Getting Started on Your Gilman Scholarship Application

Getting Started on Your Gilman Scholarship Application


Hi everyone, thank you for attending this
online session about the Gilman scholarship. My name is Belinda
Christiensen and I’m one of the Gilman Scholarship advisors here at Temple
University Education Abroad and this session is for students who are planning
to apply for the Gilman Scholarship and are getting ready to start the
application process. So first a little bit about the Gilman scholarship. It is a national scholarship competition, and the mission of the program is to promote diversity both among the kinds of students who study abroad and also among the regions where students study abroad in the world. So that mission is something that’s really important to keep in mind as you’re approaching your application and we’ll talk about that in a little more detail later on. First a little bit about the eligibility requirements. Students need to be US citizens. You need to be an undergraduate student. You need to be receiving a
Federal Pell Grant at the time that you’re studying abroad. And you need to
be doing a program for academic credit that’s for at least 28 days in country. You also you can’t be studying abroad in anywhere that’s currently under a State Department Travel Warning or Cuba and if you’re studying abroad in Mexico then you need to be studying abroad in an area of Mexico that’s not currently
under State Department Travel Warning. Scholarships are for up to $5,000. For
the semester usually the average is about $4,000 and for summer
it’s about $3,000. If you’re studying a critical need language and you can see
the list of there of examples of critical need languages, you can be
eligible to receive an additional $3,000 scholarship. So the total possible award for students who are studying critical need languages could be up to
$8,000. Some award statistics: Usually each cycle about 30% of applicants are awarded, and you can see that the majority of them have been students who
were studying outside of Western Europe. Also many students were studying
languages, especially critical need languages. So that’s something to keep in
mind. And Temple students absolutely have success with this scholarship. We always
have winners every semester. So if you’re eligible for the scholarship then
definitely apply. And that’s what we’re here for here in the office we have
advisers that specifically advise for the Gilman scholarship to be able to
look at your essays give you feedback so that you can revise and perfect any and
make a strong application. So a little more detail about the mission of the Gilman scholarship. So within their mission, they really have priorities of
making study abroad possible for students who are traditionally
underrepresented in education abroad. So, for example, that could be students with
high financial need, students who are studying outside of Western Europe,
Australia, and New Zealand, students with diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds,
students from a diverse range of institutions which could include
students who have attended Community College or currently attending Community
College, and students with disabilities. So those are a couple examples of
students who are traditionally underrepresented in the field. So there are two essays that are part of the application process, and the one is the
statement of purpose which is it’s a personal statement so it’s your chance
to really tell your story about who you are, how you fit in with the mission of
the Gilman, and and how the study abroad program that you’ve chosen really fits
in with your long-term plan for yourself. The other essay is a proposal for a
project that you’ll do to promote study abroad and the Gilman scholarship to
students if you’re awarded the Gilman scholarship once you come back from
studying abroad so we’ll talk in more detail about both of these essays now
first starting with the personal statement. So these are the prompt
questions for the personal statement, and you can see there are a lot of questions.
Each of them has a number of sub questions. So sometimes students don’t
really know where to start, and I’ve definitely seen
students get started by just going down the list and answering each question in
kind of a short answer format which I think is fine to get your thoughts down
on paper, but by the end you want your final draft to be something that is a
coherent essay in and of itself that answers the majority of the questions
but is its own piece without being just a series of answers to questions. So
you want to think about what the connections to all of your answers to
these questions are how they relate to each other so that by the end you’re
answering most of the questions but not necessarily in the order that they’re
asked unless that makes sense for your essay, but the important thing is that
you’re really telling your story. So the first thing to think about when you’re
approaching the statement of purpose is really who you are and how you fit in
with the mission of the Gilman scholarship. So if you are a member of a
group that’s traditionally underrepresented in study abroad, then
that’s something that you need to say in the essay because on the application for
example there’s no check box that will say check here if you’re a
first-generation college student. If you are a first-generation college student
then you need to put that somewhere in your essay because otherwise your reader
won’t know that you are. So if you’re a member of any of these groups that’s
something that you that you definitely need to write in your essay. And then you
want to think about the barriers that you may have overcome to be able to
study abroad or even to come to college. So that could be financial barriers, that
could be barriers related to the support of your family, or needing to leave a job
to be able to study abroad. So it could be any number of things, but those are
the kinds of things to think about in terms of your story, how you’ve gotten to
the place where you are now, and then so you can move into why you chose the
program that you chose and how it fits in with your broader.
