Please read the information on this page carefully before proceeding:

Thank you for your interest in the selection process for the U.S. Department of State’s 2022 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program.

The CLS Program selects finalists through a two round selection process. 

In the first round, applications are evaluated twice by independent readers representing study abroad, fellowship and language departments on U.S. campuses. The first round of selection begins after the application deadline of November 16 and is completed by the end of December.

Top applications from the first round are then reviewed by a separate panel of evaluators. Panelists evaluate each application individually before the end of January, and then convene virtually make final recommendations for scholarship awards, alternate candidates, and declined applications.

Evaluators are selected to participate in no more than one of these two rounds each year. Because of the volume of applications, more evaluators are needed in the first round than in the second.

In order to ensure a diversity of experience in the evaluation process, the CLS Program makes an effort to include both new evaluators and those with experience evaluating for CLS in the past to fill a limited number of spaces. It is therefore not possible to accommodate everyone with interest, especially during the second round selection panels.

The CLS Program seeks evaluators/panelists with a variety of backgrounds and experiences, in order to build a diverse pool of evaluators/panelists. Although we rely on qualified readers to help assess applications for non-beginning language students, language speaking proficiency or teaching experience are not required.

First Round Application Readers:

  • Read applications to the 2022 summer CLS Program and help select the program semi-finalists.
  • Will work remotely to evaluate between 20 and 65 CLS applications online between November 23 and December 28, 2021.

Applications will be distributed to first round readers after the CLS application deadline. We ask that each reader be able to commit to a minimum of 20 applications. We understand that many people have work and family obligations at this time of year, and we ask that our evaluators stay in contact about any conflicts that may require them to fall short of their reading commitment.

Second Round Selection Panelists:
  • Read applications to the 2022 summer CLS Program to help select the program finalists and alternates.
  • Will work remotely to evaluate between 20 and 65 CLS applications (the number varies by panel, and is a fixed assignment) online between January 5th and January 23rd, 2022.
  • Will participate in a day-long selection panel discussion online during which three panelists discuss a set of semi-finalist applicants and make final recommendations for award decisions. These panels will convene virtually between January 27th and February 4th, 2022

Time Commitment:

The time it takes to evaluate each application varies from reader to reader. Once you become familiar with evaluation rubric, the average time it takes to read and score an application is around 15 to 20 minutes.

Once you are comfortable using our selection rubric, we expect that you will be able to read and score around three to five applications per hour. Given that we ask for a minimum commitment of 20 applications, and that we require all volunteers to thoroughly review our training materials, we estimate the minimum time commitment for first round readers to be about six to ten hours over the course of the month during which reading takes place. Second round panelists are expected to read all applications assigned to their panel between January 5 and January 23 and to participate in a day-long selection panel. 

Additional Notes:

  • In the past, we have been very fortunate to be able to provide a modest honorarium for this valued work. However, as the costs of administering the CLS Program have gone up over the years, the level of funding for the program has not. As such, we are no longer able to offer an honorarium for the evaluation of CLS applications. We are beyond grateful for our community of dedicated readers and could not facilitate this program without this community. We hope that many of you will still find value in participating in the process both personally and professionally, and that the opportunity to engage with our application and selection process will benefit your work with students. As a small thanks for your contribution to this process, we will provide a letter outlining the importance of this service, which we encourage you to use in any portfolio or dossier for professional or academic advancement.
  • Prior to reviewing applications, evaluators for both rounds must thoroughly review provided materials, including the selection rubric and evaluation training materials.
  • Readers/Panelists will need to sign a confidentiality agreement prior to reading any CLS applications. This form will be provided electronically and can be completed online.
  • The majority of applications for the CLS Program are from applicants with no experience learning a critical language. Many readers will be asked to evaluate beginner level applications or applications to languages different from their regional expertise. This is simply a result of program staff trying to meet all of the reading needs, based on the resources that we have available.

Thank you again for your time and interest. Due to the volume of interest in evaluating applications for the CLS Program, not everyone who expresses interest may be asked to serve as an evaluator.

If you are not available to evaluate applications this year, but would like to remain on the distribution list for next year's interest survey, please provide contact information on the next page.

Please write to Natalie Spencer at with any questions.