Students Barely Finish Rhodes, Marshall Apps

Despite some complaints about inconvenient deadlines, more than 100 seniors braved heavy rainfall to get their applications for Harvard's endorsements for Rhodes and Marshall scholarships in on time this year.

A major difficulty for students applying for endorsements is the late start of Harvard's fall semester, which leaves students going through the last days of the application process during shopping period.

Despite the problems, the Office of Career Services (OCS) received 107 applications for the U.S. Rhodes endorsement, eight for the Canadian Rhodes endorsement and 63 for the Marshall endorsement.

The numbers, however, were slightly lower than last year's figures of 119 U.S. Rhodes and 71 Marshall endorsement applications, which set a record for Harvard. Six students from Harvard received Rhodes scholarships last year.

The deadline for this year's endorsement applications was 10 a.m. last Friday, and the hours preceding it were a trying time for some seniors attempting to get their applications--consisting of an activities list, an official transcript, the required essays, an application form and a student fellowships information card--in on time.

Each applicant had to submit one set of original forms and 16 sets of copies to OCS no later than 10 a.m., or the office would brand the application with red letters spelling "LATE".

To make matters worse, rain was falling heavily on the morning the applications were due.

Joshua A. Feltman '95 said he stayed up to 4:30 a.m. completing his application and then woke up five hours later to deliver it to OCS.

"I worked pretty much up to the last minute," Feltman said. "I think I, and a lot of other people, underestimated the time it took to collate [the 17 sets]."

Benjamin A. Auspitz '95 said he also had problems with the deadline.

"I stayed up all night the night before," he said. "I thought it wasn't very considerate [of OCS] to have only an hour a day to hand it in."

"I understand that they're on a very tight schedule, but it did seem to me that they know a lot of us are going to be staying up all night," Feltman said. "I definitely think they could [have set the deadline] two hours later."

Four years age, the deadline was at 3 p.m. according to Paul A. Bohlmann, assistant director of OCS. But the deadline was moved up because of the time needed to distribute all the endorsement applications to the committees, he said.

"We're sympathetic about the crunch that students feel," Bohlmann said.

Despite the complaints, only two or three students handed in their applications late this year, Bohlmann said.

Those students, fates will depend upon how serious an infraction each of the judges viewing the applications consider lateness to be, he said--some judges reject late applications outright.

Some seniors said they handed in their applications early to avoid any last-minute crises.

J. Thomas Atwood '95 submitted his endorsement application a day early.

"I didn't want to deal with the stress," he said. "A lot of people finish it the night before--they don't factor in the problems that could happen."

And Michael B. Evers '95 said he finished most of his work for the Rhodes endorsement application over the summer.

"It's a pretty straightforward application," he said. "It's not worth getting stressed about. If you don't get [the endorsement], it's not the end of the world."

Endorsement

Although students do not need an endorsement to be chosen for the Rhodes scholarship, it does add a free letter of recommendation to the eight-letter maximum that they can use in their Rhodes applications, which are due October 17.

Bohlmann said that in the past, most of the students who have eventually received Rhodes scholarships first obtained Harvard's endorsement, although some--including one recipient two years ago--did not.

The endorsement is a requirement for the Marshall scholarship, however. Usually, half of the students who apply for an endorsement, either Marshall or Rhodes, receive it, Bohlmann said.

The endorsement process is two-tiered. First, 11 advisers, one from each of the houses except the applicant's house, review each application, he said.

Each adviser rejects or accepts an application, and Bohlmann said that applications usually need two-thirds to three-fourths acceptances to receive Harvard's endorsement.

After the advisors are done, the faculty committee meets to consider the accepted applications. At this time, Bohlmann said, fellowship advisers from the houses can make a case for the inclusion of any specific nomination originally not endorsed.

OCS will post the names of the students receiving Harvard's endorsement by Monday, October 3