Part III: The Interview
Your application is complete, and you get the news you've been waiting for...you've made it as a finalist and have been notified that you need to complete an interview. Congratulations for being selected as a finalist! The timeline for review of applications that is listed at the Fulbright website is fairly accurate. In my case, I received notification that I was a finalist at the end of February. I knew how important the interview would be, so I spent time preparing for it. Here's what you can do to be ready:
- Review your application. By now it’s been several months since you completed the application, so it’s a good idea to reacquaint yourself with the details. In total, my complete application was 14 pages long, so it was a lot of material to review.
- Make a note page. As I mentioned, the full application is quite lengthy. I made myself a note page to quickly reference during the phone call. In my notes, I included a summary of my goals, the most applicable portions of my qualifications, summary points regarding my inquiry project, an explanation of why Finland was most appropriate for my research, and how I felt my project would impact my practice. Remember...the notes are not meant for reading verbatim...they are simply there to jog your memory about specific details and to remind you to mention things that you may omit if you are nervous.
- Practice talking about your project. It will make you feel more comfortable in establishing a succinct way to express what you want to accomplish and why it matters to you. I was fortunate to have an administrator in my district offer to help prepare for the interview as well as my husband (also a teacher) and several amazing colleagues. Also talk to family members or others outside of the field of education about your project. You need to be able to explain what you want to investigate in a concise manner to someone who may not have background information on your topic.
- Do your homework. Like any interview, it is always helpful to know as much as you can about the organization/interviewer as possible. Linked-In is an excellent resource to find out about who you’ll be talking to during the interview. Knowing about the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching program will also help you to prepare appropriate questions.