Scholarship Application Essay Tips
Writing your scholarship application essay, 1. plan ahead.
- Don’t procrastinate!
- Give yourself plenty of time to review and edit your essay
- Be aware of the deadline date (i.e.: received vs. postmark)
2. Talk about your accomplishments
- Be clear and to the point
- Don’t brag or over-sell yourself
3. State your need
- What is your financial situation?
- Do you work?
- Do you receive support from your family?
- Do you receive financial aid?
4. Keep it simple
- Don’t use unnecessary words (i.e., don’t use three words when one will do)
- Don’t include unnecessary information just to “fill the page”
5. Make it easy on your reader
- Have someone else read your essay for clarity
- Write complete sentences and paragraphs
- Spell check your essay – make sure words are used correctly (e.g.,: “two,” “to,” “too;” or “there,” “their,” or “they’re;” “its” or “it’s,” etc.)
Organize Your Thoughts
- Who are you?
- Why are you who you are?
- What are you doing?
- What have you done?
- Where are you now?
- Where are you going?
- How are you going to get there?
- Why do you need a scholarship?
- How will it make a difference?
- How did you make the decision to continue your education?
1. introductory sentence.
- State your name
- What quarter you are in at Pierce College
2. Educational Objectives and Career Goals
- Identify your major
- Why did you choose this major?
- What will you do with a degree in this field?
- What career path have you chosen? Example: I have always enjoyed working with computers and I love to write. I’m pursuing a career in technical writing; this will allow me to pursue both interests - focusing on a viable career and doing something that I enjoy.
3. Brief Background
- Who are you? (not your name) – family, children, siblings, etc.
- How did you get to where you are today?
- Insert extra-curricular interests, volunteer work, hobbies – things that make you stand our or are unusual.
- Academic Accomplishments: GPA, level of difficulty of courses taken, types of courses taken, etc. Examples: During my free time, I volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club of Tacoma as a Big Sister. Much of my free time is spent with my children, teaching them by example that education is important. I am currently enrolled in 16 credit hours and I work two part-time jobs.
- How will it make a difference to you? Examples: Although I work two part-time jobs, I find it difficult to meet the financial demands of supporting myself and paying for an education. A scholarship will allow me to continue with school in the fall. My parents provide me with room and board, but because I have younger brothers and sisters, they cannot help me with my educational expenses. The money I earn at the car wash part-time is barely enough to cover my books and supplies. A scholarship would help a great deal. Receiving a scholarship would allow me to reduce the number of hours that I work at the daycare, which would then allow me more time to concentrate on my studies.
- Wrap it up with a simple sentence or two. You can include how your education to date has made a difference to you.
- End with a “thank you for allowing me the opportunity to apply.”
Writing Your Essay
Take the outline and begin with the first sentence (which may be the most difficult) and then just write to include everything you think is important. Don’t worry about the length of the essay at this point. Use your outline as a guide.
1. First Sentence (the most difficult part)
- Who, What, Where, When, Why Example: My name is Paula Henson and I am (applying, seeking, asking) for a scholarship for the Fall Quarter 2015. My educational objective is to graduate in 2016 with an Associate Degree in Marketing (or transfer to the University of Washington and obtain a degree in Business to pursue a career in Accounting).
2. Now go back and look at what you’ve written.
Read it for content and organization of the information. At this point, it is probably too long. What can you eliminate and/or incorporate? Are you redundant? Are you too brief? Does this essay paint an accurate picture of YOU?
3. Spell check, spell check, spell check
4. have someone else read your essay. is it you what do they think, 5. do you like what it says about you reread it one last time and spell check it again.
Remember: The essay is your chance to communicate your needs, accomplishments, goals, etc. The scholarship reviewers should be able to read your essay and feel as if they know you personally.
Download a PDF version of these tips.
How to Write a Scholarship Essay: Crafting a Standout Narrative
With scholarship opportunities on the rise, it's surprising to learn that a significant percentage of applicants often overlook a crucial element: the scholarship essay. Many candidates focus solely on grades and achievements, unaware that a well-crafted essay can be the game-changer in securing financial aid.
In this article, our essay writing service experts will explore the often underestimated power of the scholarship essay, offering a comprehensive guide that covers everything from defining the essence of a compelling essay to providing practical tips, tricks, and real-world examples. Join us on this journey as we unlock the secrets to transform your essay into a compelling testimony of your unique journey and aspirations, ensuring it not only stands out but leaves a lasting impression on selection committees.
What Is a Scholarship Essay?
A scholarship essay is more than an academic piece—it serves as your personal gateway to funding opportunities, shaping the trajectory of your educational journey. It's an opportunity to weave your narrative, articulating dreams and aspirations that captivate and convince scholarship committees. Picture it as your own masterpiece, where vibrant strokes illustrate who you are, where you've traversed, and the path you aim to tread.
Instead of merely presenting a laundry list of achievements, infuse vitality into your essay by narrating a pivotal moment that ignited your passion. Lead the reader through your experiences, forging a personal connection with your journey. Keep in mind that a scholarship essay isn't just about highlighting accomplishments; it's about unveiling the person behind those achievements. It's the distinction between perusing a resume and immersing oneself in a compelling story that leaves an indelible mark.
