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The Dartmouth
February 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

College sends out 20 scholarship apps.

The College's Scholarship Advising Office, which many students have criticized as being inefficient and disorganized in years past, submitted nearly 20 applications for Rhodes and Marshall scholarships this week.

The deadline was Monday for Rhodes scholarship applications and Wednesday for Marshall scholarships.

This year, the Scholarship Office has tried to allay complaints that they are to blame for the low numbers of students selected for prestigious fellowships in recent years.

Kristin O'Rourke, who took over as scholarship adviser this year from Marilyn Grundy amid complaints of incompetence, offered an optimistic view of this year's applicants and the office's future.

"Our goal this year was to make the process as smooth and crisis-free as possible," O'Rourke said.

To aid applicants during the chaotic process, O'Rourke helped many seniors during a "pre-application" period over the summer, offering feedback on different aspects of the application.

"Getting feedback from different sources, different layers of commentary, makes a big difference," O'Rourke said.

This fall, the office solicited professors from various departments to help review and edit applications, and made Iona McAulay, a writing editor in the art history department, the scholarship office's official writing editor. McAulay looked over every application submitted to the office, offering suggestions on the style, expression and grammar of the applications.

"[McAulay] was a big help," O'Rourke said. "It was great to have another pair of eyes on each application, looking for different things and dissecting what will impress a reader."

This year, the College endorsed and supported nine Rhodes Scholarship applicants and 10 Marshall Scholarship applicants. Dartmouth also sends students on Fulbright and Mitchell scholarships.

Recipients of a Rhodes Scholarship go on to study at Oxford University in England for two to three years. Selection committees choose 90 scholars from over 900 applicants every year, including 32 from the United States.

Dartmouth produced one Rhodes Scholar in 2002, three in 2003 and none last year.

The Marshall Scholarships provide students with two fully funded years at any university in the United Kingdom. One Dartmouth student received a Marshall Scholarship last year.

The scholarship office worked hard to accommodate the needs of all the applicants and to answer questions throughout the process.

"In general, we tried to keep everyone on track and make sure they felt comfortable," O'Rourke said.

But not all students felt that the office offered the necessary advice or aid in the process.

"There was little or no effort by the school to notify the seniors of deadlines," Michael Martin '06 said.

Martin wanted to apply for a Fulbright scholarship to study in France but missed the deadline Sept. 23, just two days after classes started.

"It was definitely my responsibility to find out about the deadlines in advance, but at the same time, there could have been more encouragement and notification on the part of the school," Martin said.

But despite some complaints lodged by disappointed students and the heavy competition, O'Rourke expressed great confidence in Dartmouth's 2006 applicants.

"We're very pleased with this year's group," O'Rourke said. "It's a really outstanding group of individuals. We feel strongly that every one of the applicants is very competitive for these scholarships."