To apply for the Gilman International Scholarship, please submit an application through the Gilman Online Application System.
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Q. I'm applying for a summer study abroad program or internship. Does the Gilman Scholarship Program have a summer award cycle?
A. The Gilman Scholarship Program offers scholarships for summer programs to students from all majors who meet the program's standard eligibility criteria.
View the complete summer timeline.
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Q. I'd like to intern abroad. How do I know if it's an eligible program for the Gilman Scholarship?
A. All education abroad programs must meet the Gilman Program's eligibility criteria. Most important in selecting an international internship program, is to make sure it is a credit-bearing, career-oriented internship. Work with your Study Abroad/International Program's office and your Career Services office on campus to assist you with identifying the best internship for your professional aspirations that allows you to earn academic credit through your home institution.
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Q. What if I don't receive a Federal Pell Grant, but do receive other federal financial aid? Am I still eligible to apply?
A. No, only students receiving a Federal Pell Grant at the time of application or at the time of the study abroad program are eligible for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. Other forms of federal financial aid do not satisfy this eligibility requirement. If you are not sure if you receive a Federal Pell Grant, please contact your university's financial aid office.
For information on other study abroad scholarships and grants for which you might be eligible, consult Other Study Abroad Resources.
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Q. How do I know if the country I want to study in is under a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning?
A. You may not apply for a Gilman Scholarship if you wish to study in Cuba or in a country that is currently under a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning. A listing of countries currently under a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning can be found here Travel Warning List.
You are still eligible to apply for a Gilman Scholarship if the country you wish to study in is under a Travel Alert or Public Announcement.
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Q. I am planning on studying in a country on the Department of State Travel Warning list, but my program/university feels that it is safe to study there. Can I apply for the Gilman Scholarship under this circumstance?
A. You are not eligible to apply for the scholarship if you will be studying in a country on the Travel Warning list. No exceptions can be made as this restriction is for your safety.
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Q. I have never traveled or studied abroad before. Should I apply?
A. Yes! A principal objective of the Gilman Scholarship Program is to expand international education opportunities by encouraging applications from students who have not previously studied abroad for undergraduate academic credit.
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Q. I am a community college or two-year institution student. Is this program for me?
A. Yes! Community college students, both two-year and transfer, are particularly encouraged to apply.
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Q. I am a Permanent Resident or non-U.S. citizen, am I still eligible to apply?
A. No, only U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals are eligible to apply for a Gilman Scholarship. If you are currently in the process of receiving your U.S. citizenship, please contact us for further information regarding the possibility of applying.
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Q. I am a high school, graduate or post-graduate student, can I apply?
A. No, only U.S. citizens currently enrolled as undergraduate students at a U.S. institution of higher education are eligible for the Gilman Scholarship. Students must also be participating in a study abroad program eligible for undergraduate academic credit at their home university.
For information on other study abroad scholarships and grants for which you might be eligible, consult Other Study Abroad Resources.
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Q. I am not participating in a study abroad program; instead I am applying for a full-degree program overseas whereby I will receive my degree directly from an international institution. Am I eligible to apply?
A. No, only U.S. citizens currently enrolled as undergraduate students at a U.S. institution of higher education and participating in a study abroad program of up to one academic year are eligible for the Gilman Scholarship. The Gilman Scholarship Program does not fund full-degree study overseas.
One avenue you should explore is to see if the institution you wish to attend abroad is eligible to receive federal financial aid. There are a number of institutions abroad that are eligible to receive U.S. financial aid and you can search for these online at the FAFSA website. Once there, you will need to choose the Find My School Codes option and do a school code search. Within the search screen select Foreign Country as the school state. A list of institutions abroad that are eligible to receive federal financial aid will then pop up. If your school is listed you would use their designated school code to apply for financial aid just as you would if you were attending a U.S. institution.
You should also contact the university abroad directly to find out if they offer any financial aid or scholarships for incoming international students. Some countries will also allow student visa holders to work on a part-time basis, which might also help fund your degree overseas. The international student office at your university abroad should be able to assist you in learning about the relevant regulations for students studying in your host country.
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Q. What is the minimum length of study required to be eligible to apply for the Gilman Scholarship? Are short-term programs eligible?
A. Eligible programs must be a minimum of four weeks (28 days) and can be as long as one academic year. Short-term programs are eligible as long as they fall within the eligible start dates for each cycle and are at least four weeks (28 days) in length.
- Fall study abroad programs must begin between July 15 and October 15.
- For the Spring cycle, programs must begin between December 15 and April 15. Thus the Spring cycle would include most Winter Inter-session and Alternative Spring Break programs.
- Eligible Summer study abroad programs must begin between May 1 and August 1.
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Q. Isn't preference given to longer-term programs during the selection process? If I am applying to a short-term program, what can I do to make my application as strong as possible?
