Boren Awards (students)

Campus Deadline: ​12:00 pm (noon) EST, Wednesday, January 10, 2024

**Join us for a special Boren webinar for the Wellesley community: come to a watch party at the Office of International Study on Tuesday, November 28, 2023, at 4pm, or register in advance to attend virtually!

The Boren awards provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Boren Scholars and Fellows represent a vital pool of highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal national security arena. In exchange for funding, Boren Scholars and Fellows commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation--so this could be a terrific start to a career in government.

Study abroad programs of a year are strongly preferred, but a spring plus summer (for example) could work, and summer programs will be considered for students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. All Wellesley College candidates for the Boren Scholarship (or Fellowship) should undergo the Wellesley College review and nomination process in order to apply.

Application Planning

Timeline overview for application process:

  • Late August: Boren Scholarship online application is released.

  • Fall/early Winter: Explore Boren resources, including recorded webinars, and start drafting your application, and talk with the Office of International Study about choosing the right program of study. 

  • October 30, 2023: Optional Priority Draft Deadline for undergraduate fellowships and scholarships - submit drafts by this deadline via the form here to guarantee a draft review appointment before the campus deadline.

  • January 10, 2024 by 12:00 pm (noon) EST: Campus application deadline.  Application materials should be complete in the official online application system but please do not yet click to "submit" your application until after the campus review process; the Wellesley signature document should be submitted via the Google form here.

  • Late January: Applications are reviewed on-campus, and applicants will be able to revise their materials in advance of the national deadline with advice from the campus committee.  

  • January 24, 2024: Expected Boren Fellowship national deadline.  All applications will be reviewed and forwarded to Boren by this date.

  • January 31, 2024: Expected Boren Scholarship national deadline.  All applications will be reviewed and forwarded to Boren by this date.

  • March/April: Complete applications are processed and distributed to national selection panels for review.

  • Late April: All applicants are notified of their status by email.

  • June: Orientation and Convocation in Washington, DC for Boren Scholarship recipients.



Who is eligible?

  • U.S. citizens;
  • For the Scholarship: first-year, sophomore, or junior students matriculated at Wellesley and planning study abroad during the following academic year; and
  • Applying to a study abroad program that meets home institution standards in a country outside of the United States, Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.
  • Wellesley seniors applying to a graduate degree program at a U.S. college or university located within the United States and accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education may apply for the Fellowship (if their graduate program would be willing--talk with the Wellesley Fellowships team if you're interested in this option; Wellesley graduates currently in eligible graduate programs should apply for the Fellowship through their graduate institution)

What makes a strong applicant for this fellowship?

  • A desire to study a less commonly taught language in a country that is critical to national security, but underrepresented in study abroad;
  • Commitment to a career in the federal government;
  • The ability to make a compelling case for significance of the proposed country, region, and language to U.S. national security;
  • The ability to tie one’s current academic plan, proposed study abroad program, and future career goals into one strong narrative; and
  • Strong letters of reference.

Where can I learn more?

  • Explore the helpful official Boren website (, view an official webinar (or two! here), and check out the videos by Boren alumni about their experiences, here

  • Find very helpful official essay tips here or watch this half-hour offiical webinar on Crafting Competitive Essays

  • Contact the Wellesley Fellowships team with questions ( drop in to Fellowships Pop-Up Advising (listings in Handshake); book a Fellowships advising appointment via Handshake (the Career Education office is open during much of winter break!).

  • Note that while the Fellowships team are the right people to talk to about the Boren and how to put together a strong application for it, Wellesley’s Office of International Study is better able to advise you on choosing the right program of study, and would love to help you do that!

How do I apply?

  • All Wellesley College candidates for the Boren Scholarship (or Fellowship) should undergo the Wellesley College review and nomination process in order to apply. 

  • Graduating seniors applying for grad school may also apply through Wellesley for the Boren Fellowship by following the same application instructions but using the Boren Fellowship application.

Application checklist 

Before the campus application deadline, all materials except the Wellesley Fellowships signature document mentioned below should be completed/uploaded into the Boren application system, accessible via the official Boren website. (Please do not click to "submit" your online application until after the campus review process is complete.)

  • Letters of reference (two required; three optional; all to be submitted via the official Boren application system)

  • Language proficiency evaluation (optional but strongly recommended; to be submitted via the official Boren application system) See official advice about letters and language evaluations on the Boren website.

  • Official online Boren application form (accessible via the official Boren website

  • Language self-assessment form

  • Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (including Wellesley and any applicable transfer and/or study abroad transcripts), as per the official application instructions

  • Wellesley Fellowships office signature document (please print, sign & date this form, then submit a scanned pdf or other image of the signed document via the Google form here)

One of the following:

  • One page study abroad program description with cost information.

  • If you set up a direct enrollment or individually arranged study abroad program, please provide two letters of support: one from your home institution and the other from your overseas host institution.