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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

Ever wanted to make studying abroad a reality? Take advantage of the Gilman Scholarship and apply! The Gilman Scholarship is a national, prestigious award granted to American undergraduate students who are current Pell Grant recipients. These selected recipients are chosen from a competitive applicant pool and are eligible to receive up to $5,000 in scholarship aid. As part of the Gilman Scholarship program, recipients are presented with a bunch of educational resources and career networking opportunities.

First you may be wondering… wHY SHOULD i APPLY?

If you’re an adventurous person by nature and the thought of traveling has always excited you, then surely you may have already dreamt, planned and prepped to study abroad during your college years. The Gilman Scholarship is an additional bonus in what you need to finance your expenses. It is a reliable source of sufficient funds, and the Gilman program ensures that you spend it accordingly. As a recipient, you are entitled to cover any expenses related but not limited to tuition, accommodation like room/board, meals, local transportation, health/medical insurances, document fees like visa applications and passports, required course textbooks, and a round-trip airfare ticket.

What consists of the application process?

The online application process is simple but quite lengthy and time-consuming. It requires multiple parts including the application itself, three written essays, and a follow-on service project to be done after your study abroad program is completed. The application process allows the Gilman staff to gain a deeper insight into who you are as a student, your reason behind studying abroad, your personal and academic goals, and where and how you want to take studying abroad with you in the future. Some factors that help you stand out as an individual within the pool of applicants are demonstrating exceptional financial need, a general history of good grades as reflected in your transcript (although there is no required GPA minimum to apply) and being a first-generation undergraduate student. The written essay portions involve the Statement of Purpose, Building Mutual Understanding and Follow-On Service Project Proposal. I can dive into each of the essays in a later post. But for now, I’ll leave you with the mention that these essays are a strong factor in the finalized decision-making process.

Wait… There’s more

Another huge part of the application process that takes time to complete is the financial aid and study abroad advisor certification. This is mandatory, those who submit their application without this completed portion are disqualified for review. The financial aid certification comes from your financial aid office and confirms that you currently have or will be receiving a Pell Grant during your anticipated semester abroad. The study abroad certification comes from your study abroad office and verifies that all your program details are correct and up to date with the latest changes. Both these certifications are due past the application submission deadline, usually anywhere from one to two weeks afterward.

In brief, the Gilman Scholarship application is worth researching more about and applying for. There is nothing to lose from applying, as it is free of charge. It does not hurt to take the time and effort put forth into crafting a polished application profile. There are multiple resources available for step-by-step guidance. For starters, I would recommend clicking the link to the Gilman Scholarship’s official website. Here is where you can find all the vital information regarding deadlines, COVID-19 updates and policies, travel advice and suggestions, study abroad program reviews, and virtual events/seminars. You also have your study abroad office on campus to reach out to and contact with any additional further questions.

Best of luck with your study abroad endeavors!

Morgan is a Hospitality Management major with a minor in the French language. She is an international travel bug who loves to explore the world and experience different cultures. She is a history enthusiast at heart. Catch her anywhere from reading travel blogs, writing, watching historical dramas or docs to tanning at the beach, shopping till she drops, and eating out.