Rotary Scholarships

Background:  Rotary International has a long history of supporting youth exchange programs and funding year-long scholarships which support international understanding by sending high school and college students to study in foreign countries. As “Academic Ambassadors,” college students who win Rotary International Scholarships articulate the goals of the program to Rotary Clubs in the country where they are studying.

The Scholarships:  Rotary districts (there are two in South Carolina) provide about $25,000 to one, two or three students annually for a year of foreign study that may, but does not have to, lead to a degree. Students usually apply for the scholarship in the spring of their junior year because the scholarship does not begin until at least 18 months later, but undergraduates (freshmen and sophomores) as well as seniors or recent graduates are also eligible.

Application:  The lengthy application consists of a brief autobiography, statement of purpose, list of activities, transcript, and language evaluation. Students applying to study in a non-English speaking country must translate their entire application into the language of that country. (A part of the Rotary Scholarship interview will be held in the appropriate foreign language.) Candidates for the Rotary International Scholarship must identify five universities, no more than two in the same country, where they would like to study; they should be knowledgeable about their choices.

Who Should Apply:  Students with good grades (3.6+) and (for non-English speaking countries) excellent language skills should consider applying for a Rotary Scholarship. Because Rotary International seeks “ambassadors,” public speaking experience and an outgoing personality are helpful. Students whose parents or grandparents are Rotarians are not eligible. References: Three recommendations on forms provided by Rotary.

The Rotary Process:  Rotary districts have different scholarship application deadlines, ranging from April (Greenville) to mid-July. Students can apply in both the Greenville district and at home if they do not live in Upstate South Carolina. Clubs have varying procedures; some require interviews before endorsement, while others do not.

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