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Gate of Opportunity Scholars

Frequently Asked Questions (from those selected for the program)


Question: When do I move-in as a new Gate Scholar and when will I start working?
Answer: Incoming freshman Gate Scholars will move-in on Sunday, June 30, 2013 between 12:00-5:00pm (Eastern Time). They will begin their summer work, Gate Orientation and a summer class on Monday, July 1, 2013. New Gate Scholars should make their summer plans accordingly.

Question: Where will I be housed during the summer?
Answer: All Gate Scholars are housed together during the summers. During summer 2013, the Gate Scholars will live in Dana Hall. Each Gate Scholar should expect to room with a fellow Gate Scholar during the summers. There will be separate halls for males and females.   


Question: Is there an orientation program specifically for Gate Scholars?
Answer: Yes! New Gate Scholars participate in Gate Orientation, which begins with move-in day and continues with meetings and activities on July 1 and 2. During Gate Orientation, new Gate Scholars will get to know the other Gate Scholars, begin learning about Berry’s campus and traditions and have many of their questions addressed. New Gate Scholars also take COM 203 (Introduction to Public Speaking) together during their first summer at Berry, which develops a professional skill they’ll need as a Gate Scholar, helps them get to know each other and starts them off with a balance of academics and work. This course is considered part of the Gate Orientation process; all new freshman Gate Scholars will take COM 203 together during their first summer as a Gate Scholar.

Question: Do new Gate Scholars participate in SOAR (Student Orientation, Advising and Registration) like all the other incoming freshmen?
Answer: Yes! Gate Scholars should plan to attend one of the five SOAR sessions in June, just like all the other incoming freshmen.At SOAR, you will register for your fall semester classes, receive your fall semester housing assignment, meet your academic advisor and start getting to know more about the Berry campus and student community. 

Question: Can I move in earlier than Sunday, June 30? Would I be able to go ahead and move in after attending SOAR in June?
Answer: Unfortunately, no. Other Berry students will be living in Dana Hall this summer to take classes/work during the first part of summer. They will move out right before our new Gate Scholars move in, but not in enough time to allow the new Gate Scholars to move in early.

Question: Will I live in the same room this fall that I live in this summer? Will I have the same roommate?
Answer: Gate Scholars live together in the same residence hall during the summers, but do not live together during the academic year. Your summer housing assignment will not be the same as your fall housing assignment. All Gate Scholars move from their summer housing assignments to their fall housing assignments in August each year. Your roommate during the summers will be a fellow Gate Scholar (we assign roommates for the first summer, but Gate Scholars typically pick their own roommates each summer after that). Your fall housing assignment will be given to you at SOAR.

Question: Tell me more about the COM 203 (Introduction to Public Speaking) class the new Gate Scholars take during the first summer.
Answer: The course lasts six weeks, beginning on Monday, July 1. Because it is a required part of the Gate Orientation process the tuition and textbook for this class are paid for by the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship. COM 203 is a required course for all Berry students, regardless of major, so the course credits and grade will count toward the Gate Scholars’ Berry College degree requirements.

Question: Are meals provided during the summers and breaks?
Answer:  Gate Scholars are responsible for most of their meals during the summers and other breaks and should plan appropriately for grocery money. Dana Hall has a community kitchen, plus many Gate Scholars have a small refrigerator and microwave in their residence hall rooms. Many Gate Scholars choose to cook occasional meals together (especially weeknights and weekends), though they also often plan for individual meals on their own (especially breakfasts and lunches during the week). Berry College and the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship Program host several cookouts and other events during the summers that provide occasional meals, but Gate Scholars are responsible for the bulk of their meals.

Question: Will there be social activities for me this summer?
Answer: Yes! The Gate of Opportunity Scholarship Program organizes summer activities and events throughout the summer, plus the Offices of Student Activities and Residence Life also organize events for all Berry students who are on-campus during the summers. Summer offers unique opportunities to explore and learn about the campus, make new friends and adjust to campus life.

