The Mitchell Scholarships
The George J. Mitchell Scholarships are named in honor of former U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell for his pivotal contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process. 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.
Approximately twelve Mitchell Scholars between the ages of 18 and 30 are chosen annually for one academic year of postgraduate study in any discipline offered by institutions of higher learning in Ireland and Northern Ireland*. Mitchell Scholars are selected on the criteria of scholarship, leadership, and commitment to community and public service. The Mitchell Scholarship Program provides tuition, accommodation, a stipend for living expenses and travel.
*For the 2015-16 application cycle, Mitchell Scholarships will not be available for study at the Northern Ireland institutions of Queen’s University Belfast or the University of Ulster. They will still be available for institutions in the Republic of Ireland, and the total number of Mitchell Scholarship awards will not be decreased.
Visit the official Mitchell Scholarship website here.
2015-16 Application Information for UNC-CH Applicants
- Be a U.S. citizen.
- Be between 18 and 29 years old by September 30 in the year of application.
- Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university before beginning study as a Mitchell Scholar. Degrees from international accredited universities are acceptable, if all other conditions are met.
- Possess a competitive GPA. There is no minimum GPA; most competitive applicants for Mitchell endorsement have a GPA of 3.800 or higher.
- Receive UNC-CH’s endorsement through the Office of Distinguished Scholarships (ODS). If you are a graduate student, part-time student, or former student, you do not need institutional endorsement and can receive advice from 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 Mitchell Scholarship application process.
- Highly recommended: Thoroughly investigate both the degree programs at participating institutions (see the note above for the 2015-16 application cycle) and the scholarship-specific FAQs.
- Highly recommended: Attend the ODS Prep-Shop (please, do not bring any portions and drafts of statements).
- Highly recommended: Meet with the director of ODS to discuss your application and submit a resume, CV, or list of principal activities to ODS, preferably before the end of the spring semester. Applicants will receive advice to consider over the summer as they prepare for the endorsement deadline.
2015-2016 Deadlines and Dates
UNC-CH Mitchell Endorsement Application Deadline: Tuesday, August 4, 2015 at 5PM ET
UNC-CH Mitchell Endorsement Interviews: Thursday-Monday, August 20-24, 2015 (specific date TBA, likely Aug. 20 or Aug. 24; participation mandatory)
ODS Fall General Information Session (all students, especially 1st-, 2nd-, & 3rd-year students): Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 4PM in Graham Memorial 039
Mitchell Scholarship Final Deadline: Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 5PM ET
Mitchell Applicant Video Interview Deadline: TBA; likely Saturday, October 3, 2015 at 5PM ET
Mitchell Semi-Finalist Skype Interviews: Late October 2015
Notification of Mitchell Finalist Status: November 2015
Mitchell Finalist Reception and Interviews: Friday and Saturday, November 20 and 21, 2015
Mitchell Selection Announcement: Sunday, November 22, 2015
ODS Spring Information Session: TBA
2015-16 UNC-CH Application for Endorsement
NOTE: Mitchell endorsement applicants may also apply for other award endorsements simultaneously, including the Rhodes and Marshall. Please be sure to note the differences in personal statement guidelines and in other endorsement application instructions. Each endorsement application must include a completed ODS application cover. Please note that duplicate transcripts for multiple endorsement applications typically do not need to be submitted at the endorsement application stage unless a new semester has begun since your last endorsement application. Duplicate photo submissions for multiple endorsement applications are also unnecessary.
Please contact ODS immediately with questions or to schedule an appointment, especially if you are considering multiple award endorsements.
Endorsement Application Instructions
All of the items below must be received by ODS on or before the UNC-CH Endorsement Application Deadline in August. 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.
2. ODS Application Cover
The ODS application cover includes a demographic and waiver form that is part of the online ODS submission form. View the submission form by clicking here.
3. Mitchell Scholarships Endorsement Application
You should NOT submit the online Mitchell application at the endorsement application stage.
Instead, all applicants for endorsement must complete all required sections of the online Mitchell application EXCEPT the recommendation section and submit it to ODS. You must answer all other fields in that application in order for this part of your endorsement application to be considered complete. This form should be saved and submitted as a PDF to ODS on or before the August endorsement application deadline. Be sure that all your answers are fully visible. Applicants who receive endorsement will then receive instructions regarding the online Mitchell application.
a. Personal statement: The Mitchell application includes a personal statement with a limit of 1,000 words. Please review the required attestation clause before drafting your personal statement.
The personal statement/essay is your opportunity to share your personality, interests, experiences, and goals with the selection committee. It should briefly convey why you want to be a Mitchell Scholar and how you will advance your personal objectives through study on the island of Ireland. It should not simply re-state your list of activities, which is covered elsewhere on the application.
i. Attestation clause: The Mitchell personal statement attestation clause can be found online and on page seven in the 2015 sample Mitchell Scholarship application. The clause reads as follows: “I attest that this essay 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.”
ii. Please contact Professor Floyd-Wilson immediately about the personal statement writing process if you are applying for both the Marshall and the Mitchell Scholarships.
iii. 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 Mitchell online application will contain additional required questions, such as your academic achievements and awards, leadership activities, and community service. Click here to view a 2015 sample Mitchell Scholarship application. More information about the application itself can be found here (remember, you should not hit “submit” in your online Mitchell application at the endorsement application stage; you also should not fill out the online application’s section for recommendations). The Mitchell Scholarship website provides relevant resources here.
c. Include at the end of your Mitchell Scholarship 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. Please label the file so that your full name is included as part of the file name. If you are endorsed, ODS can help you convert this file into a PDF file for the online Mitchell application.
