FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do I have to be admitted to Berry College before completing the FAFSA?
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 it 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 on the application process for Berry. Please note, we encourage interested students to submit all of their application credentials to the Office of Admissions well before the February 1 priority date, if they have not already done so.
I just completed my application for admission to Berry. How long does it take for me to receive an admission decision?
Once all of your application credentials have been received by the Office of Admissions we typically respond with an admission decision within 2-3 weeks. We encourage you to complete the admission application process well 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.
I just completed my FAFSA. Why hasn’t the Office of Financial Aid received it yet?
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.
My parents won't receive their 2013 W2s until the end of January and we're worried about meeting the application deadline for Gate of Opportunity. Can we file the FAFSA using 2012 tax information? How will that work?
Yes, you may file the FAFSA using 2012 tax information in order to meet the February 5 application deadline. However, your family will need to update your FAFSA with 2013 tax information by late March 2014 (for those applicants who have gone through the interview process). Students can be considered for the interview process based on 2012 financial information, but we will require 2013 tax information (through official 2014-15 FAFSA results) in order to offer the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship. Students must be financially eligible for the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship based on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from official 2014-15 FAFSA results (using 2013 tax information).
How does the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship work with other scholarships and financial aid that I may receive from Berry?
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.
What happens if I get an outside scholarship after I am selected as a Gate of Opportunity Scholar?
Outside scholarships/financial aid will be subsumed by the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship. 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. This includes outside scholarships through civic organizations, private companies, veterans benefits and other types of outside aid.
Are the Gate of Opportunity Scholars the only ones who work as Berry students?
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.
Do I have to participate in Berry’s work program if I am a Gate of Opportunity Scholar?
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, year-round participation in the work program should apply for the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship.
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?
Yes! Time off for Gate Scholars works similarly to time off for full-time Berry College staff members. They have college holidays off, plus they typically have 1-2 weeks of vacation time each year (so long as they manage their work hours well throughout the year). The Gate Scholars coordinate with their work supervisors to use their vacation time as it bests suits them and the needs of their work departments.
Will I take a class during the first summer as a freshman Gate Scholar? Do all freshmen have to take the class?
Yes! Freshman Gate Scholars take COM 203 Rhetoric and Public Address (Public Speaking) during the first six weeks they’re on campus in the summer. They benefit from taking the course together and starting off right away with a balance of work and academics. They also benefit from the professional development focus on public speaking (a great skill for Gate Scholars to have!), plus the course counts toward a Berry College degree (for all majors). The Gate of Opportunity Scholarship covers the tuition cost for this one (1) summer course since it is considered part of Gate Orientation during a freshman’s first summer; tuition is not covered for any other summer courses as part of the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship. The class typically meets (based on past summer schedules) Monday-Thursday from 8:00-10:00am, and the Gate Scholars report to work right after class each day.
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?
Gate of Opportunity Scholars are fully engaged in campus life at Berry College. They are able to participate in clubs, organizations and other activities offered to all Berry students. Gate Scholars employ strong time management skills in order to balance everything and they are particular about their commitments, but are certainly 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.
Will I be able to participate in study abroad or an internship if I’m selected as a Gate Scholar?
Yes! Gate Scholars may apply for a one-time “work release” that makes it more feasible to participate in a study abroad or internship experience. This “work release” opportunity is intended to be used during the summer months. Additional details about the work release opportunity are provided to all new Gate Scholars during Gate Orientation.
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?
In accepting the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship, Gate Scholars agree to actively participate in Berry‘s work experience 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 program. Berry calculates the annual Gate hours worked by the fiscal year, July 1 to June 30 each year.
My family hopes to take a summer vacation. If I'm selected as a Gate Scholar can I take vacation time during the first summer as a freshman Gate Scholar?
We request freshman Gate Scholars to take family vacation before move-in day on Sunday, June 29, 2014. Gate Orientation will take place on June 30 and July 1, plus freshman Gate Scholars will begin work and their six-week summer class (which is considered part of the Gate Orientation process) on Monday, June 30 as well. Further, Gate Scholars participate in a number of team-building and "Gate Scholar Family" events throughout the summer, which is very beneficial to new Gate Scholars.
Do freshman Gate Scholars participate in a SOAR (Student Orientation, Advising and Registration) session in June like all other incoming Berry freshmen? Does it matter what SOAR session I attend if I'm selected as a freshman Gate Scholar?
All freshman Gate Scholars participate in one of the five SOAR sessions in June. For summer 2014, they will be able to register to attend any of the five sessions, just like all other incoming Berry freshmen. SOAR session registration is handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Please follow the SOAR registration process provided by the Office of Admissions and the Dean of Students Office.
Do Gate Scholars have to live on campus?
Yes! Gate Scholars live on campus in Berry College housing - year-round - throughout their enrollment at Berry. In the summer months they live together to help build a sense of community and camaraderie within the program. During the academic year (fall and spring semesters), they live throughout campus in the various residence halls.
Will my roommate be a Gate Scholar?
During the summer months each summer, Gate Scholars live together and have a fellow Gate Scholar as a roommate. During the academic year, Gate Scholars typically live with other Berry students as roommates (though some upperclassmen have chosen to live together). Freshmen are assigned to their first roommates (summer and during the academic year), while upperclassmen are able to select their roommates.
As a freshman Gate Scholar, will my summer residence hall room be the same as my academic year residence hall room?
Typically, no. You will most likely move from summer housing to fall housing in August before the fall semester begins.