Preliminary Requirements for applying to the Rhodes Scholarship

Complete the following and return to the Top Scholarships office by the deadline.

Because the Rhodes application rules no longer allow for a student to receive feedback or assistance on the personal essay, I ask that you answer these prompts. I’m happy to work with you based on the prompts, and I encourage you to take advantage of this offer.

The following prompts cover important elements of the personal statement and/or research proposal. I suggest brainstorming first and then writing about these in paragraph format. This work will likely help you as you begin work on your Rhodes essay. I recommend answering these questions using concrete details and a narrative format.

  1. Name up to 3 significant leadership roles: give their titles, if any, and briefly say what you did in that role. Be sure to focus on the actions you took as a leader and the outcomes achieved. The emphasis should be on “I” rather than on the organization itself. (If you didn’t do anything, don’t list the role as significant. Remember, not all leadership roles come with titles attached.)
  1. Describe up to 3 public service activities you consider especially significant; include the length of your commitment, your role, and a brief comment on your reason for undertaking that activity. Discuss what you learned and why the activity was significant.
  1. Name 2-3 significant academic or professional milestones (successes, failures, turning points, etc;) briefly indicate what these milestones marked for you. If you’ve been doing research, at least one of your examples should discuss your research activities.
  1. List at least 5 mentors whom you would ask for a letter; indicate your connection to them. Put an asterisk beside the two with whom you plan to have extensive contact as you work on your application(s).
  1. Discuss up to 3 experiences or characteristics that might not have been covered in the earlier questions but that you consider an important part of your personal/professional make-up. E.g., something in your personal or family background that explains your choices and directions; a non-academic interest that you pursue with passion and perhaps some skill; the road you could have taken but chose not to take; etc. Capture the element and its importance to you as briefly as you can. Think about this as your intellectual autobiography.
  1. Name 2 programs in the UK you’d like to pursue and why those programs are a good fit for your skills and goals.
  1. Think about ways in which your activities (in leadership or service or elsewhere) might help you be a good ambassador.


Two academic letters of recommendation

  • Ask early to give your recommenders plenty of time to get their letters to the Top Scholarships office by the deadline.
  • At this preliminary stage, it’s fine for letters to come as e-mail attachments.
  • Be sure to let each recommender know what you need from them.
  • Refer faculty to Tips for Letters of Recommendation.

Current resume

  • Be sure to include any volunteer activities or internships, your study abroad experience, any other experiences abroad, any languages in which you have proficiency and your level, plans to write an honors thesis, any awards or recognition you’ve received, any leadership roles you’ve assumed.
  • Please give a brief description of everything you’ve done–as much as a paragraph if needed. It may not look like a traditional resume, but will help the selection committee get a broader idea of your experiences.
  • This will also prepare you for filling out the online application when it’s available if you’re chosen as one of CU’s candidates for the scholarships.

Current transcript

  • Unofficial is fine for the preliminary application. You can send me a PDF from your student portal.