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I thought I would leave a couple tips here for future-seeking applicants. I got selected to interview for the American Gates Scholarship in late January and didn't get selected for the final scholarship. Here are a couple things I wish I knew before the interviews. I applied for an Earth Science Ph.D. on the Physical Sciences panel. 

1. Getting notified of acceptance at Cambridge and interviews for your department: This is wide-ranging for everyone. I noticed that some people got interviews for their department and program at Cambridge as early as late October and as late as early December. I actually didn't have an interview for my program -- they just accepted me and this isn't anything out of the ordinary. Sometimes your application may be good enough they don't need to interview you, etc. You will get accepted to the department and program before you get accepted for an interview.

2. Getting notified of the interview for Gates Scholarship: I was on the Physical Sciences panel and I got notified December 13th. Which around that time is usual. People get notified all the way up until December 21st. The interview took place in Seattle and it varies from Seattle to Washington, D.C. every year. I would contact your school ASAP if you're notified as a finalist to see if they will help you will travel costs because Gates only covers 1 night at the hotel nearby the Gates Foundation and nothing else. The interview takes place on a Friday and Saturday in late January and you get to pick your time slot and day. But pick fast because they fill up! About 100 people are selected for interviews and only 35 are finalists. 

3. The process up to the interview on January 28th: A women named Luisa Clarke usually emails you with more details about the interview (confirming date and time and travel details). She also sets up a facebook group for all interviewees beforehand so everyone can get to know each other. Use this group to solidify rides/dinner plans/whatever else when you arrive in Seattle or D.C. It will save you money. Read books, study, talk to your supervisor at Cambridge, and start solidfying down what you will say in your interview asap. You can't ever be 100% prepared (I was really prepared but one question in the interview threw me off haha) but really know who you are and what your project is. 

4. Interview weekend: I arrived Friday night, the night before my interview on Saturday. I honestly wished I got to Seattle a day earlier than Friday to really prepare myself. So I would recommend coming as early as you can and exploring and getting used to the environment. The hotel was about a 5-minute walk from the Gates Foundation where we have our interviews. I would, if you have time, the day before, walk to the foundation so you are prepared and know where it is. For the night Gates provides a hotel accommodation, you will room with another applicant on your same panel. Use this time to get to know them too! 

5. The interview: So compared to other applicants I talked to, my interview went pretty bad. I applied for an Earth Sciences Ph.D. There are 4 panels: Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Arts, and Social Sciences. The panels all vary in their personalities and approaches to interviews. All the panels were nice, but the Physical Science's panel was a bit more straightforward than what I was expecting. Also, remember that applicants can apply for Ph.D. and Masters programs. From what I know, they will grill you about your Ph.D. project and not so much about the 'philosophical' why this and that; and for the Masters, they ask less about your proposed project/program. In either case, you should still prepare for the "why" questions and the "what" questions. My problem was, I didn't have a lot of experience in the field I was going into (paleoceanography) and so I couldn't explain a lot of the side details of my project. Unfortunately, the first question that was asked of me was a bit of a weird question I didn't take into account about my project (something about my methods)... I didn't know and this question really threw me off and flustered me and it just ended up being a bad interview. Towards the end, they started asking about why this and that. In any case, prepare for every question you can think of and really know the ins and outs of your project.  

6. Final Notification: I got the final notification about 5 days after. So I interviewed on January 28th and the final notification was on February 1st. It was just the generic email: It was a tough competition, etc, etc... We're sorry we can't offer you a scholarship, etc, etc. The way they tally up the end is based on a ranking system. Your initial application has a ranking and the interview has a ranking. After you're interview, they basically compare you with the other 100 people and tally up where you stand based on the application and interview. So although my application was excellent, my interview sucked and that brought my ranking down. DO WELL AT BOTH. Also, I don't know if Earth Science is a hard field to really connect and apply research to "helping communities"... but I feel like the program was a little bias towards biological sciences and more health related stuff... which is great! but my area was climate change and helping communities mitigate and adapt to changing environments but it was a little underwhelming to see the panel/committee not as excited about climate change as they are about diseases and health-related issues (which are both equally important). I think if you're on any panel, and you aren't doing applied research (i.e. engineering that will apply some invention to directly helping communities or health research that will research a protein to cure a disease, etc), then you really have to sell how your research will directly help communities. Me doing an Earth Science Ph.D. and understanding climate change to better predict future changes, etc I felt wasn't good enough when compared to other applicants. so find your strengths in your project and contact your supervisor early and know the ins and outs of your project (My supervisor was great but we never skyped because he was so busy -- and it would have been more helpful if we had solidified contact and details sooner). 