So when you’re talking about the program that you’ve chosen you really want to be
more specific than just why you want to study abroad. Oftentimes when I look at
first drafts of Gilman essay is there’s usually a large section about why
students want to study abroad in general, but you really want to be a lot more
specific and talk about the particulars of your program, the particulars of the
country that you chose, and also the specific program. So what features of the
program really fit in with what your goals are for your career or continuing
your academic studies. Maybe it’s a homestay, maybe it’s internship offerings,
or maybe there are volunteer service learning opportunities as part of your
program or a particular coursework that really fits into what your goals are for
yourself. So think about who you are, how you got to the place that you are now,
and how you came to the decision of choosing this particular study abroad
program in this particular location. And finally we say you want to present
yourself as a potential cultural ambassador. So by that we really mean you
want to demonstrate that you have put the work into looking into the program,
looking into the country, what are some ways that you really plan to engage with
the host culture while you’re there. So it’s not just all about you meeting your
goals but also you interacting and engaging with people in a meaningful way.
So that could be for example a student who has built the skills to be
flexible and adaptable because they had to move a bunch of times when they were
in elementary school and now they’re ready to kind of transfer those skills
to the study abroad program on a much grander scale. So that could be one
example there. So I have a couple examples here of taking kind of a broad
general statement and turning it into something much more concrete and useful
for the essay. So for example this student said I think it’s important for
people to broaden their horizons. Studying abroad will help me do
that. So whereas that might be true it’s probably true for everybody who’s gonna
study abroad so you want to make a statement that’s much more personal to
you so that your readers can really get a sense of who you are and what’s
important to you. So for example the student turned that into as a woman
working her way through college I haven’t had many opportunities to
interact with people beyond my classmates and colleagues. Because this
University’s courses in Berlin are offered to both American and German
students, I will be able to meet people from another culture while still staying
focused on my academic progress. So she’s really established kind of who she is,
what’s important to her, and she’s touched on and anticipated talking about
the barriers that she’s overcome to be able to study abroad. So that is an
example other examples often times I’ll see students writing I’m a leader or I’m
open-minded and I think that’s important, but you have to keep in mind that the
reader the person who’s going to be reading and reviewing your application
is never going to meet you. So they don’t necessarily have any reason to believe
that you’re a leader unless you give concrete examples for what makes you a
leader and how you plan to use those leadership skills or that
open-mindedness while you’re on your particular study abroad program. So
another example here could be I love Italian culture so
much I’m president of the Italian Club. So that’s fine, but even better might be:
As president of the Italian club, I went to study in Rome so that when I returned
I can share stories with the club about my experiences learning how spoken
Italian in Italy is different from the classroom Italian we learn here. So
that’s great because there the student is really anticipating a tie in-between
their personal statement and the proposal for the project that they might
be able to do when they return from studying abroad, and that’s
one of the characteristics of a successful Gilman essay
is some kind of tie-in between the two essays so that they’re not separate even
though they are literally separate entities and separate essays. They have
some kind of connection to each other so that the whole application makes sense
as a coherent whole. So that brings me to the follow-on project, and again you see
here are the the questions and the sub questions to prompt that essay. So you’re
really thinking about a project that you could do once you return to a specific
audience to promote study abroad. So you want to talk about who your audience is,
why they’re an important audience, what the specifics of the project are, and how
you plan to pull it off. So a couple examples here, you really want to think
about what your talents and interests are. So a lot of people do a presentation
which is totally fine, but you don’t have to do a presentation. For example, if you
have other skills and other interests students have done art exhibitions,
they’ve made websites, they’ve made films, they’ve put together information fairs.
So there’s a lot of things that you can do in addition to a presentation, and the
Gilman website actually has a lot of great resources and ideas on their
project page, so definitely make sure to check that out.
