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Revamped application approach brings yet another Rhodes

image: Campus NewsHoops co-captain Brad Henderson is latest Oxford-bound scholar
Although fourth-year economics concentrator Bradley J. Henderson believed his application for a Rhodes Scholarship was a long shot, the College's advising staff for British scholarships was not surprised to learn on December 9 that the Loveland, Ohio, native had become Chicago's 36th Rhodes Scholar.

"We've had fewer applicants than other schools in recent years," says advisor Susan Art, "but our students are choosing to apply with good information and better preparation."

The 21-year-old Henderson, who will study economic and social history at the University of Oxford, submitted his application through a system that's much more student-friendly than a decade ago, says Art, whose office began overhauling the College's approach to British scholarship applications about ten years ago. The result has been not only applicants who are more prepared to compete in the rigorous national competition but also, ultimately, a higher percentage of winners for Chicago.

The new process begins shortly after all third- and fourth-year students are informed of Rhodes and Marshall Scholarship opportunities. Art and fellow advisor Francisco Santamaria counsel interested students to decide whether studying in England fits their goals and interests. A small number are nudged into the arduous application process, and an annual maximum of 15 students formally apply (compared to Harvard or Princeton Universities, which may submit 80 or 90 applications). This year Henderson was one of five U of C applicants. The students practice interviews with a small group of Chicago faculty (rather than the "grilling" by a large group that Art says was often overwhelming for past applicants).

Art believes the numbers are a testament to the new system's merits. The College has had seven Rhodes Scholars and seven Marshall Scholars since 1995, while the previous five years saw only three Rhodes and four Marshalls-"and the years before 1990," admits Art, "were pretty lean."

For his part, Henderson looks eagerly ahead to Oxford. The co-captain of the varsity basketball team who came to the U of C on a full four-year academic scholarship, he plans to study how the tension between proponents and detractors of globalization affects governmental policy decisions.

A regular on the dean's list, Henderson is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa national honor society and is a student marshall, the University's highest undergraduate honor. As the basketball team's starting forward, his honors from the University Athletic Association include First Team All-Conference selection and All-Academic Team. He has been a volunteer tutor for U of C Strive and has written for the Chicago Weekly News.

"Brad seems to thrive on challenges," says Allen Sanderson, senior lecturer in economics. "He doesn't let much grass grow under his sneakers."-S.A.S.



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