5. Resume, CV, or List of Principal Activities
This resume, CV, or list of principal activities in college should include prizes, scholarships, honors, offices held, community service, athletic accomplishments, and extracurricular activities. This document should not exceed three pages, and does NOT replace any portion of the Mitchell application. 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.
6. Letters of Recommendation
The online Mitchell application states the following regarding the four letters of recommendation required of endorsed applicants:
“Four letters of recommendation are required for all applicants. For full-time students, at least two of these recommendations must be from persons with whom the candidate has done academic work. For those who are not full-time students and have not been for the past year, at least one of the recommendations must be from someone with whom the candidate has done academic work. We do not allow more than the required four recommendations – it is more important to choose the people who you feel know you best and will provide the best recommendations.”
The below information is specific to letters of recommendation required for the endorsement application stage:
a. Three to four recommendations should be submitted for your endorsement application. Each letter must not exceed 750 words. 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, CV, or list of principal activities; and your specific academic and professional interests and goals.
ii. At least two of these recommendations must be from persons with whom you have done academic work. It is preferable to choose a professor instead of a teaching assistant.
iii. Your endorsement application may also include up to two character reference recommendation letters. Be sure to ask someone who knows you well and can give specific comments on your character and potential for success outside of your scholarly work and interests.
b. Applicants who receive UNC-CH’s endorsement will need to collect up to one additional recommendation letter to apply online to the Mitchell Scholarship, for a total of four letters.
c. Applicants should NOT be given access to their letters of recommendation.
d. Letters should be addressed to “The Mitchell Scholarship Selection Committee.” 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. Applicants should send that link to their recommenders. Recommenders may format their letters as PDF documents. 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, then the applicant will enter within the online Mitchell application the contact details for each recommender. Afterwards, each recommender will receive instructions to submit his or her letter online to the Mitchell Scholarships. Click here to read recommendation FAQs from the Mitchell Scholarship.
7. University Transcripts
Submit a cumulative transcript for each college or university attended. This transcript should reflect the final grades for the most recent term applicable. Applicants may submit an unofficial or an official transcript at the endorsement application stage. If you receive endorsement, you must order and submit directly to the Mitchell Scholarships an official transcript(s).
a. Official UNC-CH transcripts for applicants can be delivered to ODS directly from the UNC-CH Office of the University Registrar. Please place your order at least two weeks in advance of the endorsement deadline, and click here to learn about transcript fee waivers and to read other FAQs.
b. As an alternative, applicants may bring to ODS before the endorsement application deadline an officially sealed paper transcript for each college or university attended.
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 Mitchell Scholarship Selection Committee. Applicants unavailable for on-campus interviews must contact ODS before the endorsement application deadline to discuss other available interview options.
- Application Revisions: Applicants endorsed by the UNC-CH Mitchell Scholarship Selection Committee will be notified soon after their interviews. Endorsed applicants will have approximately five weeks to incorporate permissible feedback from ODS and the UNC-CH Mitchell Scholarship Selection Committee, make revisions, and update their application materials.
- Online Submission: The Mitchell Scholarship application is online and may request information that differs from your endorsement application.
- All application material must be submitted online to the Mitchell Scholarship before the final deadline. The applicant is responsible for submitting all materials online except the letters of recommendation. Transcripts, a photograph, and your signature must also be uploaded online as PDF documents. Applicants should notify ODS with an email if they need assistance in scanning or formatting required documents.
- Letters of recommendations must be submitted online by the recommender before the Mitchell Scholarship deadline. Those who encounter difficulties should contact ODS here.
- Endorsed UNC-CH applicants will provide to ODS a copy of the final application materials they personally submitted.
- Applicant Video Interviews: All applicants must submit a video interview online approximately 48 hours after the Mitchell Scholarship’s final deadline.
2015-16 Finalist and Selection Process
- Semi-Finalist Skype Interviews: Applicants are notified directly in October of invitations to interview the last week of October via Skype.
- Finalist Notification: Semi-Finalists are notified directly between early and mid-November of invitations to interview during Finalist Weekend. If you receive a finalist interview invitation for both the Mitchell and the Rhodes Scholarships, you may only accept one of those invitations. ODS will organize practice interviews prior to the finalist interviews.
- Finalist Reception and Interviews: Finalist Weekend is in Washington, D.C. and includes a reception and individual interviews held by the Mitchell Scholarship’s selection committee. Finalist Weekend is usually the Friday and Saturday before Thanksgiving.
- Selection Announcement: Finalists are notified soon after their finalist interviews if they have been selected as a Mitchell Scholar.
ODS Contact Information
Please contact ODS here for questions and to schedule an appointment.
2015-16 Deadlines and Dates
UNC-CH Mitchell Endorsement Application Deadline
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 at 5PM ET
UNC-CH Mitchell Endorsement Interviews
Thursday-Monday, August 20-24, 2015 (specific date TBA, likely Aug. 20 or Aug. 24; participation mandatory)
ODS Fall General Information Session (all students, especially 1st-, 2nd-, & 3rd-year students)
Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 4PM in Graham Memorial 039
Mitchell Scholarship Final Deadline
Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 5PM ET
Mitchell Applicant Video Interview Deadline
TBA; likely Saturday, October 3, 2015 at 5PM ET
Mitchell Semi-Finalist Skype Interviews
Late October 2015
Notification of Mitchell Finalist Status
Mitchell Finalist Reception and Interviews
Friday and Saturday, November 20 and 21, 2015
Mitchell Selection Announcement
Sunday, November 22, 2015
ODS Spring Information Session