A. Students applying for short-term programs will need to be sure that they clearly explain why they have chosen their specific study abroad program, including their length of study, within their Statement of Purpose essay. Often students applying for short-term programs have very specific reasons for doing so. They may be students of non-traditional age that have family obligations which make it hard for them to be out of the country for an extended period of time, or they are participating in an intensive academic program which also makes it difficult to find viable study abroad options. For students at two-year institutions short-term programs may be the only study abroad option available.
The Statement of Purpose essay is an opportunity for students to share with the selection panels the reason behind their choice of program and the impact that it will have on them academically, professionally, and personally. All applicants should ensure they clearly explain their choice of program, but this is especially important for those applying for programs of less than one quarter in length.
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Q. I'm applying to a multi-country program. Is this eligible for a Gilman Scholarship?
A. Multi-country study abroad programs are eligible only if the program spends a minimum of four weeks (28 days) in one country. For information on other undergraduate scholarships for which you might be eligible please access Other Study Abroad Resources.
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Q. Does the Gilman Scholarship Program approve or sanction particular study abroad programs or program provider?
A. No, there are no lists of Gilman-preferred programs nor does the Gilman Scholarship Program endorse a particular institution, organization or group's sponsorship. A Gilman Scholarship is a source of portable financial assistance that can be used to support any country-based study abroad program deemed to be eligible for undergraduate academic credit by your home university. The choice of a particular program for study abroad should be made in consultation with your campus advisor. Programs can include traditional study abroad programs, intensive language programs, internship programs for academic credit, student-teaching abroad programs for academic credit, and/or service-learning abroad programs for academic credit. It is best to choose your program based on its overall quality and select the program that best meets your academic, career and personal goals.
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If you would like to search for study abroad programs online, the Institute of International Education maintains a free searchable study abroad program database called IIE Passport. This site will allow you to search for programs by country, field of study and language of study.
Q. Are previous recipients of the Gilman Scholarship eligible to re-apply?
A. A Gilman Scholarship recipient can only receive the Gilman Scholarship once. If you previously declined the Gilman Scholarship, you are welcome to re-apply for another application cycle, as long as you still meet all eligibility requirements. For other study abroad scholarship opportunities, visit the Other Study Abroad Resources section.
Applying for the Gilman Scholarship
Q. When should I apply?
A. You should apply in the academic term prior to the start date of your study abroad program. If your program starts between July 15 and October 15, apply for the Fall program application. If your program starts between December 15 and April 15, apply for the Spring program application.
A limited number of scholarships for summer programs will be available to students from all majors who meet the program's standard eligibility criteria. Summer programs beginning between May 1 and August 1 could be eligible for the Summer scholarship.
Please consult the Deadlines & Timeline page for more information on when to apply.
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Q. How do I apply?
A. The Gilman Scholarship Program has an online application. The online application will be available approximately one-and-a-half to two months prior to the application deadline for each cycle. Please consult the Deadlines & Timeline for more information.
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Q. What should I do if my email address, phone number or mailing address changes?
A. If your contact information changes, please be sure to log into the online application and update your Account Information. Communication will be primarily conducted via email so it is important to ensure that a current, working email address is on file at all times. The Gilman Scholarship Program is not responsible for incorrect email addresses or contact information.
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Q. How do I know who administers my study abroad program?
A. The administrator is the institution or organization that is administering your study abroad program. The online application contains a drop down list of the most common program administrators given by Gilman Scholarship applicants. If your program administrator is not listed, then you would select “other” and type the name into the provided field. This will most often be your home university, a different university in the U.S., or a study abroad consortium or other program provider. If you are unsure who the program sponsor is, please contact your university study abroad advisor.
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Q. I have submitted an application to my chosen study abroad program, but will not receive notification of acceptance until after the application deadline for the Gilman Scholarship Program, can I still apply?
A. Yes, we recognize that many students will submit applications to specific study abroad programs and for the Gilman Scholarship Program simultaneously, with expected notification for each at a different date. Should you be awarded a Gilman Scholarship you would be required to provide proof of acceptance into the program listed in your application at that time.
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Q. I am applying to two different study abroad programs, but there's only room to enter one on the Gilman Scholarship application. What should I do?
A. If you are applying to more than one program you should enter your top choice on the Gilman Scholarship application. You should then make note of the fact that you are applying to two different programs in your Statement of Purpose essay. If you are accepted to the program you did not list in your Gilman Scholarship application, please contact the Gilman Program immediately.
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Q. I have not studied overseas for undergraduate academic credit before, but I did travel and/or live overseas before. Should I indicate this on my application?
A. Yes, there will be a section within the application for you to indicate your previous international experience. Previous non-academic international experience will be used for statistical purposes only and will not be included in your application during the selection process.
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Q. Why do a Study Abroad Advisor and Financial Aid Advisor have to certify my application?
