5 Tips for Applying for the Gilman Scholarship

The Gilman Scholarship is one of the most competitive scholarships you can apply for because it requires that you do something well above and beyond the call of duty in your current academic setting.

According to the U.S. Department of State, The Gilman Scholarship Program offers awards to students who have been traditionally underrepresented in studying abroad, including students with high financial need, community college students, students in STEM fields, and certain minorities, such as African Americans, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American students.

If you’re interested in applying for this prestigious scholarship, these five tips will help you from start to finish.

Tips for Applying for the Gilman Scholarship

1) Personalize your essay

Remember that you are telling a story, so don’t forget to share how your background and experiences might make you an asset in studying abroad. Make sure to be clear about your goals, both while in college and beyond.

While many students apply with a good idea of where they want to study or what major they plan on pursuing, it is important to be open-minded during the application process.

You may find yourself doing research on a country you were not previously interested in or talking with faculty members about majors that interest you more than the ones you had originally intended to pursue.

2) Understand common application questions

You’ll want to carefully review each of your application essays and understand what they’re asking you. For example, one essay might ask: Why do you want to study in your country of choice? while another asks: How will studying abroad help you achieve your personal and academic goals?

Common questions include: Why did you choose X major/why are you a good fit for Y school/what aspect of X program are you most excited about? Show us your writing style! What aspect of global affairs is most important to you and why?

Be sure that if there are any documents not already uploaded that we have access to them. How has past international experience (study abroad, foreign language courses, etc.) affected your worldview?

3) Know how to write an extended response essay

The new and redesigned essays are now part of your overall application profile, meaning they will be sent to every college to which you apply. This means that if you include an essay in your Common Application, it will also be sent with your other applications.

Each prompt will ask a different question, so be sure to read each one carefully before beginning. To increase success rates of applying for awards such as the Gilman scholarship or Gates Millenium scholarship, keep reading below for tips on how to write an extended response essay successfully.

The purpose of these essays is to give colleges a better sense of who you are beyond grades and test scores. Your writing should show them what kind of person you are someone who can learn from their mistakes, persevere through difficult challenges, and overcome hardships along their journey.

Keep these ideas in mind when writing your Gilman scholarship or Gates Millenium scholarship application essay. Gilman Scholarships provide students with opportunities to study abroad while completing their undergraduate studies at partner U.S.

Read Also: 5 Reasons Why Applying for a Scholarship Abroad is Worth Your Time

Tips for Applying for the Gilman Scholarship

4) Get high grades in your classes

The first step in applying for a prestigious scholarship like The Gilman requires you to have great grades. They want to see that you are serious about school and your academics. With good grades, many doors will open up to you: more opportunities, better job prospects after graduation, etc.

You need good grades so start working hard now! Here are some tips on how to get there To build strong relationships with your teachers, do their homework assignments, attend all of their classes, and show them you’re interested in what they teach and how they teach it.

Teachers are very helpful when it comes to scholarships because they know if you can apply yourself to learn from them then you can apply yourself to other things too. So go out of your way to connect with them early on.

Do lots of extra credit projects. The sooner that teachers know who you are and what you’re capable of doing (and not just academically but also as a person), the sooner they’ll be able to help point out resources and opportunities which would be beneficial for future endeavors like scholarships.

5) Create a portfolio of evidence that you are capable

Of course, your grades and SAT scores will be part of your application, but if you want to demonstrate that you have a broader range of abilities, think about what else you could add to your portfolio.

Perhaps you are an Eagle Scout (nearly 34 percent of all Gilman recipients have earned Scouting’s highest rank), or maybe you have had research published in a medical journal. If not, get creative and maybe create something with Legos.

Remember, the more ways that admissions officers can see how you show leadership, curiosity, and motivation in your daily life, the better chance you have of getting into one of these schools.

Read Also: 8 Scholarships to Help make your Study Abroad Dreams a Reality

Tips for Applying for the Gilman Scholarship


The application process might seem daunting at first, but it’s not as difficult as you might think. As long as you gather all your materials and apply early, there are ways to make applying easier on yourself.

Whether you apply using an online or paper application, follow these five tips for a successful Gilman scholarship application. Remember that in addition to completing your application well before the submission deadline, it’s a good idea to have a few professional references ready to go if asked by admissions officers on review day.

This way, you don’t risk forgetting someone or misplacing their contact information after submitting your application!

This article was recently updated, and we’ll continue to bring the very latest in our niche categories to all our SMART Readers. There are a few related articles you might want to read below.

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