Rhodes Scholarship: the original criteria for student selection

By Lesley on 23 July 2020

Rhodes Scholarship: the original criteria for student selection

When Rhodes established his scholarship programme in 1902 (as laid out in his will), the criteria back then was very much different to what is required today.

Rhodes, himself had been a student at Oriel College, Oxford, and firmly believed that these residential colleges were the perfect environment to engage future world leaders and form diplomatic ties

Rhodes had in mind male students with a certain mix of attributes that he felt it took to be a world leader:

  • Academic ability
  • Enjoys outdoor sports
  • Personal qualities (honesty, empathy towards the weak, kindness, fellowship), and interestingly these attributes were to be judged by fellow students.
  • Character and instincts (taking an interest in fellow students), to be judged by the headmaster of the school

Male students only were offered the opportunity to become a Rhodes scholar until 1977, when female candidates were permitted to apply as candidates to be considered

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