A. A complete Gilman Scholarship application consists of 1) online student application, 2) uploaded official transcript(s) into application, 3) online Study Abroad Advisor certification and 4) online Financial Aid Advisor certification. Study Abroad Advisors will be asked to verify that you are applying to a credit-eligible study abroad program, whether you have previously studied abroad before and confirm your study abroad program information. Financial Aid Advisors will be asked to verify whether you are currently receiving a Federal Pell Grant and the estimated amount of financial aid, excluding loans, you can apply to your program.
Advisors will receive an email immediately after you submit the online application asking them to certify your information. It is very important that you contact your university's study abroad and financial aid office prior to submitting your application to ensure that your advisors’ information is available to select in your application before the deadline. The Gilman Scholarship Program is not responsible for contacting your advisors to create an account with the online application system.
Your application is not considered complete until all sections are completed by the stated deadlines. It is your responsibility as an applicant to ensure that advisors are aware of and complete their portion of your application by the stated advisor deadlines. Please consult the Deadlines & Timeline for more information. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.
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Q. How do I know who the correct Study Abroad or Financial Aid Advisor is?
A. You will need to contact your university study abroad and financial aid offices prior to submitting your application to obtain this information. Indicate that you are applying for a study abroad scholarship and ask who the correct person would be to complete the advisor portion for each office at your university. You should only list advisors at your home university.
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Q. My university does not have a study abroad office or designated Study Abroad Advisor. What should I do?
A. In this case you should contact your undergraduate academic advisor at your home university and ask them to register as a certifying advisor with the Gilman Scholarship Program.
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Q. My university financial aid office does not assign students an individual Financial Aid Advisor. What should I do?
A. Contact your university financial aid office to find out who the correct advisor would be to complete the financial aid advisor portion for a study abroad scholarship. This need not be an advisor assigned specifically to you. However, it must be an advisor working in the financial aid office at your home institution.
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Q. How will I know when my advisors complete their portions of the application?
A. You can view the status of your advisor certifications by logging in to your Gilman application and viewing the right navigation menu. If your advisor(s) have certified your application, the box beside the appropriate advisor will be checked. Remember, it is your responsibility as an applicant to ensure that advisors are aware of and complete their portions of your application by the stated deadlines. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.
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Q. How do I upload my transcript(s) in my online application?
A. You are required to upload your undergraduate transcript from your currently enrolled institution. If you are a transfer student, you must also upload your transcript from your previously enrolled institution(s) listed in your application. It is your responsibility to upload the appropriate transcript documentation. Failure to provide the appropriate documentation will deem your application ineligible. For detailed instructions on how to upload your transcripts, please visit our Transcripts page.
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Q. What is the Student ID?
A. Once you have successfully been admitted to your home institution, you are given a unique identification number. For most cases, you need your student ID number to access your student records, all web services that currently require a student ID and to conduct other business on your campus. You can usually find your student ID on your college identification card. If you are unsure as to what your student ID is, please contact your academic advisor at your home institution. The Gilman Program requests your student ID in your online Gilman account in order to maintain a record unique to you and to utilize your number as a security verification.
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Q. At the time of my Gilman Scholarship application I will be a freshman at my home institution and will not have completed a term yet. What do I indicate as my GPA?
A. If you have not completed a single term at your home institution at the time of your Gilman Scholarship application, then you will indicate your GPA as 0.00. Additionally, if this is your first academic term at your home institution you can upload an Official Enrollment Verification Letter, including your academic courses, issued from your registrar's office in place of your home institution transcript. In addition, if you are a freshman, you will be required to include your high school transcripts in your application. Please note that there is not a minimum GPA requirement to apply for the Gilman Scholarship and it will not affect your eligibility.
Award Process/Recipient Information
Q. Who sponsors the Gilman Scholarship?
A. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Culutral Affairs (ECA) at the U.S. Department of State and is supported through an annual Congresssional appropriation. The Institute of International Education (IIE) administers the program from the IIE Houston office.
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Q. What is the financial value of a Gilman Scholarship? If I receive a Gilman Scholarship, what may it be used for?
A. Awards of up to $5,000 are made for up to one academic year of undergraduate study abroad. Award amounts will vary based on student's rank in the selection process, their financial need and length of program with the average award being $4,000. Gilman Scholarship funds may only be used to cover eligible study abroad program costs and related expenses. These include: program tuition and fees, room and board, books, local transportation, health insurance and international airfare. Personal expenses such as clothing, entertainment, electronics and excursions outside of the program are not eligible for use of Gilman Scholarship funds.
Students who apply for and receive the Gilman Scholarship to study abroad are then eligible to receive an additional $3,000 Critical Need Language Supplement from the Gilman Scholarship Program for a total possible award of up to $8,000 if they are studying a critical need language while abroad. During the 2011-2012 academic year, 50 Critical Need Language Supplements were offered to Gilman Scholarship recipients.
