These awards are highly competitive, designed to honor the "best and brightest" American college graduates by providing funds for them to spend two years earning a degree at a British university. All disciplines are eligible and the scholarship can be held at any British university. Such an opportunity is not only one of the highest honors a student can receive, but enables Marshall Scholars to significantly advance their education. In the available time a person with an American bachelor's degree can earn a second British bachelor's, or in some cases, a master's degree. In some cases these degrees are transferable to graduate, medical or law degree programs upon returning to the United States. Forty awards are made each year, distributed among eight regions of the United States. Centenary is part of the Houston Region, so you would be competing against other candidates from colleges and universities located in Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
A key qualification for a Marshall Scholarship is high academic ability, to the point that applicants without at least a 3.7 grade-point average in the years after their first year of college are discouraged from applying. The stated objectives of the program:
- to express the gratitude of the British people to the American people for the Marshall Plan;
- to bring for study in the United Kingdom intellectually distinguished young Americans who will one day become leaders, opinion formers and decision makers in their own country;
- to enable them to gain an understanding and appreciation of the British way of life and British social and academic values;
- to encourage them to be ambassadors to the United Kingdom for their own way of life, and to establish long-lasting bridges and ties between the peoples of the United States and the United Kingdom, at a personal level; and
- to raise the profile of the United Kingdom in the United States, particularly among its young people.
Each candidate must submit his/her application on the online form. Applications must be endorsed by President Schwab or Provost Colson (preferably both) . The online application process must be supervised and directed by the Arthur and Emily Webb Chair of International Studies (currently email). All items including the four letters of recommendation must be submitted online and received at the regional center no later than October 4, 2007. An official copy of your academic transcript will need to be mailed to the Selection Committee. It must also arrive no later than October 4, so plan ahead.
The Selection Committee seeks "distinction of intellect and character as evidenced both by their scholastic attainments and by other activities and achievements. Preference will be given to candidates who combine high academic ability with the capacity to play an active part in the life of the United Kingdom university to which they go, and to those who display a potential to make a significant contribution to their own society. Selectors will also look for strong motivation and seriousness of purpose, including the presentation of a specific and realistic academic programme." (Marshall Scholars website)
Applicants for British Marshall Scholarships are required to "outline their proposed field (and level) of study and to nominate a first and second choice university in the United Kingdom; they are further required to justify their choice of course and institution in a statement which forms part of the application process. Candidates are expected to prepare their application as fully as possible " (Marshall Scholars website). You might consider looking at some of the lesser-known schools whose unique qualities might better match your own academic aspirations.
Preparation of an application requires the student to look carefully into the possible courses of study and institutions of higher education and select the best match, given the student's interests and goals. The proposal itself must persuasively justify the choices made. The two major statements to be submitted:
- a statement of fewer than 1000 words describing the applicant's academic and other interests and pursuits, and
- a statement of fewer than 500 words identifying the proposed academic program, giving the reasons for wishing to undertake the study proposed and for preferring the first-choice university as a location.
In addition there are forms to be filled out (available on-line), and four letters of recommendation, which will be much more persuasive if you have discussed your specific plans with the recommenders. The Webb Chair faculty member will be responsible for requesting the institutional endorsement that must accompany each application. There are no limits on the number of applications Centenary can submit.
Preparing the Statements
As you prepare the Marshall statements, you should try to project yourself as destined for future leadership...in the broadest possible sense. A certain self-confidence (but not arrogance) is particularly effective. If you can identify instances where your actions made a difference in a community, work them into your personal statement. If you can identify a program at a particular British university that extends your long-held and passionate ambitions for further study, great. The statements must be impeccably written: a coherent picture of a disciplined and dedicated student who is confident of their academic and vocational goals and appears to exercise good judgment in choosing their intended path.