UK Summer Institutes FAQs

Please read these FAQs thoroughly before contacting the Commission directly with any questions you may have about the programmes.

Selection criteria

Q: What is meant by ‘little or no travel experience’?

We state on our website that preference will be given to strong applicants who do not have extensive experience outside the US.

Applicants who have spent more than four weeks outside of the US/North America in the last five years would not be eligible.

Applicants who have spent up to four weeks outside the US/North America in the last five years may be at a disadvantage, but strong applications will be considered.

Q: I am a non-US citizen but am resident in the US. May I apply?

No. We require all applicants for our UK summer programmes to be a US citizen with a US passport. Unfortunately, if you do not currently possess a US passport then you would not be eligible to take part in this programme.

Q: I am a dual US-UK citizen, can I still apply?

Yes, however preference is given to those candidates who have had little or no study or travel experience in the UK or elsewhere outside of the US. 

Q: I have just finished high school and about to start university/college. May I apply?

No, unfortunately this programme is only open to candidates who are over 18 years of age at the start of the programme and are currently freshmen or sophomores in college/university. You can apply next year, if you are eligible.

Q: I currently attend a community college, can I still apply?

Applicants who have completed community college classes are eligible to apply. However, you must have at least two years of undergraduate study left to complete after returning from the institute to be eligible to apply.

Q: I graduate in May/June 2021, can I still apply?

No. Applicants must have two years of undergraduate study left to complete to participate in this programme. As you only have one year you are ineligible for this award.

Q: What are you looking for in an applicant?

We are interested in evidence of leadership qualities and initiative, academic ability, character, adaptability and ambassadorial qualities, as well as an interest in the UK and its culture.

Q: I will turn 18 in the second week of the programme; can I still apply?

Unfortunately, not; all participants must be 18 before the departure date for the programmes (i.e. if the programme starts on 5 July 2020 and you turn 18 on 6 July 2020, you would not be eligible). You can apply next year.

Q: Can I apply for more than one programme?

You may only apply for one of the summer institutes. You should decide based on the programme outlines of each institute and decide which institute best suits your academic and personal interests.

Q: I currently have a GPA that is just below the requirement, can I still apply?

We require all our participants on our Summer Institutes to have a minimum GPA of 3.7 when they start the programme. If you currently have a GPA of less than 3.7 but are predicted to have that GPA by the start of the Institute you are applying for then you are eligible to apply. However, an academic referee must support your claim in writing that your GPA is predicted to rise, and this should be included with your application.

Q: I am in my Sophomore year of college, but I am Junior on my transcript due to the units that I have from high school and college, can I still apply?

If you would have two years left of undergraduate education when you return to the US after the Institutes, then you are eligible to apply regardless of the amount of credits you have.


Q: What exactly should I do to prepare before beginning my application?

Read the webpage for the programme to which you intend to apply, including the Terms and Conditions and other recommended items such as these FAQs.

Q: I’ve found the application. Are there any special rules for completing it?

None of the questions are “trick” questions; we would like honest answers to the questions we ask. Read the questions carefully and fill in the form according to the application instructions.

Q: What exactly do you mean by extra-curricular activities?

List all the things you have done or achieved while at school or since. For example, you may have been active in your Student Council, founded a society/club or mentored younger students. Another example might be running a social action group, e.g. soup kitchens for the homeless or a leader of a youth club, or organising sporting activities, etc. Candidates who devote much spare time to the practice of their subject (e.g. music or art) will not be penalised for having most of their activities related to that subject, but they are expected to demonstrate leadership skills and initiative within their subject or in other ways.

Q: What do you want to see in my Personal Statement?

A strong personal statement can set you apart from other applicants and give you an opportunity to showcase what you as an individual can bring to the programme. The selection committee want to know as much as they can about you. As there is no set structure for writing a personal statement, you can use your personal statement as a marketing tool - be imaginative and make yourself stand out.

Q: What do you want to see in the references?

At least one of your references should be from a recent professor or teacher. References will not be accepted from family members or friends. You should ask people who know you very well; preferably those who can comment on your academic ability as well as your character and interests. Teachers, professors, careers counsellors, coaches, youth group leaders, employers etc., are all good examples of who to ask for a reference. Once you have selected your two referees, you should inform them of the deadlines for submission. It is your responsibility as the applicant to check in with your referees regularly about their progress and the timely and accurate submission of their letter.

Q: If I am planning on applying for the Queen’s University Belfast Summer Institutes do I need to apply with their International Summer Schools as well?

If you wish to apply for the above the Fulbright Summer Institutes, you only need to apply with the Fulbright Commission and not the university itself (unless otherwise instructed by the institution).


Q: Who reads the applications, conducts interviews and ‘chooses’ the programme participants?

Applications are read, long-listed and short-listed by Fulbright staff, Fulbright alumni, staff and faculty from Institute host universities and selected alumni from the Fulbright Awards Programme.

Q: I will be unavailable during the listed interview date(s). Would it be possible to make any alternative arrangements?

 No, interview dates are fixed. The timeline for interviews is published online in advance of the application deadlines. While we will aim to be flexible with timing, the date may not change unless in case of extreme circumstances.

Q: What are the interviews like?

Interviews last for approximately 20-30 minutes. We have a list of questions we ask all final candidates and generally do not discuss the application itself, except to seek clarification if something is not clear or perhaps has not been considered. It is also an opportunity to review the articulation of the candidates. As Fulbright summer programme participants are cultural ambassadors and future leaders in their fields, they must have strong communication skills.

Q: How long after the interview do I have to wait before I am notified whether I’ve been successful or not?

Typically, interviewees are notified within 7 working days.

Q: Can you provide me with specific feedback and/or reasons why I was or was not selected for the Summer Programme?

It is the policy not to give to individual applicants, to others inquiring on their behalf, or to the public generally, the specific reasons for selection or non-selection of applicants for awards.

Programme queries and other questions

Q: What do you do in each of the programmes?

The details for each programme are typically not finalised until quite close to the programme dates and selected participants receive more details from host institutions.

Q: What does the Summer Institute award cover?

 The Fulbright Commission and the Institute host institutions work in partnership to provide the following:

  • round-trip airfare from US to the host university in the UK;
  • accommodation and social programme;
  • tuition and fees at host university;
  • in some institutes, small subsistence stipends e.g. food and drink;

Participants are expected to pay for their own travel, health and accident insurance.

Q: How many places are offered on each programme?

Numbers vary for each Institute. 

Q: How many applications do you typically receive?

As with all our Fulbright Awards, the application process is extremely competitive, but if you don’t apply then you won’t stand a chance of getting a place.

Q: I have a family holiday planned during the last week of the programme, can the dates be altered, or can I leave the programme early?

No. The dates for the programmes are set by the host universities and candidates must be willing to participate in the institute in full to be eligible to apply.  Participants also are not allowed to travel prior or after the programmes; return tickets with arrival and departure dates centred around Institute dates are booked and cannot be altered. 

Q: Can I defer my place on the programme to the following year?

No. You will have to reapply.

Q: Can I receive academic credit for taking part in these programmes?

It is possible to receive academic credit on most of the summer programmes. If you participate in an institute, the university contact will be the best person to help you with details of receiving credits. You should consult with your home college as early as possible about the prospect of transferring in credit from this programme.

Q: If I am successful in obtaining a place on this programme, may I still apply for a Fulbright Award in future?

Yes, the summer institutes are designed in such a way with the hope that participants will come back to the UK at postgraduate or postdoctoral level as a Fulbright Student or Scholar.