UPDATE: The new Gates Scholarship will replace the GMSP program! The application hasn’t been released, but we’ll update this guide as soon as the info is available!
—-Outdated info: relevant for GMSP. Might not be relevant for Gates Scholarship!——-
In applying for fellowships, essays are the hardest and most time-intensive part. However, if you start early and remember that you are writing YOUR story, no research required, you will be ok!
1. The essay prompts that YOU need to answer
There are a total of 8 essays that you must write for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program (GMSP) application. This is NOT including the essays that your nominator and recommender must write.
See below for the prompts as well as sample essays from GMSP award winners!
Prompt 1: Discuss the subjects in which you excel or have excelled. To what factors do you attribute your success?
Prompt 2: Discuss the subjects in which you had difficulty. What factors do you believe contributed to your difficulties? How have you dealt with them so they will not cause problems for you again? In what areas have you experienced the greatest improvement? What problem areas remain?
Prompt 3: Briefly describe a situation in which you felt that you or others were treated unfairly or were not given an opportunity you felt you deserved. Why do you think this happened? How did you respond? Did the situation improve as a result of your response?
Prompt 4: Discuss your short-term and long-term goals. Are some of them related? Which are priorities?
Prompt 5: Discuss a leadership experience you have had in any area of your life: School, work, athletics, family, church, community, etc. How and why did you become a leader in this area? How did this experience influence your goals?
Prompt 6: Discuss your involvement in and contributions to a community near your home, school or elsewhere. Please select an experience different from the one you discussed in the previous question, even if this experience also involved leadership. What did you accomplish? How did this experience influence your goals?
Prompt 7: Other than through classes in school, in what areas (non-academic or academic) have you acquired knowledge or skills? How?
Prompt 8: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about that may help us evaluate your nomination (i.e., personal characteristics, obstacles you have overcome)?
Prompt 9: ONLY for Nominees who graduated from high school or earned their GED more than one year ago: Describe those activities in which you have participated since completing high school (e.g., community service, leadership, employment) that you believe qualify you for this scholarship.
2. Notes on writing the essays
When writing the essays, remember:
- The essays do not have to be perfect!
- Answer the prompt. If the only thing you write is the exact answers to the prompt, then you at least provided the information that they are seeking
- DO NOT be too verbose, pedantic, wordy…(you get the point). The people who are reading your essays are volunteers and they will be reading LOTS of essays so DO NOT bore them or make it a difficult read! Some of my sample essays are borderline pedantic so I am not a great guide on how to be short and to the point.
3. FREE essay reviewing services by GMSP award winners
- Free essay reviewing service is now available through the great efforts provided by Scholarship Junkies!
- Follow the EXACT instructions below!
Make sure that you have completed and thoroughly proofread ALL 8 of your essays before submitting them for review. Once they are proofread, do the following: Visit http://scholarshipjunkies.org/for-students/ Under “how did you hear about us”, make sure to list “Nhi Le” so that the team knows that you were referred via this blog Under “essay draft version”, select “new essay submissions” Enter your information
 Submit all 8 essays as word 2 document files (4 essay per file). Please note that all files MUST contain your full name and have the essay prompt before each essay.
Due to the high volume of requests at this time of year, you might not receive your essay feedback within 72 hours after submission. Please be patient as all our volunteer readers and unpaid and are juggling other responsibilities at the same time. Thanks for your understanding! 🙂
~ Ngoc Nhi Le
** Disclaimer: ALL ESSAYS ARE THE PROPERTIES OF THEIR LISTED OWNERS! DO NOT PLAGIARIZE!