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CLS applications are reviewed by language faculty, area specialists, study abroad professionals and fellowship advisors as part of the selection process. During the first round of review, all applications are read by two outside reviewers. During the second round, top applications are submitted to selection panels.

Award recipients will be selected on the basis of merit with consideration for:

  • Academic record and potential to succeed in a rigorous academic setting;
  • Commitment to language learning;
  • Connection between target language and career/academic goals;
  • Ability to adapt to an intensive program and a challenging cultural environment; and
  • Contributions to the CLS Program and program goals.

Each applicant will be contacted by email in January with notification of the status of their application following the initial review process. Applicants who move past the initial review process will be notified of their status as a scholarship recipient, alternate or non-recipient by early March 2021.

Selection Criteria

Commitment to Language Learning
Successful applicants:

  • Articulate a motivation for learning the language for which they are applying.
  • Show that they have leveraged available resources to develop appropriate foreign language skills and cultural knowledge for the CLS Program.
  • Show commitment to further developing their language skills and cultural knowledge after participating in the CLS Program.

Connection between Language and Goals
Successful applicants:

  • Show that the specific language and cultural knowledge they gain on the CLS Program will have an impact on their academic, personal and professional development.
  • Show that the language and cultural knowledge they gain is integral to their future plans.

Preparation for the CLS Program
Successful applicants:

  • Show that they understand the challenges of the CLS Program as a group-based, intensive academic study abroad program, and that they are prepared to meet these challenges.
  • Articulate how their academic, professional and personal experiences have prepared them to succeed on the CLS Program.

Adaptability, Sensitivity and Resilience
Successful applicants:

  • Exhibit maturity and self-awareness when considering potential challenges they may face abroad.
  • Show the ability to interact with people and situations that require adaptation.

Contribution to the CLS Program and Program Goals
Successful applicants:

  • Have considered what their unique experiences, perspectives and/or background might contribute to the program.
  • Make a good case for how they will contribute to the mission of building mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of their host communities.

Additional Considerations

All other factors being equal, the CLS Program gives preference to veterans of the United States armed forces.

All other factors being equal, applicants are selected with the goal of representing geographic diversity and a diversity of institutions and fields of study.

Preference may be given to candidates with limited or no previous study abroad experience.

The CLS Program does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, handicap or medical condition in reviewing and selecting scholarship finalists.

Read the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' Diversity Statement.