Background: Begun in 1902 through a bequest from Cecil Rhodes, an Oxford graduate and South African entrepreneur, the Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest, most prestigious and best known of all postgraduate scholarships. Initially established to bring physically vigorous future leaders, all white men and all from what Rhodes considered Anglo-Saxon countries (including the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and Germany) to study at Oxford and to imbibe British culture and learning, the scholarship has changed over the years, placing less emphasis on athletics and including women and people of color. It remains one of the great honors awarded to college graduates.
The Scholarships: Two years of study at Oxford University with expenses including airfare, tuition, books, room and board, and spending money covered. Thirty-two scholarships are awarded through regional competitions in the United States.
The Application: Ten copies of a signed application form with photographs attached, transcript, list of activities, copy of birth certificate or passport, and a 1,000-word essay detailing the candidate's academic and other interests, specific course of study at Oxford and reasons for wishing to study there.
Who Should Apply: Competition for the Scholarship is open to men and women who have passed their 18th, but not their 24th birthday by October 1 of the year of application. The applicant must be a U.S. citizen and have received a bachelor's degree by the time he or she takes up the Scholarship. Students with exceptional academic achievement, documented leadership ability, compassion for the disadvantaged, broad and deep cultural interests, and physical vigor (you need not be a varsity athlete) who wish to pursue a second degree (either a "Final Honours" B.A. or a master's degree, if your undergraduate preparation is exceptionally strong) should consider applying for a Rhodes Scholarship. Need is not an issue. It should be noted that the Rhodes Trust suggests that well qualified applicants would be those "likely to be admitted to one of the handful of most selective graduate schools in the United States in their area of primary interest."
Campus Procedure: Interested students should consult Prof. Scott Denham in the spring of their junior year.
Campus deadline is 8 September.
Recommendations: The Rhodes Scholarship requires at least five and no more than eight letters of recommendation. At least four should be from faculty members who have taught the student, largely in the student's major; others should document leadership, concern for others and cultural interests. A letter of endorsement by the college is required. The college is not limited to a specific number of candidates it may endorse. Campus deadline for recommendations is 22 September.
Rhodes Application Deadline: Application deadline is early October.
The Rhodes Process: Rhodes applications must be received by the secretary of the region to which the student is applying. There are sixteen districts, each of which will elect two Rhodes Scholars; the former state selection (or nomination) committees no longer are part of the selection process. Davidson students may apply in their state of residency or in North Carolina, which is in a district with Georgia and South Carolina. Each district will in all likelihood interview twelve to sixteen candidates from among a pool projected to be roughly 65 applicants in the region. The interview typically consists of a reception on a Friday evening in mid November, with interviews on Saturday, when decisions are made.
For More Information: Contact Prof. Scott Denham. The Website at http://www.rhodesscholar.org is quite helpful both about the scholarship and about Oxford.
Davidson Rhodes Scholars: 2000 Christian Mansfield Hunt; 1996 Letitia Marie Campbell; 1984 Hunter Kelly Monroe; 1983 Elizabeth Esther Kiss; 1977 Patrick M. Baskin, Jr.; 1974 Albert S. Kyle IV; 1972 Daniel Gray Clodfelter; 1969 Randel Eugene Philips; 1966 William Mackey Clark; 1963 Daniel A. Carrell; 1961 Henry Grayson Shue; 1958 J. McManus; 1956 Fred Glen Myers; 1953 Hubert N. Cannon; 1951 James J. Murray, Jr.; 1950 Charles T. Davis; 1936 Carleton Chapman; 1930 Dean Rusk; 1923 Robert F. Davidson; 1922 J. McDowell Richards; 1918 Shelby T. McCoy; 1906 Benjamin R. Lacey; 1903 Wilson Plummer Mills