Gate of Opportunity Scholarship
Gate of Opportunity Scholarships are awarded to 10 incoming Berry College freshmen selected on the basis of demonstrated work ethic, personal initiative, leadership potential and financial need. This distinctive scholarship exemplifies the Berry mission by making it possible to graduate debt-free from one of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges through hard work in and out of the classroom. Students with an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) of $15,000 or less, according to official results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), are eligible for consideration.
The Gate of Opportunity Scholarship
The Gate of Opportunity Scholarship program is a three-way partnership between Berry College, donors to the institution and families. The scholarship greatly reduces the cost of tuition, fees, housing,books and a meal plan*. The remaining cost of attendance is covered by the student and his/her family through their payment** of half of the EFC (determined by the official FAFSA results), the student’s participation in the work program and any external scholarships/grants the student may receive.
*The Gate of Opportunity Scholarship helps with the cost of meal plans during fall and spring semesters only; Gate Scholars and their families are responsible for the cost of meals during the summer terms and breaks.
**Families may choose to take out loans for their payment portion, however most Gate Scholars are attending Berry without loans.
All Gate of Opportunity Scholars participate in Berry’s student work program beginning in July before enrolling at Berry. Gate of Opportunity Scholars will work a total of 4,500 hours* during their four years of enrollment at Berry. They typically work 16 hours a week during freshman year and 20 hours a week during the sophomore, junior and senior years. They also work full-time (40 hours a week) during each summer (including the summer before freshman year) and during most breaks, though they will have Berry holidays and some additional discretional time away from campus.
*The Gate of Opportunity Scholarship is based on the student contributing 4,500 work hours to Berry College (average 1,125 work hours per year). If Gate Scholars complete fewer work hours they will be responsible for paying the difference on an annual basis.
Selected students will be those offered freshman admission to Berry College and who have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $15,000 or less according to the official results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Berry's Office of Financial Aid will work with selected Gate of Opportunity Scholars to verify that they have an eligible EFC.
Applying for Gate of Opportunity
Interested high school seniors must be admitted to Berry College and be selected for the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship program through an application and interview process. To apply for Gate of Opportunity Scholarship consideration, interested high school seniors should complete each of the following steps:
1. Apply for freshman admission to Berry College. Interested students must be offered admission to Berry College to be considered for the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship. We encourage applicants to submit all of their application credentials before the February 1 priority date. Please note: due to the nature of Gate of Opportunity as a four-year, developmental scholarship program, only freshman applicants for fall semester will be eligible for Gate of Opportunity consideration.
2. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) - which becomes available for fall semester freshman applicants after January 1 of the high school senior year - and have the official results sent to Berry College. We must have official FAFSA results to consider Gate of Opportunity applicants for the interview process. Please visit the Office of Financial Aid site for additional information about filing the FAFSA. Please see “Summary of Gate of Opportunity Dates” below for fall 2013 applicant deadlines.
3. Submit the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship online application, which becomes available by February 1 each year. Fall semester freshman applicants will be notified by mail and email when the Gate of Opportunity application is available for completion and should submit the online application by the appropriate deadline. Please see “Summary of Gate of Opportunity Dates” below for fall 2013 applicant deadlines.
Gate of Opportunity applicants who have been admitted to Berry College, are eligible for consideration based on the official FAFSA results and are selected based on the Gate of Opportunity essay will be invited to participate in an interview process. Students will be notified of their eligibility to interview in writing and will be asked to RSVP.
Interviews will take place on the Berry College campus in March. In addition to an individual interview, candidates will interact various members of the Berry community. Additional details about the Gate of Opportunity interview process will be sent to students who are selected to interview.
All interview candidates will be notified of the Gate of Opportunity selection committee's decisions in early April. The selected Gate of Opportunity Scholars will receive complete details about the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship offer in writing and will also have their EFCs (based on official FAFSA results) verified by the Office of Financial Aid. Selected students will need to accept the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship offer - and secure their enrollment for the fall semester - by paying the housing and enrollment deposit by the National Candidate Reply Date of May 1.
Summary of Gate of Opportunity Dates – Fall 2013 Applicants
Fall 2012 to February 1, 2013 - Submit the application form – along with all supporting documents - to the Office of Admissions for freshman admission consideration.
After January 1, 2013 - File the 2013-2014 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and have the official results sent to Berry College (our school identification number is 001554). Allow at least two weeks for Berry College to receive official FAFSA results once submitted.
Friday, February 22, 2013 at 5:00pm (Eastern Time) -Deadline for admitted students to submit both the Gate of Opportunity online application and the official FAFSA results for interview consideration.
By March 8, 2013 - Selected candidates invited to Interview Day. All applicants will be notified of a decision in writing.
Saturday, March 16, 2013 - Gate of Opportunity Interview Day (for selected applicants). ***We strongly encourage all Gate of Opportunity applicants to tentatively plan ahead for this date in their spring schedules incase they are invited to interview!***
Early April 2013 - Interview candidates notified of decisions.
May 1, 2013 - National Candidate Reply Date. Final date for selected Gate of Opportunity Scholars to accept the scholarship and pay the $250 housing and enrollment deposit.
