Terms to know

  • Reading Committees: Applications that pass the initial eligibility sift are reviewed by a Reading Committee, composed of a regional and an academic assessor.
  • Longlists: Top scoring applications are added to a longlist, and are passed on to the relevant embassy or high commission (‘post’) for further review.
  • Shortlists: From their longlist, posts will select a shortlist of applicants who will be invited to interview.
  • References: Candidates who are invited to interview must submit their two references by the deadline of 12:00 GMT (noon) 25 February 2020.
  • Interviews: Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by their local British embassy or high commission. Interview slots are booked via the online application system.

We receive a lot of queries about what happens to applications once they have been submitted, so we’re taking this opportunity to expand on the application timeline, and to explain the selection process in more detail.At this time of the year, tens of thousands of hopeful Chevening applicants are waiting to find out whether they have been invited to interview. For those who receive positive news, this will be a moment of huge excitement, and validation. For others, who do not progress to the next stage, this will come as a disappointment, but also an opportunity to reflect, and consider how they might build on this experience in order to submit an even stronger application when the next cycle opens in August 2020.

What is the longlist and how is it created?

Once the application deadline passes, all applications are sifted to ensure that they meet our eligibility criteria. Whilst the online system does a lot of this work automatically (by enforcing word limits and calculating work experience hours), other criteria are checked manually, such as ensuring that the application is written in English.

All applications that make it past this stage are reviewed by an independent Reading Committee, composed of an academic and a regional assessor. Reading Committee members are carefully selected, and are interviewed to assess their suitability for this important role. They bring a wealth of experience to the selection process, with many having worked in recruitment or admissions at UK universities. After receiving comprehensive training from the Secretariat, their job is to carefully and impartially review and score applications.

Reading Committees operate independently of the Chevening Secretariat and British embassies and high commissions (‘posts’). The Secretariat and posts have no influence over Reading Committee scores.

Top scoring applicants are passed on to posts for further review. This is the longlist.

The number of applications that are longlisted will vary, depending on the number of awards available that year in each country/territory. However, given the volume of applications we receive, to have made it to the longlist is a significant achievement in itself.

What happens then? How does the longlist turn into the interview shortlist?

Each post receives their longlist. Their task is to then review all longlisted applications and select candidates to invite to interview. Posts will take various factors into consideration, such as the reading committee score, and the content of each application with regards to career plans, leadership and influencing skills, motivations for studying in the UK, and networking statements.

When post have confirmed their shortlist, these candidates will receive an invitation from the Secretariat to book an interview slot via our online application system. Longlisted candidates who do not make it onto the shortlist will also be informed at this time.

At this stage, shortlisted candidates will be invited to submit any outstanding educational documents (including degrees and transcripts) as well as their two reference letters by the deadline of 12:00 GMT (noon) on 25 February 2020.

How do I submit my references?

References are an integral part of Chevening’s selection process, providing interviewers with a fuller picture of the candidate’s skills, abilities, and suitability to receive a Chevening Scholarship. You must supply the names of two referees when you submit your application.

Shortlisted candidates will be required to upload two reference letters to the online application system by 12:00 GMT (noon) on 25 February 2020. Please note that Chevening will not contact your referees to complete or upload references, it is the applicant’s responsibility to obtain and upload their references.

In exceptional circumstances, you may bring references with you to your interview if you are unable to upload these to the online application system prior to the deadline. The British embassy or high commission in your home country may also request that you bring original hard copies of your references with you to interview. You will receive further guidance on this if you are invited to interview.

For more information on references, and instructions for referees, please see our updated reference guidance.

I’ve been invited for an interview! How should I prepare?

Firstly, congratulations! You should know that you’ve done extremely well to get this far.

Please log back into the application system and schedule your interview. Interview slots are limited, and are available on a first-come first-served basis. We therefore suggest you schedule your interview slot as soon as possible. Please read any instruction carefully and make sure that you arrive at your interview with plenty of time, and with any ID, or additional documents that you are requested to bring.

Follow us on our social media channels as we’ll be sharing interview tips from scholars, alumni, and posts in the coming days and weeks. In the meantime, here are some good tips from previous scholars.

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