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Q. What are my chances of winning a Gilman Scholarship?
A. The Gilman Scholarship Program is a national, highly competitive scholarship. Approximately 1 in 3 Gilman Scholarship applicants are selected to receive the scholarship during the Fall or Spring application cycles. Please see the Selection Criteria and Program Statistics pages for further information.
The Summer 2011 cycle was the first year that all undergraduates are eligible to apply for a summer study abroad program. Approximately 1 in 5 Gilman Scholarship applicants were selected to receive the scholarship.
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Q. Is there a health insurance requirement if I receive a Gilman Scholarship?
A. Yes, if you are selected as a scholarship recipient, you must furnish evidence of international insurance coverage, to include health, accident, emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance. More information on the insurance requirement will be provided at a later date to all recipients.
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Q. May I participate in an internship or work part-time while on a Gilman Scholarship?
A. The Gilman Scholarship Program is designed to support participation in a full-time study abroad program for undergraduate academic credit, not paid work abroad. However, applications will be considered from students who propose an internship as an integrated and meaningful component of their study abroad program. Also, students studying in countries which allow those on student visas to work part-time may do so as long as they maintain full-time enrollment in their study abroad program and are not in violation of any laws or regulations of their program or host country.
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Q. What if I receive a Gilman Scholarship, will that impact my university financial aid package?
A. It may. University financial aid offices have federal, state and institutional guidelines they must follow when awarding financial aid packages. The Gilman Scholarship Program has no control over this process though we do encourage institutions to reduce loan amounts first if the receipt of this award does affect a student's financial aid package.
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Q. When and how will I be notified of the status of my application?
A. All applicants will be notified of their status via the primary email address given in their Gilman online account. Please consult the Deadlines & Timeline for more information regarding the timeline of award notifications.
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There are two components to the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Application:
- Online application which includes uploading official transcripts.
- Online certifications from the applicant’s study abroad and financial aid advisor.
Both components must be completed by the deadlines below in order for your application to be accepted. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered and extensions cannot be granted.
Summer 2014 and Fall/AY 2014-2015 Application Deadlines
Online Application Deadline: Tuesday, March 4, 2014
The online application is due at 11:59 PM Central DaylightTime on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The online application system will close at this time and no more applications will be accepted. This deadline also includes uploading official transcripts from your current college or university and any transfer institution listed in your application. For detailed instructions on how to upload your transcripts, please visit our Transcripts page.
We highly recommend that you submit your application at least one week before the date given above to ensure that you do not miss the deadline as a result of technical difficulties with your equipment/network or as a result of heavy traffic on the Gilman website.
Advisor Certification Deadline: Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Before you begin the Gilman Scholarship application, contact the appropriate offices at your home institution in order to determine the correct study abroad and financial aid advisor to certify your application. Some institutions designate a specific financial aid or study abroad advisor to certify all Gilman Scholarship applications.
If your study abroad or financial aid advisor is not listed in the online application, please contact your advisor and ask him/her to create an account in the application system. Gilman staff will verify your advisor’s account within 2 business days. Once your advisor’s account is verified, you will be able to select your advisor from a drop-down menu within the online application. Please make sure that your advisor’s name is listed in the system well in advance of the deadline, as this information is required in order to submit an application.
Some institutions require a written release of information form before your advisors will be able to certify your application. Failure to submit a written release of information form to your advisor, if required by your university, will delay the processing of your application.
Once you submit your application online, please meet with your advisors to confirm that you have applied. At this time your advisors must log in to certify your application. It is your responsibility to ensure that your application has been certified by both advisors no later than the deadline listed above.
Instructions for Uploading Transcripts into the Gilman Online Application
All Gilman Scholarship Applicants Must Provide:
- Current University Transcript: One copy of your official undergraduate transcript from your current college or university. Your current institution transcript must include your “in progress” term and/or the completed term before your Gilman Application.
- Transfer University Transcript(s): One copy of your undergraduate transcripts (either official or unofficial) from any previous institution you have attended listed in your application. If you were not a "degree seeking student" at an institution, it is not required for you to list this institution in your application or to upload this transcript(s). (Note: Unofficial transcripts may be issued from your institution or web-based from your student account, but copy and pasted versions are not acceptable).
You will need to request your transcripts from the appropriate institutions and have them mailed directly to you. Do not have your transcripts mailed to the Gilman Scholarship Program. Official transcripts can be opened for the purpose of scanning and uploading into your online application.
If this is your first academic term at your home institition you can upload an "in-progress" transcript or an official enrollment verification letter, including your academic courses, issued from your registrar's office in place of your home institution transcript. In addition, if you are a freshman, you will be required to include your high school transcript in your application.
Regardless of your academic status, undergraduate transcripts are required. Failure to submit required transcripts could deem your application ineligible.
