College/School Eligibility:

  • Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Architecture, Art and Planning
  • Arts and Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Human Ecology
  • Industrial and Labor Relations
  • SC Johnson Business - Dyson

Class Year Eligibility:

  • Fourth Year + (undergrad)

Open to:

  • Cornell Undergraduate Students

Cornell endorsement is required.

U.S. citizens between the ages of 18 and 24 who will hold the Bachelor's degree before embarking on the Scholarship. Citizens of Australia, Bermuda, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Jamaica & the Commonwealth Caribbean, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Southern Africa (including South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, and Swaziland), Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine (SJLP), United Arab Emirates, Zambia, and Zimbabwe may apply through their own countries or, in some cases, through the U.S. competition if they study in the U.S.

Students interested in applying for the Rhodes must speak with the Fellowship Coordinator in 103 Barnes, preferably several months before the campus deadline in August.

Applicants first submit their materials to a campus committee for review in August. The Cornell Endorsement Committee interviews all applicants and chooses nominees to the national competition, which is conducted in 16 regions. Applications must be processed and endorsed through the CCS fellowships office to be eligible. Endorsement decisions are final and not subject to appeal.

Selection decisions on campus and in the Rhodes districts are based on the criteria below.

  • Academic record: While the Rhodes Trust does not require a minimum GPA, an extremely strong academic record is required. The average GPA of Rhodes Scholars is about 3.9. Students should excel in their chosen field, be widely read, and demonstrate intellectual flexibility.
  • List of Activities and Honors: This list should show sustained commitment to serving others, leadership and initiative, and extracurricular interests. Athletic activity is not required but is considered an asset in the competition.
  • Personal Statement: This essay of no more than 1,000 words should give the committee a clear sense of who you are, how your interests have developed, and how and why study at Oxford and the Rhodes Scholarship fit into your future plans. Applicants must know which degree program they plan to pursue at Oxford and be able to explain how it will advance them toward their long-term goals. Both you and the Fellowship Coordinator will be asked to attest that you have received no assistance in writing the statement.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Five letters are requested; up to eight are permitted. It is advised that you seek seven or eight letters if possible. Four must be from professors who have taught you at the undergraduate level. Choose your recommenders carefully and in consultation with the Fellowship Coordinator. Each letter should offer a piece of information about your candidacy, which is unavailable from other recommenders. Do not choose someone who does not know you well but has a "big name."
  • Interview: Students face a panel of experts from a variety of fields. Interviewers may ask questions related to the student's field, pose philosophical dilemmas, ask questions related to current events, etc. Students should be prepared for a broad-ranging interview, and should fully expect to be asked questions to which they do not know the answers. Information on the interview process is available from the Fellowship Coordinator. Mock interviews and preparation workshops are held during the fall.