David L. Boren Awards for International Study

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Boren Scholarship Essay Guidelines

The online essays are the most important part of the application. Each essay should be no more than 6,000 characters, not including spaces. Essays should be single spaced, except when spaces separate paragraphs.

Essay One

Please discuss the following points in one integrated essay, giving equal attention to each point.

  • Explain the significance of your proposed country, region, and language to U.S. national security. The Boren Awards recognize a broad definition of national security, but you should make a specific, detailed, and focused argument.
  • Describe how the country, language, and study abroad program you selected will help you achieve your career goals, including your plans to fulfill the federal service requirement.
  • Describe how the skills you will gain during your Boren program of study, including linguistic and cultural competencies will help you help you fulfill the federal service requirement. If appropriate, you may also include relevant past academic, extracurricular, volunteer, internship, and professional experiences. Be specific.

Essay Two: Study Abroad Program Description (both the preferred program and alternate, if applicable)

  • Describe the study abroad program’s course of study and related cultural activities, as well as the administrative and support services provided (i.e., facilities, housing, resident director, etc.). 
  • Describe the language component in as much detail as possible, including the number of classroom contact hours and informal language study opportunities outside of the classroom.
  • Describe your past experience in studying or speaking the language (or another language if relevant), as well as your plans for continuing to study and/or speak the language following your Boren Scholarship.