THOURON AWARD APPLICATION
Use this opportunity to tell us about yourself. Include information about your accomplishments at university or since then. We want to learn about your academic achievements as well as your extracurricular activities. This is your chance to demonstrate your suitability to act as a representative of your home country while being open to the different perspectives that come from gaining an academic qualification in another country.
You will also need to apply to Penn and should contact independently the graduate program to which you wish to apply. The Penn website supplies application forms and information about entrance procedures and deadlines. Please ensure you take into account the time involved in completing any standardised testing you are required to undertake as part of your Penn admissions application.
All eligible applications are initially reviewed by academics knowledgeable of the broad subject areas covered by the Thouron Award. Following this preselection stage, the Chair and Deputy Chair of the U.K. Thouron Award selection committee short-list candidates for interview. The selection committee is made up by past Thouron Scholars from the U.K. and the U.S., together with Thouron Family members. Applicants are selected on the basis of scholarship, as well as clarity of purpose, contribution to community, and their ambassadorial qualities. They must be able to show enthusiasm for their particular specialty and also to participate in the exchange of ideas and opinions in a variety of settings.
The final selection process is in three parts: the formal panel interview; the group discussions; and a personal interview with Rupert or Rachel Thouron and another committee member. Depending on the travel status of COVID-19 pandemic at the time of interviews, interviews may be conducted in-person or virtually. While academic criteria are important, given the nature of the Award in the context of graduate study, it is important to do well in all three aspects of the selection process. The three parts are designed to allow all members of the committee to gain a fair, overall view of the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I am a non-U.K. citizen, but am currently resident in the U.K. for university education, am I eligible?
No, only U.K. citizens are eligible for a Thouron Award to study at Penn.
My undergraduate degree is from a university outside of the U.K., but I am a U.K. citizen, am I eligible?
No, applications are only accepted from candidates who have graduated or are due to graduate next summer with an undergraduate degree from a U.K. university.
I completed my secondary schooling outside of the U.K., but am a U.K. citizen, am I eligible?
No, applications are only accepted from candidates who completed their secondary schooling, to include GCSEs and A-levels, or Highers and Advanced Highers within the U.K.
I have an application pending for U.K. citizenship. May I apply?
As long as you meet all other eligibility criteria and your U.K. citizenship is/will be granted by the time you apply for the Thouron Award, then yes you may apply.
I have dual U.K .nationality, am I eligible?
If you meet all the other eligibility criteria then you would be considered eligible.
Do I need a First Class degree to apply?
No you do not need a first class degree to apply for a Thouron Award. Please note that these awards are highly competitive, and it is expected that your academic record will enable you to be accepted onto your chosen programme at Penn, so please ensure you check the qualification requirements for your chosen programme at Penn. Thouron Scholars are chosen both for their strong academic potential and their “ambassadorial qualities.”
Which programs at Penn are eligible for the Thouron Award?
Most of the full-time postgraduate masters and PhD programmes offered by Penn, including the single MBA program from Wharton, are eligible for the Thouron Award. Those that are not eligible include the Masters of Liberal Arts (MLA), all part-time programs and executive programs, such as M.S.Ed. Educational Entrepreneurship. PennVet Externship training opportunities are eligible – contact the Thouron Award U.K. Administration for more details.
What is the application deadline?
1 November 2020 with references due 15 November 2020.
How many applications do you usually receive?
We usually receive around 100 applications each year.
How many candidates are usually short-listed for interview?
The number of candidates short-listed for interview may vary, however, the approximate number tends to be 24 each year.*
What questions are included in the application form?
Questions include past and current educational information and a set of short essays. A CV, two references, and a current photograph are also required in the application.
Do I have to submit a separate application to Penn graduate schools for admissions onto my chosen program?
Yes. Applicants are advised to apply to their top two Penn graduate programmes – not classes – by mid-January of the application year, particularly for MBA programmes. Application deadlines vary so please verify your programme specifications.
The Thouron Award will fund up to two years of study, but what if the best program for me is a PhD?
You should only apply for the PhD program if you are able to secure other funding for your third (or more) year(s) of study. Check with the Penn department you are interested in applying to about their funding opportunities for PhD programs.