- Official transcript
- Student copy of an official transcript
- Photocopy of official transcript
- Web-based transcripts ONLY for your transfer/previously attended institution or high school, when applicable (this is a document that you personally print from your online student account).
- Degree progress Reports
- Copy and pasted documents
If you have any questions about uploading transcripts into your online application, please contact the Gilman Program. You can also view an instructional video to assist you with uploading your transcripts.
How to Upload Your Transcript to Your Online Application:
Once you receive your transcripts, scan them onto your computer or USB and save the document as a .pdf, .png, or .jpg. These are the only file formats that our system will allow for upload. When you scan your transcript, make sure that you scan all pages of the transcript, including front and back. The application system will only allow you to upload one document per institution and the file size must not exceed 12MB. Therefore, you will need to save all pages for each transcript into one document and compress/resize the file if necessary. We also ask to you to ensure that the file is rotated correctly. Lastly, it’s very important that your documents are legible. If your documents are not legible, this could deem your application ineligible.
These instructions are provided to you so that not only do you properly upload your transcript(s), but also so your application can be successfully reviewed by the selection committee.
Compress/Reduce File Size:
The system will only accept files that are no greater than 12MB. In order for it to upload properly, you may need to compress your file. You can compress a PDF file by opening it with the latest Adobe Software and following these instructions.
- Once you have opened the PDF file, go to File.
- Click on Save As.
- Then, click Reduced Size PDF.
- A message will pop up that says "Make Compatible with". Select Retain existing and click OK.
- Save the reduced PDF file either using the same file name or some other file name (i.e. with “compressed” in the name) and then click OK to start compressing. This is done to make certain that the original document is not modified.
- Using CVISION Technologies:
- Go to CVISION Technologies. (We link you to the free online version)
- Select the Compress option.
- Then Select Documents that you would like to compress.
- Once your file has been processed a table consisting of the details will appear.
- To download your file, click on the image of your file in the "Get Your File" column.
- You will be prompted to provide your email and contact information. After you fill out the information, click submit.
- Your document will automatically open. Save the compressed .pdf file either using the same file name or some other file name (i.e. with "compressed" in the name).
Combine PDF Files:
If you need to merge files to create one PDF to upload, please follow these instructions. The Gilman Program offers you various methods depending on your software capability.
- Start Adobe Acrobat.
- From the getting started window, choose Combine PDFs into PDF, then choose Add Files in the upper left corner.
- A new dialog box opens so that you can add the files you want to combine. Click the Browse button, navigate to each file, and click the Open button to select it.
- When you have listed all the files to be included, use the "Move Up” and “Move Down” buttons to rearrange the order of the files or the “Remove” button to delete a particular file.
- When you are done arranging your files, click Combine Files.
- Save the combined .pdf file to a designated folder. From the File menu, click Save As and then PDF.
- Go to PDFJoin.
- Please note there is a 15MB size limit for each .pdf file uploaded.
- Click Choose File and select the appropriate .pdf file from your computer. (Repeat step 2 as necessary.)
- After selecting the files, click Join. When your files have been combined together a dialogue box will appear. Click Open and save the combined .pdf file to a designated folder.
Rotate Pages within PDF:
If you need to rotate your PDF so it is right-side up, please follow these instructions. The Gilman Program offers you different methods depending on your software capability.
- Click on Tools, then Pages and select Rotate.
- A message will pop up that says "Rotate Pages". Select your desired direction.
- Save your file with the correctly rotated documents.
- Go to Rotate PDF.
- Click Browse in Step 1 and select the appropriate .pdf file from your computer.
- After selecting the file, choose the rotation angle using the examples indicated on the page.
- Click Rotate PDF.
- Click Download to see the rotated file and save the file to your chosen location.
Polishing Your Transcripts:
After you upload your transcripts, preview the file to make sure that you uploaded the correct transcript(s) and that the pages are legible. If not:
- Re-scan the pages
- Save them again
- Remove the file in the Transcript Upload Page
- Upload the re-scanned document.
If you have any difficulty obtaining a transcript from a particular institution it is very important that you contact the Gilman Program. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed by the selection committee.
Furthermore, it is in your best interest to upload your transcript as soon as possible and to ensure it does not exceed the 12MB file size capacity. Please be aware that if you upload a large file and have a slow internet connection, you could experience technical difficulties, especially closer to and on the deadline day. We encourage you to compress/resize large files, upload your transcript well in advance of the deadline day, and to contact the Gilman Program immediately for any questions.
If selected to receive a Gilman Scholarship, you will be required to have one official transcript from your currently enrolled institution listed in your online application mailed directly to the Gilman Scholarship Program before you can receive your scholarship funds. Additional information will be provided to Gilman Scholarship recipients at the time awards are offered.
There are two essays required as part of the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship application; the Statement of Purpose Essay and the Follow-on Service Project Proposal. This page will provide specific guidelines for each required essay.
