The Gates Scholarship Recipient Shares Her Experience and Tips for Future Applicants
The Gates Scholarship (TGS) is a highly selective scholarship awarded to outstanding student leaders with the intent of helping high-school students reach their full potential during their college education. In the applicant class of 2021, only 300 out of about 39,000 students were awarded the scholarship which covers the full cost of attendance that is not already covered by financial aid or the student’s Expected Family Contribution as stated on his or her FASFA form. We are very proud to announce that one of our very own Saber students, Nahomy Blanquicett was 1 of 300 students nationwide to receive this outstanding award!
To apply, students must meet the following requirements:
- A high school senior
- From at least one of the following ethnicities: African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian & Pacific Islander American, and/or Hispanic American
- A US citizen, national, or permanent resident
- In good academic standing with a minimum cumulative weighted GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent)
- Must plan to enroll full-time, in a four-year degree program, at a US-accredited, not-for-profit, private or public college or university.
However, these are just the basic requirements. Every applicant is expected to have an outstanding academic record, be top 10% of their class, demonstrate leadership ability through participation in community service or extracurricular activities, and exemplify personal success skills including emotional maturity, motivation, and perseverance.
Highlighting TGS Winner Nahomy Blanquicett
The Application Process
The application process was an extensive process starting September with final decisions being released in April, but luckily for applicants, the process is broken down into manageable phases. Based on her personal experience, Nahomy stressed the importance of strong writing submissions. Unlike other scholarships, you won’t be answering basic questions in your essays, TGS hopes to gain a deeper understanding of its applicants through more insightful prompts. After turning to Reddit for guidance from current and former Gates applicants, Nahomy realized the key to being successful was simply being yourself. It may sound cliche, but this is exactly what reviewers are hoping to learn from your writing. Questions like “Who motivates you?” and “What do you see yourself doing in the future?” inspired Nahomy to reflect on her plans for the future. TGS truly values its motto, “Future Leaders”, which makes sharing your hopes for the future even more important. Her main advice for this phase would be to focus on your goals, your ambitions, and your experience.
The interview phase was certainly the most stressful and highly anticipated part of the application process. At this point, the number of applicants has been narrowed down to only 600 students which added to the pressure. Before the official interview, Nahomy had already rehearsed what she would say in the call to schedule the interview. However, she was caught off guard when she received the call while she was at the gym. Her interviewer was very understanding, but she was worried she made a poor first impression. Up until the time of the official interview, she recalls ranting to her friends and family to ease her nerves. “The interview was a nerve-wracking experience, but I was very happy with how it turned out,” she explains.
The interviewer was sure to ask questions that would help her gain insight into how the world has changed Nahomy and how she plans to change the world. Nahomy shared her experience in middle school theater and how it helped her be more outspoken and shaped the person she is today. This is a perfect example of the importance of being your true self during interviews. She was worried sharing this experience may be seen as childish, but instead, she was able to connect with her interviewer who shared a very similar experience in her own life. Nahomy emphasized the importance of sharing aspects of yourself that are not included in prior phases of the application portal. While making the final decisions, all submissions are reviewed, so be sure to include anything you can to make yourself stand out above other applicants.
Throughout the process, you will face a lot of doubt that can leave you questioning whether you will get the scholarship, but I think something to keep in mind is that at the end of the day, it’s just a piece of paper that is somehow supposed to define who you are. And honestly, I don’t think that’s justified because you’re much more than a three-page paper.
In my case, I was blessed and lucky enough to be seen as a good fit, but I definitely don’t believe that if you don’t get the scholarship, you’re somehow less fit. Because at the end of the day, only you know how extraordinary you can be. The admissions committee only ever gets a glimpse of the true you.Nahomy Blanquicett, Class of 2021
Despite the unforeseen challenges brought on by the pandemic, Nahomy’s hard work ensured her college application process was fruitful in her endeavors. Along with receiving the Gates Scholarship, she was also a Questbridge finalist, another noteworthy achievement itself. Although she is still not sure where she will continue to further her education, The Gates Scholarship will certainly help her get there.