The George Mitchell Scholars are eligible to attend institutions of higher learning in Ireland, including the seven universities in the Republic of Ireland and the two universities in Northern Ireland, for one academic year of graduate study. The Scholarship committee will seek places at the universities on the successful applicants’ behalf. Election to a Mitchell Scholarship is formally confirmed by the Mitchell Scholarship selection committee after the Scholar-elect has been accepted by the university. Scholars are required to be full-time students for the duration of their academic year of study. The program also sponsors many activities for Scholars including meetings with leaders, internships, and social events during the fellowship year.
Mitchell Scholars must have a demonstrated record of intellectual distinction, leadership, extra-curricular activities, and personal characteristics of honesty, integrity, fairness, and unselfish service to others. They should also have a potential for future leadership and contribution to society. The Mitchell selectors weigh equally academic achievement, leadership, and community service. The standards for academic achievement and extra-curricular activities are high. For community service, the Mitchell program is looking for someone who has made an impact by taking an activist role. Fewer activities may be better than a long list of episodic activity. The program seeks Scholars who are engaged in the community according to the model of George Mitchell.
Candidates for the Mitchell Scholarship also need to demonstrate a very good reason for undertaking their proposed one-year master’s degree in Ireland. The Mitchell Scholarship urges candidates to indicate several Irish universities at which they would be willing to study. Only two Mitchell Scholars may be placed at each Irish university, and not everyone may study at Trinity College, Dublin, which is the most popular choice. It is helpful to indicate multiple preferences, beyond one or even two universities. They encourage contact with academic departments or potential mentors at Irish universities.
Applicants for the Mitchell Scholarships must be U.S. citizens. They must be at least 18 years of age but not yet 30 on October 1 of the year of application. They must also have academic standing sufficient to assure completion of a bachelor’s degree before they begin study under the Mitchell Scholarship. There are no restrictions on the academic discipline of field of study. A common misperception is that this is a scholarship for Irish studies or for Irish-Americans; these are not factors in the selection of Mitchell Scholars.
*The Mitchell Scholarship requires an institutional endorsement. Make sure you know the MSU internal competition deadline.