What if I am successful in gaining a Thouron Award but then unsuccessful in receiving an admissions offer at Penn?
If you are not offered a place on your chosen programme at Penn, then unfortunately your Thouron Award will no longer be available to you as it is offered on the condition you gain admissions to Penn.
If selected for a Thouron Award, but am unsuccessful in being admitted to my chosen programme, can I apply for an alternative programme?
No, your Thouron Award application was considered and selected on the basis of a particular programme.
I am already enrolled on a Master’s programme in the U.K. May I apply for a subsequent one at Penn?
Yes. There are no restrictions on the number of Master’s programmes taken prior to a funding application, however, as part of your application you will be expected to explain what benefits you will gain by undertaking an additional Master’s programme.
The Master’s I would like is wrapped up within a PhD programme. May I leave after the Master’s element?
You should only apply for the PhD programme if you genuinely intend to complete that degree.
I am interested in applying for a PhD programme at Penn, should I make contact with faculty in advance of applying?
Yes, if you are considering a PhD programme you are strongly encouraged to contact the relevant department and faculty at Penn to investigate options and appropriate supervisory support, as well as to determine whether the PhD programme is the most appropriate route for your circumstances and future plans. You will be expected to talk about your faculty contacts if short-listed for interview.
How difficult is it to be accepted to the graduate programs at Penn?
Penn’s graduate programs are highly competitive. Each of the graduate programs at Penn have their own application and criteria for acceptance. Some require standardized testing which should be taken early in case you need to take a second time to improve your scores. Please go directly to the specific graduate program website to research what is necessary and how to best present your application.
If you are applying to Wharton Business School it is strongly recommended that you apply by their first deadline to increase your chance of being accepted and it will be expected that you have completed or are due to complete your GMAT test at the point of applying for the Thouron Award.
When should I start planning my application?
If interested, you should start planning your application as early as possible. New application material is usually available approximately 3 months in advance of the Thouron Award deadline, and you will need to take into account what research you will need to do to help you to decide which programme you wish to undertake at Penn. Most applicants usually start this process during late summer prior to the deadline. Please also ensure you take into account the timescales involved in completing any standardised testing you are required to undertake as part of your Penn admissions application.
Who should I provide as my referees?
Please note that referees’ contact details are a compulsory field on the application form and you should request permission of those whose details you give. However, candidates are responsible for ensuring that their chosen referees submit their reference by the deadline. Missing references will NOT be chased by the Thouron Award U.K. administration. It should be noted that applicants will be at a disadvantage if their application is not accompanied by the required two references.
Suggestions for appropriate referees might include the following: i) University Dean of Faculty or Master of College, ii) Professor or Head of Department/School who can assess academic performance, iii) tutor/lecturer/class head or other person with personal knowledge of applicant’s work, activities and other strengths, iv) supervisor/manager of any employment, paid or voluntary, permanent or temporary.
Will you confirm receipt of my application?
If you successfully submit an online application an automatic message will appear onscreen confirming acceptance of your application. You may check the status of your application any time by returning to the link “token” provided during your application process. You may be contacted directly by the U.K. administrator if there are any queries relating to, or documents missing from, your application. You will be contacted again in mid December with details of whether you have been short-listed for an interview.
Do I need to take the GRE tests?
Most schools and departments at Penn now require or strongly recommend that applicants submit scores from standardised tests such as the Graduate Research Examination (GRE) and General Management Admissions Test (GMAT).
Where applicable, candidates will be asked to confirm whether they have complied with this requirement prior to attending a Thouron interview, therefore please ensure you take into account the timescales involved in completing your GRE / GMAT tests. Without these scores you may not be considered for an admissions place at Penn which in turn could jeopardise your application for the Thouron Award. It is essential that these test results are submitted with your Penn application as early as possible so that Penn admissions tutors can make an informed decision when reviewing your application.
I will not hear about my Penn admissions application until late March. Will this affect applying for a Thouron Award?
No, it will not. Most candidates will not have received a firm offer of a place at the interview stage. If you are interviewed and are successful, you will be offered an award on condition that you are offered a place at Penn. The Thouron Award process is separate to the Penn admissions process.
