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Personal Statement vs Study/ Research Objective- Fulbright Scholarship

Zariya Mushtaq, Fulbright Scholar, and Harvard law school graduate, explains the difference between Study Objectives and Personal Statement in the video below:


Personal Statement and Study objectives

Fulbright Scholar and Harvard Law School student Zariya Mushtaq shares invaluable tips regarding personal statement and study objectives.

Posted by Quva on Sunday, February 24, 2019


Fulbright scholarship program requires you to write two essays as part of your online application, namely the personal statement and the study objectives. In this article, we’ll discuss in detail how to effectively write each of these two essays. Before we do that, it is very important to understand the mission of the Fulbright program and what it expects of successful applicants. That will help you define the tone of essays and overall application, and also the mindset with which you apply for the scholarship.

The mission of the Fulbright program is to help people with strong academic histories to study in the United States as ambassadors for their country. More importantly, they expect their candidates to be passionate about serving their country. Successful applicants in the past have returned to their countries and assumed leadership positions in their fields, and the same is expected of future applicants. Frame your Fulbright objectives with these considerations in mind.

Personal Statement for Fulbright Scholarship Pakistan

Most of what you need to know regarding the Fulbright personal statement has already been covered in my article regarding a general personal statement. (Please read the complete article on Personal statement before reading this article). In addition to the guidelines provided in the previous article, there are some important details relevant to Fulbright’s Personal Statement that we recommend you cover.

How to Write Personal Statement for Fulbright Scholarship Pakistan?


The Fulbright Scholarship states on their website

In addition to academic work, persons selected for Fulbright programs are expected to share information about Pakistani life and culture with their U.S. colleagues and with community groups in the U.S. On returning to Pakistan, Fulbright grantees are expected to share their U.S. experiences with colleagues and community groups in Pakistan. Successful candidates should be poised to assume leadership positions in their fields and must be committed to returning and serving Pakistan.

In light of the information provided by the organization itself, we recommend students to discuss the following points in their personal statement to better inform the reviewer of how they are a good fit for the scholarship.   

  1. Leadership Roles
  2. Contribution to Society
  3. How will your degree help you serve Pakistan better?

Since the Fulbright Scholarship is looking for leaders who can come back to Pakistan and contribute to the development of the country, it is important that you clearly communicate your leadership potential to the organization. You can do this by giving the example of an international event you participated in and won, or by talking about a technical project that you led and how it impacted your community, or by discussing your work with a community service organization or in any other way depending on your past experiences.

A lot of students have a natural tendency to look down on their projects, to think that their work is not important or significant enough because it wasn’t hard enough, it is important to remember that the measure of importance depends as much as, if not more, on the improvement it brings to the life of its users as it depends on the technical prowess it required. Simple solutions can be extremely powerful.

Also, there is a thin line between writing an intelligent personal statement that neatly connects your aspirations with education and leadership ability, and writing a personal statement that only revolves around your love for the culture but does not make a compelling case for your academic ability. Lastly, if you have not contributed significantly, do not forge examples for the sake of making your personal statement compelling.

Takeaways from the application:

Here are the most important takeaways from the instructions provided by Fulbright on how to write your personal statement:


It should be a narrative account that describes how you achieved your goals related to your area of study. It should not merely be a list of achievements and accolades, but a compelling story of your struggles and motivations to achieve them. Watch the video at the top for details.


It should be a comprehensive account, including everything from your education and practical experience to career plans and interests worth mentioning.




It should describe the most important factors that shaped your educational or professional development.


It should contain information on the number of years of practical experience relevant to your intended field of study.


There should absolutely be no mention, whatsoever, of specific universities in the US in which you want to get enrolled. There is another section in the application for that. 

Sample Personal Statement for Fulbright Scholarship

The following are some personal statements of Fulbright grantees. Please do not try to plagiarise personal statements, they are meant to act as reference and USEFP clearly states that plagiarizing can lead to disqualification.

Sample Personal Statement Fulbright Scholarship Pakistan -1

Personal Statement for Fulbright Pakistan




Study/ Research Objectives for Fulbright Scholarship Pakistan


As the name indicates, study/ research objectives communicate the desired learning outcomes from your degree in US. Study/ Research Objectives are an opportunity for candidates to communicate what they want to study in the US.


How to write study objectives/ research objectives for Fulbright Scholarship?


Writing study objectives/ research objectives clearly is only possible if you are clear about what you want to achieve from your Master’s degree.

Some students are certain about the answer because they are passionate about a certain subject/ area and want to pursue specialization for the love of the subject. Some students are not necessarily passionate about the subject but they like a few subjects/ areas and decide they will pursue one of those areas based on which area adds the most value to their career prospects. Generally, having an understanding and knowledge of subjects/ skills that will be most required a few years from now adds the most value to one’s career.

While there are multiple ways of approaching the question of how to write study/research objectives, one way of doing this is to go to the programs you desire to enroll in and make a list of the learning outcomes given. Then, using the list, create a draft of the learning outcomes that you are passionate about and discuss how those outcomes connect with your past education/ work experience and your future goals. You don’t need to limit yourself to learning outcomes from just one program, you can select outcomes from multiple programs as long as they connect with your future goals and past academic/ work experience. However, selecting too disparate study objectives may not be a good idea.

Here are the most important takeaways from the instructions on how to write your essay on study objectives:

Takeaways from instructions:


As the name indicates, it should describe your study/research objectives, supported by your reasons to pursue them.


It should specifically describe your prospective major field and specialized interests within this field.


It should describe the intended program and explain how it aligns both with your past education and experience and your future goals. 


A common temptation here is to not just state what the objectives are but also to list the program and the university that you want to pursue. It should not mention specific universities. In a nutshell, while the personal statement for your Fulbright application has more to do with what you have done in the past, your study/research objectives relate more to your future in the field of your intended graduate studies. 

Sample Study Objectives for Fulbright Scholarship Pakistan

The following are some personal statements of Fulbright grantees. Please do not try to plagiarise personal statements, they are meant to act as reference and USEFP clearly states that plagiarizing can lead to disqualification.

Sample Study/Research Objectives for Fulbright Scholarship Pakistan- 1

Sample Study/Research Objective Fulbright Scholarship Pakistan- 2

Sample Study or Research Objectives for Fulbright Scholarship Pakistan- 3


Evaluation Criteria of Fulbright Scholarship Pakistan

While the Fulbright Scholarship or the USEFP has not endorsed the following images, they were published online by a Fulbright Alumnus and reading them might give you a better idea of how reviewers approach the scholarship essays and how you should.


You may also like: Pros and Cons of Fulbright Scholarship    


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