Everything You Need To Know About the Rhodes Scholarship Requirements

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Breaking Down the Rhodes Scholarship Requirements

Tuition fees in the United States are high to the point that college students can’t afford their education unless they manage to secure a scholarship or grant. The U.S. is not the only place where costs of attendance are unattainable without financial aid—the world-famous Oxford University in the United Kingdom is expensive as well.

If you’re a U.S. student looking to study at Oxford, you may be able to do so without putting any financial strain on your family. Having started in 1902, the Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and one of the most prestigious awards for international students who seek to enroll in Oxford for their graduate or doctoral studies.

In this article, we’ll go over the Rhodes Scholarship requirements and show you what you need to do to become a Rhodes scholar.

What Is the Rhodes Scholarship?

The Rhodes Scholarship is open to undergraduate and graduate students who are about to enroll in postbaccalaureate studies. If you’re an ambitious student who wishes to get one of the most reputable degrees in the world—the Oxford degree—you should apply for the Rhodes Scholarship.

Bear in mind that the competition for this award is fierce—99 awards are offered each year, out of which only 32 go to students from the United States. The U.S. is split into 16 districts that can send only up to two students to be accepted for the program.

This means that you have to fight for one of the two spots against the whole district of your residence. The districts in question are:

  • Boston, MA—Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont
  • New York, NYConnecticut, New Hampshire, and New Jersey
  • New York, NY—New York South
  • Philadelphia, PA—New York North and Pennsylvania
  • Washington, D.C.—Delaware, Maryland, and D.C.
  • Atlanta, GAGeorgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina
  • Birmingham, AL—Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Houston, TXOklahoma and Texas
  • Washington, D.C.Indiana, Kentucky, and Virginia
  • Chicago, ILIllinois and Ohio
  • Chicago, ILMichigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and West Virginia
  • Chicago, ILArkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Tennessee
  • Salt Lake City, UTColorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming
  • Seattle, WA—Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington
  • San Francisco, CAArizona, California North, Hawaii, and Nevada
  • Los Angeles, CA—American Samoa, California South, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands

For instance, if you’re from Salt Lake City, you will need to be among the top two students from seven states.

How To Get the Rhodes Scholarship

The Rhodes Scholarship program doesn’t take students’ financial need into account—it’s strictly based on merit. Likewise, the program doesn’t make any distinctions between student profiles, unlike other awards. All students have equal chances of winning, regardless if they’re a woman, war veteran, disabled individual, or a minority.

To get the Rhodes Scholarship, you need to meet the following criteria:

  1. Academic excellence
  2. Moral force of character and leadership instinct
  3. Truth, fellowship, kindliness, devotion to duty, and protection of the weak
  4. Energy to use your talent to the full—being active in non-academic activities, such as sports, arts, debate, etc.

It’s important to note that getting the Rhodes Scholarship doesn’t automatically mean you will be an Oxford student. Once you receive the award, you will have to apply for a grad school or doctorate program at Oxford, which may deny your application regardless of your scholarship.

Rhodes Scholarship Requirements

When it comes to requirements, applicants need to demonstrate their eligibility and academic excellence by meeting various criteria, as shown in the table below:

Eligibility CriteriaDescription
Nationality or citizenship
  • U.S. citizens
  • Permanent residents
  • Students under the DACA program
AgeStudents must:
  • Be at least 18 and at most 24 on October 1 or
  • Not be older than 27 and meet the requirements for completing the first degree on October 1
Academic achievement
  • Have an undergraduate degree
  • Have a college GPA of at least 3.7
Number of applications
  • If you’re denied an award for the first time, you can reapply next year for the last time—two applications are the maximum

As the scholarship is extremely competitive, having a GPA of 3.7 is often not enough to get you an award. Similarly, some Oxford programs require your GPA to be higher than 3.7, so even if you get the scholarship, you will not be admitted to the University.

What if You Miss Out?

In 2019, more than 2,900 students applied for the Rhodes scholarship and only 32 of them secured the award. If you miss out on becoming a Rhodes scholar, it’s not the end of the world. There are thousands of other financial aid programs aimed at students in the United States—you only need to find them.

If you want to receive free money based on your academic performance, you can reach out to your school’s financial aid office or look up awards using some online search tools. The optimal way to go about it is to use DoNotPay.

When you , it will take you less than five minutes to get a list of all available scholarships for which you can apply, regardless of whether you’re a doctoral student or a high school senior looking to enroll at college.

How To Apply for the Rhodes Scholarship

The Rhodes Scholarship deadline falls on the first Wednesday of October each year, so you should ensure you move forward with applying for the Rhodes Scholarship before that date. The application process consists of submitting the required documents, which includes:

  • A head-and-shoulders JPEG photo in color
  • Personal statement
  • Endorsement letter from your university (written by the President, Dean, or any related administrator)
  • Proof of age and nationality
  • Official grade transcripts
  • Application form
  • Resume of accomplishments, voluntary work, employment, etc.
  • Five to eight letters of recommendation from college mentors
  • A 750-word essay

Discover and Apply for Scholarships With DoNotPay

DoNotPay can help you find information about all available scholarships you’re eligible for hassle-free. You only need to:

  1. Use your browser to
  2. Select the Apply for Scholarships feature
  3. Answer a few questions about your academic performance and financial standing
  4. Choose the type of scholarship you’re interested in

Our app will create a personalized list based on your answers. If you see a no-essay scholarship on the list, you can apply directly within the app by selecting the program that interests you, and we’ll complete the application process on your behalf.

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