Gilman Award – Writing Tips

Tips for applying for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for Study Abroad

–Don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

–Spend some time reading the Gilman website to get a sense of the program & for inspiration, ideas! Listen to one of their webnairs.

–Read the essay questions carefully. Answer the questions that are being asked! Prioritize the most important things you want to say in each essay.

–Know the word limit for each essay. Don’t be scant in your answers. Write close to the word limit.

–Talk about the impact that studying abroad will have on your academics, your personal life, and possibly even your career. Impact is the key word!

–If you are a student who is traditionally underrepresented in study abroad, you must clearly state this in your essay. The readers will not know your ethnicity, etc. unless you tell them in your essay.

–Remember, the purpose is study abroad – so don’t write about all the travel and fun you will be having with your friends.

–The Gilman program wants to send Americans abroad who will engage with the local population. Will you be studying the language? If so, at what level and how many hours each week? How do you plan to immerse yourself in the culture?

–Be creative. Present yourself in an interesting and compelling manner. Share something personal that ties you to the country and the program.

–Be specific. Instead of writing “Study abroad will help me grow as a person,” think of specific ways in which you expect to grow.

— Have someone proofread your essays. Don’t depend on spell-check!

Additional tips for answering essay #2 (the Follow-on Project) of the Gilman application

— Your Follow-On Project shows how you will share your international experience with others and inspire them to possibly study abroad. One or two ideas are fine.

— Be as specific about your plans as possible. Show that you’ve tried to make some contacts regarding the implementation of your Follow-on Project. For example, don’t simply write “Upon return to the U.S., I will give a presentation on my campus about my study abroad experience.” Let them know the details. What kind of presentation? Who will be your audience? How will you publicize your event? What do you think the impact of your presentation will be?