Fulbright U.S. Student Program

Instructions for Reference Writers

for Fulbright Study/Research Grant Applicants

Fulbright applicants register referees in the Embark Fulbright Online Application System allowing them to complete the reference online so that it can be submitted with the student's online application.

The Fulbright Program requires that references be submitted in the Online Application System. Screening committees only have access to reference letters submitted electronically in the Embark online application system.

If you are not familiar with the Fulbright U.S. Student  Program, you may wish to visit our website, www.us.fulbrightonline.org. The most useful pages for referees are the sections Application Components and the Country Summary for the applicant’s proposed host country.

In completing the reference, keep in mind that the applicant will be serving as a citizen representing the United States and that personal suitability, as well as academic excellence, is an important criterion to be considered. Applicants for study/research grants should provide you with a summary of their Fulbright project proposal. In particular, please comment on any of the following that are appropriate:

  • Feasibility of the applicant's proposed project in terms of resources available overseas.
  • Ability of the applicant to carry out the project and in the allotted time.
  • Linguistic preparation for the proposed plan.
  • Candidate's ability to adapt to a different cultural environment and to represent the U.S.
  • In the arts, the candidate's talent and potential for growth.
  • Any other factors which you believe may have a bearing on the candidate's experience overseas.

Steps to submit your reference letter:

  1. Once the student has registered you as a referee, an email will be generated and sent to you, from the Embark Online Recommendation system with the student’s name in the subject line. If you do not receive this email, please let the applicant know or email Embark Technical Support directly: support@embark.com and tell them the name and email address of the applicant and your name and email address.
  2. Prepare your letter of reference offline and save it as a Word document or scanned PDF document.
  3. Login to the system using the User ID and password sent to you in the email.
  4. Following the steps in the online system, Upload your letter.
  5. When you are satisfied with your letter, the final step is to Submit the reference. Before you click Submit, be sure that this is the letter that you wish to have reviewed by screening committees in the U.S. and abroad. Once you submit the reference, you will not have access to edit or change it.

Only references submitted via the Embark Fulbright Online Application System will be accepted.

The applicant will provide you with the date the reference is due. Each institution sets its own internal campus deadline. For currently enrolled candidates or alumni applying through their alma mater, this date may be earlier than the national Fulbright Application Deadline. References submitted after the campus deadline may not be considered and could affect the candidate’s eligibility.

The national Fulbright Application Deadline is October 15, 2013. All references must be submitted in the Embark Online Reference system by 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time, on this date.

For Fulbright mtvU

The Fulbright mtvU Award Application Deadline is February 28, 2014. All references must be submitted in the Embark Online Reference system by 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time, on this date.

I am a....

Current U.S. Student

United States citizens who are currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs are eligible to apply.  All applicants enrolled in U.S institutions must apply through their home campuses.  Find the Fulbright Program Adviser on your campus.

If you are an undergraduate student you would be eligible to apply in your senior year.  If you are a graduate student you are eligible to apply to most countries as long as you will not have a PhD degree on the application deadline.

Non-U.S. Student

If you are a non-U.S. citizen looking to applying for a Fulbright grant to study in the United States you will apply to the Fulbright Program for Foreign Students in your home country.

U.S. Citizen but not a Student

If you are a U.S. citizen, hold a bachelor’s degree, and do not have a PhD degree then you could be eligible for certain awards within the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.  Please review the program summary for the country where you would like to apply.


The Fulbright U.S. Student Program welcomes applications in the creative and performing arts.  Arts candidates for the U.S. Student Program should have relatively limited professional experience in the fields (typically 5 years or less) in which they are applying.  Artists with more experience should consider applying for Fulbright Scholar Program.



U.S. Professor

If you are a U.S. citizen and a professor at a U.S. institution and are interested in applying for a Fulbright Scholar Award you will need to apply through CIES.

Non U.S. Professor

If you are a non-U.S. citizen and a professor interested in applying for a Fulbright Scholar Award to the United States you would need to apply through the Fulbright Commission or U.S. Embassy in your home country.  Find out more information on the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program.