Who doesn’t know Bill Gates? As one of the wealthiest people on the planet, Bill Gates collect his wealth from being the founder and chairman of Microsoft, the world’s largest PC software company. Fortunately, Gates is also one the kindest people as he donates his wealth to philanthropy. Most of the money is donated to different charitable organizations and also scientific research programs through his own foundation which was established in 2000, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The foundation has big attention to support education in the US and has funded several scholarship schemes in different universities. By launching the Gates Scholarship, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has shown its commitment to help outstanding minority students who mostly come from low-income families to realize their maximum potential.
Unlike any other prestigious scholarship which solely based on the academic achievement of the candidates, the Gates Scholarship offers bigger opportunities to the unfortunate one, those who have financial barriers to go to college. In addition to the funding that the awardee receives, the Gates Scholarship will engage students in a variety of ways to make sure that they are provided by the best resources and services they need, from the first day of school until they graduate and choose a path for their career.
The selection process of the Gates Scholarship is highly competitive. Starting 2018, the scholarship will provide a fund for 300 top student leaders annually, with a total of 3000 students that have been granted the fund since the program has been started in 2017.
The amount of the grant that you will receive depends on the amount of unmet need. The unmet need means the difference between the amount you’ve received in grants or scholarships and your school’s cost of attendance (which includes tuition fees, board, books, room, and other personal expenses). The larger the unmet need, the larger the scholarship award will be.
The scholarship amount will also depend on how long you’re able to renew the scholarship. If you meet all the renewal qualifications, you will be able to receive the funds to cover all the unmet need for 4 years of undergraduate study. The average amount of the Gates Scholarship fund was around $12,492.
To apply for the scholarship, you must be:
- a US citizen, national or permanent resident;
- a high school student in senior year;
- from at least one of the following ethnicities: Asian & Pacific Islander American, American Indian/Alaska Native*, African-American, and/or Hispanic American
- pell-eligible, which means you must show a significant financial need;
- have a minimum cumulative academic score weighted GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale;
- a full-time first-year student in a four-year degree-seeking program, at the US accredited, not-for-profit, public or private university or college.
The Ideal Candidate
To be awarded the scholarship, you must have the following criteria.
- An outstanding academic achievement in high school (in the top 10% of his/her graduating class).
- A leadership competence (e.g., shown through participation in extracurricular activities or community service).
- Great motivation and perseverance, emotionally matured, and other emotional intelligence skills.
The Gates Scholarship Deadline
- Mid-July – Available
- Mid-September – Deadline of application
- November – January – Semifinalist phase
- Mar – Finalist interviews
- Apr – Selection
- July – Sept – Awards
Information You Need to Know Before Applying
Before preparing for the application, you need to gather some important information to apply for the scholarship.
You need to request the following information from your guidance counselor:
- your class rank
- your class size
- your full academic record
- your cumulative GPA
You also need to prepare a list of your participation in several activities. Gather all the information including names, dates, and descriptions of your participation in the following activities.
- Leadership roles and experiences
- Community service experiences
- Employment experiences
Gather all the information about your family financial condition, including:
- your status, whether you are a dependent or an independent student;
- your personal gross annual income information which is collected over the past year.
Strategies to Increase Your Chances of Winning the Gates Scholarship
- Demonstrate academic excellence during your early years in high school. You should maintain your GPA of a minimum 3.3. Take AP or advanced classes if available. Seek for extra help from your teachers if you are weak in certain subjects.
- Demonstrate leadership skills by actively participating in class, being a volunteer in a group discussion or group projects, or joining extracurricular activities that meet your interests.
- Commit to community service by choosing and sticking with a community service on a weekly basis.
- Develop good relationships with educators and mentors to ask for guidance and advice.
- Plan ahead once you are ready to apply for the scholarship. Map out the strategy and list all the things you need to do.
- Write essay seriously and make sure you answer all the required questions. Don’t be afraid to brag about yourself but try to be humble at the same time.
- Choose nominators and recommenders wisely. They can be the one who knows you in multiple contexts, for your coach or personal mentor.