rhodes scholarship tips

Rhodes Scholarship Tips: What You Need To Know Before Applying


The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest international scholarship program, first awarded in 1902. The Scholarship offers a life-changing opportunity for outstanding young adults who have the potential to better the world. Basically, Rhodes Scholars demonstrate a vision and the energy to make this difference. And these Rhodes Scholarship tips can help you go all the way!

Scholarships Available: 11 per year for Canada

  • One scholarship to British Columbia
  • One scholarship to Newfoundland
  • Two scholarships to Ontario
  • Two scholarships to Quebec
  • Three scholarships to the Prairie Region (Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan) 
  • Two scholarships to the Maritime Region (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island) 

Rhodes Scholarship Tips

The Rhodes Scholarship includes multiple stages of the application process. So, here’s what you need to remember: 

Eligibility Requirements

Firstly, selection Committees base their decisions on a candidate’s intellect, character, leadership, and commitment to service. The Scholar Programme in Oxford builds on these qualities through first and second-year retreats, conferences, workshops, and events. 

Canadian candidates should:

  • Be over the age of 18 and under the age of 24 when they apply. 
  • Have a Bachelor’s Degree or will be receiving a Bachelor’s Degree by June/July 2021.
  • Hold Canadian citizenship or be a permanent resident of Canada.
  • Fulfill the English Language requirements.
  • Achieve a minimum of 3.7 or 4.0 GPA or its equivalent. 
  • Take steps towards actualizing their talents through mastery in areas of artistic pursuits, dance, debate, sports, music, and theatre. This is especially important when teamwork is involved. 
  • Demonstrate courage, devotion to duty, kindness, truth, unselfishness, as well as sympathy for and protection of the weak. 
  • Provide a moral force of character.
  • Demonstrate instincts to lead.

Most importantly, consider how the vision of the scholarship aligns with your vision.

Oxford Course

Secondly, the scholarship covers 2 to 3 years at Oxford. The Selection Committee is looking for students who know what the course will do for them later on in life: knowledge, experience, etc. How does this course fit into their trajectory and their vision? Ultimately, determine which course will offer the tools that you need to fulfill your accomplishments.

Explore all course options here to find the right path for you. Also, read the permitted degrees and degree combinations here

Personal Statement

Thirdly, no personal statement will be alike. There are different ways to write this because it reflects who you are as a person. Here are a few suggestions to get started:

  • Record yourself answering questions regarding the Rhodes Scholarship to better grasp why you want this award. 
  • Play around with formats and choose the one that feels most sincere to who you are.
  • Treat the personal statement as a unique document that captures you.
  • Reflect on your experiences.
  • Map out the relationships between your experiences to develop a narrative.

The biggest step here is to get past the blank page and start writing. It’s no more than 1,000 words and is a chance to tell your story. Who are you? Also, what are you hoping to accomplish in the world?

Reference Letters

Fourthly, start by making a list of people who can be used for a reference letter. This does not include friends or family. Consider professors and professional supervisors, especially those who have a sense of your personality and future goals. Who knows you best here?

Decide on a set of six referees that can provide an overall sense of your character. Make sure that they complement each other by speaking to various aspects of who you are. Then contact these referees in advance to avoid any potential delays. Don’t be afraid to follow up and make sure that the reference letters are submitted on time. Lastly, remember to provide your referees with information regarding the scholarship. 

Checking and Gathering Documents

Fifthly, collect and check the documents that are required for completing and submitting your application, which includes:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Valid Passport
  • Official Transcript (from the College or University you are attending or have attended)
  • A written statement from the President or Acting President of the College or University you’re attending
  • Endorsement of their University President or equivalent representative
  • A head-and-shoulders coloured photograph (jpeg)
  • Full Curriculum Vitae 
  • Personal Statement
  • 6 Referees (Reference Letters)

Furthermore, everything is submitted online. Please review this document for more details.

Social Engagement

Sixthly, what can you expect from the social engagement event? 

The social engagement is a reception and a meal. Meet panelists, applicants, and other Rhodes Scholars who are involved in the selection process. This occurs before the final interview. So, put your best foot forward in the most authentic and sincere manner. Most importantly, be yourself.

Final Interview 

Lastly, this is comprised of a panel of interviewers: approximately six to nine members. Also, the interview process can take between thirty and forty-five minutes. However, the interview process can vary in different constituencies. 

Suggestions to Prepare:

  • Have a friend ask you questions as the panel will.
  • Review everything you submitted.
  • Draw web charts to better articulate your narrative in a coherent manner.
  • Really know yourself before this interview.

Basically, the goal of the final interview is to determine the core of who you are, reflect on why you are applying, and what it would mean for you to be a Rhodes Scholar. It is absolutely appropriate to be vulnerable or emotional during the interview as long as you are authentically being yourself. 

Furthermore, for more information regarding Rhodes Scholarship tips, read How To Apply For The Rhodes Scholarship.