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What is the Rhodes Scholarship?

Written by Hailey Young
Updated: September 2, 2022
5 min read
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The Rhodes Scholarship is a prestigious international scholarship programme. Established through the will of Cecil John Rhodes, the Rhodes Scholarship was first awarded in 1902 to help outstanding young people from around the world study at the University of Oxford. Cecil Rhodes attended Oxford in the 1870s, but today his scholarship fund helps modern students pursue their undergraduate degree. Rhodes Scholars attend one of the most prestigious universities in the world at no cost.

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Rhodes scholarships

The Rhodes Scholarships are fully funded, full-time, postgraduate awards. Funded by the Rhodes Trust, the scholarship covers college fees at Oxford University and also provides an annual stipend for Rhodes Scholars. For the 2021-2022 academic year, the stipend was £17,310 per year. This stipend can cover living expenses and other fees and expenses that can accompany post-graduate study. While the scholarships are incredibly competitive, those who receive the scholarship are given the chance to carry on a legacy of academic excellence and build a future for themselves with a bachelor's degree and a network of other Rhodes Scholars.

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What makes someone a Rhodes scholar?

Rhodes Scholars are students who embody the qualities that the Rhodes Trust looks for. The eligibility criteria for being a Rhodes Scholar are academic excellence and mastery in extracurricular pursuits, such as sports, music, and more. A Rhodes Scholar also has moral force of character, which means that they are truthful, courageous, kind, and dutiful.

Of course, becoming a Rhodes Scholar still requires that students receive the Rhodes Scholarship. In order for this to happen, students must demonstrate the aforementioned qualities and successfully complete the scholarship application, which includes the Rhodes personal statement, letters of recommendation, interviews, and more.

How to apply for a Rhodes scholarship

Rhodes Scholarship application will begin on June 1, 2022, and close on August 2, 2022. If you fit the eligibility criteria for the Rhodes Scholarship, you can start the application process by filling out an application form on the Rhodes Trust website.

In the application, you will include a personal statement of 1,000 words and recommendation letters. You will also choose your course of study, including the type of degree you would like to attain. Before you start the application, it will be helpful to check your school's requirements and deadlines, because you need a letter of nomination from your university in order to apply for the scholarship.

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Once you apply on the website, you will wait to see if you have been selected for the social engagement event and interviews. Prior to interviews, you will attend a social engagement event with Rhodes alumni, the selection committee, and other applicants. Then, you will have an interview with the selection committee. If you are in the United States, there are selection committees in 16 districts that will interview the strongest candidates. As a global program, Rhodes scholarships may have different application criteria, so be sure to research the process in your country.

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How do I know if I’m eligible for a Rhodes scholarship?

On the Rhodes Trust website, you can check your eligibility. Applicants for the Scholarship should have a bachelor's degree or be completing one soon. Before the date of your application, you must be at least 18 and have not reached your 24th birthday. If you started college late, you must not have reached your 27th birthday and you must have met or will meet the academic requirements for completing your first undergraduate degree by the date of your application. Rhodes applicants must also have a GPA of 3.70/4.0 or higher (with no rounding) or a First Class Honors Degree or equivalent.

Once you are on the website, you can see if you are a lawful permanent resident in one of the Rhodes Scholarship constituencies. The Rhodes Scholarships have been given out in 25 constituencies, which represent over 60 different countries. If you are not a citizen in one of the Rhodes constituencies, you can still apply through the Rhodes Global Scholarship.

How to get a Rhodes scholarship

To get a Rhodes scholarship, you have to have a great application. Spend time crafting your personal statement, making sure that the style and language accurately represent your story and what you stand for. Identify potential recommenders who you think could speak towards your academic achievement and personal character. Make sure that there are no mistakes in your application so that they can fully understand your best qualities and who you are.

Once you apply and are invited to the next stage, it is important that you nail your social engagement event and interview. These events will give you the opportunity to showcase your personality and talk about yourself beyond what you wrote in your application. The interview and social engagement event is designed to test candidates' intellectual skills and reasoning ability, but also to reveal their character, commitment, and potential to make a positive contribution to society.

How hard is it to get a Rhodes Scholarship?

The Rhodes Trust awards 103 scholarships per year, with a total of more than 300 scholars at Oxford at any given time. In 2022, more than 2300 students began the application process. This means that there is less than a 5% chance of getting a Rhodes Scholarship each year. By having a great application, though, you can increase your chances of becoming a Rhodes scholar.

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Frequently asked questions about the Rhodes Scholarship

What GPA do you need to be a Rhodes Scholar?

Rhodes applicants must have a GPA of 3.70/4.0 or higher (with no rounding). If you do not have a GPA higher than 3.70, you can also have a First Class Honors Degree or equivalent in order to apply.

Do all Rhodes Scholars go to Oxford?

Yes, in order to claim their scholarship money, Rhodes Scholars go to one of the colleges at the University of Oxford where all of their university and college fees will be covered. The Rhodes Scholarship covers airfare to Oxford at the beginning of the program and a return flight once the scholarship has concluded.

Hailey Young

About Hailey

Hailey is adept at writing about financial aid and scholarships. Hailey has spent the majority of her high school and college career crafting her writing skills. In high school, Hailey’s writing experience included writing for her school’s yearbook as well as writing some articles for Redefy, an international non-profit whose goals are to fight stereotypes and promote positive perspectives. Hailey began studying Literary Arts and Africana Studies at Brown University after high school. In her studies, she has taken a variety of writing workshops that have helped her hone her craft as a writer. She will earn her bachelor's degree, which includes an honors degree in Creative Writing from Brown. 

Hailey is also passionate about scholarships and financial aid, as she was a scholarship recipient through high school and college. Through the generosity of others, Hailey has been able to receive a quality education and would love to pass this gift on to others. As a current senior in college, Hailey has become well-versed in the ins and outs of scholarships, student debt, and college spending. With this experience and knowledge, she is readily prepared to help others as a Content Writer for 

Hailey is no longer with the Writing Team, but we continue to value and appreciate her contributions.

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