An Esteemed Legacy
Most people are familiar with some of the individuals who have been Rhodes Scholars. Former president Bill Clinton, feminist author Naomi Wolf and political commentator George Stephanopoulos are only a few notable recipients of the award. But while many are familiar with scholarship winners, significantly fewer understand the award or how exclusive it is.
Each year, the Rhodes Trust selects scholars from around the globe to study at Oxford University. Established more than a century ago, these scholarships are meant to bring together some of the world's best and brightest young minds. The intention is to provide future leaders in various disciplines the opportunity to commingle with peers from different cultures in the hope that these relationships will lead to greater international understanding.
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An Elite Honor
Each year, 80 Rhodes Scholars are selected from around the world, including 32 from the United States. To provide an idea of how competitive the award is, consider that this past year more than 1,500 highly qualified candidates applied in the U.S. alone. Making the selection process even more exclusive, students must be endorsed by their respective universities before being considered by the Rhodes Trust.
Selection of Rhodes Scholars is a multi-step process. After students are endorsed by their universities, the strongest applicants are subject to an interview. This year, just over 200 U.S. students reached this phase of the selection process. Following the interviews, recipients of the scholarships are ultimately chosen based on criteria that include 'high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership and physical vigor.'
A Door-Opening Award
Rhodes Scholars are entitled to study for two or three years at Oxford. In addition to covering tuition and fees, the award also provides a stipend for living and travel expenses. All told, a Rhodes Scholarship has a value of about $50,000 for each year of study. Students who win scholarships have the opportunity to study at one of the world's most elite universities without spending a single ten pence!
With the full resources of a world-class university behind them, Rhodes Scholars have the opportunity to complete graduate studies while pursuing discoveries and innovation in medicine, anthropology, economics, politics and various other disciplines. Add to this the fact that the Rhodes Scholarship is seen as one of the most exclusive in the world, and winners of the award are well positioned to pursue limitless career options upon the program's end.