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Application Procedure

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 September or early- to 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 a weekend.  Applications from interested candidates not affiliated with a nominating institution will be reviewed by the Luce Scholars program staff; strong candidates will advance to the first-round interview and participate in the Luce Scholars competition along with candidates put forward by nominating institutions.

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 (word limit: 1,500) 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 the first-round interview which often takes place in public space such as a cafe. 

Eligibility: 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 beginning college.

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, maturity, humility, 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.

We strive for diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of the Luce Scholars Program; they are critical to our mission of developing young leaders and to the future of American Society. Diversity in any given class of Luce Scholars enriches each Scholar’s learning in Asia and enhances the Luce “cohort effect.” In the selection process, we broadly consider candidates’ unique perspectives and experiences, including but not limited to those of marginalization, disadvantage, or hardship, and how they faced or overcame such challenges, which may be rooted or reflected in race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender expression, economic status, disability, and/or religious belief, as well as family background (e.g. first-generation American, or first-generation to college). Luce Scholars are chosen without regard to field of interest, marital status or financial need. 

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