What exactly do you mean by extra-curricular activities?
Include as much information as possible about all the things you have done or achieved while at university or since, for example if you were active in your Student Union, founded a society, represented your university/College at an external event or mentored younger students. Include all work experience, paid or voluntary, that may be relevant to this application, and/or demonstrates leadership skills and initiative. For candidates already in a profession, please include any activities outside of your employment e.g. involvement with a social action group, either within the UK or overseas, organising sporting activities, etc.
What do you want to see in my Personal Statement?
The Personal Statement is your opportunity to explain to the selection committee why you want to go to the US and in particular why you want to undertake your chosen programme at Penn, and how this will fit with your long-term career goals, as well as describing your academic /personal goals and objectives in relation to your chosen programme of study. This is also your opportunity to demonstrate your suitability to act as a representative of the UK while being open to the different perspective of undertaking an academic qualification within the US.
Is it possible to make alternative arrangements for the interview dates?
Interview dates are fixed and published online in advance of the application deadlines; alternative dates are not possible. Interviews may be conducted in-person in 2021, depending on COVID-19 travel restrictions. Otherwise, interviews will be conducted virtually. If short-listed for an interview and you are not able to attend we would not be able to consider your application further.
How long do the interviews last?
Interviews are conducted as part of a full day and will consist of a formal panel interview, group discussion and a personal interview. For 2021, interviews may be conducted virtually (via Zoom) depending on travel restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
How long after the interview do I have to wait before I am notified whether I’ve been successful or not?
Typically, interviewees will be notified by 1 February where possible.
How are applications reviewed and selected?
All eligible applications are initially reviewed by academics knowledgeable of the broad subject areas covered by the Thouron Award. Following this pre-selection stage, the Chair and Deputy Chair of the U.K. Thouron Award selection committee short-list candidates for interview. The selection committee is made up by past Thouron Scholars from the U.K. and U.S., together with Thouron family members.
Is the application deadline ever extended?
Application deadlines cannot be extended for individual applicants and/or to accommodate personal circumstances. On rare occasions, factors which may impact the entire applicant pool (eg. internet outage) may result in an extension of the deadline.
Can you provide me with specific feedback and/or reasons why I was or was not selected for a Thouron Award?
No. It is the policy of the Thouron Award not to give to individual applicants, to others inquiring on their behalf, or to the public generally, the specific reasons for selection or non-selection of applicants for awards.
*The number of finalists to be interviewed and the number of awards to be made is at the sole discretion of the selection committee.
What does the scholarship provide / cover?
Up to two years of support for postgraduate degree programmes at Penn. The award covers tuition fees and provides a monthly stipend which covers living costs, and such extras as entertainment and travel. The value of the award is adjusted annually, with the current annual stipend for U.K. Thourons set at $31,500.
The Thouron Award is sufficiently generous to allow for vacation travel. Students are expected to use much of their vacation times to explore their host country.
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, international travel may be deferred a year.
What if my course I longer than two years?
With the exception of those undertaking a PhD degree programme, students would need to seek alternative funds to cover the additional years, as the Thouron Award cannot be extended beyond two years.
I am interested in undertaking a PhD programme at Penn, what are the benefits of applying for a Thouron Award, if the department will cover my costs anyway?
The department may ask that the Thouron Award cover the first year or two, with the department picking up the remainder, and therefore costing the department less. The other benefits relate to being part of the Thouron ‘network / family’.
What makes the Thouron Award different to other U.S. scholarship schemes?
The distinctive quality of the Thouron Award is its sense of family. The Thouron family are actively involved with the selection process and maintain continuing contacts with current and former Scholars, and there are frequent reunions – formal and informal – on both sides of the Atlantic, and all scholars are considered part of the wider Thouron family network. Scholars are chosen for their strong academic potential as well as their “ambassadorial qualities”, and all aspects of a candidates ‘career’ to date are taken into account during the selection process. The award is also generous enough to allow for travel throughout the U.S. during its tenure and scholars are actively encouraged to seek out experiences within the U.S. outside of Penn academia.
Can I defer the scholarship to the following year?
Yes. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, your Thoruon Award may be deferred a year.