Tips for the various English Scholar applications
December 23, 2004 7:14 PM   Subscribe

I am starting the application process for the Fulbright, Marshall, Luce, and Rhodes. All in England. Anyone have any suggestions or tips?

I'll write a little more. I'm a humor writer, I'm from NJ (which I think is one of the most, if not the most competitive state in the country for these things), I run long distance, I've been published in some fairly reputable publications.

I realize my chances for the Rhodes are probably slim to none, given that they take 32 people. Basically, I'm looking to take a Masters in England in something writing related, so that I can work on a novel. I don't want to pay, and since I've never traveled at all, I think it would be cool to go out of the country to see something else.

Has anyone dealt with any of these applications or know how to go about it? My school is fairly good, but they seem to have lots of applicants, so individual attention is not high on their list.

Any help would be wonderful, indeed.
posted by moooshy to Education (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Actually, the Luce is in Asia. So that one's out. I'm not sure why they told me to look at that.
posted by moooshy at 7:26 PM on December 23, 2004

Hmmm. I suppose moving to Montana is out of the question?

Seriously, the Rhodes and Marshall are pretty much out of your hands--write a good essay, and accept that it's a lottery if you live in a thickly populated state.

The key to the Fulbright is writing a really good proposal. You should come up with a proposal for something that will interest a bunch of bored college administrators and State Department employees and that will absolutely require travel to England. (Have you thought about choosing Ireland, Scotland, or Wales instead?)

What Luce Fellowship are you talking about? The Henry Luce Fellowships are, as far as I know, for study in Asia; the Clare Boothe Luce Fellowships are for women in science; and the William Luce Fellowship is for study in the Arab-speaking world.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:28 PM on December 23, 2004 [1 favorite]

This site has some good tips about Fulbrights.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:29 PM on December 23, 2004 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure about these grants - I didn't realize you could get a Fulbright for a a creative project. However, I would think if you've had some fiction published, you could get a free ride in an MFA program somewhere. I think they're becoming pretty popular in England.
posted by drobot at 8:10 PM on December 23, 2004

Get good letters of reference. The Rhodes asks for these, I've written a few but not for anyone who got one. The Rhodes scares a lot of people off - however, the trick is they really do want all-arounders - so if you don't have serious sporty-ness you may be SOL - how good a runner are you? community service can be important as well.

Also, most UK university Master's are very intense one-year taught MAs, which, in my experience (PhD from UK university) leave little time or energy for writing your novel. Now, YMMV and all that, but make sure you know what the program you are getting into is like.
posted by Rumple at 8:11 PM on December 23, 2004

Keep in mind that there are other grants, too. The Rotary Club has one that is apparently really good, but not many people know about it.
posted by Alt F4 at 9:30 PM on December 23, 2004

Contact past Fulbright winners and ask for copies of their proposals.
posted by LarryC at 10:16 PM on December 23, 2004

related question: are there similar grants for americans who are already in Europe and seek to study in, say, Asia? Or do you /have/ to be in a US university?
posted by ruelle at 11:25 PM on December 23, 2004

one of my partner's students recently got one of these, i think (maybe it's not exactly the same, because it's for a chilean to study in the usa, but i thought it was called a fulbright). in that case, i got the impression that the supporting letter and a track record of the department supporting their smartest students helped (so the prize people knew that the person they were getting really was good). not sure how that applies to you, but thought i'd throw it in...
posted by andrew cooke at 3:23 AM on December 24, 2004

I really wanted to go to the UK too so I applied for the Marshall and the Rhodes. I applied for the Marshall, got it, and then told the Rhodes people that I wouldn't be showing up for the interview they invited me to, since I really wanted to go to Cambridge not Oxford. The person I talked to acted like that had never happened before.

The Marshall takes 40 people nationwide (plus half a dozen people earmarked from specific fields and geographic areas that you aren't), and it is also highly competitive. The focus of what the selection committees are looking for is slightly different. But some general tips for Marshall and Rhodes:
  1. Start your applications at the beginning of the summer--it takes longer than you think. I started at the beginning of August and barely got them done on time.
  2. The interviews decide who gets the scholarship. The application is to make the committee decide they would be interested in interviewing you.
  3. Make everything PERFECT. The Rhodes application my year asked for five to eight letters of recommendation. I'm told that if I had only handed in five they would have decided I couldn't get eight.
If you have more specific questions about this process, feel free to e-mail me. Good luck!

There are other ways to get someone to pay for your studies in the UK. If you really want to go I would apply to the universities of your choice and see whether they (or a constituent college at Oxbridge) will fund you.
posted by grouse at 1:18 PM on December 24, 2004

From what I understand, the Fulbright application was due in October, no? And, as someone mentioned earlier, the Fulbright proposal isn't so much for personal creative projects: you have to find a host institution in the other country willing to take you in for a year and the Fulbright pays for it. I'm sure that you've already visited the Fulbright webpage and have seen the various fields winning candidates are pursuing in their host countries.

I've known people from all three programs and, as you've noticed, the Rhodes was the hardest of them all. It's hard to believe some of these people are real after reading their biographies!
posted by moxyberry at 11:08 PM on December 25, 2004

I'm a junior. This is all for next year.
posted by moooshy at 3:40 PM on December 26, 2004

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