The most critical aspect of these and any other essays for a nationally competitive scholarship is to ensure that they are proofread prior to submission. Applicants that do not have their essays proofread compete poorly during the selection process and generally will not receive a scholarship award. Please compose your essays first in a word processing program. Then copy and paste your essays into the text boxes provided in the online application. This will allow you to save your essays and ensure that your information is not lost due to a session timeout (approximately 15 minutes of inactivity). Your essay should be composed in paragraph format (not as numbered responses to the questions).
Keep in mind that you are limited to 7,000 characters (including spaces) per essay. This limit is approximately 1.5 pages, single-spaced in a word processing program. When you are ready to transfer your essays to your application make sure to double check your essays for the possibility of being cut off due to exceeding character limit. Additionally, do not format (i.e. bold, underline, italics) your essays in the word processing program because your formatting will not be retained upon transferring. We have provided limited formatting to reconstruct your essays once you have pasted them into the text boxes in the online application.
Visit our Multimedia page that has informational videos, including a Composing Competitive Essays video, that will help you throughout the application process. The Composing Competitive Essays video will go in-depth with understanding how to compose competitive essays for your Gilman Scholarship application and the specific guidelines for each required essay.
Statement of Purpose Essay
The Statement of Purpose Essay is your chance to personalize your application. When composing the Statement of Purpose Essay it is important to address the impact that your study abroad program or internship will have on your academic, professional, and personal goals. You should also address the impact that receiving the Gilman Scholarship would have on your achievement of these goals. Some key points to keep in mind are:
- Why do you wish to study or intern abroad and what factors led you to this decision? What do you hope to gain from and what do you anticipate will be the impact of your experience abroad?What impact will my choice of country have on my experience abroad? What initially inspired me to want to study abroad in this particular country or learn this language? What factors led to my choice of country of study?
- Describe your study or intern abroad program. What factors led you to select this program and length of study?
- Why have you chosen your country of study? What factors led you to select this country?
- How will this study or intern abroad program and the coursework you take abroad impact your academic and future professional goals?
- Are there any distinctive components to this program, beyond coursework, that will impact your overall learning experience abroad? (i.e. home-stays, internships, field research, volunteer activities, extra-curricular activities, etc.)
- What challenges, if any, did you face in your decision to study or intern abroad? How did you meet these challenges and what impact do you foresee them having on your experience abroad? These could include, but are not limited to, being a parent, being a non-traditional student, having a learning or physical disability, being in a field of study for which it is difficult to incorporate study abroad, etc.
Follow-on Service Project Proposal
The Follow-on Service Project Proposal is your chance to explain how you will give back by inspiring others to pursue their own experiences abroad. To help expand the impact of the Gilman Scholarship Program, all Gilman Scholars are required to carry out a Follow-on Service Project upon their return from abroad that helps to promote international education and the Gilman International Scholarship. This project can be done on your home campus or in your local community and must be completed within six months of your return to the United States. All applicants must submit a project proposal within the online application and this proposal is closely reviewed during the selection process. Some key points to keep in mind are:
- Briefly outline your proposed project to promote the Gilman Scholarship and international education. How will this project impact your home university or home community? What are your project goals?
- What is your target population and how will your project impact this group?
- How will you integrate the impact of your experiences abroad into your project?
- What, if any, campus departments, student organizations, and/or community organizations will you collaborate with in promoting the Gilman Scholarship and international education? Have you already made contact with these groups?
- Upon completion of your project you will be required to submit a two-page final report summarizing your experience abroad and the impact of your Follow-on project.
Examples of Follow-on Service Projects
Gilman Scholars have proposed and carried out a wide range of Follow-on Service Projects. Each year a wide range of Follow-on Service Project Proposals are submitted and there is no right or wrong proposal. We encourage all applicants to propose a unique Follow-on Service Project that highlights their individual background, experiences abroad, talents and skills. Listed below are some examples of the projects Gilman Scholars have carried out. This is by no means an exhaustive list and we look forward to continue to receive unique, individual proposals from all applicants. Some examples of Follow-on Service Projects include:
- K-12 Outreach: Some projects Gilman Scholars have carried out include:
a) Conducting presentations on their country of study to local elementary classrooms.
b) Working with a local teacher to incorporate study of a specific country into the curriculum with photos, letters and emails from the Gilman Scholar while s/he was abroad, as well as items the student brings back with him/her from his/her host country (i.e. newspapers, menus, magazines, clothing, textbooks, toys, etc.).
c) Organizing a pen-pal program between a local classroom and a classroom in the student's host country.
d) Organizing and/or working with their university K-12 outreach program, bringing international students into local classrooms to present and share information on their home countries.
e) Participating in their local high school College Night to share information on study abroad opportunities and scholarships.
f) Working with/giving presentations on study abroad to high school language or area studies classes.
g) Working with/giving presentations on study abroad and scholarships to programs that mentor high school students such as the Upward Bound program.
