College Advising Corps’ 2014-15 Gates Millennium Scholars Program Training Efforts

Veniese Bradley-Michell is College Advising Corps’ Training and Curriculum Manager.

We are thrilled to announce that 78 students from College Advising Corps’ 483 partner high schools were selected as 2015 Gates Millennium Scholars!

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program (GMSP), established in 1999 and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is the United Negro College Fund’s flagship scholarship program. The goal of the GMSP is to promote academic excellence by providing thousands of outstanding students, who have significant financial need, the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Each year, the GMSP selects 1,000 talented students across the country to receive a scholarship to use through graduation at any college or university of their choice. Students have the option to receive education funding from a bachelor’s degree through a PhD in the following seven disciplines: computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health, and science. Gates Millennium Scholars receive personal and professional development through leadership programs along with academic support throughout their college career.

In 2014-15, College Advising Corps launched a training campaign to increase the number of Gates Millennium Scholars within our partner high schools across the country.

In doing so, we included Gates Millennium Scholars/National Scholarship training sessions during pre-service adviser training. College Advising Corps hosted six in-person Gates Millennium Scholars/National Scholarship workshops and a Corps-wide webinar. During the training sessions, advisers learned tips and strategies for advising students on successful GMSP application completion, as well as how to avoid common application mistakes. Advisers were also provided strategies to advertise scholarship opportunities in their high school communities. Student support strategies taught during GMSP training included meaningful and relevant information that can be applied to any competitive college application or scholarship writing assignment. The training our advisers received empowered many of them to host their very own student writing clinics and recommendation writing workshops for high school staff. Our advisers’ knowledge and confidence guided many of our student winners.

Below are a few tips that advisers learned for supporting students, nominators, and recommenders through the Gates Millennium Scholars Program application process.

Student Tips:

–       Take the most rigorous course of study that your high school has to offer.

–       Answer each writing prompt completely. Many of the questions contain sub-questions that should not be overlooked.

–       Do not put links, URLs, or graphics in your essay.

–       Ask your peers, parent/guardian, and teachers to assist you with proof reading your essay.

–       Provide your nominator and recommender with the necessary tools to write great letters of reference for you. Consider providing your nominator with the following:

  1. Academic resume;
  2. College essay or personal statement; and
  3. A paragraph that your parent (or someone close to you) wrote describing you, your positive attributes, and your will or drive to succeed. Your parents have unique perspective, as they have known you your whole life.

–       Check your GMSP landing page status often! Your landing page will show you the status of completion for your nomination and recommendation documents. Please do not wait until the last day to submit the required documentation for this scholarship opportunity.

Nominator Tips:

–       The nominator must be an educator, such as a principal, teacher, guidance counselor, higher education representatives, or college adviser.

–       Nominators should write about the strength of the curriculum, number of AP courses offered at the student’s high school, and how many AP courses the student has taken thus far.

–       Nominators should also discuss leadership roles the student holds on campus.

Recommender Tips:

–       Recommenders can be any adult who is familiar with the student’s community service and leadership activities, such as a work supervisor or community leader. If the person who serves as a nominator is also familiar with the student’s non-academic activities, he or she may serve as a recommender, as well.

–       Recommenders should share the community service commitments and community service hours a student has acquired.

–       It is helpful for the nominator and recommender to provide prospective that is not reflected in the student application or essays.

Congratulations to all Gates Millennium Scholars Program winners!

For a complete list of all GMSP winners and official press release please visit http://www.gmsp.org/publicw eb/news.aspx?id=169.

If you have any questions, please contact Veniese Bradley-Michell at veniese@advisingcorps.org.