Question: How will my first job be assigned as a new Gate Scholar? When will I know where I'm working?
Answer: Your first job will be assigned based on what we learn about you and your interests, as well as the available jobs in the Berry community that will benefit from having a Gate Scholar. In addition to what we've learned about you in your Gate of Opportunity application and interview process, we will use information you provide in your Work Preference Form (one of the Enrollment Forms all new freshmen complete in Viking Web after paying the $250 housing and enrollment deposit). You will find out more about your work placement at SOAR in June.

Question: How many hours do I need to work each year as a Gate Scholar?
Answer: Gate Scholars work a total of 4,500 hours over the course of their four years at Berry College, broken down approximately as follows

               Freshman Year: 1,050 hours


               Sophomore Year: 1,200 hours


               Junior Year: 1,250 hours


               Senior Year: 1,000 hours

To stay on track, Gate Scholars work 16 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters of the freshman year and 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters of the sophomore, junior and senior years. All Gate Scholars work 40 hours per week during most of the breaks the rest of the year (summers and other breaks during the academic year).



Question: Will I receive any money from the hours I work as a Gate Scholar? 
Answer: Yes. Gate Scholars receive 20% (less taxes) of their work earnings. They currently receive paychecks every two weeks. The remaining 80% is contributed back to Berry as part of the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship agreement.

Question: Will my 20% (less taxes) work earnings be enough to cover all of my personal expenses?
Answer: No. The 20% (less taxes) Gate Scholars receive in their paychecks is considered “pocket money” and will not be enough for a Gate Scholar to live on year-round. Gate Scholars will need additional financial support from their families for expenses like groceries during the breaks, cell phone payments, car expenses and other personal expenses. Personal expenses vary greatly from student to student and family to family, but the typical Gate Scholar receives $50-$150 per month from their families for personal expenses. Gate Scholars and their families are responsible for determining how much money is needed for personal expenses and for covering the cost of these personal expenses.



Question: Will I be working during the summers and breaks?
Answer: Yes. Gate Scholars work 40 hours per week during the summer and other breaks. Your exact work schedule during breaks will be determined by Gate Scholars’ work supervisors and the needs of the departments in which they work.

Question: Will I have “vacation time” away from campus as a Gate Scholar? 
Answer: Yes. The typical Gate Scholar has several weeks a year as “vacation time,” provided they manage their work hours appropriately throughout the year (as explained above). They are not expected to work 365 days/52 weeks a year, though how they manage their work hours and “vacation time” is individually determined between each Gate Scholar and his/her work supervisor(s). Most Gate Scholars take time away around the holidays and during the summer months.

Question: Will I need to work on holidays like Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day?
Answer: Most Gate Scholars do not work on holidays like Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. There are some work departments - primarily the animal science units - that have work shifts 365 days a year, which means some Gate Scholars may have the opportunity to work hours during the holidays.  Such work supervisors work closely with their Gate Scholars to ensure that the needs of the department are met, while also ensuring the Gate Scholars can plan for the holidays appropriately.



Question: What happens if a Gate Scholar gets behind on his/her work hours?
Answer:
 Since their work earnings are part of the scholarship award agreement, Gate Scholars are encouraged to stay on track with their work hours to avoid charges for any work hours missed (as outlined above). If a Gate Scholar falls behind on work hours, he/she will be responsible for paying back the difference in hours not worked each year. Berry operates on the fiscal year, so Gate Scholars work their hours from July 1 to June 30 each year. While most Gate Scholars stay on track with their work hours (and we provide hours monitoring to help them track their work hours), those who do fall behind will receive a bill for the work hours missed at the end of each fiscal year. Likewise, if a Gate Scholar has worked hours beyond the previous fiscal year requirement, a credit will be applied to their subsequent fall tuition costs.

Question: Is student health insurance included in my scholarship benefits?
Answer: No.   



