Rhodes Scholarship Overview

2018 Rhodes Scholar for Zimbabwe Itai Muzhingi '18 History and Purpose: The Rhodes Trust is a British charity established in 1903 to honor the will and bequest of Cecil J. Rhodes, an English-born South African businessman, mining magnate, and politician (1853-1902). The Trust provides the Scholarships in partnership with Second Century Founder John McCall MacBain and other generous benefactors. These postgraduate awards support outstanding individuals to study at the University of Oxford. Rhodes Scholars are chosen not only for their outstanding scholarly achievements, but for their character, commitment to others and to the common good, and for their potential for leadership in whatever domains their careers may lead. The Rhodes aims to bring together and develops exceptional people from all over the world, and in all fields of study, who are impatient with the way things are and have the courage to act. The fellowships seeks those who are ready to "stand up for the world."

Award description: The U.S. Rhodes Scholarship fully funds (fees, stipend, and travel) 2-3 years of graduate study in any field at the University of Oxford in the UK. Applicants may pursue two one-year master’s degrees, a two year master’s, a doctorate, or a second B.A. Applicants are required to plan for at least two years of study and residence at Oxford, as programming for Scholars such as the Character, Service & Leadership retreats, speaker events, internships, skills workshops, and many Scholar voluntary associations assume a tenure of two years. (You will in the profiles of Rhodes winners that one year degrees are listed, but Rhodes strongly encourages them to plan for a second year at least.) Videos about choosing a course of study at Oxford, the application, and the finalist interview are offered on the Rhodes Trust's Application Overview page. Details about the U.S. Rhodes are now available on the (separate) Office of the American Secretary Rhodes website. Applicants who hope to attend Oxford regardless of winning the Scholarship must apply independently to Oxford. Applicants who will attend only if they win the Rhodes proceed with the Oxford application following notification from Rhodes. Rhodes awards 32 American scholarships per year; award numbers vary for other countries.

Funding details: Tuition, fees, living allowance, and travel expenses to and from Oxford are made in direct payment to the college at Oxford and to the scholar

Eligibility: Applicants for the American Rhodes Scholarship must have/be: upon entry to Oxford, under 25 years of age, or up to a maximum age of 28 years old if they have completed their first undergraduate degree within the last 2 years; U.S. citizens, permanent residents (as long as the individual maintains and expects to maintain legal status as a lawful permanent resident), or those with DACA status (with confirmation documents); high academic achievement (a GPA of 3.7 is required, and 3.8 or above is common) with rigorous course selection and recognition in the major. Reapplication: if unsuccessful in their first application, candidates may apply only once more within the U.S., though if eligible, the application may be in a different state within the U.S.

Criteria for selection as stipulated in Mr. Rhodes’ will are that Scholars possess literary and scholastic attainments; energy to use their talents to the full, as exemplified by fondness for/success in sports or service involvement; truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, and unselfishness; moral force of character with instincts to lead and to take an interest in their fellow beings.

  • U.S. & International Selection:
    Each year 32 young Americans are selected as Rhodes Scholars through a decentralized process representing the 50 states and the District of Columbia. These candidates must be endorsed by their undergraduate institutions. The Rhodes US deadline is Oct. 2, 2019, but the AC deadline to be considered for endorsement is August 28, 2019.
  • Rhodes Scholarships are also offered to citizens/permanent residents of numerous other countries. See the full list here. Candidates from these countries apply through the Rhodes offices in their homelands and generally do not require endorsement. Age restrictions vary for these countries. AC candidates from these countries are encouraged to seek support and guidance from the Office of Fellowships. 
  • Two "Global Scholarships" welcome applicants who are unable to apply through the countries above, and who will not yet be 25 at the time of application deadline. These candidates must be endorsed by their undergraduate institutions. The application is due, with a nomination letter, on July 31, 2019.

Visit the Rhodes Trust website for more information on which scholarship you are eligible to apply for.

How to apply

Seniors and alumni who are applying for a Rhodes that requires endorsement must consult with the Director of Fellowships about their eligibility, receive application application guidance; and submit all materials and request that recommendations be submitted by the campus internal deadline. Application materials for this stage will be submitted through the AC Student and Postgraduate Application portal. Applicants will then be interviewed by the faculty Committee on Student Fellowships, who will decide whom to endorse as Amherst College nominees to the Rhodes Trust. Endorsed candidates must complete an Embark online application through the Rhodes Trust website, and recommenders must submit their letters there by the Rhodes deadline. (Such applicants may simultaneously begin the application in the Rhodes portal but will only be able to submit it if they are endorsed. See Application Timelines. Endorsement: Amherst may endorse an unlimited number of candidates to the U.S. Rhodes, and three to the Global Rhodes.

Application components: The Rhodes application includes a personal statement, resume, identification materials, some biographical questions, and 5-8 recommendation letters. All components are described in detail on the Rhodes Application page.

For Recommenders

Content: Please read the detailed description in  Rhodes' Guide for U.S. Referees but note the AC deadline below.

Format and submission:
 Rhodes letters should be no more than two single-spaced pages, minimum 10 pt type, on letterhead, signed, addressed to the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee, and uploaded as pdfs. For the initial campus deadline (for U.S. Rhodes) of August 28, 2019, referees are asked to upload their letters to the Amherst Student and Postgraduate Application Portal so that the campus Committee on Student Fellowships may review them along with the applicant's materials to decide on endorsement. Your letter is critical to the endorsement decision. You will receive an emailed request from the portal in  August with a link and upload instructions. If the applicant is nominated by the College, you will also receive an email from the Rhodes Embark Online Application asking you to upload your letter to that portal by the national deadline. Before you upload your letter, Rhodes will ask you to:
- indicate the applicant’s relative academic standing in comparison with other students on the same course at the
  same institution (answer choices, Top 1%, Top 3%, etc.)
- specify the basis for the above ranking, and
- say how many students in total are in the applicant’s year group on their programme of study, i.e. how many student
  is the candidate being compared with?
These questions are based on the continued effort to globalize the Rhodes application process and promote consistency between constituencies. The answers may also provide additional guidance during the Oxford application process, should the applicant go on to win the scholarship. Rhodes advises academic letter writers to answer the questions to the best of their knowledge. If the answers are difficult to ascertain, they recommend choosing the “Not Applicable” option that is presented or writing it in the space provided. Either way, the district committees will fully review each letter of recommendation for every eligible applicant.

Foundation website for U.S. Rhodes: http://www.rhodesscholar.org/
Foundation website for International candidates: http://www.rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk/about/rhodes-countries

Amherst College Rhodes Winners

Amherst has had 20 US Rhodes Scholars and three Rhodes from other countries. The most recent US competition winner was Daniel Altschuler '04 awarded in 2006. Itai Muzhingi '18 won a Zimbabwe Rhodes Scholarship in 2018, and Sebabatso Manoeli ’11 won a Southern Africa Rhodes Scholarship in 2012. Recent finalists include Dakota Foster '18, Olivia Truax ’16, Donna Leet ’15, Lilia Kilburn ’12, Sarah Schear ’12, and Samia Hesni ’11.

Christine Overstreet, Director of Fellowships
212 Converse Hall, 413-542-2536, coverstreet@amherst.edu
Carter McClintock, Fellowships Specialist
213 Converse Hall, 413-542-5079, cmcclintock@amherst.edu                                
Mail: Office of Fellowships, Amherst College, 212/213 Converse Hall, Amherst, MA 01002