The George J. Mitchell Scholarship supports a cultural exchange between Ireland and the United States. It is one of the most prestigious scholarships that American students can receive in order to study abroad. The scholarship was established in 1998 and receives the majority of its funds from the U.S. Department of State.
In order to be eligible to apply for this scholarship, applicants must meet a number of key criteria. The first is that the applicant must be between the ages of 18 years old and 29 years old. Secondly, applicants are required to receive their undergraduate degree before embarking study through the Mitchell Scholarship program. Additionally, only United States citizens can apply for this scholarship. Married students are permitted to apply for the award, but they do not receive additional funding to support their spouse’s fare or living expenses. Full details about the eligibility criteria for the Mitchell Scholarships can be found on this website.
The application process for this award begins fairly early. The application cycle opens in April of each year and closes September 30th. However, students are required to obtain an endorsement from their home university and frequently, the deadline for endorsement occurs prior to this deadline. Applicants who are chosen as one of the semi-finalists will be invited to take part in a Skype interview. These interviews occur in late October. A finalist weekend occurs in mid- to late- November. The finalists are announced immediately after the finalist weekend. A full list of important dates for the current application cycle can be found here.
In order to complete an application, students will need a number of materials to support their application. Students will have to have proof of U.S. citizenship, their current grade point average, information related to their honors, awards, and community service activities, and contact information for the endorser at their home institution. Additionally, students are encouraged to choose three programs at three different institutions. Additionally, applicants will need the contact information of four different individuals, whom they know well, and who are willing to serve as an official recommender for the candidate.
In addition to the above materials, students will also be required to submit a photo, similar to the one taken for passports. A personal statement, not to exceed 1,000 words, is required. This serves as the candidate’s opportunity to share their passion and interests with the committee. Lastly, applicants will have to have all of their transcripts combined into one PDF document, which should be uploaded. The transcripts may be unofficial, but should include all graduate and undergraduate coursework that has been attempted.
When reviewing applications, the selection committee looks for a variety of criteria. First, successful students have a demonstrated record of strong leadership ability. In addition, students who are chosen tend to show an enduring commitment to public service and community service. Lastly, recipients tend to be among the brightest scholars in the United States, as evidenced through strong academic performance from high school and college.