Critical Language Scholarship Program | Announcing Application Dates…

Announcing Application Dates and Changes to the 2020 CLS Program

The CLS Program is in the process of wrapping up another successful summer, and with it we are turning our attention to the fall application and recruitment season. We have a few important updates leading into the fall application season that we want to share with advisors and students as soon as possible. First of all, we have a few changes to language levels and prerequisites for our 2020 program:

  • Korean will require one year of previous study, and will no longer be offered at the absolute beginner level.
  • Persian will be open to absolute beginners with no previous experience studying the language (previously one year of study was required).
  • Russian will be open to advanced beginners with one year of previous study (previously two years of study were required).

The full list of CLS languages and levels is available online at

We are in the process of updating our promotional materials to reflect these changes, and plan to begin distributing our updated brochures and posters later this fall. If you represent a study abroad or fellowship office and would like to receive a packet of these materials to share with students on your campus, please contact us at

There will also be a change to the required recommendations for CLS applicants. We will still require two recommendations for every applicant, but recommenders will now be required to submit a form answering specific questions about the applicant rather than uploading a letter of recommendation.

We are grateful to all who agree to serve as recommenders for CLS applicants. We have found over time that even strong letters of recommendation do not always include the type of information our evaluators need to make difficult decisions about which students are most prepared to participate in an intensive study abroad program like CLS. We hope this change will be of benefit to recommenders and students in transparently outlining the information we seek from these recommendations, and that the information collected through recommendations will, in turn, be of greater significance for our evaluators and selection panelists.

Finally, we are extremely pleased to be able to share our anticipated application dates for the summer 2020 program! We plan to launch the application for the CLS Program on Thursday, September 12 with an application deadline of Tuesday, November 19, 2019. Recommendations will be due on Friday, November 22.

If you are a CLS advisor on your campus and have changes that should be made to your directory information before the application launches, you can make changes and additions through this form at any time:

If you have questions about becoming a CLS advisor, or would like to explore the resources available to advisors, please visit our web site:

Thank you for your support of language learning and the CLS Program! We look forward to all of your applications this fall and wish you a great end to your summer.

If you want to see the amazing things our students have been doing this summer, be sure to follow us on Instragram and Facebook!