- What are the Rhodes, Marshall and Mitchell Scholarships?
- Who can apply?
- What are they looking for?
- What are my chances?
- How do I apply?
- What is a personal statement?
- Where can I find more information?
1. What are the Rhodes, Marshall and Mitchell Scholarships?
The Rhodes, Marshall and Mitchell Scholarships are nationally competitive awards for outstanding young Americans to study for one or more years in Great Britain.
Rhodes Scholarships bring 32 Americans every year to pursue two years of study at the University of Oxford. Rhodes Scholarships are investments in people; intellectual distinction is the principal quality required of applicants, but they 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. Scholars are more than 'mere bookworms'; it is expected that they will play an influential part in the betterment of society, wherever their careers may take them.
Marshall Scholarships fund up to two years of study for a degree in the United Kingdom. A principal objective of the scholarship is to bring intellectually distinguished Americans, who will one day become leaders, opinion formers, and decision makers in their own country, to study in the U.K. and encourage them to establish long-lasting ties between the U.S. and Great Britain. In appointing Scholars the selectors look for distinction of intellect and character, as evidenced both by their scholastic attainments and by their other activities and achievements. Preference is given to candidates who display a potential to make a significant contribution to their own society.
The George J. Mitchell Scholarships fund one year of study in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Prospective Scholars must have a demonstrated record of intellectual distinction, leadership, and extra-curricular activity, as well as personal characteristics of honesty, integrity, fairness, and unselfish service to others that indicate a potential for future leadership and contribution to society.
2. Who can apply?
- be U.S. citizens;
- have achieved senior standing by Fall of the current academic year;
- be under the age of 24 for the Rhodes, and; under 30 for the Marshall and Mitchell; and,
- have a minimum GPA of 3.7.
3. What are they looking for?
Broadly defined, the scholarship selection committees are looking for young leaders: people who connect theory to practice, emotion to reason, and individual to community. They want people who exhibit a restless curiosity combined with a rigorous compassion for others. At interviews candidates are often asked, "what is your greatest accomplishment?" Selectors want to know if that accomplishment includes a dimension of outreach, whether serving the greater scientific community, or improving the lives of the disadvantaged.
More specifically, criteria include:
- Academic excellence
Because the Rhodes, Marshall and Mitchell are, first and foremost, scholarships for study at leading universities, a GPA of 3.7 or higher is generally a starting point. Committees look for evidence of literary, scholastic, creative and scientific achievements.
You can exhibit leadership in many ways--as a leader in your field of study; as class president; as chair of a student organization; as a community volunteer who recruits fellow students; as swim team captain. Think of it this way: a Rhodes, Mitchell or Marshall Scholar is someone who takes full advantage of opportunity, defining his or her own role, and exceeding 'normal' expectations.
Cecil Rhodes' will specified that Scholars should demonstrate "devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship." Marshall Scholars are expected to "have the potential to make a significant contribution to society." Selection committees, therefore, look for evidence of service to and involvement in your community in the application.
4. What are my chances?
These are three of the most prestigious scholarships in the United States. Competition is intense. Only 32 Rhodes, 40 Marshall, and just 12 Mitchell Scholarships are awarded each year to American students. So, it's logical to ask: why should I apply when the odds are not in my favor?
Yes, it is a long shot, but someone will win. It's hard work--requiring some sweat and occasional tears--but the process of applying can also be very rewarding. For what may be the first time in your life, you will be asked to put your deepest convictions into words, and to step outside yourself and think about where you came from, where you're standing now, and what your ultimate destination might be. If you train your sights on the process, and not the goal, you'll emerge a winner, whether or not you're awarded a scholarship.Applying can also help you to:
- Better define your career and life goals;
- Get a head start on graduate and professional school applications;
- Enhance your writing and interviewing skills.
The Undergraduate Grants and Awards (UGA) Committee nominates students as candidates for Rhodes, Marshall and Mitchell Scholarships through a competitive application and interview process. Candidates then work closely with the Director of Student Academic Grants and Awards, the UGA Committee, and their principal advisors to fine-tune their personal statements and study proposals. Applications are due in early October, and finalist interviews for the Rhodes, Mitchell and Marshall take place in November.
5. How do I apply?
Applicants for Rhodes, Marshall and Mitchell Scholarships do not apply directly to the scholarship foundations; instead, Willamette students must first apply for university endorsement. For the campus application, you should submit the following to the Office of Student Academic Grants and Awards (UC 2nd floor):
- a copy of the program application form
- a 1000 word personal essay and study proposal;
- a one-page list of principal activities and honors;
- a current transcript (unofficial is OK);
- the appropriate number of letters of recommendation (5-8 for Rhodes, 4 for Marshall, 5-8 for Mitchell).
6. What is a personal statement?
The goal of the personal statement is to get an invitation to interview, and present some lines of questioning for the committee. An outstanding personal statement won't win you a scholarship, but a poorly prepared one can deny you the chance even to interview. For more information on the application process at Willamette and assistance with writing a personal statement see http://www.willamette.edu/dept/saga/applicationprocess/study_proposals/
7. Where can I find more information?
Talk to the Director of Student Academic Grants and Awards and to your academic advisors and mentors for assistance and advice. Visit the application process pages on the SAGA website, and see the sites listed below.
For the Rhodes, the Rhodes Scholar web site has a section on "Frequently Asked Questions" about the Rhodes, Scholar profiles, and information on Oxford University with links to programs of study, departments and faculty.
For the Marshall, the British Council's web site, has an entire section devoted to education, study in Great Britain, and other scholarships. The best source of information, however, is at www.marshallscholarship.org for the application, guidance to candidates, and scholar profiles.
For the Mitchell, US-Ireland Alliance has a list of FAQ's, scholar profiles, and links to universities in Ireland.
Visit our page for advice on writing the personal statement.
For more advice about applying for Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships, see Prof. Ken Brashier's advice to Reed College students.