Applying for the Fulbright US Student Program is a learning opportunity. The process itself is valuable, regardless of whether or not you become a grantee. Here are three major reasons that, if you're eligible and interested, you should apply.

1. It's an opportunity to evaluate your goals and priorities

If you're about to graduate from college with a BA, or have recently graduated, completing the Fulbright application process can give you clarity. The Fulbright application process may very well be the first time that you're defining a project proactively rather than reacting to an in-class assignment. It's an in-depth process that requires time and organization, but needn't be daunting.

And if you haven't recently completed undergrad, you may have spent some amount of time in the workforce, in which case the Fulbright application process is the opportunity to take a step back from the quotidian details of life and define what it is that you would do, given ten months of more-or-less unstructured time in another part of the world.

2. It makes you reach beyond your comfort zone

While completing your application, you will need to reach out to people and institutions with questions and requests. You'll need letters of recommendation, a language evaluation (if your selected host country has a language requirement), and you'll also need a letter of institutional affiliation if your project requires it. All of these components are opportunities for you to clarify your project goals and reach out about it.

3. It's a valuable writing exercise

The required Fulbright US Student Program essay format emphasizes conciseness, clarity, and purpose. Within a short amount of space--a total of three pages divided between the Statement of Grant Purpose and Personal Statement--you outline your project and how you will accomplish it, as well as state how you're suitable for the project. In those three pages, you articulate plans for a project that may be something you've wanted to do for years, in a country that fascinates you.

Regardless of whether or not you become a Fulbright US Student Program grantee, the process of completing the application is a valuable exercise. It can be a life-changing experience in and of itself.