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The University of Pennsylvania's deadline to apply for endorsement to study at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship beginning in Fall 2015 has closed. Specific dates for next year's application cycle are TBD, but a preliminary timeline is given below.
2015 REQUEST FOR PENN ENDORSEMENT DEADLINE: Summer 2015 (Date TBD. Candidates applying after this date must contact CURF to petition to be considered for endorsement)
INTERNAL PENN DEADLINE (all required materials must be uploaded to the CURF website): Late Summer 2015
RECOMMENDATIONS AND FINALIZED APPLICATION SUBMITTED ONLINE TO THE RHODES TRUST: For US applicants the deadline is typically the first Wednesday in October 2015; deadlines for other country competitions are generally earlier.
Rhodes Scholarships are given for a one, two or three-year period of study at Oxford University. There are 32 scholarships given each year to US citizens, and these are distributed according to a system of geographical districts.
The Rhodes Scholarship competition is also open to citizens of the following countries: Canada, South Africa, Australia, India, Germany, Zambia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Commonwealth Caribbean and Jamaica, Kenya, Bermuda, Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Uganda, and Hong Kong. Not all of these countries’ Rhodes committees are willing to accept applicants who live permanently or attend school outside of their country while others are. Most applications are due earlier than for the US competition.
The scholarship pays all tuition and fees, in addition to a personal allowance. Information about courses of study at Oxford is available at
Eligibility and Qualifications
- The candidate should demonstrate wide-ranging academic excellence. This excellence should be reflected in his or her overall academic record and in other ways. The candidate should show qualities of moral leadership and social purpose and should exhibit outstanding and attractive potential outside the classroom as well as within it.
- The candidate should have the physical vigor that enables Rhodes Scholars to make an effective contribution to the world around them. Rhodes desired that his Scholars be intellectually, morally, and physically capable of leadership in any field. Traditionally this was defined as participation in varsity sports. It is no longer so construed.
The US Rhodes web site includes a section of frequently-asked questions including “Should I Apply” which is very helpful, particularly in removing potential applicants’ misconceptions. In short, applicants who are eligible by age and citizenship who have done well as undergraduates, have significant reasons for studying in a specific program at Oxford and who have the respect of sufficient potential recommenders should apply.
Application Procedures and Selection Criteria
Candidates need to be endorsed by the Penn Rhodes Committee. The formal application is entirely electronic and requires:
- A personal statement, not exceeding 1000 words, of general activities and intellectual interests and a proposed course of study at Oxford.
- No fewer than five and no more than eight letters of reference. These letters should cover the applicant’s various strengths from various angles. Four must be academic (from course or research experience.)
- Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended.
- A factual list of principal activities and honors while in college.
- Proof of age and citizenship.
The US Rhodes competition is a regional competition. Applicants from Penn may apply through their home state or through Pennsylvania (by virtue of living here to attend school.) Most are better served by applying through their home region. The decision of which region to apply through must be made in consultation with Cheryl Shipman.
CANDIDATE LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION:
As soon as candidates have arranged for letters of recommendation, they should fill out the Recommendation Request Form for each recommender, and for each program to which they are applying.
INFORMATION FOR RECOMMENDERS:
In order to compose the most effective recommendation possible, fellowship recommenders are urged to review the information and suggestions CURF has developed. In addition, your letter should describe what you have observed of the candidate that illustrates the traits and abilities that will lead to academic, personal and professional success.
Recommenders are required to upload a separate letter for each fellowship for which the candidate is applying. While it is not generally necessary to tailor a letter specifically for each fellowship, it is extremely important to refer to the correct fellowship, degree program, and school in each letter (e.g., “I write to recommend [STUDENT NAME] for the Rhodes Scholarship to obtain an M.Sc. in Global Health Science at Oxford”).
Candidates must participate in Penn’s endorsement process in order to apply. This involves requesting endorsement during the spring or summer prior to your application, and submitting a complete application to CURF at the beginning of the school year (before the Rhodes Trust's deadline).
Candidates should submit the Internal Penn Rhodes Application form, including a single pdf with application materials in the following order:
- A personal statement, not exceeding 1000 words, of general activities and intellectual interests and a proposed course of study at Oxford
- Curriculum Vitae / Resume or list of principal activities (no more than two pages)
- An electronic version of your Penn transcript created from Penn In Touch: Academic Records —> Transcript & GPA. Print your transcript as a .pdf
- Any other post-secondary transcripts from all institutions attended
Applicants are responsible for assuring that their final applications, including transcripts, are submitted to Regional Committees by the Rhodes Trust deadline in early October.
Finalists will be invited to Rhodes interviews which are held in mid-November. CURF will hold practice interviews for those who are invited to final interviews. The Rhodes Scholars are informed of their status at the end of the final interview. Rhodes House then takes responsibility for completing the Rhodes Scholars’ acceptance at the appropriate faculty in Oxford. Therefore no separate Oxford application is required — except for applicants applying for other fellowships.
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