Luce Scholars

Luce Scholars


The intent of the program is to provide an in-depth experience in Asia to young Americans who would not otherwise have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the country where they are placed. 

  • Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.  
  • Candidates may be graduating seniors, recent graduates, or young professionals under the age of 32, OR if older than 32, candidates must have received their bachelor's degree within the past three years
  • Candidates who have spent a significant amount of time (18 weeks or more since beginning college) in more than one of the countries where we place Luce Scholars are not eligible to apply for the Luce.
  • Candidates who have spent 18 weeks or more (since beginning college) in only one of the countries where we place Luce Scholars are eligible to apply but will not be placed in the country where they have spent significant time.

Competition Timeline

April 2024 - Online application portal opens in April each year and remains open through Mid-October.
October 2024 – Application deadline, all application materials must be submitted by the deadline date.
Mid-November 2024  – Semi-finalists are invited for virtual interviews with a Luce Scholars alumnus 
Early December 2024 – Finalists are notified of their status and invited to a finalist weekend
January 2025 – Finalist Weekend, during this Thursday - Saturday, 34 finalists attend programming, workshops, and two person panel interviews at an in-person selection in San Diego, California. Attendance at the finalist weekend is required for all applicants selected as finalists. All expenses associated with the selection process (travel to the finalist weekend, lodging, food, etc.) will be covered by the program.  
Early February 2025 - Cohort of Luce Scholars is publicly announced.


Candidates must first complete an eligibility questionnaire. If eligible, they will be prompted to complete the application which includes the following:

  • Written Application – Candidates provide biographical and contact information, respond to short answer questions, and write a personal statement.
  • Request Forms for Two Letters of Recommendation (LOR) – Candidates complete a form for each recommender. Once a form is submitted, an email is sent to the recommender. Letters must be uploaded separately by the recommenders. LORs can be from academic or professional references. They should come from people who know the candidate well and can speak to their skills, abilities, and potential. LORs should be signed on official letterhead whenever possible. 
  • Academic Transcripts – Candidates upload transcripts of all college and graduate work. 
  • A 1-2 Minute Video – Candidates record and upload a 1–2-minute video based on the provided prompt. The video gives program administrators a chance to get to know the candidate beyond the page. 

The application deadline for the 2025-2026 cohort will open in April 2024.  October 16 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Late applications (including transcripts and letters of recommendation) will not be accepted. Applications do not need to be completed in one sitting; work can be saved at any point and as frequently as necessary. Once submitted applicants will no longer have access to their application. We suggest printing a copy for your records prior to submitting.

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Selection Process

Luce Scholars are selected through a rigorous process over three rounds of evaluation:  

  1. In the first round, applications are reviewed and evaluated by distinguished teams of readers and program staff to determine a group of 45-50 semi-finalists. 
  2. Candidates selected as semi-finalists are invited for two virtual interviews with two experienced Luce Scholar in early to mid-November. Those interview comments will help us determine a pool of 34 finalists.  
  3. The 34 finalists are invited to a finalist weekend consisting of interactive programs, workshops, and finalist interviews. It is a competitive process but also a learning experience and a time of growth for all finalists, even those not selected as Luce Scholars. Scholars are announced immediately after our finalist weekend. 

Review Criteria

Successful candidates will have demonstrated significant leadership ability, intercultural competence, and evidence of potential for professional achievement. Reviewers will consider academic accomplishments; however, the Luce Scholars Program is experiential rather than academic in nature. Personal qualities such as resilience, flexibility, adaptability, maturity, humility, creativity, openness to new ideas, and sensitivity to cultural differences are as important as academic performance. 

Candidates are not judged on the basis of whether or not they have developed specific plans for their year in Asia. A candidate may have general ideas about the kind of placement preferred, but this is considered neither a negative nor positive factor in selection. 

Carat Up

Recent News and Announcements

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