Late June 2013 - Selected Gate of Opportunity Scholars arrive on campus to move into summer housing, participate in Gate of Opportunity Scholarship Orientation and begin work.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Are the Gate of Opportunity Scholars the only ones who work as Berry students?
A. Every Berry student is guaranteed a paid, on-campus job and is encouraged to take advantage of this unique opportunity for meaningful work experience and personal development. More than 90% of Berry students typically participate in the work program, so Gate of Opportunity Scholars are not the only ones who work.
Q. Do I have to participate in Berry’s work program if I am a Gate of Opportunity Scholar?
A. Yes, Gate of Opportunity Scholars will actively participate in the work program as part of the criteria for receiving and maintaining the scholarship. Only students who are interested in full participation in the work program should apply for the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship.
Q. Being a Gate of Opportunity Scholar sounds like a lot of work. Will I be able to go home for holiday breaks and during the summer?
A. Yes, Gate of Opportunity Scholars have "vacation time" to use during each academic year. They will work with the work supervisor to use their vacation time as it bests suits them and the needs of their work department. Most Gate of Opportunity Scholars use their vacation time for holiday breaks, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, and for vacations during spring or summer breaks.
Q. Can Gate of Opportunity Scholars participate in clubs, organizations, athletics and activities available to other Berry College students? Will they have time for other involvements?
A. Every Gate of Opportunity Scholar will be able to fully engage in life at Berry College. They will be able to participate in clubs, organizations and other activities offered to all Berry students. Gate of Opportunity Scholars will have to employ strong time management skills, but will certainly be able to benefit from all that Berry has to offer. Some programs such as study abroad and internships will require Gate of Opportunity Scholars to make up any missed work hours.
Q. Do I have to be admitted to Berry College before submitting the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship application?
A. No, you do not have to already be admitted to Berry to submit the Gate of Opportunity application. However, you must be admitted in order to be considered for a Gate of Opportunity Scholarship interview. If you have not already been admitted to Berry College and you are interested in the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship program your first priority should be to complete the application process for admission to Berry. Once you have requested all the admission items be sent for the application process, then you should work on the Gate of Opportunity application as well as the FAFSA. You can be working on these items while you’re waiting to receive an admission decision from the Office of Admissions.
Q. Do I have to be admitted to Berry College before completing the FAFSA?
A. No, you do not have to already be admitted to Berry College to complete the FAFSA. The FAFSA is an online process provided by the Federal government and fall semester freshman applicants may complete any time after January 1 of the high school senior year. You may complete the FAFSA and request that the results be sent to Berry even if you are still working the application process for Berry. Please note, we encourage interested students to submit all of their application credentials to the Office of Admissions by the February 1 priority date.
Q. I just completed my application for admission to Berry. How long does it take for me to receive an admission decision?
A. Once all of your application credentials have been received by the Office of Admissions we typically respond with an admission decision within 6 weeks. We encourage you to complete the admission application process before February 1 of your high school senior year if you are interested in the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship program. We cannot consider you for the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship if you are not offered admission to Berry College.
Q. I just completed my FAFSA. Why hasn’t the Office of Financial Aid received it yet?
A. We typically receive official FAFSA results 5-7 business days after you've submitted it. Once you complete the FAFSA it must first be processed by the Federal government and then the results will be sent to Berry. We encourage you to complete the FAFSA as quickly as possible after January 1 of the high school senior year if you are interested in the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship Program. We cannot consider students for the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship without official FAFSA results.
Q. How does the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship work with other scholarships and aid that I may receive from Berry?
A. Other merit aid (academic scholarships, music scholarships, etc) will be subsumed as part of Berry’s portion of the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship award. Also, due to the time commitment associated with being a Gate of Opportunity Scholar, Gate Scholars may not participate in another Berry College scholarship program (the Bonner Scholars Program, the Leadership Fellows Program or the WinShape College Program). If a student applies for and is offered the opportunity to participate in more than one of these scholarship programs at Berry College, he or she will need to choose between the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship and the other scholarship program(s) offered.
Q. What happens if I get an outside scholarship after I am selected as a Gate of Opportunity Scholar?
A. Berry College reserves the right to reduce Berry’s portion of the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship aid in an amount equivalent to the outside scholarship.
Q. If I do not work enough hours over the course of a year as a Gate Scholar can I just pay off what I owe instead of working the hours?
A. In accepting the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship, Gate Scholars agree to actively participate in Berry College's student work program as part of their contribution to the scholarship and the college. Gate Scholars are expected to work a "target" number of hours per year in the Berry work program and those who fail to reach 90% of those target hours in a given year may be subject to dismissal from the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship Program. Berry calculates the annual Gate hours worked by the fiscal year - July 1 to June 30 each year - so Gate Scholars should have worked at least 90% of their target hours by June 30 of each year in the program.
FAQs for Selected Gate of Opportunity Scholars
Berry College reserves the right to revise the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship program, the selection process, application dates and any other related criteria from year to year. The information found here is meant only as a general overview for interested students.