Gilman Scholarship Tips
Tips on applying for the Gilman Scholarship
By Byung Yo (Taylor) Kim, Gilman Scholar Spring 2018
According to the U.S. State Department’s website, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is a “grant program that enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, thereby gaining skills critical to our national security and economic competitiveness”.
It is open to “U.S. citizen undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university”.
When applying for the Gilman, there are a couple of things to be aware of.
Firstly, as of 2018, the application itself is hosted on gilmanapplication.iie.org which is a separate website from the Gilman Scholarship website. There are links students can follow on the website that will take them to the application but it can be tricky to find. I recommend that you bookmark the application for easy access.
In addition, it makes the entire process smoother when you organize your documents for easy access. Although this seems simple and obvious, it can be easy to lose track of certain information when you’re so busy during the semester with schoolwork and extracurriculars. I recommend setting aside:
- Your username and password for your account
- The essay prompts and your responses
- Information about your study abroad once you’re admitted
- Your address abroad
- Your emergency contact while abroad (usually the program administrator)
- Their phone number, address, email address
- Travel information such as plane tickets, train tickets, etc
- The Gilman requires you to log your travel to and from your country of choice as well as any travel to any other countries during your time abroad.
- Your passport number
This information will remain crucial to have access to during your entire time abroad. Keep organized and you will feel much less stressed and will have a smoother travel experience.
In addition to organizing your documents, be realistic when proposing your service project. Once you return to Hamilton, you will likely have a packed schedule as usual. It’s important to plan on executing a service project that is realistic and manageable. Alternatively, you could complete it at home over the summer so that you can get it out of the way. The project does not have to be elaborate and time-consuming--just thought out and meaningful.
Once you become a Gilman scholar, there are perks other than the monetary scholarship itself. Perhaps the coolest advantage is that students can request a certificate for 12 months of non-competitive eligibility hiring status. This means that when applying for a federal job, applicants do not compete against the general public. Additionally, NCE allows applicants to apply for certain federal jobs only open to federal employees. This advantage can ease the pressure of looking for jobs post-graduation.
Another perk is alumni registration with the International Exchange Alumni network that’s sponsored by the State Department. Past and present U.S. government-sponsored exchange program participants can network and connect on this site.