Other Tips: It really sucked to not get the final scholarship because I made so many friends and great memories based off my experience in Seattle and I won't be able to go off with them to Cambridge. Everyone was really nice and it seems like an intimidating experience but everyone was really friendly and freaking out together. Although there are still opportunities for further funding at Cambridge, I really wanted to be apart of the Gates community as well because it's a truly remarkable experience. Have a backup too! I met a lot of people who didn't know what they were going to do if they didn't get the scholarship -- I applied to 5 fellowships to make sure if I didn't get the Gates that I would have somewhere else to go. Hence, my last backup after not getting gates was Fulbright which is still a great backup! 

 

I will be applying again next year, after my masters at UCL :) Good luck and hope this helps!

Edited by Rachel patteson
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Thank you!! Where did you hear this, if you don't mind me asking? 

I've heard the results (interview invitations) will be out on Wednesday. So will stop checking my email every 10 minutes.  

I assume it means increased interest! I was interviewed this week for my MPhil via Skype. A few days later,  I was recommended for admission into the school by the department. Still waiting to hear ba

On 04/02/2018 at 11:54 AM, Rachel patteson said:

I thought I would leave a couple tips here for future-seeking applicants. I got selected to interview for the American Gates Scholarship in late January and didn't get selected for the final scholarship. Here are a couple things I wish I knew before the interviews. I applied for an Earth Science Ph.D. on the Physical Sciences panel. 

1. Getting notified of acceptance at Cambridge and interviews for your department: This is wide-ranging for everyone. I noticed that some people got interviews for their department and program at Cambridge as early as late October and as late as early December. I actually didn't have an interview for my program -- they just accepted me and this isn't anything out of the ordinary. Sometimes your application may be good enough they don't need to interview you, etc. You will get accepted to the department and program before you get accepted for an interview.

2. Getting notified of the interview for Gates Scholarship: I was on the Physical Sciences panel and I got notified December 13th. Which around that time is usual. People get notified all the way up until December 21st. The interview took place in Seattle and it varies from Seattle to Washington, D.C. every year. I would contact your school ASAP if you're notified as a finalist to see if they will help you will travel costs because Gates only covers 1 night at the hotel nearby the Gates Foundation and nothing else. The interview takes place on a Friday and Saturday in late January and you get to pick your time slot and day. But pick fast because they fill up! About 100 people are selected for interviews and only 35 are finalists. 

3. The process up to the interview on January 28th: A women named Luisa Clarke usually emails you with more details about the interview (confirming date and time and travel details). She also sets up a facebook group for all interviewees beforehand so everyone can get to know each other. Use this group to solidify rides/dinner plans/whatever else when you arrive in Seattle or D.C. It will save you money. Read books, study, talk to your supervisor at Cambridge, and start solidfying down what you will say in your interview asap. You can't ever be 100% prepared (I was really prepared but one question in the interview threw me off haha) but really know who you are and what your project is. 

4. Interview weekend: I arrived Friday night, the night before my interview on Saturday. I honestly wished I got to Seattle a day earlier than Friday to really prepare myself. So I would recommend coming as early as you can and exploring and getting used to the environment. The hotel was about a 5-minute walk from the Gates Foundation where we have our interviews. I would, if you have time, the day before, walk to the foundation so you are prepared and know where it is. For the night Gates provides a hotel accommodation, you will room with another applicant on your same panel. Use this time to get to know them too! 

5. The interview: So compared to other applicants I talked to, my interview went pretty bad. I applied for an Earth Sciences Ph.D. There are 4 panels: Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Arts, and Social Sciences. The panels all vary in their personalities and approaches to interviews. All the panels were nice, but the Physical Science's panel was a bit more straightforward than what I was expecting. Also, remember that applicants can apply for Ph.D. and Masters programs. From what I know, they will grill you about your Ph.D. project and not so much about the 'philosophical' why this and that; and for the Masters, they ask less about your proposed project/program. In either case, you should still prepare for the "why" questions and the "what" questions. My problem was, I didn't have a lot of experience in the field I was going into (paleoceanography) and so I couldn't explain a lot of the side details of my project. Unfortunately, the first question that was asked of me was a bit of a weird question I didn't take into account about my project (something about my methods)... I didn't know and this question really threw me off and flustered me and it just ended up being a bad interview. Towards the end, they started asking about why this and that. In any case, prepare for every question you can think of and really know the ins and outs of your project.  

