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WSU Undergraduate Education Distinguished Scholarships Program

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Mitchell Scholarships

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“My father was the orphaned son of immigrants to the United States from Ireland. My father never knew his parents. His mother died – we’re not sure – either at or shortly after his birth, and he and all of his siblings were placed in orphanages in the Boston area… I really owe everything to my parents and their devotion and drive to see to it that their children had the education which led to the opportunities that they never were able to have.”

George J. Mitchell, Jr., United States Senator from Maine

Table of Contents:
EligibilityPreparationApplication Process

Description

The Mitchell Scholarship Program is designed to introduce and connect generations of future American leaders to the island of Ireland, while recognizing and fostering intellectual achievement, leadership, and a commitment to community and public service. Up to 12 Mitchell Scholars between the ages of 18 and 30 are chosen annually for one year of postgraduate study in any discipline offered by institutions of higher learning in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Applicants are judged on scholarship, leadership, and a sustained commitment to community and public service. Scholarship recipients are provided tuition, accommodations, a living expenses stipend, and an international travel stipend.

The Mitchell Scholarship is awarded by the US-Ireland Alliance, a proactive, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to consolidating existing relations between the United States and the island of Ireland and building that relationship for the future. The scholarship is named in honor of former United States Senator George J. Mitchell, who served as Chairman of the peace negotiations in Northern Ireland. Senator Mitchell’s life and career have embodied a deep commitment to public service. The commitment to serve community and country, along with his characteristics of intellectual distinction, leadership, integrity, excellence, and fairness are the qualities sought in Mitchell Scholars.

Eligibility

For a complete list of eligibility requirements, please consult the Mitchell Scholarship webpage. In general, students should:

  • Be U.S. citizens.
  • Be a senior undergraduate or post baccalaureate between 18 and 30 years old at the time of application.

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Preparation

Thinking and Planning Ahead

Are you a potential Mitchell Scholar? Learn more about this nationally competitive, distinguished scholarship and the processes involved in applying for it. You should:

  1. Carefully determine your eligibility for this scholarship. Familiarize yourself with the Mitchell Scholarship website, and become especially familiar with its For Applicants section. Be sure to review the FAQs on the website to see if they answer any of the specific questions you may have about the award.
  2. Maintain a good GPA, particularly in your major.
  3. Develop relationships with faculty and other individuals who you anticipate might be one of your eight recommenders. (See tips for writing references—it will help you understand what to look for in seeking a good recommender.)
  4. Schedule a meeting with the director of the WSU Distinguished Scholarships Program. Send an email to DistinguishedScholarships@wsu.edu.

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Application Process:
Multiple Steps with Deadlines over Several Months

Applying for a Mitchell Scholarship is a process. Throughout, you will gain valuable insights into your interests, strengths, and goals, and more clearly envision how you will represent WSU and the U.S. in meeting the objectives of the scholarship.

  • Step One: Gather key materials.

    Deadline: March 11

    Well in advance of this date, you must prepare by studying online information about the Mitchell Scholarship and your related accomplishments, and have been in close contact with the director of the WSU Distinguished Scholarships Program. No later than this date, you must schedule a meeting with the director to discuss and submit your:

    1. Draft of a personal essay that explains why the Mitchell is the distinguished scholarship that you seek, and are qualified for, this year. As you draft this essay, consider the criteria by which prospective Mitchell Scholars are selected:
      1. Academic excellence.
      2. Superior record of accomplishments in leadership.
      3. Sustained commitment to community and public service.
    2. Describe at least three, and up to five, proposed institutions and their corresponding academic programs which are of interest to you for postgraduate study as a Mitchell Scholar.
    3. Address why you want to be a Mitchell Scholar and why studying in Ireland or Northern Ireland makes sense for your goals.
    4. Prepare a finalized list of four-to-six (4-6) recommenders (i.e., people who will each write a letter of recommendation for your Mitchell Scholarship application).
    5. Update your résumé or academic vita.
  • Step Two: Meet with Director to review submitted materials.

