The U.S. Department of State’s goal for the Gilman Program is to broaden the student population that studies and interns abroad by supporting undergraduates who might otherwise not participate due to financial constraints. The international experiences gained through participation in the program enable tomorrow’s leaders to thrive in the global economy, and contribute to our nation’s prosperity.
Applications are reviewed holistically, with consideration of the following:
Academic Preparedness and Impact on Student’s Academic and Career Trajectory
Academic performance, particularly in the applicant’s major is important. There is no minimum grade point average for this scholarship and students have been deemed eligible to participate on a study abroad program based on their academic standing at their home institution. Applicants must demonstrate the maturity needed to gain benefit from their experience abroad, and they should be able to describe the expected outcome of their program participation towards their future academic and career objectives. Students’ transcript(s) are reviewed to supplement academic information provided in their application. Students should disclose academic challenges and choices for consideration of their application evaluation.
Diversity of Background and Experience
The program seeks participation by the broadest group of students from across the United States who have financial need and will benefit from the knowledge and skills they acquire when studying abroad. By supporting undergraduate students who have high financial need, the program has been successful in supporting students who have been historically underrepresented in education abroad, including but not limited to first-generation college students, students in STEM fields, ethnic minority students, students with disabilities, students attending HBCUs or other minority-serving institutions, students attending community colleges, and students coming from U.S. states with less study abroad participation. This information is considered in the context of the overall impact the proposed study abroad experience will have on the student and the student’s ability to be a strong representative of the Gilman Program during his/her study abroad.
Choice of Program & Destination
A successful applicant should show a coherent link between his/her proposed program abroad activities and his/her future academic and/or career plans, as well as personal development goals. Students should detail their program components and articulate how their participation and receipt of the Gilman Scholarship would support the achievement of their goals. The program encourages students to study and intern in a diverse array of countries and world regions, as well as studying languages, especially critical need languages (those deemed important to national security and diplomacy).
Impact to Community
The U.S. Department of State’s mission is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange. Through the Gilman Program’s required Follow-on Service Project, both cultural and international exchange awareness is promoted by successful and diverse spokespersons. The goal of the Follow-on Service Project is for Gilman Scholars to increase awareness of study abroad and the Gilman Scholarship among their peers and/or in their home community. A good Follow-on Service Project should be feasible, utilize the student’s experience abroad, and incorporate ties to student populations that are representative of the United States.