Critical Language Scholarship Program | The Critical Language…
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Program Goals and Selection 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 due to other responsibilities.
  • 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).

CLS Spark is open to any American undergraduate student enrolled in an accredited U.S.-based degree-granting program. Applicants must be enrolled at the time of the open application period. Refer to the Eligibility and Requirements section for more information.

Award recipients are 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.