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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.

How does the Gates PSL Scholarship selection process work?
The selection process is confidential and has four stages:

  1. The UW School of Law Admissions Office informs the Gates PSL Program Office of those applicants who have been accepted into the J.D. program;
  2. The Review Committee, consisting of UW School of Law faculty members and the Executive Director of the Gates PSL Program, reviews the Gates PSL Scholarship applications of those admitted to date and narrows the field of scholarship applicants to approximately 50, whose files are then sent to the Gates PSL Scholarship Selection Committee;
  3. The Selection Committee, a group of School of Law faculty and members of the public service law community, reviews the applications and selects approximately 25 Gates PSL Scholarship finalists, who are invited to campus for Candidate Selection Weekend.
  4. Finalists attend Candidate Selection Weekend at the UW School of Law in Seattle, where they are interviewed for one of five Gates PSL Scholarships. Interview Panels consist of UW School of Law faculty and staff, as well as members of the public service law community.

Will members of the Review Committee have access to my UW School of Law admissions file and will they read it?
Yes. The Review Committee will review your full admissions file, as well as your Gates PSL Scholarship application materials. During the remaining stages of the selection process, the Selection Committee and Interview Panels will have access only to your Gates PSL Scholarship application materials and the Law School Report and personal statement in your admissions file.

During Candidate Selection Weekend, will finalists be interviewed individually or in a group setting?
How many people will interview each finalist? Finalists will be interviewed individually. In past years, each finalist had one interview with an Interview Panel made up of 3-4 people; however, in the future, the Gates PSL Program may add a second round of interviews, with the result that each finalist could be interviewed twice – by two different Interview Panels made up of 3-4 people.

For finalists invited to Candidate Selection Weekend, does the Gates PSL Program pay for travel expenses?
Yes. The Gates PSL Program works with a travel agency that will make travel arrangements for all finalists, point to point. The Gates PSL Program also pays for finalists’ lodging, food, and ground transportation expenses to and from the airport.

If I am working or studying abroad and am chosen as a Gates PSL Scholarship finalist, will the Gates PSL Program cover my travel expenses?
Yes. The Gates PSL Program will pay for round-trip transportation for you. The program works with a travel agency to book flights at the best possible rates.

If I’m local to the Seattle area, will my transportation be covered?
You will be reimbursed for your round trip-mileage from point to point or, if you use public transportation you will be reimbursed for those costs.

Will the Gates PSL Program provide lodging, and for how many nights?
The Gates PSL Program provides and pays for a maximum of two nights’ lodging. The hotel is within walking distance of the UW School of Law and also has a shuttle service.

If I’m local to the Seattle area, will I also receive lodging?
Yes, if the distance that you’ll be commuting to the UW School of Law is 45 miles or more.

What is proper attire for Candidate Selection Weekend?
Candidates should wear interview-appropriate attire on Friday and Saturday: sports coat or dress jacket over a business-appropriate shirt or blouse with dress trousers or skirt. There is an informal dinner on Friday night, for which there is no dress code.

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