Are you our next Rhodes Scholar?

02 July  2018

Ashleigh Barnes

UTS graduate and 2018 Rhodes Scholar, Ashleigh Barnes

Interested in applying for a 2019 Rhodes Scholarship but intimidated by the selection criteria? As Rhodes Scholar Ashleigh Barnes discovered, you should never rule yourself out.

This year, nine outstanding young Australians – chosen on the basis of academic achievement, character, leadership, and commitment to service – will receive Rhodes Scholarships to study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

High-profile scholars and world leaders, including two former Australian prime ministers, are among the Rhodes scholarship’s remarkable alumni – there have been more than 8,000 scholars since the program’s inception in 1903.

Earlier this year, law and international studies alumna Ashleigh Barnes became the first UTS graduate to receive a Rhodes Scholarship. She recently headed to Oxford University, and is using her prestigious scholarship to study for a Bachelor of Civil Laws.

Though Barnes had heard of the scholarship, she says its reputation initially deterred her.

“I knew about it, of course, but only in the context of sandstone universities, elite sportsmen and politicians – three categories I obviously didn’t fit into,” she says.

Three different people – “a close friend from work, an academic and a university colleague” – urged her to have a go. With her confidence buoyed after winning the University Medal in Law, she began the “intense and transformative [application] process”.

Intelligence and academic excellence are only one aspect of the Rhodes selection criteria. Just as important are qualities such as a “ moral force of character ”, strong leadership skills and a desire to promote ideas of social justice.

“There is no such thing as the wrong kind of degree, the wrong high school or the wrong university. Yes, the Rhodes Scholarship is about intellect, leadership and mastery in extracurricular pursuits, but it is also about truth, courage, devotion to duty and more,” says Barnes.

“If you have a vision for how you want to fight the world’s fight, back yourself and be game to have a go.”

Eligibility criteria

Of the nine scholarships available each year in Australia, each state offers one scholarship that is awarded by a selection committee of seven members (including three Rhodes Scholars) based in the state. In addition, there are three Australia-at-Large Scholarships awarded by a selection committee based in Canberra.

To be eligible for the Rhodes Scholarship, candidates must fulfil the following criteria:

  • Nationality/citizenship: You must be an Australian citizen who has been a resident in Australia for at least two of the last 10 years.
  • Education/residency: You must have completed at least two years of schooling at an Australian secondary school.
  • Age: You must have reached your 19th and not have passed your 26th birthday on 1 October 2019, which means you must have been born after 30 September 1993 and on or before 1 October 2000.
  • Academic achievement: You will have completed the requirements of an Australian Bachelor Honours degree or Australian Masters degree or international equivalent with a proficiency level of first class honours or an equivalent mark of distinction for Masters students by no later than 15 June 2019.
  • You may not apply for the Rhodes Scholarship more than two times.

Find out more

Visit the Rhodes Trust website for more information about selection criteria and the application procedure.

Applications opened on 1 July 2018 and will close at midnight, AEST, 14 September 2018.

Byline: Alex Wise