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Let's talk Rhodes (please. I've got questions on questions)


aheather

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I posted about the Rhodes ages ago and didn't get any responses. 

Basically, I'm finding it hard to penetrate the mystique of the Rhodes and get real answers on application questions. I would welcome ANY information (or commiseration) from anyone, at this point.

This is the last year I'm eligible (age-wise) for the Rhodes, so I'm going to apply. I have a pretty compelling through-line from my work in college, to my Fulbright post-college, to my professional career post-Fulbright. But I need more education in order to do work with a greater impact, hence, applying to Oxford.

My college has already told me that they'll put me forward as a candidate. They haven't gotten a Rhodes since the 1970s, so... those are bad odds.... It's a state school, but the honors college of the state university system, and I don't know how that fares in the app process against prestigious institutions. I've noticed a whole lot of Harvard grads on lists of current scholars...

I'm also floundering a bit on where to academically focus. Obviously there are a lot of fantastic options, and I've been lucky enough to be interested in and study a very wide variety of topics. It seems like most Rhodes folks are STEM or politics focused, and I'm decidedly more humanities. Is that going to drag down my chances?

Is it bad to have a few years out of college (most current scholars seem to be right out of school) to have lived a bit of a life? Will the Fulbright be any real kind of boon, given that it was only an ETA grant and not a research one?

 

AHhhhh???? 

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I don't have any specific advice to give as I've never applied myself, but I would say go for it! The best way to ensure you don't get the award is to not apply. :) Also, I tend to think that just being authentically you is the best approach - so go for the humanities approach as it better represents what you are interested in. 

 

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On 2/24/2019 at 1:07 PM, aheather said:

I posted about the Rhodes ages ago and didn't get any responses. 

Basically, I'm finding it hard to penetrate the mystique of the Rhodes and get real answers on application questions. I would welcome ANY information (or commiseration) from anyone, at this point.

This is the last year I'm eligible (age-wise) for the Rhodes, so I'm going to apply. I have a pretty compelling through-line from my work in college, to my Fulbright post-college, to my professional career post-Fulbright. But I need more education in order to do work with a greater impact, hence, applying to Oxford.

My college has already told me that they'll put me forward as a candidate. They haven't gotten a Rhodes since the 1970s, so... those are bad odds.... It's a state school, but the honors college of the state university system, and I don't know how that fares in the app process against prestigious institutions. I've noticed a whole lot of Harvard grads on lists of current scholars...

I'm also floundering a bit on where to academically focus. Obviously there are a lot of fantastic options, and I've been lucky enough to be interested in and study a very wide variety of topics. It seems like most Rhodes folks are STEM or politics focused, and I'm decidedly more humanities. Is that going to drag down my chances?

Is it bad to have a few years out of college (most current scholars seem to be right out of school) to have lived a bit of a life? Will the Fulbright be any real kind of boon, given that it was only an ETA grant and not a research one?

 

AHhhhh???? 

I'm not a Rhodes Scholar, but I am an American student from a rural state school who's been accepted to pursue a DPhil in the sciences at Oxford, with full funding.

Regarding your last question, whether your Fulbright ETA would be any boon, you've already answered the question yourself! Unless I misunderstood, you said at the beginning of your post that you have a compelling narrative from your undergraduate to your Fulbright ETA and now to your professional career and desire to pursue further education. If your Fulbright gave you first-hand experiences which are now contributing to your desire to continue your studies, definitely describe that and it'll be a huge boon. But I don't think that name-dropping Fulbright on its own does you any favors or any disservice, unless you can connect it to the motivations underlying your current application in a meaningful way.

Is it bad to have been out of school? No, not necessary. My anecdote along similar lines is that I failed most my classes and dropped out after undergraduate freshman year. I took a year off before returning to university. In a vacuum, neither being out of school as you've been nor being a former drop-out as I am looks good. But applications are not reviewed in a vacuum. Your application should tell a story. I connected my experiences into a cohesive, compelling narrative when submitting my application materials and (with a bit of serendipity no doubt) ended up getting fully-funded offers from both Ivy League schools and Oxford. My experiences are part of my narrative, and I wouldn't be the same candidate without them. In that way, my nontraditional path certainly hasn't hurt me and yours won't necessarily hurt you either.

My final piece of advice is... from an academic perspective, why Oxford? You may want further education for your professional career, but that does not answer the question of why you would like to study at this particular institution. As a prospective student, Oxford (and indeed any university) will be looking for an argument as to you need to study there specifically, why their program is uniquely equipped to address your academic interests. The answer is almost inextricably linked to your academic interests, which is why it is important to decide how you want to specialize sooner than later.

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