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Frequently Asked Questions

The Gates Public Service Law Program was created in November 2005 to honor William H. Gates, Sr., a prominent Washington state attorney and public servant who is also a University of Washington School of Law alumnus (Class of 1950). Each year, the program awards full-ride scholarships to five first-year students entering the J.D. program at the UW School of Law.

During the two years since the programs’ establishment, potential applicants have frequently asked the questions that follow. We hope that by providing answers to them here, we will facilitate the application and selection processes, as well as assist you in the preparation of your application.

Can the Gates Public Service Law Scholarship be used at other universities?
No. The Gates PSL Scholarship is awarded only to students who enroll in the J.D. program at the University of Washington School of Law.

If I’m not sure which law school I want to attend, can I still apply for the Gates PSL Scholarship?
In order to be considered for a Gates PSL Scholarship, you must be accepted into the J.D. program at the UW School of Law and have submitted a separate application for the scholarship. You’ll be considered for the scholarship, but if you’re accepted by the UW School of Law and decline to attend, you’ll no longer be eligible for the scholarship.

If I applied for the Gates PSL Scholarship last year and deferred enrollment, do I need to reapply for the scholarship?
Yes. You must complete and submit a new application for the Gates PSL Scholarship.

Do my letters of recommendation have to be included in my Gates PSL Scholarship application packet, or can they be sent separately?
We prefer to receive a completed application packet all at once but if that is not possible, letters of recommendation can be submitted separately. However, all of your Gates PSL Scholarship application materials must arrive at the UW School of Law by the application deadline.

Will I receive confirmation from the UW School of Law that my Gates PSL Scholarship application has arrived?
Yes. After the Gates PSL Program Office has received your scholarship application, we’ll send you an e-mail confirmation. We’ll also inform you if your application is missing any items. The UW School of Law Admissions Office will mail you a separate letter advising you of your acceptance into the J.D. program. Once you’ve been accepted, the Gates PSL Program will review your scholarship application file.

Should I fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?
Yes. Even if you’re applying for the Gates PSL Scholarship, we recommend that you also complete and submit a FAFSA. Once your FAFSA has been received, UW Financial Aid officers will determine whether you’re eligible to receive other financial assistance in the event you aren’t awarded a Gates PSL Scholarship.

Do I need to write and submit a separate essay for the Gates PSL Scholarship in addition to the personal statement that’s part of my application for the J.D. program at the UW School of Law?
Yes. A separate essay, not to exceed 750 words in length, is a required part of the Gates PSL Scholarship application. In your essay, you should discuss the factors that have shaped your vision and influenced your commitment to public service.

Can I use the same letters of recommendation for the Gates PSL Scholarship as I did in my application for the J.D. program at the UW School of Law?
Letters of recommendation for your Gates PSL Scholarship application can be from the same people, but it’s a good idea to make sure that your recommenders highlight your commitment to public service and potential for contributing to it.

The Gates PSL Scholarship application requires a résumé with details of public service experience. Should the résumé include my education, work experience, etc., or just my public service experience?
The résumé should include all your experiences: education, work and public service. This will help the members of the Gates PSL Scholarship Selection Committee to get a better sense of what you would bring to the program.

Is there an age limit for applicants?
No. As long as you are eligible to be admitted to the J.D. program you are eligible for consideration for the Gates PSL Program, regardless of your age.

Is it possible that I could be admitted to the J.D. program at the UW School of Law, but not in time for my Gates PSL Scholarship application to be reviewed?
Yes. Whether or not your Gates PSL Scholarship application is reviewed by the Selection Committee depends on when you’re admitted to the J.D. program at the UW School of Law. For example, if your J.D. application file is sent to the Admissions Committee for a secondary review, you may still be accepted into the J.D. program, but not in time for the Gates PSL Scholarship Selection Committee to review your scholarship application. This occurs rarely, but it can happen. If your acceptance into the J.D. program comes too late for your Gates PSL Scholarship application to be reviewed, someone from the Gates PSL Program Office will inform you via e-mail.

Last updated 5/15/2012