The Luce Scholars Program
The Luce Scholars Program offers 15-18 young Americans annually a fellowship experience in Asia designed both to broaden their professional perspectives and to sharpen their perceptions of Asia, America, and themselves. The program is funded by the Henry Luce Foundation and administered in Asia in cooperation with The Asia Foundation.
Launched in 1974, the Luce Scholars Program is aimed at a highly qualified group of young Americans in a variety of professional fields. It is unique among American-Asian exchanges because it is intended for young leaders with little or no prior experience of Asia who otherwise might not have an opportunity in the normal course of their careers to gain in-depth knowledge about Asia or their Asian counterparts and contemporaries. Personal qualities such as flexibility, adaptability, creativity, humility, openness to new ideas, and sensitivity to cultural differences are as important as academic achievement.
In spite of its name, the Luce Scholars Program is experiential rather than academic in nature. At the heart of the enterprise is the internship arranged for each Scholar on the basis of his or her specific interest, background, qualifications, and experience. These work assignments run for approximately ten months, from September until July of the following year, and are intended primarily as learning opportunities for Luce Scholars.
Visit the official Luce Scholars Program website here.
View the official Luce Foundation website here.
2015-16 Application Information for UNC-CH Applicants
- Be a U.S. citizen.
- Be either currently enrolled at UNC-CH or an alumnus of UNC-CH.
- Be less than 30 years old on July 1 in the year you would enter the program.
- Possess at least a bachelor’s degree or reasonably expect to receive that degree by July 1 in the year you would enter the program.
- Have spent less than twelve weeks in Asia and have not pursued a major in Asian studies.
- Possess a competitive GPA. There is no minimum GPA. Most successful UNC-CH endorsement applicants have had a GPA of 3.500 or higher.
- Demonstrate a strong motivation and potential for accomplishment within the applicant’s chosen field.
- Give evidence of outstanding capacity for leadership, have a record of high achievement, and have mature and clearly defined career interests with evidence of potential for professional accomplishments. All fields will be considered.
- Receive UNC-CH’s endorsement through the Office of Distinguished Scholarships (ODS). UNC-CH applicants may apply for the University’s endorsement through the below application process.
- Attend an ODS information session to learn more about the Luce Scholars Program application process.
- Highly recommended: Contact both ODS and Raymond Farrow before the beginning the fall semester. Applicants will receive feedback to consider as they prepare for the endorsement deadline. Mr. Farrow is a former Luce Scholar and is the chair of the UNC-CH Luce Scholars Program Selection Committee, and potential applicants are strongly urged to talk with him before submitting an application for endorsement. In addition, applicants who would like feedback on their personal statement and resume are encouraged to submit drafts to ODS, preferably before the end of the summer.
2015-16 Deadlines and Dates
ODS Fall General Information Session (all students, especially 1st-, 2nd-, & 3rd-year students): Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 4PM in Graham Memorial 039
UNC-CH Luce Endorsement Application Deadline: Monday, September 14, 2015 at 5PM ET
UNC-CH Luce Endorsement Interviews: Monday and Tuesday, September 21 and 22, 2015 (applicants must be invited to interview and participate in the interview to receive endorsement)
Luce Scholars Program Final Receipt Deadline for Institutions: Early November 2015
Luce Applicant Interviews: November and December 2015
ODS Spring Information Session: TBA
Notification of Luce Finalist Status: January 2016
Luce Finalist Interviews: January and early February 2016
Luce Selection Announcement: Mid-February through early March 2016
2015-16 UNC-CH Application for Endorsement
Please contact ODS immediately with questions or to schedule an appointment, especially if you are considering multiple scholarship endorsements.
Endorsement Application Instructions
All of the items below must be received by ODS on or before the UNC-CH Endorsement Application Deadline in September. Submit your materials by clicking here. Please note that you should incorporate all application materials (except for your transcript(s), photo, and letters of recommendation) into one PDF. Please contact ODS if you have any difficulty.
1. Email Your Intent to Apply
Please notify ODS at firstname.lastname@example.org at your earliest opportunity with your intent to apply.
- Please review the content and attachments available on this page to receive ODS’ general advice and tips for applications.
The ODS application cover includes a demographic and waiver form that is part of the online ODS submission form.
Click here to download the updated basic Luce application. More information about this portion of the application can be found here. This form should be the first portion of your endorsement application, which includes items listed below such as your resume/CV/list of principal activities and list of recommenders. It should then be saved as a PDF and submitted to ODS on or before the September endorsement application deadline. Include your full name in the file name. Be sure that all your answers are fully visible. Applicants who receive endorsement will then receive instructions regarding the final Luce application.
a. Personal statement: The Luce requires a personal statement with a limit of 1,000 words and it must fit on the two pages in the basic application form.
i. The personal statement/essay is your opportunity to share your personality, interests, experiences, and goals with the selection committee. This statement should explain the development of the applicant’s long-range career interests, the applicant’s understanding of leadership, and the applicant’s reasons for applying to the Luce Scholars Program.
ii. Email ODS if you are an applicant who would like to receive view sample personal statements. Please note that we currently cannot email these sample statements.
b. The Luce application contains additional required questions, such as your academic achievements and awards, leadership activities, work experience, and community service.
4. Resume, CV, or List of Principal Activities
This resume, CV, or list of principal activities in college should include (but is not limited to) prizes, scholarships, honors, offices held, community service, athletic and athletic accomplishments, and extracurricular activities. This document should not exceed three pages, and does NOT replace any portion of the Luce basic application form. Include your full name in the file name. Email ODS if you are an applicant who would like to receive feedback or view sample documents. Please note that we currently cannot email the sample documents.
