Scholarship Junkies aims to help scholarship applicants compile the most competitive applications possible, and as part of these efforts, occasional guest bloggers will be sharing scholarship tips and advice on how best to approach specific scholarships. In today’s post, Scholarship Junkies Corps members, Christopher Lee and Jonathan Lee, share some of their thoughts on the Gates Millennium Scholarship Program. The application for the GMS is due Wednesday, January 15, 2014 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST) and can be accessed via the GMS website. As always, feel free to contact us with any additional questions or submit your essay(s) for review.
NOTE FOR GMS APPLICANTS AND GATES SCHOLARS/ALUMNI IN SEATTLE: If you live in the greater Seattle area and would like to work one-on-one with local Gates Scholars and Alumni, please RSVP for our GMS workshop on January 11th and 12th at the Seattle Public Library’s central branch. If you’re a Gates Scholar or Alumni and would like to volunteer to help, please contact us and let us know.
The Gates Millennium Scholarship (GMS)
The GMS is more than a scholarship – it is an opportunity to change your life. To find more information, go to the GMS scholarship homepage: www.gmsp.org
Within your 8 essays, share your life: your past, present, and future. Show the readers how you have persevered and how you will change the world from your experiences.
Tommy Tran, 2010 Gates Millennium Scholar
Don't be afraid to share about all your activities and accomplishments. And don't procrastinate. The more time you spend on your application, the more you are investing toward a potentially free degree, which is something many people can only dream of.
Joanna Lim, 2008 Gates Millennium Scholar
The GMS invests in student leaders who can demonstrate their passion for and commitment to impacting their community through education, service, and leadership. Use your essays to paint a vivid story.
Samson Lim, 2006 Gates Millennium Scholar
- Must be African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American or Hispanic American
- US citizen or permanent resident
- GPA 3.3 or better or earned a high school GED
- Will enroll in college or university fall of 2013 as full-time first-year student seeking a college degree
- Demonstrated leadership
- Meet the Federal Pell Grant criteria for eligibility
- Student Application Form (Self-reported information and 8 lengthy essays)
- Nominator Form (First Recommendation: An evaluation of the students academics)
- Recommender Form (Second Recommendation: An evaluation of extra-curricular and community activities)
GMS selects 1,000 students from around the nation each year for a good-through-graduation scholarship (including the opportunity to pursue graduate degrees in approved fields) to use at the college or university of the student’s choice.
The GMS Scholarship Award Provides:
- Support for the cost of education by covering unmet need (the amount not covered by your college or university’s financial aid package) and self-help aid (*any federal/state loans or work-study awards you do not want);
- Renewable awards for Gates Millennium Scholars maintaining satisfactory academic progress;
- Graduate school funding for continuing Gates Millennium Scholars in the areas of computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science;
- Leadership development programs with distinctive personal, academic and professional growth opportunities.
*GMS does not cover institution/university loans nor does it cover your Family Contribution (including loans taken out to cover your Family Contribution)
Suggestions from 2012 Gates Scholars: Christopher Lee and Jonathan Lee
- When writing your essays, use clear and vivid examples. Show, don’t tell. Each essay should reflect your most important attributes and explain to the GMS committee who you are. There is no interview for this scholarship, so your essays are your only chance to let the committee know who you are.
- Complete the application in multiple sittings. (GMS provides a downloadable practice application form.) The application requires many long and tedious essays which should be thoroughly revised and edited. Mistakes such as grammatical errors show the reader that you are careless.
- Start early. The last thing you want to do is rush to finish your application the morning it is due.
- Choose wisely when asking for a nominator and a recommender. The GMS allows the nominator and recommender to be the same person, but we would suggest finding two different people so that the judges can see your profile from two sets of eyes. When asking for a recommendation, remember to submit a personal data form well in advance so your recommender/nominator has sufficient time to write you a solid letter.
- Try to ask your nominator and recommender early. We had an issue last year where a nominator failed to finish his portion of the application until the last day, which caused extra stress.
- Tell your story convincingly. Show who you are and explain to the GMS scholars why you are unique. These essays should be long and thorough. They should detail how your life stories have touched you and other people. My essays usually were in a story form and had a central theme followed by the prompt.
- The GMS seeks young leaders who are active in their communities and demonstrate academic achievement. When listing your activities, choose the ones that most describe your personality and reflect your passions. Chances are you’ll be able to write about them more effectively.
- When writing the essays make sure to focus on life-changing experiences and elaborate thoroughly. Anybody can write what they did, but only you can attest to how it affected you, the impact it made, how you felt, etc.
- Choose evaluators who you are close to, and can attest to your strengths and abilities. Preferably somebody you’ve known for more than a year.
- Finally, don’t rush your application. Make sure you go over everything and that it is the strongest possible. Have other people review your essays and take into account their feedback. Scholarship Junkies Corps members are dedicated to essay feedback, so don’t be shy!
The GMS is a one of the most prestigious scholarships available in the nation. If you meet the requirements for the GMS, start your application now. If you don’t qualify for the GMS, check out the other information on scholarships and remember to check out the next scholarship profile coming soon. Feel free to contact Scholarship Junkies for help and questions. We are here to help you!
Jonathan Lee and Christopher Lee are 2012 Gates Millennium Scholars and members of the 2012-13, and 2013-14 Scholarship Junkies Corps. Jon and Chris attend the Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tennessee.