Question: Can I change jobs at Berry as a Gate Scholar?
Answer: New Gate Scholars are placed in their first work assignment based on their areas of interest and the needs of the campus. The goal of our work program is for Gate Scholars to move from entry level freshman year to increasing levels of responsibility and sophistication as they progress to senior year. This is best accomplished by not changing work assignments frequently, so we do ask Gate Scholars and their work supervisors to be committed to each other during the first year. However, we will work with Gate Scholars and work supervisors for a more suitable work assignment if appropriate after the first year.  



Question: Will I be able to take additional summer classes in the future as a Gate Scholar?
Answer: The COM 203 (Introduction to Public Speaking) course is the only summer course expected of Gate Scholars and is also the only summer course paid for by the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship (because it is considered part of the Gate Orientation process). For subsequent summers, Gate Scholars may choose to take summer classes at their own expense, though they will be responsible for meeting the work hours requirement as a Gate Scholar. The goal of the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship Program is for students to focus on their full-time (40 hours per week) work commitment during the summers.  Most Gate Scholars take their classes during the fall and spring semesters and focus on full-time work during the summers.

Question: What if I want to participate in study abroad or an internship during my time as a Gate Scholar at Berry?
Answer: Gate Scholars may apply for a one-time "work release" from their Gate of Opportunity work hours to take advantage of a study abroad or work experience. They must be approved for "work release" through an application process and may be released from up to 250 hours of their Gate of Opportunity work hours. Gate Scholars must be in good standing academically and in the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship Program to be approved for work release. The nature of the study abroad or internship experience is also reviewed when being considered for work release approval. This work release is intended for a summer study abroad or internship experience. Gate Scholars are responsible for any additional work hours missed and they are also responsible for all additional costs associated with the study abroad or internship experience.  



Question: I am an athlete. Will I be able to balance the commitments of being a student, a Gate of Opportunity Scholar and an athlete?
Answer: Gate of Opportunity Scholars are able to participate in athletics and other activities at Berry. However, it is very important to understand that the priorities of all Gate Scholars are as follows: 1) academics, 2) Gate of Opportunity Scholarship commitment, and 3) extra-curricular commitments (athletics, fine arts and other activities). Gate Scholars who are athletes work closely with their work supervisors and coaches to ensure that both work commitments and team commitments are met. With careful planning and dedication, it is certainly possible to balance a schedule of academics, work and athletics as a Gate of Opportunity Scholar.  



Question: I would like to run for class office, participate in student government, be involved in student activities, join a club or otherwise be involved in extracurricular activities. Can I do these things as a Gate Scholar?
Answer: Gate Scholars are absolutely encouraged to be involved in leadership, service, social and other extra-curricular opportunities that are of interest to them. Care should be given to balance academics with work and other activities. It is very important to understand that the priorities of all Gate Scholars are as follows: 1) academics, 2) Gate of Opportunity Scholarship commitment, and 3) extra-curricular commitments (athletics, fine arts and other activities). We encourage Gate Scholars to carefully select their priorities and to coordinate closely with their academic advisors as they create their Plan4Ward strategies during their first year at Berry. (Plan4Ward is an exciting Berry program that allows you to identify your strengths, abilities, interests and aspirations and craft a four year plan to intentionally use those attributes and achieve your goals.)  


Question: Will I be required to participate in other programs or activities as a Gate Scholar?
Answer: Yes! There will be a formal dinner once a semester for Gate Scholars to spend time with their scholarship donors/mentors. Further we offer various programs and events during the summers and academic years to cover various topics, such as college success strategies, personal strength assessments, team building, leadership training, etc. Gate Scholars will be required to participate in these and other developmental programs throughout their Berry career. Such programs and activities are announced in advance to help Gate Scholars plan accordingly.   



Question: What if my grades drop during the year? Do I have to maintain a certain GPA to keep the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship?
Answer: Gate Scholars are expected to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress, defined in the Berry College undergraduate catalog, to maintain their scholarship. Gate Scholars who fail to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress may lose their Gate of Opportunity Scholarship. Gate Scholars are encouraged to take advantage of all available resources on the campus including academic support, first-year experience, the counseling center, academic advisors and other campus resources. 


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