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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Carleton one of top Fulbright producers

<ight fellowship, a financial grant given to students in the year after they graduate from college to study or teach English in a foreign country, is considered one of the most coveted scholarships in academia, not only for its selective application process but also for the broad variety of subjects it covers.  Carleton College was recently ranked as the fourth largest producer of Fulbright scholars among B.A. institutions, outstripping rival colleges like Amherst and Swarthmore.  Carleton also has the fifth highest success rate nationally.

Carleton’s faculty member in charge of Fulbright fellowships,  German Professor Roger Paas was very proud of the accomplishment. “I think it shows that the students here are smart and well prepared,” Paas stated.  It also reflected well on “the faculty writing recommendation letters, and the faculty committee which reviews the applications,” he continued. 

Fulbright Scholarships, according to Paas, are one of the most open-ended grants available to college students.  “Come to them with an interesting project that you are qualified to do,” he says, and they will fund it.  But that very open-ended nature also makes them challenging to apply for.  “You need to have a background and an idea that is worthwhile pursuing, and you need to prove that the country you chose to study in is the right one for you,” Paas explained.  The application process is intense, with several rounds of vetting, first by the Carleton faculty and then by a committee in New York.  Only a small fraction of applications – one in five for most institutions – are accepted.  At Carleton, Paas says, eleven out of twenty-three applications were accepted, a rate much higher than average.  

Paas advised juniors interested in applying for a Fulbright scholarship to start thinking now about a project to do.  In recent years, the government has asked the U.S. Fulbright committee to focus more on environmental issues, entrepreneurship, and science and technology.  “Think about what you want to do, do the background reading, take the courses,” Paas said.  “The sooner you start, the better.”

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