CLS applications 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 will be selected on the basis of merit with consideration for the following:
Commitment to Language Learning
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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’s 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 . CLS Spark meets this goal by:
- Increasing access to critical language learning for U.S undergraduate students who are not able to study a critical language at their home institution and those who cannot travel overseas.
- Enabling participants to achieve demonstrable progress in language learning (as measured by ACTFL OPI and other assessment measures).
- Inspiring participants to continue their language learning and assist them in identifying opportunities to do so.
- Preparing participants for a substantive language study abroad program following their participation in CLS Spark (such as the CLS Program’s Summer Institutes).
Award recipients for CLS Spark will be selected on the basis of merit with consideration for the following:
- Impact of participation in CLS Spark on their access to language and intercultural learning opportunities.
- Motivation, including personal, academic, and professional goals and consideration of how participation in CLS Spark may contribute to the achievement of those goals.
- Readiness and resolve to successfully complete an online co-curricular language program.
- Degree to which the unique background and experience of the candidate contributes to ECA’s mission of building mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other nations.
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.