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Applying for Marshall, Mitchell, & Rhodes at Yale

Photograph by Michael Marsland.

There is a common application process for Yale's endorsement for the Marshall, Mitchell, Canadian/US Rhodes Scholarships.

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March - June: getting started

This process takes more time than you might expect: start early. Give yourself plenty of time to start conversations with faculty mentors during the spring semester, before everyone leaves campus and scatters to the far corners of the globe.

  • Attend one of the annual information sessions about postgraduate study in the United Kingdom and Ireland, either live (calendar here) or virtually.
  • Research degree courses at universities in the United Kingdom and Ireland (as well as options at universities at home).  Consult faculty mentors about suitable graduate programs, make an appointment to talk to a Fellowships adviser, and talk to Graduate Fellowship Affiliates and other contacts (ask the Fellowships office for suggestions from the wide Yale network).
  • Come up with a shortlist of fellowships for which you plan to apply and go through eligibility and application requirements via official websites. For fellowships which require institutional evaluation or nomination, review Yale application information via the Student Grants Database; note that campus deadlines can be a month or more in advance of official deadlines, to allow for all that needs to happen in between.
  • Think about who might write strong letters of reference in support of each of your applications (Fellowships advisers can help with strategy).  Make initial contacts with people you hope will write your references (find advice about the best way to ask for letters) and acquire summer contact information.
  • Begin work on essays and “proposed academic programme(s).” Seek advice on the Fellowships website, from your academic advisers, college writing tutor (if you’re a current student; alumni: contact Fellowships), Fellowships advisers, Graduate Fellowship Affiliates, et al.

NOTE: recent requirements for the Rhodes (Canadian & US, as well as other national competitions) and Mitchell (see their websites) mean that you can receive no feedback or comments of any description on personal statements, from anyone (see Yale Student Grants Database for further implications). 

Note: Plan ahead: the crowded fall calendar of postgraduate fellowship deadlines means that advising spots are usually fully booked from late August until early October. Book an appointment to talk via telephone or Skype during the summer instead.

July - August: putting together applications

Open applications in the Yale Student Grants Database and/or official application systems, as appropriate.

Work on drafts of essays.  Note that some large competitions have deadlines by which to submit drafts if you'd like feedback (and it's allowed) in advance of a campus application deadline.

Transcripts: for most campus endorsement processes, an unofficial Yale College transcript will suffice; but you will be responsible for securing any required official copies of transcripts from study abroad programs, colleges, and universities other than Yale College. Note the particular requirements of the fellowships for which you're applying. Transcripts can take longer to arrive than you might expect: plan ahead to avoid last-minute stress.

Although many online application systems won't open until September or October, August is a good time to begin working on applications for admission to British/Irish universities if you are planning to apply independently (and application to the graduate degree course of your choice is required for some fellowship competitions). If you're applying as a graduating senior or current graduate/professional student, you'll be glad you got a lot of work done before the start of the fall semester. You can usually see the application requirements even before online systems open.

August - February: applying

Submit applications for fellowships, according to campus and external deadlines (see the Yale Student Grants Database, official websites, and the Fellowships calendar for further details). After applications are submitted, they are reviewed by campus and/or external committees. Many competitions conduct external finalist interviews. See information provided about each fellowship in the Yale Database and/or on official websites, but a few highlights:

  • August: Campus deadlines to apply for Yale's endorsement for the Marshall, Mitchell, US and Canadian Rhodes; campus process and submission of endorsed applications completed by official deadlines in late September-early October. Yale College process for seniors applying for the Fulbright takes place over a similar timeline.
  • August-October: official application deadlines for Rhodes competitions in various countries (see Rhodes Trust website)
  • October: deadline for US applicants to apply for graduate study at Cambridge if they hope to be considered for the Gates, Cambridge Trust, and other Cambridge funding; campus deadline to apply for Yale's endorsement for the Churchill, in advance of official deadlines for nominated applications in November
  • November: finalist interviews for the Marshall, Mitchell, and US Rhodes; other Rhodes competitions often conduct finalist interviews in November and early December
  • December: deadline for international and continuing applicants to apply for graduate study at Cambridge if they hope to be considered for the Gates and other Cambridge funding; NIH Oxford-Cambridge application deadline
  • January: deadline to apply for graduate study at Oxford if you hope to be considered for the Clarendon, Ertegun, Weidenfeld, and other Oxford funding
  • late January- mid February: campus application deadlines for the Henry and Paul Mellon (with finalist interviews generally just after spring break)

November - June: waiting for results

When will you hear results? Each competition has its own timeline, but many awards are offered by sometime in April. Some highlights:

  • November-December: Marshall, Mitchell, and most Rhodes competitions are complete
  • January: Churchill nominees hear decisions, Fulbright applicants find out whether or not their applications have been recommended for review abroad, and US Gates finalists interview, with international and continuing Gates finalists interviewing in February
  • April: many fellowships for postgraduate study in Britain make offers, although some are not announced until May or later

Be strategic

Funding for postgraduate study in Britain and Ireland is extremely competitive, so it's always wise to have a plan b, and possibly a plan c. You might apply for graduate or professional school at home, for internships and jobs, or perhaps for another kind of postgraduate fellowship. Be strategic about what might make most sense for you, take time to do your best with each application, and don't spread yourself (or your generous writers of letters of recommendation) too thin.