Applying for Rhodes through Eckerd
The Rhodes Scholarship is a highly competitive, merit-based scholarship for undergraduate or graduate study at Oxford University in England. Rhodes Scholars are elected for two years of study at the University of Oxford, with the possibility of renewal for a third year. Applications are sought from talented students without restriction as to their field of academic specialization or career plans, although the proposed course of study must be available at Oxford, and the applicant’s undergraduate program must provide a sufficient basis for study in the proposed field.
As the Rhodes website claims: “Extraordinary 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. The Rhodes Scholarships, in short, are investments in individuals rather than in project proposals. “
The Will of Mr. Cecil Rhodes contains four standards by which prospective Rhodes Scholars should be judged:
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
4) moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one’s fellow beings
Students who typically do well in the Rhodes competition have built a substantial record of academic excellence and extracurricular achievements. Although there are no official minimum standards for grades, successful applicants usually have a minimum GPA of 3.7. Successful applicants often begin the application process early (usually in the Spring Semester of their Junior year) and frequently produce multiple drafts of essays for review by faculty and peers.
If you are interested in applying for a Rhodes Scholarship, your first step should be to thoroughly read the official Rhodes website, including the downloadable brochure and FAQ. Then, contact the Graduate Fellowship Advisor, to ask for additional advice and a list of contacts here at Eckerd.
Because of the competitive nature of the Rhodes, the faculty representative conducts a preliminary campus competition to select a few highly-qualified applicants for national endorsement. To be eligible for the national competition, you must receive the formal endorsement of the faculty representative. The core of your application should be submitted to the faculty representative by the campus deadline of September 11 so that it can be reviewed by a small committee of Eckerd faculty. If your application is approved by this committee, you will be given reviewer comments and a chance to further revise your essays before the national deadline.