6. Final Notification: I got the final notification about 5 days after. So I interviewed on January 28th and the final notification was on February 1st. It was just the generic email: It was a tough competition, etc, etc... We're sorry we can't offer you a scholarship, etc, etc. The way they tally up the end is based on a ranking system. Your initial application has a ranking and the interview has a ranking. After you're interview, they basically compare you with the other 100 people and tally up where you stand based on the application and interview. So although my application was excellent, my interview sucked and that brought my ranking down. DO WELL AT BOTH. Also, I don't know if Earth Science is a hard field to really connect and apply research to "helping communities"... but I feel like the program was a little bias towards biological sciences and more health related stuff... which is great! but my area was climate change and helping communities mitigate and adapt to changing environments but it was a little underwhelming to see the panel/committee not as excited about climate change as they are about diseases and health-related issues (which are both equally important). I think if you're on any panel, and you aren't doing applied research (i.e. engineering that will apply some invention to directly helping communities or health research that will research a protein to cure a disease, etc), then you really have to sell how your research will directly help communities. Me doing an Earth Science Ph.D. and understanding climate change to better predict future changes, etc I felt wasn't good enough when compared to other applicants. so find your strengths in your project and contact your supervisor early and know the ins and outs of your project (My supervisor was great but we never skyped because he was so busy -- and it would have been more helpful if we had solidified contact and details sooner). 

Other Tips: It really sucked to not get the final scholarship because I made so many friends and great memories based off my experience in Seattle and I won't be able to go off with them to Cambridge. Everyone was really nice and it seems like an intimidating experience but everyone was really friendly and freaking out together. Although there are still opportunities for further funding at Cambridge, I really wanted to be apart of the Gates community as well because it's a truly remarkable experience. Have a backup too! I met a lot of people who didn't know what they were going to do if they didn't get the scholarship -- I applied to 5 fellowships to make sure if I didn't get the Gates that I would have somewhere else to go. Hence, my last backup after not getting gates was Fulbright which is still a great backup! 

 

I will be applying again next year, after my masters at UCL :) Good luck and hope this helps!

This is so nice of you, I really hope you have a great time at UCL, and great things are around the corner for you. All the best!

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On 2/4/2018 at 8:24 AM, Rachel patteson said:

I thought I would leave a couple tips here for future-seeking applicants. I got selected to interview for the American Gates Scholarship in late January and didn't get selected for the final scholarship. Here are a couple things I wish I knew before the interviews. I applied for an Earth Science Ph.D. on the Physical Sciences panel. 

1. Getting notified of acceptance at Cambridge and interviews for your department: This is wide-ranging for everyone. I noticed that some people got interviews for their department and program at Cambridge as early as late October and as late as early December. I actually didn't have an interview for my program -- they just accepted me and this isn't anything out of the ordinary. Sometimes your application may be good enough they don't need to interview you, etc. You will get accepted to the department and program before you get accepted for an interview.

2. Getting notified of the interview for Gates Scholarship: I was on the Physical Sciences panel and I got notified December 13th. Which around that time is usual. People get notified all the way up until December 21st. The interview took place in Seattle and it varies from Seattle to Washington, D.C. every year. I would contact your school ASAP if you're notified as a finalist to see if they will help you will travel costs because Gates only covers 1 night at the hotel nearby the Gates Foundation and nothing else. The interview takes place on a Friday and Saturday in late January and you get to pick your time slot and day. But pick fast because they fill up! About 100 people are selected for interviews and only 35 are finalists. 

3. The process up to the interview on January 28th: A women named Luisa Clarke usually emails you with more details about the interview (confirming date and time and travel details). She also sets up a facebook group for all interviewees beforehand so everyone can get to know each other. Use this group to solidify rides/dinner plans/whatever else when you arrive in Seattle or D.C. It will save you money. Read books, study, talk to your supervisor at Cambridge, and start solidfying down what you will say in your interview asap. You can't ever be 100% prepared (I was really prepared but one question in the interview threw me off haha) but really know who you are and what your project is. 

4. Interview weekend: I arrived Friday night, the night before my interview on Saturday. I honestly wished I got to Seattle a day earlier than Friday to really prepare myself. So I would recommend coming as early as you can and exploring and getting used to the environment. The hotel was about a 5-minute walk from the Gates Foundation where we have our interviews. I would, if you have time, the day before, walk to the foundation so you are prepared and know where it is. For the night Gates provides a hotel accommodation, you will room with another applicant on your same panel. Use this time to get to know them too! 

5. The interview: So compared to other applicants I talked to, my interview went pretty bad. I applied for an Earth Sciences Ph.D. There are 4 panels: Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Arts, and Social Sciences. The panels all vary in their personalities and approaches to interviews. All the panels were nice, but the Physical Science's panel was a bit more straightforward than what I was expecting. Also, remember that applicants can apply for Ph.D. and Masters programs. From what I know, they will grill you about your Ph.D. project and not so much about the 'philosophical' why this and that; and for the Masters, they ask less about your proposed project/program. In either case, you should still prepare for the "why" questions and the "what" questions. My problem was, I didn't have a lot of experience in the field I was going into (paleoceanography) and so I couldn't explain a lot of the side details of my project. Unfortunately, the first question that was asked of me was a bit of a weird question I didn't take into account about my project (something about my methods)... I didn't know and this question really threw me off and flustered me and it just ended up being a bad interview. Towards the end, they started asking about why this and that. In any case, prepare for every question you can think of and really know the ins and outs of your project.  

