At the time of application, an applicant for the US Rhodes competition must be:
- Nationality/citizenship: You must be a citizen of the United States OR you must have been admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident, and must have maintained, and be expected to maintain, such legal status.
- Age: You must meet either of the below criteria:
- You must be aged 18-23 on 1st October 2023 (i.e. you must have been born after 1 October 1999 and before 2 October 2005). OR (for older candidates who completed their first undergraduate degree later than usual)
- You must be under the age of 27 on 1st October 2023 (i.e. have been born after 1 October 1996) AND you must also have completed your first undergraduate degree on or after 1 October 2022*.
- Academic achievement: You must have completed an undergraduate degree (usually a Bachelor’s) by July 2024, and you must have an academic background and grade that – at a minimum – meets or exceeds the specific entry requirements of your chosen course at the
University of Oxford (https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/courses/courses-a-z-listing).
Candidates will have a higher chance of successful admission to Oxford if they have: A GPA of 3.70/4.0 or higher (with no rounding)
Committees of Selection will have regard to those qualities which Cecil Rhodes expressly listed (below) in order to define the type of Scholar he desired. Proven intellectual and academic achievement of a high standard is the first quality required of applicants, but applicants will also be required to show integrity of character, interest in and respect for their fellow beings, the ability to lead, and the energy to use their talents to the full.
- Literary and scholastic achievements: GPA and difficulty of coursework are the standard places to demonstrate academic achievement. The Rhodes Trust has adopted a 3.7 minimum GPA requirement to be eligible to apply for a Rhodes Scholarship and the average GPA of recipients is 3.9. Academic merit is also be demonstrated through excellent recommendations from people who know the candidate and can make informed comparisons with many other students. Recommendations, should provide specific and well-documented details about the selection criteria outlined by Rhodes. The Committee is looking for proof that an applicant would not only be accepted into the graduate program they intend to pursue at Oxford, but thrive within it.
- Energy to use one’s talents to the full: Showing passion and vigor to pursue goals despite setbacks can demonstrate this characteristic. A scholar-athlete may model this within the competition arena while a musician might show it through a long term commitment to fine-tuning their craft.
- Truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship: Concern for others can be reflected in countless ways aside from direct hands-on charitable work. Reference padding, with sudden and extensive charitable activity in one’s junior year for example, is usually transparent to committees. One can be a great contributor to mankind without having spent hundreds of hours (or even any) while in college doing volunteer work.
- Moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one’s fellow beings: Formal leadership positions, such as elected office in student government or another organization, are one way to demonstrate leadership. The committee also values leadership in less formal roles, such as expanding on research in your field, organizing community action efforts, or lobbying for legislation or policy changes.
Campus endorsement is a selective process and not guaranteed. Students seeking USC endorsement must submit certain application components by the campus endorsement deadline (biographical info, statements, grade report, and three letters of recommendation). Candidates will be notified whether they have been invited to a a campus endorsement interview.
The campus deadline to apply for Marshall, Mitchell and/or Rhodes Scholarship endorsement for the 2024-2025(6) grant year is June 18, 2023.
Applicants are evaluated and selected by a USC faculty committee panel. The panel has endorsed students from a wide range of majors, career goals and leadership experiences. While there is no standard portfolio for a successful candidate, the faculty committee looks for demonstration of the awards’ selection criteria in candidates. The Selectors will also look for adequate preparation for the proposed course of study, particularly in the upper-level course work and real strength in the major field. Preference will be given to candidates who combine high academic ability with the capacity to play an active part in the life of the United Kingdom – Ireland university to which they go, and to those who display a potential to make a significant contribution to their own society.
To apply for the Rhodes Scholarship at the national level, you must receive campus endorsement first. USC’s Marshall, Mitchell and Rhodes campus endorsement is the same application. Candidates only need to submit one application to be considered for multiple awards.