    Deadline: late March

    1. Contact the director of Distinguished Scholarships program to arrange a meeting.
  • Step Three: Meet with selection committee.

    Deadline: early April

    1. Application materials will be reviewed by the Distinguished Scholarships Selection Committee. NOTE: WSU will only nominate students who are chosen by the reviewers to represent WSU. You will be notified in mid-April whether you will be put forward as a university-nominated applicant for a Mitchell Scholarship.
  • Step Four: Finalize letters of recommendation.

    Deadline for receipt: May 31

    No later than this date, you must make any necessary arrangements for the director of the WSU Distinguished Scholarships Program to receive:

    1. Final versions of four-to-six (4-6) letters of recommendation supporting your scholarship application; each recommender may mail or email their document directly to the program director. Ultimately four letters of recommendation will be submitted on your behalf. If you are applying as a full-time or part-time undergraduate student, the Distinguished Scholarships Program will also provide an institutional endorsement letter written by the WSU Scholarships Endorsement Committee on your behalf.

    Letters of recommendation can be submitted by email to DistinguishedScholarships@wsu.edu or turned in by mail or in person at:

    Director, Distinguished Scholarships
    Smith Center (CUE) 519
    Washington State University
    Pullman, WA 99164-4519

  • Step Five: Have your transcripts sent.

    Deadline for receipt: May 31

    Not later than this date, you must make any necessary arrangements so that the director of the WSU Distinguished Scholarships Program will receive:

    1. One (1) official transcript from every college/university where you have received academic credit; the institution(s) must mail or email the document directly to the program director.
  • Step Six: Draft your personal statement.

    When: April-July

    1. During these months, you, as a nominee, will prepare your personal statement. This essay (1,000 words maximum) is your opportunity to share your personality, passion, and drive with the Mitchell selection committee that cannot be communicated elsewhere in the application materials.
       
      You will be required to affirm that this is your original work and that no one has assisted you with the personal essay in any way by attesting to the following statement:
       
      “I attest that this personal statement is my own work and is wholly truthful. Neither it nor any earlier draft has been edited by anyone other than me, nor has anyone else reviewed it to provide me with suggestions to improve it. I understand that any such editing or review would disqualify my application.”
  • Step Seven: WSU endorsement.

    When: early August

    Each WSU student who has been chosen by the Distinguished Scholarships Selection Committee to apply for a Mitchell Scholarship must meet with the Distinguished Scholarships Endorsement Committee. The director of the WSU Distinguished Scholarships Program will arrange for you to:

    1. Meet in person with members of the Distinguished Scholarships Endorsement Committee, who then prepare the institutional endorsement letter nominating you as an applicant from WSU.
  • Step Eight: Submit your application.

    Deadline: mid-September (i.e. 7-10 days prior to that year’s Mitchell Scholarship deadline)

    To complete final application tasks, you must:

    1. Complete the Mitchell Scholarship online application by uploading your final statement and carefully filling in all fields.
    2. Supply a passport-style photo.
    3. Confirm with your recommenders that they have completed their letters and submitted them online directly to the Mitchell Scholarship Program.
    4. Submit all transcripts.

    The director of the WSU Distinguished Scholarship Program will:

    1. Submit to Mitchell your WSU endorsement letter.
  • Step Nine: Video interview.

    When: after the initial Mitchell deadline and within 48 hours of receipt

    Once your application has been received and certified as complete, you will receive information about the required video interview. The video interview is another way for the Mitchell selection committee to get to know candidates better. It should take less than 10 minutes and will consist of four questions.

    1. The director of the WSU Distinguished Scholarships Program is available to help you secure a quiet location equipped with a webcam and microphone for this spontaneous interview.
  • Step Ten: Notify director.

    When: upon announcement of Mitchell Scholarship interviews and, later on, awardees

    When you receive notification whether you are being interviewed for a Mitchell Scholarship (or, later on, that you have been awarded), you should:

    1. Notify the director of the WSU Distinguished Scholarships Program. This allows the director to determine any next steps to be taken.

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