5. List of Recommenders
Include at the end of your Luce endorsement application a list of your recommenders that contains each person’s title (e.g. Mr./Ms./Mrs./Dr./Professor), full name, position, affiliation (name of their institution, employer, etc.), and email address.
You must include a recent and high-resolution head shot or passport-style photograph with your endorsement application materials as a JPEG file. Label the file so that your full name is included as part of the file name. Please contact ODS if you require assistance.
If you are endorsed, you will need to submit to ODS two hard copies of a recent passport-sized color photograph. Your name should be clearly printed in black ink on the back of each photograph.
7. University Transcripts
Submit an unofficial cumulative transcript for each college or university attended. This transcript should reflect the final grades for the most recent term applicable. If you receive endorsement, you must order and submit to ODS an official and sealed paper transcript(s).
a. Please click here for help in producing a PDF of your unofficial transcript, and include your full name in the file name. You can also learn about transcript fee waivers and read other FAQs at that link.
b. If you are having technical difficulties and already possess an officially sealed paper transcript for each college or university attended, applicants may bring that transcript to ODS before the endorsement application deadline.
c. If you have already submitted an unofficial or official transcript(s) to ODS for another endorsed award and the transcript(s) is still current as described above, you do NOT need to submit another transcript(s) at the endorsement application stage. Instead, please include a typed note with your PID, name, the number of transcripts that should be included with your endorsement application, and the date when you previously submitted that transcript to ODS.
8. Letters of Recommendation
a. Three to four recommendations should be submitted for your endorsement application. We recommend you first read this letter of guidance and then share it with your letter of recommendation writers. Please contact ODS if you need advice on choosing and contacting a recommender.
i. It is helpful to provide context by sharing these endorsement application requirements, your resume or CV, and your specific academic and professional interests and goals.
ii. Your letters should be from those who can speak in detail about your specific interests, background, qualifications, experience, and, if relevant, your scholarly work and potential. It is especially helpful if these recommenders can speak to your progress within your field. Thus, recommenders may include supervisors, mentors, and professors. It is preferable to choose a professor instead of a teaching assistant if both individuals know you well. If you are a current UNC-CH student, two letters from UNC-CH faculty or staff are ideal. If you have already earned your UNC-CH degree, one letter from a UNC-CH faculty or staff member is sufficient.
iii. Please, be mindful of the time it takes your recommenders to write strong, effective letters–do not ask for more letters than you will need. Stay in contact with your recommenders through relevant deadlines so that both you and your recommenders can respond accordingly. Contact ODS if you need further guidance.
b. Applicants who receive UNC-CH’s endorsement will need to collect up to one additional letter to apply to the Luce Scholars Program, for a total of four letters.
c. Applicants should NOT be given access to their letters of recommendation.
d. Letters should be dated, addressed to “The Luce Scholars Program Selection Committee,” and do NOT need to include either ODS’ or the award organization’s physical address. Recommenders who have questions should contact ODS here.
e. Recommendation letters for the endorsement application stage must be submitted directly to ODS by clicking here. You should send that link to their recommenders along with your PID. Recommenders may format their letters as PDF documents and should include the award name (“Luce”) and the applicant’s last name in the file name. Each recommender must submit his or her letter directly to ODS so that it is received by the UNC-CH Endorsement Application Deadline.
f. If an applicant receives UNC-CH’s endorsement, recommenders will receive additional instructions if they need to submit to ODS hard copies of their letters on letterhead with original signatures.
2015-16 UNC-CH Endorsement Interviews and Endorsement
- Endorsement Interviews: Based on the application for endorsement, competitive applicants will be invited to interview with the UNC-CH Luce Scholars Program Selection Committee. Applicants unavailable for on-campus interviews must contact ODS at least one month prior to discuss other available interview options.
- Application Revisions: Applicants endorsed by the UNC-CH Luce Scholars Program Selection Committee will have approximately five weeks to make revisions with feedback from Mr. Farrow and ODS and to update their application materials.
- Final Submission: Endorsed applicants will provide a print-out to Mr. Farrow and a copy to ODS of their final application materials so that these materials can be submitted to the Luce Scholars Program.
2015-16 Finalist and Selection Process
- Applicant Interviews: All applicants endorsed by their institutions will be interviewed either in-person or remotely between November and December.
- Finalist Notification: Approximately 45 applicants will be notified in January if they have been selected by the Luce Scholars Program as a Finalist.
- Finalist Interviews: Finalists are invited to interview in early February with an independent selection committee.
- Selection Announcement: Finalists are notified in mid-February through early March if they have been selected as a Luce Scholar.
ODS Contact Information
Please contact ODS here for questions and to schedule an appointment.
2015-16 Deadlines and Dates
ODS Fall General Information Session (all students, especially 1st-, 2nd-, & 3rd-year students)
Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 4PM in Graham Memorial 039
UNC-CH Luce Endorsement Application Deadline
Monday, September 14, 2015 at 5PM ET
UNC-CH Luce Endorsement Interviews
Monday and Tuesday, September 21 and 22, 2015 (applicants must be invited to interview and participate in the interview to receive endorsement)
Luce Scholars Program Final Receipt Deadline for Institutions
Early November 2015
Luce Applicant Interviews
November and December 2015
ODS Spring Information Session
Notification of Luce Finalist Status
Luce Finalist Interviews
January and early February 2016
Luce Selection Announcement
Mid-February through early March 2016