One thousand graduating high school seniors nationwide get a full ride to the college of their choice through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
This year, three Central High School students are among those who are Gates Millennium Scholars.
Kenya Andrews, Christine Okaro and Ashley Washington started the application process last year.
All three students excel in advanced courses and community service, but they say making good grades are only a portion of the process.
"You tell about your background, your financial situation and your family situation and then on other parts," says Washington. "The main part is the essay. I believe there were eight essays, maybe nine if you want to go into a certain area."
Each student will receive up to $250,000 toward their undergraduate studies.
"When somebody steps up and offers you the money, it's unreal. It's amazing," says Andrews.
Okaro says, "It's extremely life changing. I like to say that yesterday my whole life changed because it allows me to not have to worry about paying for college. Now it's more about what I want to do."
They will also have a chance to continue the Gates Scholars program for graduate school.