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Luce Scholars Application Guidelines

The Luce Scholars Program has switched to an online application system for the upcoming 2019-2020 competition. The application portal is now live and accepting submissions. Please consult your campus liaison if you have any questions.

Start the Application

Each of the 75 colleges and universities invited to participate in the Luce Scholars Program has designated a member of its faculty or administration to serve as the campus liaison for this program. A nominating institution may submit three nominations for each year’s Luce Scholars competition. The Luce Scholar liaison on each campus will establish an internal application deadline, typically in early or mid-October, as well as procedures for internal candidate review. Each nominating institution must make its nominations no later than November 1st or the nearest Monday if November 1st falls on weekend. Applications from interested candidates not affiliated with a nominating institution will be reviewed by the Luce Scholars program staff and the strongest candidates, in limited cases, will be invited to participate in the Luce Scholars competition.

Application Documents

Once the online application portal is live, each applicant must first complete an Eligibility Form online. If eligible, the applicant will be prompted to complete the application and upload several documents listed below.

  • Luce Scholars Program Application. Personal Statement is one of the most important parts of the application. Use Personal Statement to convey a sense of who you are, and reflect on, among other things, (a) your personal journey; (b) your long-range professional interests, and how they have developed; (c) how you have embodied your own kind of leadership; and (d) how a year in Asia with Luce might be transformative.
  • Request Forms for Four Letters of Recommendation. Letters will be uploaded separately by the recommenders. They should be signed on official letterhead and, whenever possible, represent a range of academic and professional references.
  • Academic Transcripts. Transcripts of all college and graduate work.
  • A Photo. A simple head shot. It will be used to facilitate in-person interviews.

Eligibility Requirements

The Luce Scholars Program is open to:

  • U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • Graduating seniors, recent graduates and young professionals under the age of 30.
  • Candidates with limited exposure to Asia, i.e. those who have not majored in Asian studies and who have spent less than an accumulated total of 18 weeks in one or more Luce Scholars placement countries in Asia since graduating from high school.

The intent of the program is to provide an immersion experience in Asia for an outstanding group of young Americans who would not otherwise have the opportunity to come to know Asia intimately. Candidates however may have taken Asian language or Asia-focused courses (without majoring in Asian Studies).

Selection Process and Criteria

When a nominating institution decides to nominate a candidate, he or she will be prompted to complete a Contact Information Sheet with detailed information about his or her whereabouts from November through early February. A first-round interview with each nominee will be held in November or December either in person or via skype. Early in January, approximately 45 finalists will be selected from the pool of nominees. They will be invited to appear, at Foundation expense, before one of three independent selection committees that meet in late January and early February. The members of a selection committee will each personally interview the 15 finalists appearing before that committee, from whom five to six Luce Scholars will be chosen. All 15 to 18 Luce Scholars will have been named by early February. All candidates will receive timely notification.

Successful candidates should have a record of high achievement, outstanding leadership ability, and clearly defined interests with evidence of potential for professional accomplishments. All fields will be considered.

The Luce Scholars Program is experiential rather than academic in nature. Personal qualities such as resilience, flexibility, adaptability, humility, maturity, creativity, openness to new ideas, and sensitivity to cultural differences are as important as academic achievement.

Candidates are not judged on the basis of whether or not they have developed specific plans for their year in Asia. A candidate may have general ideas about the kind of placement preferred, but this is not considered as either a negative or positive factor.

Luce Scholars are chosen without regard to sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnic background, marital status or financial need.



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