6. Final Notification: I got the final notification about 5 days after. So I interviewed on January 28th and the final notification was on February 1st. It was just the generic email: It was a tough competition, etc, etc... We're sorry we can't offer you a scholarship, etc, etc. The way they tally up the end is based on a ranking system. Your initial application has a ranking and the interview has a ranking. After you're interview, they basically compare you with the other 100 people and tally up where you stand based on the application and interview. So although my application was excellent, my interview sucked and that brought my ranking down. DO WELL AT BOTH. Also, I don't know if Earth Science is a hard field to really connect and apply research to "helping communities"... but I feel like the program was a little bias towards biological sciences and more health related stuff... which is great! but my area was climate change and helping communities mitigate and adapt to changing environments but it was a little underwhelming to see the panel/committee not as excited about climate change as they are about diseases and health-related issues (which are both equally important). I think if you're on any panel, and you aren't doing applied research (i.e. engineering that will apply some invention to directly helping communities or health research that will research a protein to cure a disease, etc), then you really have to sell how your research will directly help communities. Me doing an Earth Science Ph.D. and understanding climate change to better predict future changes, etc I felt wasn't good enough when compared to other applicants. so find your strengths in your project and contact your supervisor early and know the ins and outs of your project (My supervisor was great but we never skyped because he was so busy -- and it would have been more helpful if we had solidified contact and details sooner). 

Other Tips: It really sucked to not get the final scholarship because I made so many friends and great memories based off my experience in Seattle and I won't be able to go off with them to Cambridge. Everyone was really nice and it seems like an intimidating experience but everyone was really friendly and freaking out together. Although there are still opportunities for further funding at Cambridge, I really wanted to be apart of the Gates community as well because it's a truly remarkable experience. Have a backup too! I met a lot of people who didn't know what they were going to do if they didn't get the scholarship -- I applied to 5 fellowships to make sure if I didn't get the Gates that I would have somewhere else to go. Hence, my last backup after not getting gates was Fulbright which is still a great backup! 

 

I will be applying again next year, after my masters at UCL :) Good luck and hope this helps!

Many thanks, @Rachel patteson. Very helpful to hear about your interview experience. Are there any others out there with interview insights to share? Good luck to all!

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4 hours ago, cshal said:

Also an international applicant, from Canada. :)@prer25 I think I saw you on TSR - are you also in Multidisciplinary Gender Studies? 

Hahah damn yes, I am lurking in every corner :P Yes! PhD though, and from India- what about you? Have you got an offer? Congrats if you have and all the best!!

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On 12/13/2017 at 9:39 PM, qft said:

I'm 99% sure you need an official offer. Got mine a few weeks ago for MASt in Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics. There is the possibility that you've been accepted and they haven't updated the status to something like "Awaiting approval by GAO" but they only rank candidates whom they plan to accept.

Thanks for your contributions. I would like your walk through of the interview session because I applied for MASt in Pure Mathematics as an international applicant.

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8 hours ago, DEV2122 said:

congrats @Shulfer !!! It mean's you are being offered a place by your department and now Graduate Admissions Office is preparing your offer letter with conditions. After "Awaiting approval by GAO" 99.9% people get "conditional offers" within 2 weeks. 

Thank you! Now when do international applicants hear about gates :)?

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On 1/3/2018 at 12:54 AM, cshal said:

Absolutely will do!! FWIW, found this timeline for international applicants on another thread:

3 February: department offer
26 February: invited to Gates interview
22-23 March: Gates interview
24 March: Gates offer

Hey Cshal. Was this from 2017 or 2016?

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@Shulfer: Having spoken with several friends who received interviews during the international round in the past couple of years, it seems there has been a range of notification dates from the last week of February to the first week of March. Last year, for example, a friend heard about his interview offer on March 4th. The Gates website lists the following information as well: 

Applications open   4 September 2017
Application deadline   Dependent on your course - either 6 December 2017 or 4 January 2018*
Departmental ranking   December - February
Trust shortlisting   Early March
Shortlisted candidates invited to interview   Early March
Interviews   27 & 28 March 2018 (Cambridge, UK)
Scholarships offered   Late March
Scholarships accepted   48 hours after offer
Edited by Risate
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On 2018-02-23 at 11:20 AM, Shulfer said:

Hey Cshal. Was this from 2017 or 2016?

I don't remember, I'm sorry! It was back from a previous year's forum. Regardless, I think we'll probably hear this week or next.

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