Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great. — John Rockefeller
For my first post I thought it would be useful to share my application time table and some insight I learned along the way. Feel free to contact me for copies of my essays! I hope this can help someone in the upcoming application cycles!
Type of award: Open application (I applied to go anywhere and do anything- I wanted to be where I was needed most)
Application Deadline: January 1st, 2018
*Date Submitted: November 7th, 2017
Country and Job Selection: on November 20th, 2017 my application was under consideration for a secondary English teaching position in Cambodia!
Interview Request: November 28th, 2017
Interview (90minute Skype): December 15th, 2017
Accepted: January 2nd, 2018.
My Advice: Please note that I submitted my application and had my interview way before the application was even due! If you look closely you’ll see that I got accepted the day after the application due date. The Peace Corps clearly rewards early bird applicants, so get your application in early to ensure the greatest advantage possible!
I was also very nervous for my interview. Fortunately, the Peace Corps does a very good job in providing you with exactly what they are going to ask you in the interview. They send this in the same email as your interview request, and you’ll have plenty of time to prepare. If you have any questions about the exact questions I was asked, feel free to drop me an email under “contact”
It is also important to note that there is a very rigorous dental, medical and mental health clearing process after you get accepted-that not everyone passes. My forms were due on March 4th and I would start early if you can. However, I withdrew my application once I got into Oxford, so I unfortunately don’t have much more insight on that.
Finally- with colorism existing world wide-it’s pretty obvious that a black person’s experience abroad will be completely different than one’s white peers. the “Black Peace Corps” group on Facebook had been a huge help and reference for me during my application process. Current volunteers patiently answered all of my anxious questions, including “how do I maintain my natural hair for the next 2 years” “what is it like to be black in a rural community abroad?”etc. They’re also a valuable resource for returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs) in finding new jobs and moving forward in graduate school and life in general.
Award type: Fulbright US Student Program: Open Study/Research (I applied for a research award to University of Ibadan in Nigeria!)
Application deadline: October 6th, 2017
Date Submitted: October 6th, 2017 🙂
Semi Finalist Notification: On January 26th 2018 I was notified that my application was being reviewed by my country’s commission!
Finalist Notification: On April 10th I was notified that I was selected as an alternate
Acceptance: On April 27th I found out my application was promoted to finalist!
My Advice: Fulbright is one of the more stressful programs to apply for in my opinion. It’s a lot of work and a ton of cold emails and drafts-there’s a reason why the study/research award is regarded as more prestigious than their other awards. If you are a graduating senior or a recent graduate, I strongly recommend applying through your University to get more sage advice on your research proposal and personal statement. This was my third time applying, and I decided to apply “at large” this year, meaning I decided not to use my University affiliation.
The wait is excruciating. Unlike Peace Corps, the process is very opaque and you don’t get much information from contacting them throughout the process. However, if you found this blog, chances are you’ve found the Fulbright gradcafe forum , the Fulbright reddit page and the mega spread sheet that comes with it. Since Fulbright does not make this public, the spread sheet (created by all of us current and past applicants) lists the notification dates by both years and country dating back to 2000 for reference! It’s also a good forum to commiserate stress with fellow applicants. This year, we even made a slack chat and groupme with over 700 members!
However, I’d advise easing off of the group chats, as it only provoked more anxiety. My best advice is to schedule a race or event your passionate in for a future date, and start training! Try to spend as much time as you can distracting yourself. 8 months of torturous waiting is no way to live.
University of Oxford
Award type: MSc in Psychological Research– Department of Experimental Psychology. Oxford also allows you to select a college (or the US equivalent of a residence hall) preference. Not knowing enough about the college system, I decided to submit an open application.
Application deadline: January 8th 2018.
Date Submitted: January 2nd, 2018
Interview Request: January 19th, 2018
Interview: January 31st, 2018 (7 minute research presentation via Skype)
Accepted: February 5th, 2018
College Placement: March 13th 2018.
My advice: My strongest advice for this one is to do your research and read the instructions carefully. Take a look at your department’s entry requirements and application details. Look to see how many international students there are in your department and the type of research the supervisors do.
For me, the interview wasn’t great. We kept losing connection on Skype and they could not hear me for the majority of my research presentation. However, I did do my research to see who was interviewing me, and emailed questions directly relevant to their specific research. I could be wrong, but I honestly think that’s what set me apart from the rest of the crowd. For more info on that journey feel free to contact me! 🙂
And there it is! Those are the programs that I applied to for my gap year abroad. I hope someone’s able to take something away from it in the future.