The Rhodes Scholarships are the oldest and most celebrated international fellowship awards in the world. Each year 32 young Americans are selected as Rhodes Scholars, through a decentralized process representing the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Applicants from more than 300 American colleges and universities have been selected as Rhodes Scholars. In most years, even after a century of competition, a Rhodes Scholar is selected from an institution which has not formerly supplied a successful applicant.
Rhodes Scholars are chosen not only for their outstanding scholarly achievements, but for their character, commitment to others and to the common good, and for their potential for leadership in whatever domains their careers may lead. The Rhodes Trust, a British charity established to honor the will and bequest of Cecil J. Rhodes, provides full financial support for Rhodes Scholars to pursue a degree or degrees at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. The first American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904.
Mr. Rhodes' Will contains four criteria by which prospective Rhodes Scholars are to be selected:
- literary and scholastic attainments;
- energy to use one's talents to the full, as exemplified by fondness for and success in sports;
- truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship;
- moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one's fellow beings.
At the time of application, an applicant must be:
- a citizen of the United States; pending citizenship does not qualify.
- at least 18 but not yet 24 years of age (i.e., the applicant must still be 23 on October 1 in the year of application).
- sufficiently advanced academically to assure completion of a bachelor’s degree before October 1 in the year following election.
The applicant must be eligible to apply through one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia: either in the state where he or she was legally resident on April 15 in the year of application, or where he or she will have received at least two years of college training and a bachelor’s degree before October 1 in the year following election. (U.S. citizens who are residents of U.S. territories are only eligible to apply if they will have at least two years of college training and a bachelor’s degree from a college or university in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia.)
The applicant must produce:
- the endorsement of his or her college or university.
- five, but not more than eight, letters of recommendation. Four of these must be from individuals who are qualified to advise selection committees about the applicant’s academic ability and standing.
- a personal essay not exceeding 1000 words and certified as the applicant’s own work.
- a list of principal activities.
- a certified transcript (or transcripts).
- a passport-size photograph.
- proof of citizenship.
The applicant must be prepared to appear for a reception and personal interview, and remain for possible re-interviews and the election announcement, in the city serving the respective District region, on the Friday and Saturday preceding the Thanksgiving holiday. Telephone and electronic interviews are not permitted.
Leena Shrestha, firstname.lastname@example.org (503) 725-9556