George J. Mitchell Scholarship

History   |   Description   |    Eligibility   |    How to   |   Application   |    Checklist

History and Purpose

The Mitchell Scholars Program is named in honor of the former United States Senator who served as Chairman of the peace negotiations in Northern Ireland.  In 1995, he served as a Special Advisor to President Clinton on Ireland, and from 1996 to 2000 he served as the Independent Chairman of the Northern Ireland Peace Talks.  Under his leadership the Good Friday Agreement, an historic accord ending decades of conflict, was agreed to by the governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom and the political parties of Northern Ireland.

The George J. Mitchell Scholarship is organized under the auspices of the US-Ireland Alliance, a non-profit non-partisan organization based in Arlington, VA. The program began in 1998, created by US-Ireland Alliance president Trina Vargo, with early support from the Irish and British governments. Over the last decade, the program has been largely funded by the US Department of State with additional support from the Northern Ireland Government and others. In 2012, the Irish Parliament passed legislation whereby it will match any contributions up to 20 million euros to an endowment for the Scholarship

The Mitchell Scholars Program is designed to introduce and connect generations of future American leaders to the island of Ireland, while recognizing and fostering intellectual achievement, leadership, and a commitment to community and public service.

Description of Mitchell Scholarships

Up to twelve Mitchell Scholars between the ages of 18 and 30 are chosen annually for one year of postgraduate study in any discipline offered by institutions of higher learning in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Mitchell Scholars Program provides tuition, accommodations, a living expenses stipend, and an international travel stipend.

Eligibility requirements & Rules for Nomination


Applicants must be/have:

  • Seniors who will have obtained a bachelor’s degree before the time of the grant, or alumnae, up to age 30
  • U.S. citizens (those in the process of applying for citizenship are not eligible); Irish heritage not required
  • High academic achievement and intellectual distinction; although no GPA minimum is stipulated, scholars usually have a 3.8 or higher
  • Demonstrated leadership record and a sustained commitment to community and public service; activities in these categories may have taken place on or off campus, domestically or internationally
  • Unlimited nominations, but endorsement is at the discretion of the Committee on Fellowships

How to apply

All applicants (seniors and alumnae) must apply through a campus process, facilitated by Fellowships Advisor (FA) Christine Overstreet, and be endorsed by the College (represented by the Committee on Fellowships, chaired by the Dean of Studies). The campus process includes attendance at information sessions for UK Fellowships and Graduate Study (for abroad candidates – a Skype appointment); guidance on programme selection; feedback on essay drafts and other material; an interview with the campus Committee on Fellowships; and final submission by the FA of the College endorsement letter. The applicant is responsible for final submission of her online application. Note that deadlines for submission of materials for the campus process are much earlier than the Mitchell Scholarship application deadline.

Application components

  • A completed online application form where the candidate enters biographical data; education background; proposed programme(s) of study (3-5 choices of universities/programs); names of recommenders; and awards and achievements.
  • A Personal Statement (1,000 words or less) describing candidate’s “personality, passion and drive.”
  • Four recommendations – for full-time students, at least two must be from persons with whom the student has done academic work; the others may be from internship/work/community service supervisors. Students should consult with the fellowships advisor when considering recommenders
  • Official Transcripts – from all undergraduate study sources; you will scan these as one document and upload them; finalists will be asked to send hard copies
  • A passport-style photo – pdf
  • Proof of US citizenship (required of finalists)
  • Video interview in which you give recorded responses to questions written as text (not a live interview)

The online application form will become available in late spring. Through this form, the applicant will enter the names of her recommenders and endorser; an email request will be sent to them to upload letters.

Campus Process and Checklist

Please note that for all deadlines, submission time is 12:00 noon

Timeframe Task(s) to Complete
During Spring semester Attend UK Fellowships info session/abroad students watch tutorial/Skype
By May 5 Meet with FA to discuss intention to apply; bring resume to appointment
During April/May/June Explore programmes at Irish universities; discuss proposed academic programmes with faculty members and Fellowships Advisor (FA)
  Solicit recommenders in person or via email - inform FA of names
Begin June 1 Order transcripts from all college study (including MHC) to scan and upload
By or before July 1 Begin online application; give fellowships advisor viewing access
  Send first draft of personal statement as word doc via email to FA for feedback (feedback via email provided within two weeks)
By or before August 1 Complete online application (FA gives feedback)
  Send 2nd draft of personal statement to FA for feedback
By August 30 Recommenders send letters via email to FA
  Applicant sends revised application and statement to FA
September 9-13 Interview with campus Committee on Fellowships (20 minutes); begin revisions
By September 20 Applicant completes revisions; FA reviews and approves
By September 27 Applicant submits finalized application in Mitchell system online; Recommenders upload recommendations to Mitchell system
By October 1 Fellowships Advisor uploads endorsement letter
Weeks following Applicant completes required video interview
Week of October 28 Mitchell invites semi-finalists for Skype interviews
November 22 & 23 Finalist weekend
November 24 Mitchell Scholars Selection announcement