When I was in UET Lahore for my Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering, I always thought to myself I had to end up somewhere better, far better than UET. But I had a very ordinary profile by the end of my bachelor’s. I had no work experience, no extra or co-curricular activities, and no teaching assistantships. I only had one achievement to my name by then, being a global UGRAD alumnus, but that wasn’t good enough to apply for Fulbright that year. So, my twin sister and I decided to pursue an MS from Pakistan with quality research. We made up our minds to work on our Fulbright application for a Ph.D. from the day we started our MS. We got admitted into GIK Institute for MS in Energy Systems Engineering with a full scholarship along with a graduate assistantship. That was the best thing we could ever ask for. While we were doing the coursework in GIKI, we applied for Erasmus Mundus programs for MS research, and we both got one. So, we carried out our MS research in Italy on the Erasmus Mundus LEADER program. We applied to 4 programs, and we got 3 rejections and 1 acceptance. So, my friends, the key here is “keep on applying”. “Apply quietly and let your success make noise”. Nowadays, most of the applications are online and hassle-free. So why shy away from applying?
Now, let’s come to Fulbright. My sister and I had taken up the GRE before going to Italy. So now, during our MS research, we had just one more task to do, i.e., writing the perfect personal statement (PS). We spent around 3 months on it. We had made early drafts of the PS and research objective in January, and then we kept on amending them until April whenever any idea clicked. Our mentor, Scholar Den Founder Faisal Khan, has been instrumental in guiding us with essays, correcting them, mock-interviewing us before the Fulbright interview, and whatnot?
On 5th October (8:52am), both of us received the magical emails for our selection to Fulbright as Principal candidates. My advice to future applicants is that please seek guidance from your seniors whenever you are stuck, there is no shame in asking for help. And start working on your application (essays) beforehand, whether it be Fulbright or direct admissions. And finally, apply, apply, apply….! Applying never hurts :).