2020 Marshall, Mitchell and Rhodes Campus Endorsement Process

The Marshall, Mitchell, and Rhodes Scholarships require all current College students and recent alum to secure institutional endorsement to apply at the national level. Institutional endorsement is based on full participation in the campus application process detailed below, developing a competive campus application, and participating in a faculty interview. Students cannot apply directly to these awards programs. If you have not attended the above required sessions and submitted the two required drafts by the stated deadlines below, you are not eligble for a nomination interview. You are invited to apply next year.

The 2020 UChicago Marshall, Mitchell and Rhodes Campus Endorsement Application Process:

  • Provides the opportunity for candidates to reflect on how their academic preparation, leadership, public service, vocational interests, and future goals connect with the mission(s) of the Marshall, Mitchell and/or Rhodes Scholarships;
  • Helps students articulate their best case for these highly selective fellowships in their campus endorsement application materials;
  • Simplifies the campus endorsement application process by providing a structured timeline, clear applicant requirements and deadlines, and defined expectations about staff support;
  • Facilitates substantive appliation support to ensure candidates are capable of developing the strongest possible endorsement application and are prepared for the campus endorsement interview; 
  • Creates a community of College student scholars, who encourage each other and provide thoughtful feedback.

Campus Endorsement Application Deadline: May 18, 2020 (Materials submitted after this date will not be considered)

To receive institutional endorsement from the University of Chicago, which is mandatory for all students, including alumni and Canadian Rhodes candidates, intending to apply for the Rhodes, applicants must complete the following steps:

Campus Endorsement Application Process:  

All candiates must participate fully in the formal campus application process detailed below in order to be eligible for individual advising appointments with Dr. Nichole Fazio, draft review and the endorsement interview: 

Winter Quarter: required attendance

[Step 1a] Attend Introductory Information Session:

[Step 1b] If you choose to move on to the next steps in the MMR process following your attendance at one of the introductory sessions:

  • Registration for the 2020 MMR Cohort is open only to students who attended a required introductory session. If you did so, but did not register before the portal closed, please reach out to Nichole Fazio directly by email (nfazio@uchicago.edu). If you are away from campus currently, please also contact Nichole for further information. 

[Step 2] Attend Self-Assessment and Motivation Statement Overview Session: individual advising sessions will only be available for those students who have attended an introductory session and a self-assessment/motivation statement/short essays overview during January/February*

[Step 3] Attend Short Answer and CV Overview Session:

Spring Quarter: required attendance

[Step 4] Attend Motivation Statement Writing Workshop (Draft 1): individual draft review appointments will only be available for those students who have attended the Winter Quarter overview sessions and at least one Spring Quarter writing workshop*

[Step 5] Attend Motivation Statement and Short Answer Writing Workshop (Draft 2):

[STOP] If you have not attended the above required sessions and submitted the two required drafts by the above stated deadlines, you are not eligble for a nomination interview. You are invited to apply next year.

[Step 6] Submit Campus Endorsement Campus Application: May 18, 2020

[Step 7] Attend Interview Preparation Session: facilitated by Dr. Leila Brammer, Director of the Parrhesia Program on Public Discourse

  • Dates TBD: between campus deadline and campus interivew

[Step 8] Participate in Faculty Endorsement Interview: in-person preferred; Skype or phone interviews conducted if studying abroad during Spring Quarter

  • May 29 - June 2, 2020

Campus Applicant and Nominee Expectations/Timeline: 

Winter: to be eligible for a campus nomination interview, students must complete the following: 

  • Attend three required MMR sessions: introductory session, self-assessment and motivation statement overview session, and short answer/CV session
  • Begin outlining ideas for first drafts of motivation statement, short essays, and CV

Springto be eligible for a campus nomination interview, students must complete the following: 

  • Attend required writing workshops (two)
  • Complete and revise two full drafts of the application by the stated deadlines above
  • Attend a campus nomination interview (in person preferred; Skype or phone possible if away from campus)

Summer: endorsed candidates will be expected to prioritize the final stages of their Marshall, Mitchell and Rhodes application process during the summer. This includes:

  • Three additional required drafts of the entire application (motivation statement*, short essays, and CV). *CCRF/UChicago faculty/staff cannot review your Rhodes or Mitchell personal statements.
  • Remaining letters (Rhodes, Mitchell) secured. 
  • Second faculty interview in early September. NB: The faculty endorsement committee reserves the right to retract its nomination of an MMR candidate should that individual not persist in their commitment to develop the most competitive, highly-polished application possible over the summer. 
  • Entire application prepared for submission to national portals by end of September.
  • Late summer/early fall: participate in bi-monthly "Cohort Conversations" and continued discourse training with Dr. Brammer (remote as needed).

Final national application submission: between September 28 and October 3, 2020 (depends on award program)

  • Invitation to interview nationally sent out approximately 3-4 weeks after national deadlines
  • A minimum of two (2) mock interviews provided for national finalists

Autumn Quarter: 

  • "Cohort Conversations" and ongoing interview/public discourse training with Dr. Brammer (in person)

National finalist interviews: mid- to late-November (typically just before the Thanksgiving holiday)

  • UChicago will cover all travel-related costs associated with travel to/from national interviews, including international travel
  • Notification of scholars depends on the award program: on the day-of the Rhodes interviews, within about a week of the Marshall and Mitchell national interviews
  • NB: National finalists are expected to work with College Communications to develop PR

If you are currently studying abroad or away from campus and unable to attend an introductory session, please contact Dr. Nichole Fazio by email for additional information and application guidance (nfazio@uchicago.edu).


