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Rhodes Scholarship: Everything You Need to Know 

By Zach Skillings

Zach Skillings is the Scholarships360 Newsletter Editor. He specializes in college admissions and strives to answer important questions about higher education. When he’s not contributing to Scholarships360, Zach writes about travel, music, film, and culture. His work has been published in Our State Magazine, Ladygunn Magazine, The Nocturnal Times, and The Lexington Dispatch. Zach graduated from Elon University with a degree in Cinema and Television Arts.

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Edited by Maria Geiger

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Updated: October 16th, 2023
Rhodes Scholarship: Everything You Need to Know 

The Rhodes Scholarship is one of the most prestigious international scholarships in the world. Rhodes Scholars receive full financial support to pursue a postgraduate degree at the University of Oxford. The scholarship has an impressive track record of creating opportunities for exceptional students, and is particularly suitable for those who wish to pursue public service. If you think you have what it takes to become a Rhodes scholar, here’s everything you need to know!

What is the Rhodes Scholarship?

Since its founding in 1902, the Rhodes Scholarship has supported students from around the world to attend the University of Oxford in England. Every year, 32 American Rhodes scholars are selected, while award numbers vary for other countries. For 2-3 years the scholarship will cover all of the following:

  • Tuition
  • Fees
  • Living expenses 
  • Health care coverage
  • Flights to and from the U.K. 

The total amount varies, but can reach approximately $250,000. Scholars can earn a second bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or a doctoral degree in any field at Oxford. 

Why should I pursue the Rhodes Scholarship? 

Top-notch academics

Becoming a Rhodes Scholar and getting the chance to study at the University of Oxford is the opportunity of a lifetime. Oxford is a world-class institution renowned for its leading research efforts, excellent learning facilities, and contributions to society. 

Not to mention, Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world and is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top universities. Oxford offers over 350 graduate courses across four academic divisions, including the humanities, medical sciences, social sciences, and the mathematical, physical, and life sciences. 

Change the world!

While attending Oxford is an incredible educational experience, Rhodes is more than just an academic scholarship. It’s an opportunity to pursue passion projects and change the world for the better. One of the tenets of the program is commitment to service, meaning that students dedicate their time to worthwhile causes. Rhodes scholars take on important projects that range from addressing rural poverty in South Africa to improving the field of disaster medicine. In the process, students expand their worldview, connect with people from across the globe,  and become leaders and innovators. 

Applying for the Rhodes Scholarship 

Thousands of students from around the world apply for the Rhodes Scholarship every year. The selection process is very competitive, with the global acceptance rate standing at 0.7%. The application is available each year starting in early July and the deadline is the first Wednesday of October each year. Students interested in applying should visit this page.


Age requirements and deadlines vary between countries, but criteria for selection remains the same. Find the rules for your particular country or region on the Rhodes Scholarship website. The following eligibility requirements apply to U.S. applicants: 

  • Be at least 18, but not yet 24 at the time of application submission, some exceptions apply for older students
  • Have completed an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.70 or higher
  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or DACA recipient 

Criteria for Selection

The guiding criteria for selection have remained the same since the Rhodes Scholarship was first awarded in 1902. The organization bases its selections not only on the basis of intellect, but also of character, leadership, and commitment to service. Here’s what selection committees are looking for in applicants: 

  1. Literary and scholastic attainments (academic excellence)
  2. Energy to use one’s talents to the full (as demonstrated by mastery in areas such as sports, music, debate, dance, theater, and artistic pursuits, particularly where teamwork is involved)
  3. Truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship
  4. Moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one’s fellow beings

Application Procedures

The best time to apply is during a student’s junior year of college. The application for the Rhodes Scholarship includes the following requirements: 

After applying, candidates go through a series of interviews and then winners are announced in November. Keep in mind that students who apply for Rhodes still have to apply to the university separately. 

Other resources for Rhodes Scholarship hopefuls

If you are looking into post-graduate opportunities, we have a host of resources available to help guide you through the process. Check out our guide on funding your graduate school education to start off. We’ve also got resources to help you get into grad school if you had a low GPA in undergrad. Additionally, you can check out our guides to graduate assistantships, filling out the FAFSA for grad school, and deferring your student loans while in grad school. Good luck and don’t forget to check back if you have any more questions! Make sure you also apply for all the scholarships you are eligible for!

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Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways

  • Rhodes Scholars should be students who are interested in and passionate about making real change in the world through their academic pursuits
  • Students interested in applying should maintain the best academic record possible, as well as a mix of strong extracurricular activities
  • In completing your application, you’ll want strong and varied letters of recommendation, a memorable personal statement, and impressive interviews 
  • Becoming a Rhodes scholar is a phenomenal achievement, and you shouldn’t let the rigorous application process stand in your way
Key Takeaways

Frequently asked questions about the Rhodes Scholarship

How many Rhodes scholars are there each year?

In 2022, there were 32 Rhodes scholars from the United States. Those 32 winners were selected from 826 applicants. Those 32 candidates means that roughly only 3.87% of applicants were selected. However, there are more applicants that are selected from across the globe. In total there are over 100 scholars each year.

What GPA is needed for Rhodes Scholars?

The Rhodes Scholarship requires students to have at least a 3.70 GPA. The higher your GPA the more competitive your application will be. GPA is important, so you should certainly aim to keep it high, but not at the expense of other parts of your application.

Do Rhodes Scholars get paid?

Rhodes Scholars are not paid per say, but they may receive a stipend that they can use to pay for daily expenses. You may also receive money for things like travel expenses and housing. For the most part, Rhodes Scholars should have minimal expenses during their academic pursuits at Oxford. 

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