The Games Millennium Scholars Program is one of the largest scholarship programs available. This scholarship was initially created through a one billion dollar grant (yes, you read that right, $1 billion!) from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The scholarship program's goal is to help minority students with significant financial need gain access to higher education.
The eligibility criteria for this scholarship are extremely broad, but the application process is definitely one of the more rigorous ones for a scholarship. Don't let that scare you off, though, since they give out thousands of scholarships every year, paying your entire tuition bill.
The great thing about the Gates Millennium Scholarship is that it essentially provides you with a free education. It covers all unmet need and self-help funding (that means you won't have any loans or work-study aid). You essentially get to go to college for free. It is renewable for up to five years for an undergraduate degree in any discipline, and up to six years for graduate study in specific fields. The Gates Millennium Scholarship could potentially pay for you to get both a bachelors and PhD. How incredible is that?
The scholarship is available to minority students. More specifically, you must belong to one of the following minority groups:
Scholarship applicants must be a citizen, national, or legal resident of the United States.
The Gates Millennium Scholarship program is targeted at students with a lot of academic potential. As a result, you must have an unweighted GPA of 3.3 or higher (on a 4.0 scale). GED students are eligible to apply for the scholarship as well.
The scholarship is for minority students who will be first-time freshmen. If you are already in college, you are not eligible for the Gates Millennium Scholarship.
The scholarship program is intended to help students meet their full potential. As a result, the scholarship committee is looking for students who will have a real impact and take full advantage of this full-tuition scholarship. Scholarship applicants should be able to demonstrate leadership abilities through participation in community service, extracurricular, or other activities.
The Gates Millennium Scholarship program is a need-based scholarship. In order to qualify for the scholarship, you must meet the federal Pell Grant eligibility criteria.
The Gates Millennium Scholarship is meant to be used for full-time study at a U.S. college or university.
The application process is a little bit different for the Gates Millennium Scholarship. You don't just apply for the scholarship. You actually need someone to nominate you for the Gates Millennium Scholarship as well. In order for someone to nominate you for the scholarship, they must be an educator. Some examples include principals, teachers, guidance counselors, or higher education representatives. You cannot be related to the person who nominates you for the Gates Millennium Scholarship. The nominator should be familiar with your academic achievements.
Ah... but the process doesn't stop there. You also need a recommender. Your recommender serves a specific purpose in the selection process for the Gates Millennium Scholarship. The recommender should have knowledge about your community service and leadership activities. Your recommender can be the same person as your nominator, if he or she can speak about your leadership qualities.
So to recap, here's what you need to do to apply for the Gates Millennium Scholarship program:
If you are selected as a finalist for the Gates Millennium Scholarship, you will likely be asked to submit additional information, including official transcripts, a college or university admission letter, student aid report, and financial aid award details.
Source: Gates Millennium Scholars Annual Report 2006-07
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