automatically categorized as a Fulbright grantee. At that time, I though that I would be, “Okay, now the next stage…”. Whatever the test was, I suggest you to be always ready to face it.

AMINEF informed and notified me through email that I should take TOEFL-iBT first and then GRE. At this stage, I had to reach TOEFL-iBT score at least 80 in order to be considered for placement in the university. Please also remember that TOEFL-iBT is not the same with TOEFL-ITP. TOEFL-ITP was conducted for national scale only, that is to say, the score of this test could only be used for admission to the universities in Indonesia and only for application purposes for the Fulbright scholarship in AMINEF. The score of TOEFL-iBT would be used for admission process in all of prestigious and well-known universities in the United States. For me, the score would be used for admission in five universities. This process was done by AMINEF. However, usually, universities in the United States have their own procedure about this TOEFL-iBT score. It would be a good idea if you could search information about this online if you need more information about this.

GRE (Graduate Record Examination) was a required test for prospective students either from the United States or from other nations in the world. The purpose of this test was not sure so far, but, based on the information given by ETS itself, this test was conducted as a way for the university to measure credibility or appropriateness of the prospective students for graduate studies. However, some universities for their particular departments did not really require this test since this test did not determine the students’ ability. For the purpose of Fulbright scholarship, this would be a great step for you if you could have better GRE score. For me, it did not matter from which university I would graduate. The most important thing was the quality that I would have as a scholar after finishing my study in that university. In my perspective, graduate study means the process of personal growth either as a student, a thinker, and a scholar. In relation to this test, as a Fulbright applicant, the best thing you could do is to take the test and try as best as you can to reach better score in it. For example, Souther Illinois University Edwardsville has its own system for the required tests (you could read about this in the following link: SIUE Required Tests for Admission).

How did I do to prepare for these two tests?

When I would take these two tests, I only have time for about several weeks to join the tests. From what I had experienced dealing with the two tests, I would like to share with you the following steps.

Understand the nature of the test and do the best!

At this stage, I learned about the tests from ETS website. What TOEFL-iBT was, what types of tests that were mainly tested were, and things related to the tests were originally published in the ETS website. TOEFL-iBT was used to measure your ability to use English as a communicative and academic language used in Northern America or the United States. This test was designed to test your ability to speak, listen, read, and write in English. The context of this test was academic; therefore, this is essential for you to practice using English in an academic setting. The test itself was conducted in front of computer so I think it will be a great idea for you to get used to using computer directly in studying. The different thing between TOEFL-iBT and TOEFL-ITP is in the speaking and writing test. You will speak to the computer and write essays in English by using computer. For GRE, you will have verbal and quantitative tests. Recently, the form of this GRE test is changed but the process is the same with TOEFL-iBT that is using computer and internet. If you want to learn about GRE test, you could study about this in the following link. (GRE Test – ETS). As a general information, if you would like to study in social sciences, your verbal and writing score should be good (around 700) and if you would like to study in natural sciences, your quantitative score should be good (around 700). However, the university has its own policy on the GRE score. Although you did not do well on the GRE, it does not mean your chance to be admitted in one of universities in the United States is not open. The key that determines someone’s successfulness in studying in the United States is not GRE but perseverance and hard-work-ness. Your focus and intention would really work for you if you could direct yourself well when and why you would attend these two tests. Your future is always in your hand. Besides, being a Fulbright scholar means you could represent your country and build positive communication to students in the United States and students who come from other nations.

Good Luck! 

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Note:

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.