“Applying for a Fulbright was one of the most challenging, yet rewarding experiences I have had at Oberlin. Receiving the Fulbright has made all of that hard work feel even more worthwhile, and has greatly expanded the scope of what I can see myself doing in the future.” —Dessane Cassell
Here's what alumni have to say:
Firstly, if I were to give a current group of students advice on fellowships, I would say that I cannot imagine a better place to apply than at Oberlin. The support that I received throughout the process was remarkable, and the advice that I received seemed very well-tailored to my personal strengths and my application. The benefits of applying for competitive fellowships in such an environment should not be taken lightly, and I think the experience of writing my application and receiving your feedback has greatly informed the way that I approve grant writing, job/school applications, and all other competitive processes today. —Sonia Roubini ’12
Applying for a fellowship gave me really good interviewing and job application skills and helped me think about my career more intentionally.
—Lucia Kalinosky ’12
I think [the fellowships application process] allowed me to articulate my interests and begin to think long term about career aspirations. . . . I also think having had letters of recommendation written is very valuable. I will try to maintain connections with those professors to enable me to use letters of recommendation from them again.
—Sylvia Woodmansee ’13
The process was very valuable as I was applying to grad school. I think my grad school applications were stronger as a result. And the interview process for the Hertz was great preparation for many things that have followed (from my honors defense at Oberlin to meetings with my adviser to defending my qualifying exam proposal).
—Ben Altheimer ’12
Several of my Fulbright friends and I have decided that this fellowship should be renamed “Funbright.”
—Leah Goldman ’13
How to Apply
As Ms. Cassell attests, applying to fellowships like Fulbright can be demanding, but the benefits are substantial; they accrue whether or not you win an award; and they can begin as early as your first year. While there is no single formula for success in awards competitions, planning ahead, thinking broadly and ambitiously about what is possible, and then drafting a feasible route to your goals in consultation with peers, advisors, and your extended network of support is a common formula for success.
Even when you change your mind, having taken a step or two with confidence can make it easier to move in another direction.