A complete campus application requires the following:
- Online application: includes basic biographical and academic data
- Personal Statement (750 words max): This should be a short statement in which candidates describe their intellectual development and other interests and pursuits
- Proposed Academic Program (500 words max): Candidates should describe their proposed academic program, giving reasons for their choice of course and preferred university․ Those hoping for a research degree should give an outline proposal of the research they wish to undertake and with whom they would like to work․ Marshall candidates must also include a brief outline of why they have chosen their second choice courses and institutions
- Leadership (500 words max): Candidates should describe a situation in which they were working with a group of people and recognized and responded to a need for leadership․ The objective is to help the committee understand the candidate’s leadership conviction and drive, style and potential rather than provide a list of achievements.
- Ambassadorial Potential (500 words max): Candidates should explain why they want to undertake their studies in the UK-Ireland, and in what particular ways do they think that they will benefit personally and professionally from the experience? Candidates should discuss how work in their field of study (including their own research) can enhance the USA-UK relationship․ They should further explain what they might do to contribute to improved relations in this area now and following the scholarship․
- Post Scholarship Plan (150 words max): Candidates should describe their immediate plans upon completion of their Marshall/Mitchell/Rhodes Scholarship and why two years (one for Mitchell) spent undertaking a degree in the UK-Ireland would enhance these plans. As well as describing plans for employment or further study, candidates should indicate how they would develop ongoing connections with the UK-Ireland, through their UK-Ireland institution or some other contacts they propose to make while in the UK-Ireland. Please also include a brief statement of your future career plans.
- Personal Information (300 words max) Please list information about personal interests and non-academic activities including dates where relevant․ In particular please include information on any leadership roles you have undertaken․
- Personal Information (150 words max) In what unique ways has the COVID 19 pandemic affected you and your candidacy for the Marshall/Mitchell/Rhodes Scholarship? (150 words max)
- Describe a recent, particularly satisfying public service activity (350 words): Candidates should describe a recent, particularly satisfying public service activity. Or, if you have focused your efforts on research, please describe a particularly satisfying broader impact experience you have had (either in your research or in public science education, tutoring, etc.)
- List the 3 most significant courses you have taken in preparation for your proposed graduate study and future career (150 words).
- Describe the problem or needs of society (domestic or global) you want to address once you have finished your formal graduate training (350 words).
- What do you hope to do and what position/role do you hope to have 7-10 years after completing your studies in the UK or Ireland? (150 words)
- Additional information (250 words): Is there anything else you would like the nomination committee to know about you that is not reflected elsewhere in your application?
- A comprehensive resume or curriculum vitae (CV) detailing honors, awards, research, leadership/service, and other co- and extra-curricular activities you have pursued since starting College. Do not include high-school experiences.
- Unofficial transcripts. (OASIS course plan)
- Three (3) letters of recommendation: Your letters of recommendation will be requested and uploaded via the campus application portal. Two of your three letters should be academic-focused letters from teaching faculty and/or research mentors; if you are involved in significant co- or extra-curricular activities or post-graduate activities, including employment, a third letter focused on your leadership/service/professional life is acceptable. All of your letters must be in-depth letters from individuals who know you well.
For the Mitchell and Rhodes campus application you will be asked for the names of one additional recommender (Mitchell) and five additional recommenders (Rhodes). (The Marshall Scholarship requires a total of 3 letters; the Mitchell Scholarship requires a total of 4 letters; the US Rhodes Scholarship requires 5-8 letters of recommendation.)
Note: Your academic letters should be obtained from faculty. They do not have to be tenured, but should know you in a teaching or research capacity. You should not request letters from graduate students, post-docs, career or academic advisors; leadership/public service letters should not come from “famous” or high-ranking individuals who do not know you well. Please have your letters sent on letterhead, signed, and addressed to the “UK-Ireland Scholarship USC Campus Selection Committee”.
USC Campus Endorsement Application (same for Rhodes, Marshall, and Mitchell Scholarship campus endorsement)
- June 18, 2023 by 11:59pm: Campus Endorsement application deadline, including 3 letters of recommendation
- Late-June: Campus Endorsement Interviews
Rhodes Scholarship National Application
- Early July: Rhodes Scholarship application opens
- First Wednesday of October: Rhodes national deadline 11:59pm U.S. EST
- Friday and Saturday preceding the Thanksgiving holiday: District receptions and interviews. District Secretaries will notify candidates regarding interview status at differing intervals, but in all cases no later than two weeks prior to the interviews. Election announcements are made at the conclusion of the Saturday interviews.