Applications for Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships on par with past years

A total of 75 seniors applied for Fulbright scholarships this year, while 29 applied for Rhodes scholarships. The students applied through the Bechtel International Center’s Overseas Resource Center.

“We assist students from their first inquiry to preparation for final interviews,” said John Pearson, director of the Bechtel International Center.

Tiffany Kung ’13, a Fulbright applicant, praised the help of the Overseas Resource Center.

“They gave me a much clearer and more understandable picture of the process,” she said. “They look over your personal statement and project proposal and offer you interview help as well.”

The Fulbright scholarship allows students to either conduct their own research project or teach English in a country of their choice. The program was initially established in 1946 and is now active in 155 countries.

The Rhodes scholarship, established in 1902, funds up to three years of postgraduate study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Last year, a University record of five alumni– Aysha Bagchi ’11, Anand Habib ’11, Ishan Nath ’12, Kate Niehaus ’10 M.S. ’11 and Tenzin Seldon ’12– were selected for the prestigious award, bringing Stanford’s total number of Rhodes scholars to 107.

Stanford has also had success with the Fulbright in past years.

“In the last few years it has been around 25 winners each year,” he said. “Last year it was lower, this year we hope it will increase again.”

While students must get University endorsement for the Rhodes scholarshop, the Fulbright Program requires that Stanford forward all submitted applications.

“The Rhodes has no institutional limits or quotas but strongly requests that schools seriously evaluate applicants before providing endorsements,” Pearson said. “Endorsement decisions vary, depending on the scholarship and whether there is a limit on how many applications we can forward.”

Pearson stated that while the University does not release the number of endorsed applicants, the majority of applicants receive University endorsements. Approximately 35 to 40 students seek Rhodes and Marshall endorsements each year. The endorsement committee is made up of faculty and former Rhodes and Marshall scholars. Every applicant for the scholarships is granted an interview, even if over Skype.

“We provide ongoing advising to students to help them determine whether they should apply,” he said.

Once applicants receive an endorsement, the Rhodes Trust reviews their applications. Applicants are then notified if they have received a final interview.

“For Rhodes, numbers do vary as to how many Stanford candidates receive final interviews but it is usually up to a dozen,” Pearson said. “On the whole, Stanford students do very well in these competitions.”