Seven students apply for prestigious scholarships

Josephine Droney

Seven students from Villanova are nominated for national scholarships including the Rhodes, Marshall and Mitchell.

The Rhodes scholarship is for a two-year study at Oxford University, the Marshall scholarship is for a two year study at any university in the United Kingdom and the Mitchell scholarship gives students the opportunity to study for one year at any university in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Historically, the scholarships have encouraged international relations while fostering the personal success of their students.

Each recognizes the intellectual achievement, leadership and commitment to service of motivated students. These national scholarships are naturally very competitive.

Rhodes gives 32 scholarships nationwide among 80 scholars worldwide, Marshall selects up to 40 scholars nationwide and Mitchell gives 12 scholarships to students between the ages of 18 and 30 nationwide.

Villanova has produced a number of Rhodes finalists and two scholars since 1993.

There has never been a Marshall scholar, though seven students have been named finalists since 1973, and there has never been a Mitchell scholar.

Students research the different programs available to find what suits them and their future goals best.

They then contact the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships. Students must be endorsed by the University in order to apply.

“We look for students with civic engagement, a compelling background and who are the kind of person to bring about a change on a global level,” said Jane Morris, director of the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.

“You have a preliminary interviewing process in which Villanova has to nominate you for some of the scholarships, so you go and show that you’re prepared and a qualified student,” said David Rounce, who was nominated for the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships.

The application process for each is extensive and starts at the beginning of the school year.

Applicants work with the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships to make sure their application is complete.

“We worked very closely with Jane Morris in the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, and she’s an amazing help with making sure you get on track with the application,” said Keenan Lynch, who was nominated for the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships.

Nominees must also complete in-depth personal statements.

“You have to take a close look at yourself and what you want to do and start to make a plan for it,” Lynch said.

The statement is tailored to the specific program the student is applying for.

In addition, the statement should include an explanation of why they are interested in that program and what they will do with what the program offers.

“One thing that I wrote about in my personal statement is that I would like to continue training and see if I have a shot at the Olympic trials in 2012,” Rhodes nominee Nicole Schappert said. “After that I definitely want to go into the business world and focus on ways in which not only the business is profitable but how it can do it in responsible ways.”

Most statements include what the student hopes to contribute to society.

“I want to work in publishing,” said Erin Mahany, who is nominated for the Mitchell Scholarship.

“What I talked about in my essay is how popular literature is good because it gets people excited about reading. At the same time it is very easy for literature not to be quality literature, and so it’s important to close the gap between what’s good and what’s popular.”

Each scholarship requires recommendations. Rhodes requires eight recommendations, Marshall requires four recommendations and Mitchell requires five recommendations. Long application forms also must be filled out.

“At the end of the day, you put everything together and fill out these long application forms that make the Common App look simple,” said Charles Gillespie, who is nominated for the Rhodes, Marshall and Mitchell scholarships.

Along with Gillespie, Lynch, Mahany, Rounce and Schappert, other nominees included Will O’Hara and Tara Powers.

O’Hara is nominated for the Marshall and Rhodes, while Powers is nominated for the Marshall and Mitchell. The nominees will be informed of their scholarship status in the coming weeks.