What does it take to become a Rhodes Scholar? Too often we imagine that distinguished graduate fellowships are only meant for those with very high G.P.A.s, but when Cecil Rhodes set out the criteria for his award more than 100 years ago, he said he was looking for people who would “esteem public service as their highest aim” and “fight the world’s fight.” He even went so far as to say he didn’t want “mere bookworms.” The Rhodes Scholarship -- and many other distinguished awards -- are seeking to invest in people who are formidable and focused forces of energy, people of integrity who are concerned for others and who can make things happen.
NYU’s Office of Global Awards is interested in helping students create lives of such purposeful commitment and passionate engagement. Our Program in Leadership & Service supports students to figure out what matters to them and why, so that they might take more effective action. This early mentoring and development program is being organized by Lorelei Ormrod, a Rhodes Scholar and faculty fellowships advisor, and offered to students from freshmen to juniors. We’ll learn through a series of four workshops designed to help you develop the awareness and skills needed to build an aligned and promising future:
Fall 2017 Cohort 1
Fall 2017 Cohort 2
Spring 2018 Cohort 1
Spring 2018 Cohort 2
All workshops will be held at 12 Washington Place.
This program has completely changed the way in which I interact with the world. Contemplating my values and how I am and am not living in alignment with them has had a tremendous impact on the way that I understand myself, my future, and the people and world around me.
The opportunity to take a step back and think meaningfully about why I do the things I do, and how my current practices may or may not be beneficial towards achieving my goals was very valuable. I got to meet a lot of interesting and well-rounded students, and I truly enjoyed being able to hear about the different things that get them excited. This was definitely a worthwhile experience and I would recommend it to anyone interested in growing as an individual.
The program is a place where you are forced to answer all the questions about yourself that you normally avoid, and questions that you didn't even know you had. It gives you a place where you're allowed to think deeply, critically, lovingly, and thoughtfully about yourself, the impact you have on others, and the impact others have on you. It can spur you forward with new energy towards your passions or guide you in understanding what they are.
I already had a general idea of what I wanted to accomplish during my undergrad at NYU, but I had no idea how to do it. This program helped my focus in on my goals so that I could understand the process and recognize the steps and twists and turns one takes on the way to becoming themselves.
This mentoring program has enabled me to make the most of and enjoy my time at NYU. It helped me find greater purpose and meaning in the activities I was already doing, and guided me in making both short and long term plans in living the life possible based on my personal values. It helped me to discover what I was truly passionate about, and equipped me with the skills and resources to live out my vision. I met great people in the program who inspired and energized me, whom I learnt from and had meaningful discussions with. It was the platform I needed to gain clarity about where I was heading for graduate school and post-college employment.
If you want to get to know amazing people, take the time to slow down and assess your life, understand how mentorship and leadership works, realize your own potential, develop a clear picture of the direction you want to go in, and learn to stop waiting and just go, then this program is right for you.
Those accepted to the program join a cohort of 16 students, a community we hope will become a rich source of inspiration and solidarity. You’ll also have two one-on-one mentoring sessions with Lorelei, where you can discuss your experience and aspirations. You’ll learn how to foster working relationships with faculty, peers and professionals in your field, and how to think strategically about your own development. Wherever you are headed, this practice of self-reflection will prepare you to create the life you imagine. Don’t leave thinking about future paths and fellowship opportunities until you are about to graduate — come take part in the conversation now. Envisioning where we want to be tomorrow enables us to live with more focus and energetic engagement today.
The application period for fall semester cohorts closed on October 6.
The application period for admission to spring semester cohorts will be open October 18 to October 30.
There will be info sessions at 12 Washington Place on October 17, 5:30-6:30pm, and on October 20, 1-2pm.
Please click here for the spring semester application. (Note: you must be logged into NYU Home in order to access the form.)
Lorelei Ormrod is a Senior Lecturer in the Expository Writing Program at NYU. A devoted teacher, she cares deeply about helping people grow into their full potential and make their way in the world. She has advised hundreds of students about distinguished fellowships, and served on several scholarship selection committees. Passionate about international education and civic engagement, Lorelei leads the Social Justice League for the Residential College of Goddard and Broome. Previously, she was Assistant Director of the Morehead Scholars Program, responsible for mentoring outstanding student-leaders from across the US, UK, and Canada, and for coordinating their enrichment education of outdoor leadership expeditions, public service internships, overseas travel/study experiences, and career development placements. She also served as Junior Dean of Oxford University’s Jesus College; as Dean of Students for International Baccalaureate Summer Schools based in Oxford and Cambridge; and as a Warden and Tutor responsible for the Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) component of the IB curriculum at St. Clare’s International College in Oxford.
Living and learning in another country will change your understanding of yourself and the world. There are exceptional programs and people to learn from, and, if you are so fortunate to go on scholarship, you’ll join an unusually energized community of peers. These relationships are a core part of the richness, a vital support and inspiration for your own ongoing development.
The Rhodes takes you to Oxford and the Gates to Cambridge. For the Marshall, you choose from academic programs across the UK, and with the Mitchell, across Ireland. The Trudeau is for Canada, and the Schwarzman and Yenching are based in China. The Fulbright can take you nearly anywhere in the world. Please see all the details on these distinguished awards here.
No. We encourage students of all years to apply, though it is true that this program has enormous transformative potential for students early on in their degree.
Leadership is all about working in relationship to other people. The post-graduate fellowships we hope to support you towards are interested in how you conceive of yourself in community and the ethics of your engagement. For example, when Cecil Rhodes set out the criteria for the Rhodes Scholarship more than 100 years ago, he specifically said he was looking for people who would “esteem public service as their highest aim” and “fight the world’s fight.”
There is no quick answer to this. For the UK scholarships, GPA does need to be high (generally 3.8 or higher). However, Rhodes even went so far as to say he didn’t want “mere bookworms.” Academic excellence is necessary, but it’s not sufficient. There are also other fellowships, like Fulbright and Truman, which do not have the same kind of GPA requirements. We will take your GPA into consideration, but it will not be the sole determinant.
Yes, we hope to offer it every semester.
No. It’s important that you be able to commit to all the workshops. The student cohort is a working group, and if you’re not there, we all miss your energy. This may sound very new-agey, but it’s true; there’s a liveliness in the room when everyone is present and engaged that makes the workshop that much more enjoyable. The more you allow this program to be a genuinely social experience, the more transformative it will be.
Another tricky question. We are looking to help you intentionally choose where you gain your experience from in the future so for this program, do you not have to have had substantial experience. However, you do need to show evidence of follow-through--that you do what you say you’re going to do.
Most people don’t, and it’s with time and accident that we discover what galvanizes us and gives us a sense of pleasing purpose. The main criteria is that you WANT to be galvanized.
Yes. Leadership is multifaceted. There are many ways to make a difference and be of service in the world. Your concern and energetic engagement are essential.
Yes, we’ll offer versions of the four workshops throughout the year. If you haven’t already signed up for our listserv, please do so so we can keep you informed as they are scheduled.