Don Gosney: Jasmine Gill, A Gates Millennium Scholar


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A half century ago getting into college was not easy but still not all that tough; the course work was strenuous, but students still had time to enjoy their time at college and tuition at Cal was free for California residents.

That world is a thing of the past and the grist for stories that older folk can tell the youngsters.  Getting into a highly selective university is tough—real tough.  Stanford admissions officers liked to tout how selective they were by boasting that “last year we rejected 4,000 valedictorians”. According to US News and World Report, Stanford rejected 94.3% of their applicants, Harvard 94.6%, Columbia 93.1% and so on.

Getting into college is the easy part these days.  According to their web sites, the cost to attend Cal is $32,646, Stanford is $64,477 and Harvard is $68,050.

Without financial assistance or a family with means, paying for an education at a top university can run from the impossible to being saddled with student loans crippling life after college for decades to come.

But then there are the white knights riding in to save the day.  And recent De Anza graduate Jasmine Gill found such a white knight in the form of a Gates Millennium scholarship (funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). [Learn more at: https://www.gmsp.org/]

According to Jasmine, “I took advantage of all of my opportunities.  I was involved in school, both academically and socially [clubs].”

Jasmine continues by reporting that the “scholarship will cover all unmet needs and it also covers graduate school.”

This means that one of Richmond’s own will be able to attend a top ranked university—in this case UC Berkeley—where she will be able to devote her full time and attention to what college is supposed to be about.  She won’t have to struggle with multiple jobs and the stress about how she will repay her loans once she graduates. 

Jasmine took advantage of the opportunities she had available to her:  she learned about the Gates Millennium Scholarship through her high school guidance counselor.  Jasmine was also a recipient of an Ivy League Connection scholarship in 2014 where she took Med School 101 at Vanderbilt University [$63,532 with a 87.3% rejection rate].  [This course may help Jasmine as she studies Integrative Biology at Cal.]

Jasmine says that she “chose Cal because [she] wants to enter the medical field and Cal has a lot of research opportunities.”

Jasmine advises “other students to be involved in school and stay dedicated to their goals.”

Radio Free Richmond salutes Jasmine and praises her for her accomplishments.  Jasmine is yet another example of what can come from Richmond.

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