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Tips for Boren Scholarship Applicants

Tips from Chris Powers in the Boren scholarship office:

  • emphasize year long
  • emphasize commitment to year-long service
  • -make a connection to national security (with a very BROAD definition of what that means)

Boren gives preference:

  • Countries (most important)
  • Languages
  • Length of study
  • Commitment to government service (most important for undergrads)
  • Field of study (least important for undergrads)


  • Spell Check doesn't catch everything
  • Don't want a short-story personal statement which begins "When I first".
  • Answer specific questions.
  • Do research before writing
  • Focus on the country/language and its relation to your career goals and intended service
  • Describe your program (courses, cultural, supporting study), language specifics (before, during, and after*)
  • Make sure your VOICE is clear
  • Address National Security in your essay. Not everything is related to terrorism! Write from your own perspective. It should relate to your academics
  • They do not ask for a research paper (don't include footnotes and numerous quotes)!
  • Not all analogies are good analogies
  • Use the space provided but be concise