Campus endorsement application instructions: 

You must complete the ONLINE APPLICATION HERE.  Note that you only submit one application; you will be endorsed for any/all of the award programs you identify (Rhodes, Marshall, and/or Mitchell). A complete campus application requires the following:

[1] Complete online application: includes basic biographical and academic data, names and contact information of the 4 individuals submitting letters on your behalf, as well as 4 additional names of individuals writing for you. NB: the Mitchell Scholarship requires a total of 5 letters; the US Rhodes Scholarship requires 8 letters of recommendation. 

[2] A 1000-word motivation statement, or "statement of intent" (also called a personal statement): Your motivation statement is the heart of your application and should provide the reader with a clear sense of what you care about and why, what major problems or issues motivate your work both inside and outside the classroom, and why you need to pursue your chosen degree programs in light of your future vocational aims. It should give the reader a sense of what motivates you (not exclusively the motivation of your research) and a sense of ways in which you are moving toward making a substantive different in your field, your local, national and international communities.

[3] Responses to the following short answers: 

  1. Proposed Academic Program (250-words max): Candidates should describe their top-choice institution and proposed program of study, giving specific reasons for their program of choice and preferred university. Those intending to apply for a research-based degree should provide an outline of the proposed research they wish to undertake. Candidates are also encouraged to identify the faculty with whom they wish to work and/or who may supervise their research, if relevant. Candidates do not need to reach out to faculty in advance of the campus or national application processes.
  2. Evidence of ambition for others (350-words max): Candidates should describe an experience that exhibits their “ambition for others” – that is a significant, meaningful public service experience in which they recognized and responded to needs greater than themselves. This can be related to the “big issues” motivating a candidate or the things they care about academically, politically, or socially. It can also include a discussion about failure; if an effort didn’t work perfectly, reflect on the motivations but also where things went a bit sideways.
  3. Leadership (350 words): Candidates should describe a situation in which they were working with a group of people and recognized and responded to a need for leadership․ The example might emphasize some of the following characteristics: a) it delivered a real and concrete outcome, or evidence of demonstrable progress; b) it showed the candidate’s strong conviction and determination; c) the solution was innovative․ The objective is to help the committee understand the candidate’s leadership conviction and drive, style and potential rather than provide a list of achievements․
  4. Post-Scholarship Plan (200-words max): Candidates should describe their *immediate plans* upon completion of their selected scholarship/degree program and why two years spent undertaking a degree in the UK or Ireland would enhance these plans. This is not the same as your 'future career aims' answer but should offer fairly explicit details your plans immediately following your British degree experience.
  5. Career objectives (200-words max): Provide a brief, but specific, description of your vocational aims and objectives. This is not the same as a job title or career description but should indicate a sense of driving purpose and how you expect to realize that in a particular role/organization/effort. 
  6. List of 8 improbable facts: this is a list, not a narrative essay. Candidates should list eight (8) interesting things about themselves, their experiences, and/or their lives. This should not be a list of accolades or awards, nor taken from the CV. It should provide for the reader interesting information that would not otherwise be in the application. It can be humorous, unexpected, informal and should be specific to you. Don’t overthink this list.

[4] A comprehensive curriculum vitae (CV) detailing honors, awards, research, leadership/service, and other co- and extra-curricular activities you have pursued since starting College. Do not include high-school experiences. since beginning college, as well as significant co- and extra- curricular activities.

[5] Unofficial transcripts. Please do not upload screen shots. 

[6] Four (4) letters of recommendation: your letters of recommendation will be requested and uploaded via the campus application portal. Three of your four letters should be academic-focused letters from teaching faculty and/or research mentors; if you are involved in significant co- or extra-curricular activities or post-graduate activities, including employment, a fourth letter focused on your leadership/service/professional life is acceptable. Your fourth letter, like the academic letters, must be in-depth letters from indviduals who know you well. 

NB: Your academic letters should be obtained from faculty.  They do not have to be tenured, but should know you in a teaching or research capacity. You should not request letters from graduate students, preceptors, post-docs, career or academic advisors; leadership/public service letters should not come from "famous" or high-ranking individuals who do not know you well. We are not interested in their noteriety; we are interested in what letter writers can actually say about you, in real and specific terms. Please have your letters sent on letterhead, signed, and addressed "To the scholarship selection committee".


Complete campus endorsement applications must be submitted by 11:59 pm CST on the stated campus application deadline. Applications submitted after this date will not be considered.  Alumni of the College must participate in the campus process and deadlines detailed above in order to be considered for endorsement. 

If you are an international candidate for the Rhodes Scholarship, you are encouraged to contact Nichole Fazio to establish a working timeline based on your individual deadlines (September - October). For details on the Rhodes for students from eligible countries, visit: http://www.rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk/about/rhodes-countries. With the exception of Canadian Rhodes candidates (see above), international Rhodes candidates are not required to participate in a formal endorsement process but are expected to meet with CCRF staff for general guidance.