On December 22 and 23 USEFP held its first ever virtual pre-departure orientation for 138 departing students who will pursue master’s and PhD studies in the United States. The 2020 Fulbright Student cohort initially comprised 180 grantees, of whom 7 departed in the fall while the rest were taking their programs online due to COVID-19. This cohort hails from 33 Pakistani universities and will be pursuing their master’s and PhD studies at more than 74 U.S. universities across academic disciplines, including engineering, energy management, and social sciences.
Minister Counselor for Public Affairs, U.S. Embassy Pakistan, Ray Castillo, congratulated the students for being selected for the prestigious Fulbright Program, “The journey you are about to embark on is an opportunity to explore new ideas, try new interests, meet new people, and enrich your understanding of yourself and the wider world. You have the potential to make a significant impact not just in Pakistan but all over the world.”
The orientation was designed to help participants gain valuable information about the program, life in the United States, and pre-and post-arrival information. During various sessions, the grantees got the opportunity to engage with Fulbright alumni and State Department officials, asking them about American culture and what to expect.
Fulbright Student Program 2021:
USEFP has also selected a large cohort for the 2021 Fulbright Student (Master’s and Doctoral degree) Program. For the 2021 cohort, USEFP received and processed 7,732 applications, from 184 universities. It conducted 315 interviews with 33 separate virtual interview panels and selected 151 grantees. The task was accomplished with the help of 63 volunteers (27 from the U.S. Embassy and 36 Pakistani Fulbright alumni).
It is worth noting that this year several important firsts and increases were achieved in the Fulbright Student Program, including a record number of 184 universities submitting applications. Master’s applications tripled from 1,237 in 2019 to 4,509 and PhD applications increased five-fold from 525 to 3,223. Fifteen alumni of the Global Undergraduate Exchange (Global UGRAD) Program also made the final selection. In addition, better balance was achieved in diversity of academic disciplines and 70 per cent of all grantees were female. For the first time, the Fulbright application review process was completed entirely online. Online scoring was added to ensure transparency and confidentiality. For the technical review, 66 alumni, experts in their own fields, were engaged.
Since its inception, over 7,100 Pakistanis and more than 900 Americans have participated in USEFP-managed exchange programs. In addition to the Fulbright program, USEFP manages a number of scholarship programs for undergraduates, teachers, journalists, and other professionals. For more information, visit www.usefp.org.