How to Win the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

As a college student, studying abroad can be the opportunity of a lifetime to expand your horizons and gain valuable experience for your future career. However, for many the costs associated with international study seem out of reach. The good news is that financial assistance is available, and the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is one excellent option for eligible students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding. This prestigious scholarship can help make your dreams of studying overseas come true.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know to put together a competitive application for the Gilman Scholarship. We will walk through the eligibility criteria, application components, selection criteria, and tips for crafting a compelling essay and securing strong letters of recommendation. With some preparation and the right approach, you have an excellent chance of joining the over 3,000 students each year in receiving this generous scholarship to fund study abroad. The world is open to you, if you take the steps to pursue this opportunity. Follow these guidelines and get ready to embark on an international adventure that will change your life.

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

What Is the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship?

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program offers grants for U.S. undergraduate students to participate in study abroad programs worldwide. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Gilman Scholarship aims to diversify the kinds of students who study abroad by supporting undergraduates who might not otherwise participate due to financial constraints.

Recipients of the Gilman Scholarship receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad program costs. Students of all majors may apply, especially those from community colleges, students in underrepresented fields such as the sciences and engineering, students with high financial need, and students with disabilities. The scholarship can be used for tuition, room and board, books, travel, and other education-related expenses.

To be eligible, applicants must be receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university and be planning to study abroad for at least four weeks in one country. Students studying a critical need language such as Arabic, Chinese, Turkic languages, Persian, or Russian, as well as students studying in non-traditional locations, may receive additional funding.

The application process includes an online application, a statement of purpose essay, a letter of recommendation, and official transcripts. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, with deadlines for the fall, spring, and academic year. To learn more and apply, visit With the Gilman Scholarship, the opportunity to study abroad can be within your reach.

Eligibility Requirements for the Gilman Scholarship

To be eligible for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, you must meet the following requirements:


You must be a U.S. citizen. Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to apply.


You must be enrolled as an undergraduate student in an accredited institution of higher education in the U.S. Graduate students must be enrolled in a graduate degree program at a U.S. university.


You must have a minimum 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale. Some study abroad programs may require a higher GPA. Check with your program provider.

Financial Need

You must demonstrate financial need according to the information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The scholarship prioritizes support for students who have high financial need.

Study Abroad Program

Your study abroad program must be credit-bearing and last a minimum of four weeks (28 days) in one country. Programs going to multiple countries are eligible if the student spends at least four consecutive weeks in one country. Internship, work, volunteer, and non-credit programs do not qualify.

To apply for this prestigious scholarship, carefully review the eligibility criteria and submit a complete, compelling application. With the right preparation, you have an excellent chance of joining the many students who have had the opportunity to study abroad with the support of the Gilman Scholarship.

How to Write a Competitive Gilman Scholarship Essay

To write a winning Gilman Scholarship essay, follow these tips:

Do your research

Learn as much as you can about the scholarship, its mission, and past recipients. The Gilman Scholarship aims to diversify the kinds of students who study abroad. Emphasize how you fit this goal.

Focus on your study abroad program

Explain why you chose your host country and program of study. Discuss how it aligns with your academic and career goals. Show how this experience will impact your future. For example, if you plan to study public health in South Africa, discuss how insights from local health experts could shape your career path.

Highlight your relevant experience

Detail any previous international or leadership experience. Discuss skills that will help you navigate study abroad challenges, such as a foreign language ability or cross-cultural adaptability. Provide specific examples of situations where you demonstrated these skills.

Explain your financial need

Briefly discuss your financial situation and why this scholarship is critical for you to afford study abroad. Explain how the scholarship funds will be used to cover program fees, travel expenses, or living costs. There is no need to disclose private financial details. Keep this discussion concise while conveying your genuine need for support.

Review and edit thoroughly

Carefully proofread your essay for any errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation. Ask others to review and provide feedback. Tighten your writing by eliminating any unnecessary words or sentences. Follow all length and formatting guidelines exactly. A polished essay shows your commitment to the application process.

With compelling content and a thoughtful, well-written essay, you will maximize your chances of becoming a Gilman Scholar. Best of luck!

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As you have learned, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship offers an amazing opportunity for American students to fund their study abroad dreams. With diligent preparation and a strong application, you have an excellent chance of becoming a Gilman Scholar. Think about your goals, strengthen your essays, get solid recommendations, and prepare to have an experience that will change your life. Studying abroad is a gift that keeps on giving, impacting how you see the world and your role in it. Do not pass up this chance to gain new global perspectives and skills that will benefit you for years to come. Apply today and embark on an adventure that could transform you in unimaginable ways. The world is waiting – go get it!

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