GMSP Part 1- Before you apply

10 YEARS of fellowship funding for ANY U.S. accredited college or university!

I went through a process of applying for fellowships for graduate school and can relate to those of you who are applying for Gates. Luckily for me, there is quite a collection of example essays, hints and guides out there for pre-doctoral fellowships, but none that I’ve seen for Gates. As a Gates outreach ambassador, I’ve heard lots of questions that I think many of you out there will also have.

I haven’t seen answers to some of these questions on the web, so here goes my suggestions for those who are applying for a GMS blessing!

Suggestion 1: APPLY!

The biggest problem that I see in terms of GMS applications is that people don’t apply. 8 essays are a lot, but you are working for potentially over HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS in FREE MONEY! The worst that can happen is you write 8 essays that you can use for applying to colleges!


Suggestion 2: Make sure you meet all the eligibility requirements

Before you start the application process, please check that you have met all the eligibility requirements. A list of these requirements can be found at the GMSP application page, but some are also broken down here:

Students are eligible if they meet the following:

Requirement: Are African American, American Indian/Native Alaskan, Asian Pacific Islander American, or Hispanic American

  • If you claim that you are American Indian/Native Alaskan, you will be asked for proof of tribal enrollment or certificate of descent if you are selected as a finalist.
  • If you can claim origins from the “Far East, Southeast Asian, the Indian subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands” you are eligible to apply.

Requirement: Will enroll for the first time in an accredited college or university located in the U.S. in the fall of the year following your application

  • To determine if your school is accredited, go to this site and search for your school
  • If you graduated from high school a year or more from the point in which you are applying for GMS, it is ok! There is an essay portion for your to explain the situation or expand upon it!

Requirement: Have demonstrated leadership ability

  • If you can show that you have leadership capability through participation in community service, extracurricular or any other activities, you qualify
  • A note about this: I am not entirely sure that capacity in which you need to demonstrate leadership to make you competitive so if you have leadership at all, APPLY!

Requirement: Meet Federal Pell Grant eligibility criteria

Requirement: Have completed and submitted all three required forms as part of your application

You can find the forms at the GMSP website. Remember that you may also APPLY ONLINE (save trees, postage stamps, and time!)

  • The required forms are: The nominee , nominator and recommender forms.
  • YOU fill out the nominee (application) form!
  • The nominator “is the person who evaluates your academic record. This person MUST be a principal, teacher, guidance counselor, higher education representative or a professional educator.”
  • Anyone WHO KNOWS YOU WELL and can attest to your community service and leadership potential can be your recommender.
  • Remember that both the recommender and nominator must write essays on your behalf so DO NOT TAKE THIS LIGHTLY!

Suggestion 3: Remember that the deadline for submission is 11:59 PM EST on January 13, 2016

This means start as early as you can and DO NOT wait till 11:59:00 PM of the deadline date to submit your information!! This also means:

  • You need to make sure your recommender and nominator turn in their forms by the deadline. The deadline for all the forms and your application are the same!
  • You need to check and double-check that you have submitted all the required documents
  • DO NOT WAIT till the last-minute because the submission site will have high traffic near the deadline and you do not want to be the person who experienced technical difficulties…because then the difficulty on your behalf is that you technically did not apply!

~ Ngoc Nhi Le

236 thoughts on “GMSP Part 1- Before you apply

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