- Academic Department Outreach: Students in fields of study traditionally under-represented in U.S. study abroad often choose to focus on their academic department when carrying out their project. Examples of these projects include:
a) Development of a study abroad information page for the department website that lists a suggested academic timeline encouraging students to incorporate study abroad into their degree
b) Organizing information on university-approved study abroad programs that offer coursework and academic credit in their field of study and links to scholarships and financial aid information that support these opportunities
c) Presentations on study abroad at academic club or honor society meetings
d) Development of a brochure or informational flyer specific to that field of study that is then posted in the study abroad office
e) Serving as a mentor/peer advisor to potential study abroad students in their field of study
f) Submitting an article to their academic department newsletter on their experiences abroad either while the student is still overseas or upon their return.
- Campus Office Outreach: Students often propose to work with a specific on-campus office including the Diversity/Minority Services offices, Disability Services offices, the Financial Aid office, Student-Leadership office, and other campus offices. Examples of these projects include:
a) Working with the university office to help promote and encourage study abroad opportunities through presentations to student clubs and organizations and through office organized events
b) Posting information on the Gilman Scholarship Program in specific campus offices
c) Adding a web page to the office website that highlights study abroad opportunities and information that would be of help/interest to students
d) Serving as an office representative at campus fairs and events by sharing information on study abroad and the Gilman Scholarship Program
- Study Abroad Outreach: This is the most common type of Follow-on Service Project students propose. Examples of these projects include:
a) Volunteering or working in the study abroad office as a Peer Mentor/Advisor to potential study abroad students
b) Representing the study abroad office at presentations/information sessions on study abroad
c) Ensuring the study abroad office website has a Scholarship Information page and that a link to the Gilman Scholarship Program's website is provided
d) Submitting an article on their experiences abroad to the Study Abroad office newsletter either while they are still abroad or upon their return
e) Developing an informational flyer/brochure on university-specific financial aid procedures for study abroad and available scholarships which is then housed in the study abroad office
f) Participating in/organizing a Study Abroad Alumni society which assists returned and potential study abroad students
g) Serving as a resource person for a specific country/program/field of study that would advise/assist potential study abroad students
- Other Outreach: There are a variety of other types of programs that students have proposed. Some examples include:
a) Submitting a weekly or monthly article on their experiences overseas to their campus or hometown newspaper while the students are abroad, thereby sharing information with a wide range of readers
b) Submitting an article on their experiences abroad to their campus or hometown paper upon their return to the U.S.
c) Working/volunteering with a local refugee or immigrant organization thereby utilizing the inter-cultural skills they acquired overseas
d) Working/volunteering as an interpreter with a local organization in need of those skills
e) Participating in/organizing an on-campus International Student buddy program that links incoming international students with past study abroad students to assist in their adjustment to the U.S. and the university - this may be an especially effective option for those campuses that have exchange programs with a university overseas
f) Participating in campus or local international events such as an International Fair, Chinese New Year or other celebrations
g) Working with another local organization to share information on study abroad and the country they studied in with their members
h) Presenting on study abroad opportunities and the Gilman Scholarship Program at Freshman Orientation or in First-Year Experiences courses thereby encouraging students to consider study abroad earlier rather than later.
Once you begin your Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship application we encourage you to subscribeto the electronic applicant newsletters to assist you with the application process. If you have any questions as you prepare your application, please contact the Gilman Scholarship Program.
Once you begin an application, you can see your progress located in the right navigation menu. As you complete a page within your application, that particular page will check off. When you submit your application you will be able to see if your advisors have certified your application in the right navigation menu. Once the appropiate advisor has certified your application a check mark will appear next to their name. If you have questions regarding your application status, please contact us (according to your last name).
Are you receiving them? You may not be receiving important emails from the Gilman Scholarship Program, because your email account is not allowing Gilman emails to enter your inbox. Often we see reset password and application status emails returned, because they are not allowed by the recipients email system. Please make sure that you are able to receive Gilman emails, because they are our main form of communication, and they include important information regarding your application. If you are using a university email account, you may have to contact the system administrator. If you are using a non-university email, such as AOL, Hotmail or Yahoo our emails may go to your junk folder. One way to prevent this is to add the Gilman emails accounts to your address book.
Contact your Advisors:
The Gilman Scholarship Program highly encourages cooperation between advisors and applicants. Advisors are integral to your application. Your study abroad advisor can assist you with the application process, composing and proof-reading your essays, and in developing your follow-on project. Your financial aid advisor can inform you of your financial aid information, which is required on the application. Both advisors will be required to certify the information provided in your application in order for your application to be complete. Be courteous and start conversing with your advisors now if you have not already done so. If your advisors have questions, please have them contact us.
