Radcliffe Camera, Oxford

Studying in the British Isles:
The Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships

(with additional materials relevant to the Gates [Cambridge] and Mitchell [Ireland/Northern Ireland] scholarships)

 

Advice to Reed applicants

   

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Introduction

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Why apply when the odds are so long?

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The qualifications

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Selecting and connecting: Finding out about U.K. institutions

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Activities and honors lists

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Writing your story: The application essays

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Letters of recommendation

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Interview preparation

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Past Reed candidates speak

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The Gates Cambridge Scholarship (All Rhodes and Marshall applicants should see this page, too.)

 

About this site.  This advice forum combines material from official scholarship websites, from scholarship listserves, from several national conferences sponsored by organizations such as the National Association of Fellowship Advisors and the Gates Foundation and from the personal experiences of past Reed candidates.  Views and opinions expressed are those of the site's creator, Ken Brashier (himself a Truman and Rhodes scholar), and are not necessarily those of Reed College.  (The Gates Cambridge Scholarships do not require an institutional endorsement from Reed, but let me know if I can help you with that one as well because I took my PhD from Cambridge.)

Accessing the scholarships directly. All the major scholarships to the British Isles -- the Rhodes, the Marshall, the Gates Cambridge and the Mitchell -- have elaborate websites, and the application process for each prior to the interviews is for the most part an on-line process. (It's "for the most part" only because certain documents such as copies of birth certificates and passports still need to be posted by mail for obvious security concerns.) It is recommended you register and look through all the materials on their websites, although you generally won't need to tackle the formal applications there until after the internal process is done and the instituional endorsement secured (except for the Gates which requires no institutional endorsement).

A mission statement (of sorts).  My role -- and the role of any fellowship advisor -- is not that of a groom.  We don't take first-year college students and especially prepare them for winning a Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell or Gates.  First-year students can indeed learn from this site and be thinking about choosing meaningful summer jobs, developing a way of thinking that weaves together his or her individual classes, and balancing coursework with on- and off-campus activities that aim to better others.  Developing sustained commitments from the beginning will of course help you in your later search for scholarships, but more importantly, it make you a more interesting person all around.  Do it for yourself; don't do it for the Rhodes.  We don't groom.

We also don't push you into a model template once you become a senior.  Fortunately, there is no winning model of a personal statement, and there is no guaranteed question asked at every interview.  Your personal statements are your personal statements, and we respect your integrity.  We'll help you the best we can, asking questions and suggesting places you might more fully analyze your meaning.  For example, two simple queries you should always consider are as follows:  1.) What do you care about? and 2.) What, then, are you doing about it?

So if we are not grooms or modelers, what are we?  Answer: alarm clocks.  We endeavor to wake you up to new opportunities beyond sleepy (??) Reed, and we will provoke you with an annoying sense of urgency to work on drafts, watch deadlines and struggle through mock interviews.  Yet ultimately, it's up to you to get up or choose to hit the snooze button.  

A temporal gap within this website's materials.  In May 2003, I left Fellowships & Awards to join the state selection committee for the Rhodes Scholarship, and after that state level of competition was abolished, I then occasionally served on the district level (i.e. the final level). Due to conflict of interest, I regretfully could no longer assist Reedies in their bid for this award, but not much was lost.  After all, this website contains almost everything I know. But I'm back now and can directly help you throughout the process, and so feel free to contact me. I've updated the links and materials, and soon I hope to add newer first-hand accounts - perhaps your own? - to the "Past Reed candidates speak" pages here.

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Last update: March 2013

Counter added 18 January 2003

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