Let's buckle up as our scholarship essay writing service explores the art of crafting essays that go beyond grades and accolades.
Who Said Essays Can't Be an Adventurous Quest for Financial Aid?
Let's craft an essay that doesn't just open doors but kicks them wide open!
Scholarship Essay Format
When it comes to the scholarship essay writing process, paying meticulous attention to specific formatting requirements is crucial. Here's a breakdown of essential elements to consider:
1. Word Count and Page Limit:
Before you start writing, carefully review the scholarship guidelines for page and word limit. Adhering to these limits demonstrates your ability to follow instructions and ensures that your essay is concise and focused.
2. Font and Font Size:
Use a readable font that is commonly accepted, such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. Ensure that the font size is within the specified range. Typically, a 12-point font is standard, but check the guidelines to confirm.
3. Margins and Spacing:
Maintain consistent margins on all sides of the document, usually one inch. Follow the specified spacing guidelines, whether it's double-spacing or a different requirement. Consistent spacing enhances readability and gives your essay a polished appearance.
4. Title or Heading:
Check if the scholarship application requires a title or heading. If not specified, you can opt for a straightforward title centered at the top of the page, using a larger font size than the body of the essay. Alternatively, you may choose to omit a title and start directly with your essay.
5. File Format and Submission Instructions:
Confirm the preferred file format for submission, whether it's a PDF, Word document, or another format. Adhering to the specified file format ensures that your essay is easily accessible and viewable by the scholarship committee.
6. Headers and Footers:
If required, include a header with your name, page number, and any other specified information. Be consistent in formatting these details throughout the document. Headers and footers add a professional touch to your essay.
7. Citations and References:
If you need to include citations or references, follow a standard citation style (such as APA format example , MLA, or Chicago) as per the scholarship guidelines. Ensure that your citations are accurate and formatted correctly.
8. Language and Tone:
While not directly related to formatting, it's crucial to maintain a professional and respectful tone. Tailor your language to suit the formality expected by the scholarship committee. Avoid slang or overly casual language unless explicitly allowed or encouraged.
9. File Naming Conventions:
If you are submitting your essay electronically, adhere to any specific file naming conventions outlined in the scholarship guidelines. This ensures that your document is easily identifiable and organized within the application system.
10. Proofreading and Formatting Check:
Before submission, thoroughly proofread your scholarship essay format to catch any errors, typos, or inconsistencies. Ensure that your essay looks polished and adheres to all specified formatting requirements.
How to Write a Scholarship Essay Step-By-Step
Here is a detailed and example-rich breakdown of how to approach and execute each section of the scholarship essay from our dissertation service experts. Remember, the key is to weave a narrative that is not only unique to you but also aligns seamlessly with the scholarship's values and expectations.
To better understand how to start a scholarship essay, consider beginning with a vivid scene or a personal anecdote that relates to your journey. For example, if you're applying for a scholarship in environmental science, start with a moment of realization about the impact of climate change during a particular experience. Additionally, refer to our article on strategies for writing an essay hook for valuable tips.
- Thesis Statement
Craft a powerful thesis that not only outlines your career goals but also hints at the unique perspective you bring. For instance, 'Through my journey in community service, I have discovered a passion for social entrepreneurship, and this scholarship will be the catalyst for implementing sustainable solutions.'
- Body Paragraphs
Example of Achievements : Provide specific examples of your achievements within the same essay. Instead of stating, 'I was the captain of the debate team,' share a defining moment like, 'Leading the debate team to victory in the regional competition not only honed my public speaking skills but also instilled in me the importance of collaboration and effective communication.'
Experiences and Impact : Elaborate on the impact of your experiences. For instance, 'My volunteer work at the local animal shelter not only taught me compassion but also sparked an interest in animal welfare. This experience, coupled with my academic achievements, drives my pursuit of a degree in veterinary medicine.'
- Express Your Goals and Aspirations
Specificity in Goals : Instead of a generic statement, be specific. For example, 'I aspire to bridge the gap between technology and healthcare by specializing in medical informatics. This scholarship will enable me to pioneer innovations that enhance patient care and streamline medical processes.'
Link to Scholarship Values : Showcase a connection between your goals and the scholarship values. If the scholarship emphasizes community impact, explain how your ambitions align: 'My goal of establishing sustainable community health programs aligns seamlessly with the scholarship's commitment to fostering positive change.'
- Address Any Challenges
Share a personal challenge and highlight your resilience. 'Overcoming financial hardships, I learned the value of resourcefulness. This scholarship represents more than financial aid; it symbolizes the triumph of perseverance and the pursuit of academic excellence against all odds.'
Revisit your thesis and express optimism about the future. 'As I embark on this academic journey, fueled by my experiences and aspirations, I am confident that the skills and insights gained will not only contribute to my personal growth but also bring positive change to the communities I aim to serve.'
- Proofreading and Editing
Seek specific feedback from peers, asking questions like, 'Does the opening anecdote draw you in?' or 'Are my goals and aspirations clear throughout the essay?' Addressing these specifics enhances the quality of your essay. If your scholarship essay ideas revolve around history, consider utilizing the assistance of our history essay writer .
- Formatting Guidelines
Pay meticulous attention to formatting details. If the scholarship application specifies a font size or page limit, adhere to it. This showcases your ability to follow instructions, an essential skill in academic and professional settings.
Adjust your essay to align with the values of each scholarship provider. If a scholarship emphasizes leadership, emphasize leadership experiences and their impact on your goals. This customization demonstrates your commitment to the specific scholarship's mission.
Scholarship Essay Examples
Below are scholarship essay examples that follow the outlined format and incorporate elements of a compelling narrative. Meanwhile, if you're feeling stuck with your own narrative, hit that ' write a paper for me ' button. Let's bring your unique story to life.
Using our tips sets you on the right track. Still, having a good sample essay at hand is vital for success. So, to make the writing process for your scholarship essay even more smooth and amazing, enter the dissertation service to look at the following samples:
Scholarship Essay Prompts
Scholarship essay prompts are more than questions; they are gateways to showcasing your unique story and aspirations. Here are some distinctive and thought-provoking prompts to spark your creativity:
- The Unwritten Chapter : Describe a pivotal moment in your life that feels like the beginning of an unwritten chapter. How has this moment shaped your goals and inspired your pursuit of a scholarship?
- The Legacy of Words : If you could have a conversation with any historical figure, author, or fictional character, who would it be? How would this conversation influence your academic and career aspirations?
- The Dream Project : Imagine receiving unlimited funding for a project that addresses a global challenge. What would your project be, and how would it impact the world?
- The Personal Lexicon : If you had to choose five words that define your journey, what would they be, and why? How do these words encapsulate your aspirations and experiences?
- The Alternative Universe : Transport yourself to an alternate universe where you pursue a completely different field of study. How has this imaginary journey influenced your perspective on your current academic path?
- The Cultural Odyssey : Reflect on an aspect of your cultural background that has significantly shaped your identity. How does this influence your academic and career goals, and how will it contribute to a diverse academic community?
- The Innovation Blueprint : If you were given the chance to revolutionize an industry through innovation, which field would you choose, and what groundbreaking idea would you bring to the table?
- The Unexpected Mentor : Describe an unexpected mentor or role model in your life. How have their guidance and insights influenced your personal and academic growth?
- The Traveler's Tale : Imagine embarking on a journey to three different countries. Share how each country's culture, values, or experiences would contribute to your personal and academic development.
- The Legacy of Service: Discuss a community service project you initiated or participated in. How has this experience shaped your understanding of social responsibility and influenced your educational aspirations?
6 Scholarship Essay Tips
Here are a few more tips from our service to allow you to create a winning scholarship essay:
- Uncover Your Unique Angle : Identify what makes your story distinct while writing scholarship essays. Whether it's an unusual experience, a personal passion, or an innovative approach to problem-solving, emphasize the elements that set you apart from other applicants.
- Create a Compelling Hook : Engage the reader immediately by starting with a compelling hook. This could be a thought-provoking question, a surprising fact, or a powerful quote that sets the tone for your narrative.
- Quantify Your Impact : When discussing achievements, quantify your impact whenever possible. Instead of merely stating leadership roles, highlight specific results or improvements achieved under your guidance.
- Highlight Transformative Moments : Share moments of personal growth or transformation. These could be challenges you've overcome, realizations that shaped your perspective, or experiences that fueled your passion for your chosen field.
- Demonstrate Proactive Solutions : Showcase instances where you took the initiative or implemented solutions. Whether it's a community project, academic challenge, or personal goal, emphasize your proactive approach and problem-solving skills.
- Balance Confidence with Humility : Project confidence in your abilities as a college student without overshadowing humility. Acknowledge areas for growth, expressing a willingness to learn and a commitment to continuous improvement.
Creating scholarship essays can be challenging, particularly when time and skills are limited. Yet, a compelling essay plays a crucial role in securing the desired scholarship. If you're short on time or uncertain about your abilities, explore the option of seeking help from professional essay writers. Submit a ' help me with my homework ' request to receive a high-quality scholarship essay or even a Pride and Prejudice short summary , enhancing your chances of success!
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If you need more money to pay for college, chances are you will be applying for several college scholarships . A great scholarship essay helps the scholarship provider understand the real person behind the application and can be the key to winning the award (assuming you meet the other scholarship criteria).
Scholarship Essays vs. College Essays
Scholarship essays are very similar to your college application essays in terms of strategy. Many scholarship hopefuls will share the same grades, test scores, and ambitions: the essay is your chance to shine (and grow that dream college fund!).
How to Write a Scholarship Essay
When you’re drafting your scholarship essay, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:
1. Start the essay writing process early.
Leave yourself plenty of time to produce a well thought-out entry. Take the time to brainstorm your ideas, create an outline, and edit your entry as you would for any essay writing assignment for your English class.
Read More: How to Craft an Unforgettable College Essay
2. Understand the scholarship provider’s overall mission and purpose.
Each scholarship provider is looking for students who meet certain criteria. Consider writing about an experience or interest that highlights your strong ties to the organization’s mission. Genuine passion and enthusiasm for your topic will show through in your essay writing.
3. Follow the scholarship essay instructions.
Make sure to follow all of the necessary steps and review them before submitting your scholarship essay. Trust us, some of the brightest students have missed out on the chance to earn scholarships dollars all because they neglected to follow instructions. You don’t want to fall into that category!
4. Steer clear from essay topics that focus on negativity or pessimism.
Scholarship committees would rather see how you overcame hardships and succeeded despite the obstacles in your path (or what you learned from the times you failed).
Read More: 200 Colleges That Pay You Back
5. Don’t be afraid to get personal.
Share something about who you are. This is your chance to elaborate on elsewhere on your application you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do so. Telling your story makes an essay genuine and ultimately more memorable to the scholarship committee.
6. Seek out writing advice and feedback.
Asking teachers, counselors, family members, or trustworthy friends for feedback on your essay will result in a better final product.
7. Yes, spelling and grammar matter.
Scholarship committees do notice grammar mistakes . Eveny tiny errors can distract a reader from your overall message. Before you submit your application make sure you take the time to proofread your essay from beginning to end.
8. Don’t give up!
When you’re tired, take a break, but don’t throw in the towel! Our online essay writing tutors are here for you anytime you get discouraged. We can help with everything from brainstorming and outlining to revising the final draft.
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13 Tips to Bring Your Scholarship Essay to the Next Level
Applying for scholarships would be a piece of cake if it wasn’t for the essay, which often forces us to reflect on ourselves, who we are as people, and what we’ve accomplished so far in life. While it can be the most difficult part of the application, it’s also the most important part.
The Planning Phase
1. plan far in advance, 2. know your audience, 3. follow the instructions & answer the prompt, 4. choose a topic that you’re interested in and passionate about, 5. consider reusing an existing essay., the writing phase, 6. create a strong introduction, 7. keep a good structure, 8. show emotions, 9. use real life examples (“show, don’t tell”), 10. keep the tone inspirational & positive, 11. stay away from dreary & boring conclusions, the editing phase, 12. proofread and ask for help, 13. take advantages of resources, but where you do apply.
The scholarship essay is your chance to make a case for yourself and to show the committee why you deserve to win. It gives you the chance to show your personality and what you’re most proud of in life. Your scholarship application should inform, but your scholarship essay should persuade. Scholarship committees read hundreds, or even thousands, of essays, so making your application stand out from the rest is crucial.
Luckily, you don’t need perfect writing skills to make it happen. With a few scholarship essay tips and tricks in mind, you can easily bring your scholarship application to the next level.
Here are our 13 scholarship essay tips to help you succeed:
If you wait until the last minute to write your scholarship essay, the quality will likely suffer. To make sure that you have enough time for the planning phase, create a calendar ( like this one ) with the deadlines and requirements for all the scholarships you want to apply for. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time for brainstorming and proofreading!
Hot tip : If you use Going Merry to find and apply for scholarships , you can save your favorite scholarships, and then our dashboard will keep track of all your upcoming deadlines for you. We’ll even email you reminders so you don’t miss out! Learn more about how Going Merry works here .
The best way to give the scholarship committee what they’re looking for is to actually know what they’re looking for. Figure out who their ideal candidate is and how you fit into that picture. But be careful not to cater to their expectations too much.
Don’t sacrifice your voice and personality to fit the bill. Rather, take a look at your strengths and then determine how you can spin them to become the ideal candidate.
Hot tip : Not sure how to do this? Check out the “Financial Literacy for Hispanic Women” and “Life Happens” scholarship essays here , for examples of past winners who’ve clearly taken the scholarship provider’s missions into account.
It might seem like one of the more obvious scholarship essay tips, but many applicants make their first mistake before they even begin – they don’t read the directions. Exceeding (or not meeting) the word count can hurt your chances since it shows that you didn’t prepare your essay as well as other applicants. Also, double check to make sure you’re responding thoroughly to all parts of the prompt and that you’re following the correct scholarship essay format.
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Your topic can have a heavy impact on how well your essay turns out. If you choose a topic that bores you, you’ll likely bore your reader too! Try to choose a topic that you’re passionate about or that interests you in some way, rather than a topic that you feel you should write about – that way, your personality and excitement can shine through in your writing!
Many scholarship essays use the same essay prompt. Some scholarship providers even use the ones from the Common App or allow you to choose your own topic. This means you can literally copy and paste your essay to submit to multiple applications (yay!).
Other times, scholarships use similar essay prompts, or ask questions that can be answered in the same way. You might be able to slightly change an existing essay, rather than writing a new one altogether. For example, these two prompts can often be answered the same way:
- Discuss a moment or experience that caused significant personal growth.
- Discuss a time when you had to overcome an obstacle.
Since overcoming an obstacle often results in personal growth, if you have an essay for one of these prompts, you can usually tweak it to make it work for the other prompt.
Hot tip : Going Merry makes it easy for you by combining scholarships with similar essay prompts into application bundles . This way, you can apply for multiple scholarships with just one essay. Sign up today .
Since the introduction is what draws the reader into your essay and convinces them to keep going, it should be one of the strongest parts of your essay . Instead of starting off with a general overview, why not hook your reader with a surprising first line?
For example, which of these two opening lines pulls you into the story more? Which one makes you want to keep going?
My first time traveling abroad was during a family vacation to Mexico in 2010.
It was 2010; I had just crossed the border into Mexico and my life was about to change.
The second sentence gives the reader something to look for; it makes them curious about not only how your life changed during your trip but also why it changed. It gives the readers unanswered questions and they have to keep reading to find the answers.
Overall, you’ll want to give your reader a quick preview of what they can expect from your essay – think of it like the written version of a movie trailer. Why should they keep reading?
After the introduction, it’s important to make sure that your reader can follow along with your essay without too much effort. Creating a basic outline is a great way to make sure this happens!
To create an outline, first organize your thoughts. Write down the main points that you definitely want to cover in your essay. Next, organize those thoughts into various sections: introduction, body, and conclusion. Your ideas can either be in sentence form, short phrases, or simple words – whatever you prefer! Lastly, make sure your ideas flow in a logical order and, if necessary, add more detail under each point. Check out this source for more information .
Also, try to avoid going off on a tangent by taking the time to determine which information is relevant and which isn’t . Similarly, consider just how much detail you should include. Providing some detail can make your point clearer or more compelling, but too much detail can bog down your essay.
Hot tip : Check out Joseph Lee’s “What makes a good doctor?” essay here , for an example of a well-structured scholarship essay.
Connecting with an audience through writing can be challenging but, when done right, it can create a very powerful connection between the reader and the author. Showing your emotions is a great way to do that and to get the reader personally invested in your essay. Showing emotion can help the reader see you as a person, rather than a faceless author. Even though it’s crucial, it’s one of the scholarship essay tips that people tend to ignore the most.
We all have vulnerabilities, so don’t be afraid to show them. Scholarship committees don’t expect you to be perfect and want to see how you’ve grown as a person and handled the obstacles that life has thrown your way. In fact, opening up about times where you felt nervous or scared demonstrates maturity and self-awareness – two great qualities for a scholarship applicant to have.
Hot tip : Check out Jesus’ winning scholarship essay here, which discusses a really tough moment in his life. It’s a great example of showing vulnerability.
Instead of telling your reader about your experiences, show them. Don’t be afraid to provide real-world examples of your experiences and/or how you’ve changed as a person. Nearly every applicant will have a somewhat similar response to the essay prompt and your personal examples are your chance to transform your essay from generic to unique.
Consider the difference between these two passages explaining why the scholarship applicant wants to pursue a career in science:
VERSION 1: I have always been interested in science, even from a young age. Since my family supported my interest enthusiastically, I continued to pursue it throughout school. As I’ve gotten older, though, my scientific endeavors have become increasingly complex.
VERSION 2: Too young to enter the school science fairs, I took to my family. Force-feeding different animal food to my siblings and parents, I graphed their favorite types. While I was only six, my family has never forgiven me; my “experiments” remain the family joke. Nevertheless, I have progressed from my dog food days, leaving taste tests for DNA gel electrophoresis experiments. [ essay from Lauren Croda ]
Which is more engaging? While Version 1 explains things and may be well-written, it’s a bit boring, right? Version 2 makes the subject come alive and showcases the author’s quirky personality. While anyone (and probably many applicants) could write Version 1, only Lauren could write Version 2. It helps her stand out. That ‘s the power of examples and “show, don’t tell.”
One of the most important scholarship essay tips is based entirely on your perspective and tone. Nobody wants to read a depressing and self-pitying story. Even if you’re writing about difficult or sad events in your life, try and keep the tone positive and inspirational. Rather than just writing about how you were negatively affected by an event, focus on how you grew from the experience and overcame the obstacle.
Most people use the conclusion to simply paraphrase their entire essay…but don’t be afraid to think outside of the box! Do something surprising and innovative. Make your essay interesting and attention-grabbing from the first letter until the last period.
One great way to bring your conclusion to the next level is to leave your readers with an interesting question for them to think about. For more ideas, check out these helpful tips .
As much as we like to believe that we’re perfect, we all make mistakes…which is why it’s so important to take the time to proofread your essay. One great way to find mistakes is to read your essay out loud. For more ideas, check out these helpful tips .
Once you’ve taken the time to proofread your own essay a few times, have someone else do it for you. Asking a family member or friend for help can provide you with a different perspective on your writing and a second set of eyes might catch a mistake that you didn’t.
When it comes to writing, you don’t have to do it completely on your own. Check out some of our resources including scholarship essay examples from Going Merry winners ,; a breakdown of why these 5 scholarship essays worked; and our guides to writing personal statements , academic goals essays , or career goals essays .
If you’re in college, most schools have a writing center that offers free feedback and guidance to students. They might even have some insightful scholarship essay tips that you (or we!) didn’t think about. Some high schools, communities, or libraries might also have similar services.
Now that you’re writing stellar essays, start applying for scholarships! Here’s a list of 10 scholarship search sites , but we’d just recommend you go straight for the best one: Sign up for free with Going Merry , and then upload your essays to your documents section. Get started with your scholarship applications today.
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5 Ways to Make Your Scholarship Essay Stand Out
When writing a scholarship essay, follow these tips to win the most money for college.
Make Your Scholarship Essay Stand Out
Writing a scholarship essay isn't like writing an essay for a high school class, experts warn.
Students hoping to earn scholarships, a form of financial aid that does not need to be repaid, often must compete with hundreds of other applicants and sometimes for a very limited number of awards.
Free financial aid plays a significant role in helping students in the U.S. pay for college. According to the 2019 How America Pays for College report from Sallie Mae, 31% of college costs in 2018-2019 were paid for with money that does not need to be repaid; three-fifths of that were scholarships and two-fifths were grants.
To get the most of this highly desirable aid, students can take advantage of a few expert-recommended strategies to make their application stand out. Below are a few tips for writing scholarship essays that pack a punch.
Get Personal and Be Specific
The key to a successful scholarship essay is making it personal, experts say, and including impactful details. An essay that feels genuine and offers insights into who the applicant is on a deeper level will stand out in a crowd of academic essays that may be boring for readers who review hundreds and sometimes thousands of applications.
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Scholarships awarded by the Pride Foundation, for example, require an application that involves multiple essays in which students are asked to describe themselves, what they plan to study and the kinds of work they hope to do. The social justice-focused philanthropic foundation aims to support the LGBTQ community in the Northwest region and awards more than 60 scholarships for any accredited postsecondary school or program, according to its website.
College scholarships had an average award amount of about $5,000 to $8,000 last year, says Katelen Kellogg, the foundation's communications and outreach manager. She says the scholarships are for LGBTQ or strongly LGBTQ-allied students who are residents of the Pacific Northwest.
Kellogg, who helps read essays from applicants each year, says the scholarship essays that stand out to her include "details that paint the picture of their lives." She says the most successful essays are "less about something you do and more about who you are as a person."
Eden Shore, a volunteer manager at the Pride Foundation who also has experience reading hundreds of scholarship essays, says the writing process should be meaningful for students – and that comes across in the essay.
"Your essay can be an opportunity for you to make sense of something yourself," Shore says. "Illustrate you can thoughtfully reflect."
Tell a Story
A standout essay hooks the reader from the first sentence, says Monica Matthews, author of the scholarship guide, "How to Win College Scholarships."
Think about the structure of the essay, and how the reader can be drawn in by it, experts say. The story should feel real and true to the student's life.
"Students need to begin with a hook and share personal and tangible details about their life," Matthews wrote in an email. "Simply stating that they have helped others, for example, does not let the judges see the kind of person that they really are. Writing about specific experiences with real-life situations using interesting details makes compelling and memorable essays."
Tailor the Scholarship Essay to the Prompt
In some cases, it may be acceptable and even smart to repurpose an essay the student has already written and use it for another application. But experts say students should exercise caution.
"Many times, students try to re-purpose essays from the admissions process for scholarship essays, and the result ends up being so-so," Colleen Paparella Ganjian, an independent educational consultant and founder of DC College Counseling in Virginia, wrote in an email.
Instead, essays should be on topic and specific to the unique question being asked and the organization to which students are applying.
A typical scholarship essay topic will likely ask students about their career goals and their plan to achieve those goals, Matthews says. Other essay prompts might ask students what they've done to make their community a better place or to describe a personal achievement and how they overcame challenges to reach it.
Don't Tailor Yourself to the Reader
Students often feel they need to project a certain image or side of themselves in scholarship applications and essays. This isn't always necessary.
"The only person an applicant has to be is themselves," Shore says of applicants to the Pride Foundation Scholarship.
The trap of tailoring themselves can be particularly tempting for students who are nontraditional or have an international background, says Mandee Heller Adler, founder and president of International College Counselors based in Florida.
"Don't shy away from talking about your culture, traditions, and experiences. If you're an international applicant , a minority, or non-traditional student, don't try to 'Americanize' or 'mainstream' your application," Heller Adler wrote in an email. "Scholarship committees like diversity, and the goal is to stand out and not appear to be like all the other applicants. Don't be afraid to expand on details about your culture that are meaningful to you and essential to understanding who you are."
The greatest frustration in reading scholarship application essays, Shore says, is when students fail to follow directions. This means taking note of any formatting specifications, length restrictions and answering the question posed.
"Make sure you're answering the question that has been asked and stay within the word limit you're given," Shore says. "Longer doesn't necessarily mean better. If students are bored by the essay they write, the reader will be too."
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12 Ways to Win a Scholarship
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How to write a scholarship essay with examples in 2023.
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This is your time to shine!
When you apply for a scholarship, you have to submit an essay for it! Many students face one issue when they come across this step, and that is how to write a scholarship essay! Don't worry; this is an issue we will help you solve by teaching you everything you need to know about how to write a scholarship essay, from how to start a scholarship essay to how to end one! So, let's dive right into it!
What is a Scholarship Essay?
Before we tell you about how to write a scholarship essay, you need to understand what it is! In a scholarship essay, you explain and persuade the committee members as to why you deserve financial aid. This essay is submitted with the scholarship application, and it is your one opportunity to demonstrate that you are the best candidate for the scholarship.
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How to write a Scholarship Essay?
Let's discuss how to write a scholarship essay! Here are a few things to keep in mind on how to write a scholarship essay. One simple tip on how to write a scholarship essay is just to make sure that your essay provides insight into your vision and experience, which ultimately defines you and your passion for your study subject. Here are a few points to note when you write an essay on a scholarship.
1. Have an engaging start
Have questions about how to start an essay? Try including a quote or phrase related to your planned course that you may later introduce in the essay. Giving an idea about your interest in the subject will persuade the committee. Showing a broader understanding of your subject can assist in persuading the judges to provide you with the financial aid you need.
2. Know your target audience.
When you start to write your essay for a scholarship, you need to know your target audience, in this case, the scholarship committee; you need to understand their requirements and expectations. Find out their ideal prospect and make sure you fit into that vision. Make a list of key points you want to include in your essay. You don't have to give up your vision; modify your essay to fit their parameters.
3. Read the scholarship essay prompts thoroughly.
When you think about how to start a scholarship essay, the biggest tip is to read the essay prompts thoroughly. You must comply with the appropriate essay prompt structure and word count. Also, double-check that you are simply replying to all prompt sections.
4. Research about the scholarship provider
Read about the corporation or organisation in charge of the scholarship programme. You will find their mission and requirements on their website; this is one of the best tips on how to write a scholarship essay. This can help you customise your essay according to their needs. Many scholarship sponsors also showcase former scholarship winners on their websites, often with the winning essay. Examine what the scholarship provider says about prior winners to determine which of your qualities to emphasise in your essay.
5. Authenticity is your power
One of the best tips on how to write a scholarship essay is that your life and experiences are essential and significant! You are not required to fabricate or invent details to appear more deserving of the scholarship money. Your authenticity is your power; use it for your gain. It is recommended to show and not tell, as it is evident for the readers to spot such things. Instead of just explaining everything, try constructing a vivid image for the reader. Don't just claim you're stressed out because you're juggling employment and high school; make a mental image and provide clear, credible instances.
You can check out our blogs on student scholarships in Australia , Ireland and the US if you are applying for scholarships abroad.
6. Seek out writing advice
To make your essay stand out, it's important to seek out writing advice and guidance from reliable sources when you are lost on how to write a scholarship essay. Your academic advisor can provide valuable insights into the writing process, such as how to write a scholarship essay, how to start a scholarship essay, and how to make your argument compelling. There are plenty of online resources that can help you improve your writing skills, such as grammar and style guides, online writing courses, and writing communities where you can get feedback on your work.
7. Look out for grammatical errors.
Make sure you proofread your essay and look for grammatical errors. You can scan your essay through various grammar-checking websites before submitting your essay.
Scholarship Essay Format
One of the key aspects of how to write a scholarship essay is to write a compelling argument to stand out from the competition and convince the selection committee that you are the best candidate for the award. However, it is equally important to pay attention to the essay format. We will discuss the important things to remember and include in a scholarship essay format.
1. Fonts to Use for Scholarship Essay
One tip on how to write a scholarship essay is to stick to a consistent professional style. This includes 1-inch page margins, a 12-point font size double-spaced, and a "standard" script like Times New Roman in classic black. Don't experiment with fonts or colours here. You want the content of your essay to stand out, not your unconventional formatting.
2. Scholarship Essay Title
The essay submission format determines this. You can copy and paste the body of your essay without a title if there is a text box entry. If you attach an essay as a Word or PDF document, you can include a title, although this is usually unnecessary unless there are specific scholarship essay format rules. Also, there is no need to add the essay question or prompt at the top of your essay.
3. Scholarship Essay Structure
The structure of the essay is a very crucial element. The structure of the essay helps you make a blueprint and guides you in deciding which points have to be included under which section. This is a format that is generally used when you think about how to write a scholarship essay.
When you think about how to start a scholarship essay, it needs to draw the attention of the reader with a catchy beginning line relating to the question. Introduce your significant points, which you will discuss later in your essay. Include a strong point that proves your determination and drive to attend college.
Extend your critical points in the essay for a scholarship here. Support your claims with proof, examples, and facts. This is the section where you can tell the committee how you got to where you are now, what inspired your hobbies, interests, or desire to attend college, and how the essay for a scholarship will help you reach your academic and personal goals. Remember to utilise specifics instead of broad remarks.
Describe how earning this award might help you achieve your goals and have a broader community impact, if any. Explain how critical this scholarship is to you, not only financially but also in terms of helping you reach your goals, and this is how to end a scholarship essay. You can know more through our other blogs on thesis statements and personal statements with examples.
We have compiled some of the best scholarship essay examples which you can go through before starting your essay.
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Scholarship Essay Examples
However, many overlook that receiving many minor scholarship applications can be life-changing. The essays below can help you move from planning and living your college and achieving professional goals.
1. This essay example is from the New York University College of Arts and Science essay.
"Although I agree that I will never be able to support myself only via ice skating, the education and talents I have obtained have opened endless avenues. Ice skating has given me the work ethic, resilience and inspiration to grow as a teacher and English speaker. It has helped my academic performance by instilling in me the importance of rhythm, health, and routine. "
2. This essay example is an excerpt from the North Coast Section Foundation Scholarship-winning essay.
"My parents pushed me to respect school when I was five years old because they were born in Vietnam and had limited access to education. Because of this disadvantage, I learnt to take everything seriously and to give everything I had to fulfil projects like founding my school's Badminton Club in my fresher year and the Red Cross Club this year. The more I got involved, the more I grew as a leader and as a person. As a leader, I acted the same way I did with my younger cousins and siblings."
Top 5 Scholarships and Scholarship Essays
The essay for a scholarship is written in order to give a small demonstration to the scholarship committee as to why you deserve the scholarship and what makes you the best among other students. You can highlight some of the challenges and how you coped up and overcame them, which shows your problem-solving ability. Here are the top 5 scholarships:
1. Kang Foundation and Legal Scholarship
2. New York University Scholarship
3. North Coast Section Foundation Scholarship
4. Fund for Education Abroad Scholarship 1
5. Questbridge Scholarship
Scholarship Essay Prompts
Are you struggling to come up with ideas on how to write a scholarship essay? There are plenty of standard essay prompts and topics out there to guide you. These prompts will help you get started on your essay for a scholarship and give it a definite structure. Let's explore some useful prompts that you can use to write an outstanding essay.
1. My family members.
2. My part-time job efforts in high school.
3. The doors I have opened.
4. My dreams and inspiration.
5. Learning for the best - how (person) changed my life.
6. The person who is influenced by views.
7. Goals I will achieve in 10 years.
8. What differentiates you from the hundreds of students who apply for our scholarships?
9. How has the death of a parent or guardian impacted your life financially and emotionally?
Scholarship Essay Tips
It is crucial to make your essay for a scholarship stand out from the hundreds of other applicants while working on it. A well-written and formatted essay can not only grab the attention of the scholarship committee but also make a strong impression, increasing the likelihood of obtaining the scholarship. Here are some tips to follow to make your essay engaging and memorable
- Choose a topic you are passionate about.
- Follow a narrative structure.
- Re-read the essay prompt and identify the key themes.
- Outline your essay before writing.
- Make sure your outline does justice to your essay prompt.
- Add your real-life experiences and highlight your problem-solving abilities.
- Talk about your accomplishments without bragging too much.
- Make sure your essay has a flow.
- Have someone with strong writing skills proofread your essay.
- Be concise and specific, and avoid generalising.
- Empower your sentences with punctuation.
- Do a little research about the university and the scholarship they are providing before starting your essay.
- Be professional, but write the essay in your voice.
- Avoid including inspirational quotes in your essay.
Do's and Don'ts of Writing a Scholarship Essay
When you think about how to write a scholarship essay, it may seem like a daunting task, but keeping the necessary guidelines in mind will make the process smoother. Here are some do's and don'ts that you should follow when you write an essay for a scholarship.
- Before writing your essay for a scholarship, read and understand the prompt carefully. You need to know the requirements and what the college is looking for, so tailor your essay accordingly.
- Your essay for a scholarship should showcase your achievements and why you deserve the scholarship out of all the other applicants. Mention your achievements, skills and experiences that prove your suitability for the scholarship.
- Be authentic and personal in your writing; your essay for a scholarship should be a reflection of who you are as a person. Your goal should be to create a lasting impression on the scholarship committee after reading your essay.
- Do edit and proofread your essay with care before submitting it. Check for grammar mistakes, coherence and flow of content. Your essay should be polished and professional.
- Never plagiarise in your essay, as this will definitely get your application rejected. Use your authentic words and ideas, and cite any sources properly if you need to use them in your essay.
- Avoid drama and emotions in the content of your essay. Even though you wish to add a personal touch to the essay with your qualities and experiences, you don't want to come across as insincere or overly emotional.
- Submit your essay before the deadline, as missing it could potentially disqualify you from consideration.
- Your essay should be relevant to the scholarship you are applying for. Do not write an essay that is unrelated and does not answer the prompt. This may lead to disqualification, too.
We hope this guide helped you find new ways to write your scholarship essay. The amber scholarship is a scholarship provided by amber; we hope you try your luck with it! This is your chance to show the scholarship committee what you have to deserve the scholarship. Also, read about our blog on what should be written in personal statement . You can also check our detailed blog on how to write thesis statement
Frequently Asked Questions
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