Fulbright post project review

Well done me. I put in my scholarship application to Fulbright. So before I go back to the world of applications in December for my business school it’s useful to think how I got on with this one.
In other words, I have a think about what went well, what I could improve on, and not do again.

What went well

  • Handed it in on time.
  • Took time off work to do essays.
  • Asking for third-party review from several people.
  • Getting it proof read to check for grammar.
  • Doing the faff (uploading my transcripts etc) in advance. Was stress free at the end.

What could have been better

  • Writing good essays. It took a long time and a lot of work.
  • Selling myself.  I struggled.
  • More research into Fulbright up front would have been helpful.
  • Burning the candle at one end. Working to midnight everyday for a week not helpful with the stress and sleep front.
  • Not being clear about the process. Ie when can I print off the form and hand it in.
  • Not chasing my references sooner. Phoned up the night before and one went…reference, what reference?
  • Needing to ditch GMAT study for a week. Not good when I have an exam at the end of the month.

Takeaways for application season

  • Get the faff done early.
  • Do your research into the uni’s early.
  • Ask for feedback on essays earlier.
  • Know the application process better. Can I press submit before references?
  • Better chasing of references.
  • Need to sell myself better!

Impact on me
I am really pleased, I didn’t get so stressed to make myself ill.  Good job.  Downside is that I ended up sleeping for 14 hours on Saturday evening and missed my friends party. The process exhausted me.  I need to assume that sitting the GMAT will do something similar and I will have to expect to sleep for 14 hours on the weekend after the exam.  So no socialising plans on the weekend after my GMAT, maybe no hockey either.  Boo!

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6 responses to “Fulbright post project review”

  1. sarahrs81 says :

    I got gossip. They got around 400 applications this year.

  2. Lucas says :

    I’d definitely agree with NOT leaving the application forms and short answers for last. I would start working on them early, in between writing essays. (Sometimes switching from one to another can help you deal with writer’s block and keep you from overusing the same set of “brain cells”.) Also, some of those short answers in the application forms can be HARDER than the essays because you have to squeeze your response into something like 200 characters.

    Keep a fairly close leash on your references, they can end up distracted by life (business travel, meetings, unexpected things like illnesses or accidents), and so you should try to cajole them into getting started early and aim to get done with a buffer of time before the deadline.

    On the GMAT, the best advice I can give is to pace yourself in studying for the GMAT, you need to ensure that you don’t burn out before the test day. Also, the day before the exam, DO NOT do any studying. Do something that you’ll enjoy, a movie, sports, a book (not a GMAT book) etc. Just relax. You’ll go into the exam more rested and in a better frame of mind to take the test. (I did that for all my exams, from the SAT way, way back in the mists of time to the GMAT more recently. Always works.)

    • sarahrs81 says :

      Thanks taking your advice on relaxing before test day. Any tips on pacing? as I need to do a bit more work on that before Thursday.

      • Lucas says :

        Pacing… Each person is different, so what works for me may not work for you.

        I did a few study sessions of different lengths early in my GMAT prep, so that I could gauge how well I was absorbing and retaining information. Finally found that a 1 hour session followed by around 30 minutes of practice questions and a 30 minute break before returning to review the questions I got wrong worked best. This is purely for the learning part — you need to find out how long you can concentrate on absorbing information, concepts and techniques, and how long you can spend practicing those techniques. By now, after taking the GMAT once, you should have most of this down, and be focusing on practicing so that your mind has built up a “database” of past questions. Often, having done similar problems before can help you to find a shortcut to the solution.

        For the practice part, you need to practice every day (except maybe Sunday since you need some down time), but fit it around your schedule. Devote more time to the areas you’re weakest in. I basically ignored most of the verbal stuff, except as a “mind cleanser” at the beginning of each practice session to get away from my “work mindset”. (I had no worries about scoring in the 99th percentile for verbal, so I basically only did enough questions to get a feel for the style of questions.) I would try to do practice problems in batches of at least 10 questions, timing each of them and aiming to stay below the 2 min 15 sec mark for quant questions. You need to get used to working with the time constraints that the GMAT will impose on you. (If you’re getting additional time due to dyslexia, then divide that time by the total number of questions in each section to get your “benchmark”.) Make sure you review every question you get right and wrong, to be sure you’re not getting them right by random luck.

        You’ll naturally find a pacing and rhythm that doesn’t leave you feeling burnt out. For me it was putting in 1 hour every evening before bed and 20 minutes of usually simpler questions every morning while having my breakfast. The key here is to listen to what your mind and body are telling you. You want to feel tired after finishing your practice sessions, but not drained or burnt out.

        I should note that I did my GMAT (took it once, scored in the 99th percentile overall and decided that was good enough) well before the beginning of admissions season (in March), so I had the luxury of preparing for it without any other distractions. Accordingly, some of my advice may need to be adapted.

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