The Rhodes Trust is a British charity established in 1903 to honor the will and bequest of Cecil J. Rhodes, an English-born South African businessman, mining magnate, and politician (1853-1902). The scholarship initially enabled students from territories currently or formerly under British rule, and from Germany, to study at the University of Oxford. The Rhodes Scholarship for US citizens is administered by the American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, Mr. Elliott Gerson. In the 1970’s women were invited to apply for the scholarship.
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 and in most years, a Scholar is selected from an institution which has not formerly supplied a successful applicant.
The Rhodes Scholarship fully funds (fees, stipend, and travel) 2-3 years of graduate study in any field at Oxford University in the UK. Students may pursue a master’s degree, a doctorate, a second B.A. , or a combination of degrees. Applicants are strongly encouraged to plan for at least two years of study rather than only one in order to avail themselves fully of the Rhodes and Oxford experience. Details about program options and other important considerations are provided in the Frequently Asked Questions document on the Rhodes website. Applicants are encouraged to apply independently to Oxford if they wish to attend regardless of whether they win a Rhodes Scholarship. If an applicant will attend only if she wins, there is no need to apply independently. She may apply to Oxford after election.
Applicants must have/be:
- Seniors or recent alumnae (age 18-24)
- U.S. citizens
- Excellence in chosen academic field; Rhodes does not stipulate a minimum GPA, but Mount Holyoke applicants are advised to consider applying only if they have achieved a GPA of at least a 3.75 with a rigorous course selection
Mr. Rhodes’ will stipulated the criteria by which applicants to the Scholarship would 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.
Unlimited nominations, but endorsement is at the discretion of the Committee on Fellowships
Applicants complete an online application form which becomes available through the Rhodes website in early July. The student completes the application and submits a printed copy to the Fellowships Advisor, Christine Overstreet who distributes it to the Committee on Fellowships, chaired by the Dean of Studies. If the Committee endorses the candidate, the student then submits the application online, and the FA enters the College endorsement letter. Students interested in applying should attend an information session (in the spring before the fall application deadline) on UK Fellowships and Graduate Study (abroad candidates should Skype with FA), and carefully read the detailed material about the Rhodes on their website. Applicants will receive guidance on the application process and feedback on essay drafts and other material by the FA, and are interviewed and further advised by the campus Committee. Note that deadlines for submission of materials for the campus process are much earlier than the Rhodes Scholarship application deadline.
- A completed online application form which becomes available in early July and is accessed via Rhodes website; form includes choice of state from which you will apply; biographical information; proposed course of study; list of referees; name of endorser (Dr. Cerri Banks, Dean of the College). All materials are uploaded through this online site
- A Personal Statement (1,000 words or less) describing candidate’s academic interests and other pursuits
- Five to Eight recommendations – at least four MUST be from faculty. At least three must be from the United States. Recommendations are ranked in order of preference. The first “Preferred Recommender” must have supervised your education (the faculty member with whom you have worked most closely/thesis advisor/academic advisor).
- Official Transcripts – from all undergraduate study sources, including abroad
- A List of Activities – (resume, can be two pages)
- A Photograph
- Proof of US Citizenship – passport or birth certificate
For all deadlines, submission time is 12:00 noon
|Timeframe||Task(s) to Complete|
|During Spring semester||Attend UK Fellowships info session/abroad students Skype with FA|
|By May 5||Meet with FA to discuss intention to apply; bring resume to appointment|
|During April/May/June||Explore UK programmes; discuss proposed academic programme with faculty advisor and fellowships advisor (FA)|
|Solicit recommenders in person or via email - inform FA of names|
|By June 1||Order transcripts from all college study (including MHC); send to FA who will send you a pdf for upload to online application|
|On or before July 15||Complete online application form (as much as possible)|
|Send copy of application to fellowships advisor via email|
|Send first draft of personal statement as word doc email to FA for feedback|
|send resume to FA for feedback|
|By or before August 1||Send 2nd draft of essay to FA for feedback|
|By August 30||Ask Recommenders to send letters via email to FA|
|Send pdf of application with personal statement, transcript, and resume uploaded to FA|
|September 9-13||Interview with campus Committee on Fellowships (20 minutes); begin revisions|
|By September 23||Enter revisions into Rhodes application; upload all documents; send pdf to FA; she will approve you to submit|
|Remind Recommenders to upload letters on letterhead to Rhodes online|
|By November 1||Rhodes invites/declines applicant to interview and attend a reception for finalists; Interviews are conducted on the Friday and Saturday preceding Thanksgiving|
|November||Awards announced shortly following conclusion of the interviews|