Those of us born between 1977 and 1997 represent the generation known as the Net Generation. We’ve grown “side by side” with our over-achieving sibling called technology. We use laptops, smart phones, Hi-Def television, ipods, tablets, ebook readers, and affectionately give honor and respect to our patriarch, Bill Gates. In return, Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, want to see each of their progeny succeed in their academic pursuits; to that end, the Gates Millennium Scholars Program was developed has evolved into one of the foremost supporters of Native students pursuing higher education.
The Gates Millennium Scholars Program, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, selects 1,000 talented students each year to receive a good-through-graduation scholarship to use at any college or university of their choice. Recipients benefit from personal and professional development through leadership programs, as well as, academic support throughout their college career. Eligible students are often the underserved and include African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American or Hispanic American. Prospective students must be a United States citizen, and seeking college entrance for the fall of 2014. Academically, students must have attained a cumulative high school GPA of 3.3 or higher on an un-weighted 4.0 scale, and must entering college as a full-time, degree-seeking, first-year student. First-time college enrollees can also be GED recipients. Additional attributes for consideration include a demonstrated quality of leadership through participation in community service, extracurricular, or other activities. Applicants must also meet the Federal Pell Grant eligibility criteria as part of the selection process.
Your support system is an important aspect of your application packet. Students are nominated by an individual who can speak to the student’s academic record. A recommender is also involved which provides an evaluation of the student’s community service and leadership activities. One of the largest contributors to the college financing strategies of American Indian and Alaska Native students, the Gates Millennium Scholars Programs requires Native students to provide proof of tribal enrollment or certificate of descent from a U.S. Federal or State recognized tribe if selected as a GMS finalist. This outstanding and prestigious award opened for application submission this month with the deadline established for January 15 at 11:59 p.m. Plan your application carefully by visiting the website at www.gmsp.org. What better way for the Net Generation to thank its lofty patriarch! Good luck to those applying.
Extra Tip: Remember to keep a separate folder for each scholarship you may be seeking. Also try to have extra copies of your certified transcript, recommendation letters, and personal essay ready to go. Great organization makes this overwhelming process less stressful.