You want to choose a specific audience, so it wouldn’t necessarily be students
everywhere, but it could be a specific audience that you think could be
important to promote study abroad too. So you can really think about what makes
you a good candidate for the Gilman scholarship in terms of their diversity
priorities and what other people you know in your life who share those
characteristics with you and what connection you have with them. So that, I
think, will help you describe why your audience is an important audience to
reach. And then you want to think about how you’re going to get the word out to
those students or to that target audience about your project to get them
to come to that art exhibition or that presentation and what
you’re going to do to make the presentation happen. So if you need to
reserve space, who are you going to contact, have you already started
discussion with somebody to collaborate with and things like that. So a couple
examples: we’ve had a student, for example, who attended Community College of
Philadelphia, and that’s where he got his first idea that he wanted to learn a new
language and study abroad. So when he when he was thinking about his follow-on
project, his project was to go back to CCP and present there about
studying abroad. We’ve also had students who maybe first got the idea or their
interest in their host country when they were in high school, so they went back to
their old high school. So it doesn’t necessarily have to be here at Temple it
could be somewhere in the community another community that you have a
connection to. But it of course could be here at Temple if you’re involved in a
student organization or other students in your major if your major is kind of
presents more of a challenge to be able to study abroad, for example. So there’s
lots of different things that you can do. So you want to think about your talents,
you want to think about who you know, and you want to think about you know
thinking creatively about a project that you can do. So definitely check out the
Gilman scholarships website. So some final essay tips. You really want to use
your best writing process here and plan to leave time for several revisions. So
even if you’re a student who is used to handing in a first draft of a paper for
class and getting a good grade on it, the stakes are a little bit higher for the
Gilman scholarship, so you want to plan to leave that time to get feedback from
multiple people and make multiple revisions. We really really encourage
students to use the Writing Center. All the tutors there have seen Gilman
applications and scholarship applications in general and can really
give you meaningful feedback about putting together a skillful essay. Have
your friends look at it, have professors look at it, and you’re also
going to make an appointment with one of the study abroad advisors here to have
your essay reviewed for content. Remember that the scholarship reviewers are never
going to meet you, so there’s no interview for the process there. It’s
really your essays, that’s all you have to tell them who you are and why you fit
into their mission. So you really want to tell the scholarship reviewers. You want
them to think: hey this students gonna do something really great with her
life or with his life, so I want to give them money to be able to study abroad on
this particular program. The application itself is on
the Gilman scholarships website, so you can go there to access that. You want to
order your transcripts from Temple and any other college or university that
you’ve attended. Although they do accept unofficial transcripts for your previous
colleges and universities if you’re a transfer student, your Temple transcript
does have to be official. So what you’re going to do you’re going to order your
transcript from the Registrar’s Office. You’re going to open it, which seems like
the wrong thing to do, but you’re going to open it and you’re going to upload it
directly into the application digitally. So make sure to do that now if you
haven’t already. Especially during peak times it can take a while to get your
transcript, so I would suggest ordering your transcript now and selecting to
pick up your transcript so that you have it instead of waiting for it to come in
the mail. You want to draft your essays and make an appointment to talk to a
tutor at the Writing Center, and also make an appointment to talk to one of
the study abroad advisors here in our office. We ask that you send a draft to
us in advance of your appointment so that we can have time to read it and
that leaves more time during our meeting to actually talk instead of reading, and
please also bring a printout of your draft to the appointment. When you apply,
you’re gonna choose a study abroad advisor from a drop-down list. So you’re
gonna choose whoever you met with from our office. You also will need to
choose a financial aid advisor, and you don’t necessarily need to meet with
somebody from the financial aid office unless you have questions. But you can
actually select anybody from that drop-down list and they’ll get a
notification once you’ve completed your application, and they’ll know what to do.
They’ll go in and certify on your behalf and if you have questions feel free to
meet with somebody there, but you don’t have to as part of the Gilman
application. The application deadline for spring and summer early decision is
during the first week in October, and the summer and fall deadline is during the
first week in March. So you can check the Gilman’s website for the specific
deadline during the cycle that you’re applying for. You can also see that we
have an internal deadline for submitting your draft to an advisor here at
Education Abroad to receive feedback, and the reason that we have that deadline is
to make sure that you have time to make meaningful revisions to your drafts. So
it’s always at least a week before the National deadline, so you have time for
that. Really in our experience, students are much more successful when they take
time to make really multiple revisions of their application essays. So if you’re
missing that internal deadline then you’re really at a disadvantage with your
application. Another thing to know is that the summer and fall deadline often
occurs during spring break here at Temple, so you want to check Temple’s
academic calendar with the deadline for the Gilman, and if that’s the case then
we suggest that you would complete your Gilman application before you leave
campus, just in case you have any last-minute questions or issues or come
up that come up. In particular you want to make sure that you have the
transcripts ready to go before you leave campus so that you don’t have any issues
with that. So that’s the end of the presentation thank you very much for
listening. I hope that you make an appointment with one of the advisors
here and with a tutor at the Writing Center once you start the drafts of your
essays, and in the meantime if you have any questions you can always feel free
to give us a call we can be reached at 215-204-0720 or you can email us at [email protected] or you can just stop in to our office we’re in 200 Tuttleman.
Thanks, and I hope to see you soon!

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