Request Your Transcripts:
The Gilman Scholarship Program requires a transcript(s) to accompany your application before it can be reviewed by the selection committee and considered for an award. You will need to upload a transcript from your current college or university and any transfer institution (previously attended as a degree-seeking student) listed in your application. Official transcripts are required for your current institution and can be opened for the purpose of uploading. If you are a first-year student and do not have a previous record at your home institution, then please upload your high school transcript or previous institution’s transcript along with a letter from your home institution verifying your current enrollment and courses. Transcripts from high schools and previously attended/transfer institutions can be official or unofficial. (Note: Unofficial transcripts may be issued from your institution or web-based from your student account, but copy and pasted versions are not acceptable. Transcripts must be uploaded by the deadline assigned for the current application cycle. For detailed instructions on how to upload your transcripts, please visit our Transcripts page and/or view the instructional video. Important Reminder: If selected to receive a Gilman Scholarship, you will be required to mail an official transcript.
Request your transcripts now to avoid delaying your application!
Have you registered to learn more about the application process or to learn how to prepare more competitive essays? The Gilman Scholarship Program has scheduled various webinars, live meetings via the internet, where you can learn more about the Gilman Scholarship. View the Webinars schedule and register today!
Tips for Writing Competitive Essays:
- Have your essay proofread. One of the most important things to remember for any essay is to have it read by an advisor or professor. Spell check and grammar check are fine, but a good proofreader will find things that your word processing software won’t. For example, study abroad is often spelled incorrectly in essays as study aboard. Both are spelled correctly according to spell check, but the latter is incorrect in context. In addition, a proofreader can often make suggestions on how to clarify a point that may not make sense to someone else.
- Work with your advisors. It is important to talk with your study abroad advisor prior to completing your essays. Your study abroad advisor can give you ideas for subjects to cover in your Statement of Purpose Essay. He/She can also help you develop a creative Follow-on Service Project. Remember your advisors may have participated in selection panels for scholarship programs and can give you some great insight into what makes an interesting and competitive essay.
- Work with your writing center on campus. Take the first draft of your essay to your campus writing center or to a composition professor. These individuals have invaluable expertise in writing essays for scholarships and can be a great resource on your campus anytime you need to prepare an essay.
- Be creative. Remember that this is a competitive scholarship program and the selection panelist’s only chance to get to know you is through your essay. The essays are your chance to tell the selection panelist about yourself and your decision to study abroad. It is important to develop an original and creative Follow-on Service Project. The most competitive applications are those that have creative and original essays.
- Check for proper spelling, punctuation and grammar. Before submitting your application, be sure to double check your essay. Did you spell the names of cities correctly? Spell check will not always correct these mistakes. Be sure you have proper punctuation and do not type your essay in all lower case or all upper case letters. Most importantly, check for correct grammar. Grammar check will not always correct your sentence properly so it is important to have someone else look at your essay thoroughly.
For more in-depth information regarding the Statement of Purpose and Follow-on Service Project Proposal essays, please visit the Essays page.
Polishing Your Application:
As you prepare to submit your application, here are a few important tips to remember:
- Are your name and contact information spelled correctly with proper punctuation and capitalization? All materials will be reviewed exactly as submitted. Please make sure your essays and all application questions are submitted using proper punctuation and grammar. Do not type in all caps or all lower case.
- Are your study abroad program dates correct? Double check to make sure you have entered the correct year. For example, if your program begins in January, be sure to list the new year in your program dates. If you still have not received your exact program dates, please enter the best estimated dates. Once you are informed of the exact dates, notify the Gilman Scholarship Program immediately.
- Has someone else, preferably your study abroad advisor, proofread your essay? Your advisors may have experience advising students for the Gilman Scholarship Program and will have good insight on what to include in your essay – or what not to include.
- Have you selected the correct Study Abroad Advisor and Financial Aid Advisor to certify your application? It is important to meet with your advisors to let them know you will be submitting an application and that they will need to certify the application online. The advisors that you select in your application must come from your home institution.
- Have you requested your transcripts? Many institutions require several days to process your transcript before mailing or giving it to you. Transcripts must be mailed to the Gilman Scholarship Program by the postmark deadline found on the Deadlines and Timeline page. Please request your transcripts now to ensure you don't miss the deadline.
Congratulations on submitting your Gilman Scholarship application!
Now what? Once you have completed the online application, your advisors have completed the online certification, and your transcripts have been received, then your application is complete. Please visit the Deadlines and Timeline page for further information on when selection panels convene and award notifications are made for each application cycle. You can expect to hear from the Gilman Scholarship Program, whether you have been selected as a recipient or not via email once all applications have been reviewed. A message will be posted on the home page of the Gilman website once awards have been announced. If any information in your application changes, please notify the Gilman Scholarship Program immediately.
Best of luck and we look forward to reviewing your application!