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Rhodes Scholarship

The Rhodes scholarship offers one to three years of study leading to a degree at Oxford University, England. Seniors, graduate/professional students, and graduates are eligible to apply. Must be a U.S. citizen under the age of 24.

"Intellectual distinction is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for election to a Rhodes Scholarship. Selection committees are charged to seek excellence in qualities of mind and in qualities of person which, in combination, offer the promise of effective service to the world in the decades ahead. Mr. Rhodes' will contains four criteria by which prospective Rhodes Scholars are to be selected: (1) literary and scholastic attainments; (2) energy to use one's talents to the full, as exemplified by fondness for and success in sports; (3) truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship; and (4) moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one's fellow beings."

In order to be considered for this opportunity you must complete a confidentiality waiver and submit it to the Office for Fellowships. This should be submitted BEFORE you request letters of recommendation.

CAMPUS DEADLINE: September 6, this includes all letters of recommendation 

  1. Before applying for a Rhodes Scholarship, candidates must read the Rhodes Brochure and should consult the FAQ on the Rhodes site.  Decide if this is the right scholarship for you to apply for....There are people at Vassar who can help you make this decision.  You may wish to discuss this with your primary academic recommenders and mentors, as well as with the Dean of Studies who Chairs the Vassar Committee on Fellowships and Lisa Kooperman, Director of the Fellowship Office.
  2. Please register for an application through the  Rhodes Scholarship Website- typically available in early summer and follow the instructions outlined. 
  3. Contact your referees as soon as possible. Once they agree to write on your behalf you will register them to submit a letter using the Recommendation Registration Form. If you receive endorsement from the college they will submit their letters through the Rhodes online application. You must register your writers before you submit your application and inform them that the letters are due by the campus deadline. Do not formally register your writers through Embark until after the committee meets.
  4. You will upload your transcripts and a confidentiality waiver (if you do not have one on file) using the Recommendation Registration Form, please be prepared to do this when you go to complete the Recommendation Registration form. 
  5. Submit a PDF version of the online application, including copies of your essay, and any other supplemental materials to fellowships@vassar.edu by the campus deadline. DO NOT submit your application electronically through Embark until the committee has met and you have received your notification about the status of your application. Instructions for saving to PDF
  6. You will have an interview with a member of the committee on fellowships, as well as, with the Dean of Studies--this will be an important practice for a Rhodes interview if you are invited--it will also give the committee more information and impressions to be used in our endorsement letter should you be invited to continue with the process.   

The deliberations of the committee are confidential. Feedback will not be provided after the committee meets and makes a decision.

For Letter Writers: Candidates should register their references through the Vassar College online application for the campus deadline. Once registered, writers will receive a link to this Letter of Recommendation Submission Form. If you haven't received an email please follow up with the applicant to ensure that you have been registered to write on his/her behalf. You may access this form at any time through this site, however you cannot save information and return to the form at a later date.

Candidates who are endorsed to move forward in the national competition will formally register those writing a letter of recommendation on their behalf through the Rhodes application system managed by Embark. This is separate from the campus process which means writers may be asked to submit their letters twice through two different systems.

Learn more about study in the UK

While only citizens of the United States are eligible for the Rhodes Scholarships awarded in this country, Rhodes Scholarships are offered in many other jurisdictions. Most of these constituencies regard their citizens who study in universities in the United States as eligible for their own competition.

Citizens of Australia, Bermuda, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Jamaica and the Commonwealth Caribbean , Germany, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Syria, Jordan, United Arab Emerites, West Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe may thus be eligible to apply in their own constituencies on the basis of degrees from American universities.

These country-specific rules may change from time to time, so it is essential to check with the relevant National Rhodes Secretary in advance. United States citizens resident of an American territory and not a U.S. state are eligible if they have attended for at least two years and will receive a B.A. from a university in one of the fifty states or the District of Columbia.

Please note that the elections in virtually all of the other participating constituencies take place before the elections in the United States. Eligibility requirements in other countries vary, and eligibility decisions are made by the respective National Rhodes Secretaries. Contact names and addresses for further information about these competitions are available from The Rhodes Trust’s website.