Fulbright 101

What is Fulbright?

Fulbright is a scholarship program funded by US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Simply put, it’s a scholarship you have to consider applying if you want to study in the US. The US government offers the Fulbright scholarship to many countries including Indonesia. In Indonesia, Fulbright is administered by AMINEF (American Indonesian Exchange Foundation). Here’s the link to AMINEF: https://www.aminef.or.id .

Fulbright does not only provides the scholarship for Master’s degree but also for Ph.D. and visiting scholar program. So there are a lot of options that we can choose here. Anyone are welcome to apply as long as they are Indonesian citizens, have a min. GPA of 3.00 and TOEFL ITP score of 550 (for master’s) and 575 (for Ph.D.).

What do Fulbright covers?

The award covers tuition and fees, textbooks, monthly living costs, international airfare, and health insurance.  

Why should I apply for Fulbright instead of other scholarships?

Well, it really depends on you. Each scholarship has its own perks. So, before deciding what scholarship you are interested in, please take time to ask yourself about these things?

  1. What do you want to study why?
  2. Where do you want to study and why?

Several benefits of Fulbright includes:

  1. Fulbright covers all the flight and accommodation fee during the application process, from the interview stage to the pre-academic orientation stage. You will not get this benefit from other scholarships such as Chevening, AAS, or LPDP. I don’t know if things are different now or not. But when I applied for AAS 3 years ago, they only gave me reimbursement for the interview and not for the IELTS test.
  2. Fulbright still accepts TOEFL ITP. Other European scholarships, such as STUNED, Chevening, or VLIR only accept IELTS or TOEFL IBT.
    I used IELTS when applying for Fulbright but I know other people who used TOEFL ITP and still got accepted.
  3. Fulbright awards are offered to many people from different countries. So being a Fulbright scholar means that you will be a part of a large international networking community.
  4. There are several enrichment programs that you could attend while you were in the US. It’s a good opportunity to enlarge your networking.
  5. Fulbright does not have any ‘priority’ majors. For example, some scholarships such as AAS or STUNED prioritize people who applied for certain majors that are related to cooperation field between Indonesia and the scholarship-donor country. It does not mean that you cannot apply for STEM major for AAS or Stuned. It just that the chance of being accepted is quite low. Again, this is just my opinion based on my own experience. So feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

Unlike other scholarships, Fulbright does not provide English academic preparation in Indonesia. Because if you are able to get an acceptance letter from US universities, it means that your English is adequate for living and studying in the US. Sounds daunting? Don’t be. For people whose TOEFL IBT score is less than 100, there will be an English prep class in the US for 2-5 weeks depends on the TOEFL score.
Once you make up your mind and feel sure that US is the right one for you, start working on the application.

How to start?

Starting is always the hardest part, especially if you are a (lil bit) procrastinator like me 🙂
First thing that you can do is go to the AMINEF website (https://www.aminef.or.id/grants-for-indonesians/fulbright-programs/scholarship/fulbright-masters-degree-scholarship/  ) and make sure that you do not miss the deadline. The application normally opens from January – February each year (write it down on your reminder).

As a scholarship hunter myself, here’s one good advice that I can give: Read the website carefully. Everything you need to know is already in there.

Here’s the stages that you have to ‘suffer’ in order to win Fulbright scholarship.

  1. The application submission: January – February.
    Make sure that you already have the required TOEFL score and also 3 letters of recommendation from your lecturer or employer.
  2. The shortlisted: June
  3. Interview: July  → Fulbright covers the flight and the hotel.
  4. TOEFL IBT and GRE test : october.
    You can take up to 3 tests if AMINEF thinks that your scores are not sufficient.
  5. Application to the universities : November – February
  6. Get the application result from universities: March – May.
    If there is no university accepts you, your Fulbright candidate status will be cancelled.
  7. Pre departure orientation : May
  8. Leave for US: July – August


Remember that the only way to get a scholarship is APPLYING!!!

So stop making excuses (I am not smart enough, my English is terrible, etc) and start working on your application. Read carefully all the requirements. Make sure to prepare it all. Applying for a scholarship is a tricky and mysterious process. So just do it and let Allah decides whether it’s for you or not.


Hope this helps.

Thank you very much.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons