Critical Language Scholarship Program | Selection

Selection

Applications for the CLS Program, including CLS Spark, are reviewed by a broad range of professionals, including 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.

Applicants 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.

Selection Criteria for the CLS Program

Award recipients for the CLS Program overseas will be selected on the basis of merit with consideration for the following:

    • Connection between language and goals;
    • Contribution to the CLS Program goals of citizen diplomacy and mutual understanding;
    • Preparation for the CLS Program;
    • Adaptability, sensitivity, and resilience; and
    • Commitment to language learning.

    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.


    Selection Criteria for CLS Spark

    Applicants for the CLS Spark virtual institutes are selected according to different criteria. 

    CLS Spark is designed to increase access to opportunities for U.S. undergraduate students to learn languages essential to America‚Äôs engagement with the world. Designed to leverage best practices in online language learning developed by the CLS Program during the pandemic, CLS Spark provides American students the access and opportunity to start their language learning journeys. 

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

    • Impact of participation;
    • Motivation for language learning;
    • Readiness and resolve; and
    • Unique background and experience.

    Preference will be given to veterans of the U.S. armed forces, and to applicants from states or institutions historically underrepresented in study abroad or in the CLS Program.

    Applicants will be selected with the goal of representing geographic diversity and a diversity of institutions and fields of study.

      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, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Statement.