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How to Write a Scholarship Essay

How to Write a Scholarship Essay

scholarship essay

A scholarship application can take you a long way if written well. There is no perfect recipe for writing an essay, but there are some ingredients that you can add to make it more appealing. However, always remember to be original, to remain faithful to your personal style. This uniqueness sometimes weighs more than a dozen of rigid theories. You’ll have better chances to stand out from the crowd if you add a personal touch.

Even more, some students prefer to use a generic essay every time they apply to a scholarship, but this is not something we’d recommend. Especially since scholarships are hard to get, and judges are very harsh. A creative writing catches the eye, and it might be your passport to a new academic journey. To help you out, we’ve gathered some useful tips on how to set forth a winning scholarship essay.

Are you the right person for the scholarship?

Before starting to write a single word, you must ask yourself this essential question: “Am I the right person for this scholarship?”. Try to be honest with yourself, don’t start something you’re not really interested in. You’ll waste precious time which you can use channeling your attention to a program which fits you better. Most universities have specific information on their websites or brochures stating the qualities of the perfect candidate. Are you the one they’re looking for?

Follow the instructions

The first thing you might want to do before writing any essay for that matter is to follow the instructions. Application essays usually have a clear statement, a particular subject that needs to be covered. So before scratching the paper, make sure you truly understand the requirements. Make a mental map and try to visualize the article in its final form, and don’t stray from the topic. Tailor your essay around these instructions, and you won’t fail.

Let’s say you’re asked to “describe a major obstacle you’ve had to overcome.” A desirable approach would include a short context with emphasis on what helped you succeed in the end. Some questions you could answer to:

  • What was your initial purpose?
  • How did this obstacle change your plans?
  • What exactly was the hurdle?
  • How did you overcome it?
  • What helped you succeed?
  • What did you learn from experience?

Use your own words to describe the situation, keeping the distance at the same time – a valuable strategy that might help you walk out as a winner from the committee’s office.

Give yourself time

Such an important task needs your undivided attention, so don’t leave it for the last minute. You might need to write multiple drafts until you reach the version you’re really pleased of. Proofreading takes time too, so also take this into consideration. Remember that the stake is huge and you really need to write an appealing and valuable application essay.

Just to make an idea of how much time you’ll need to pen down such an article, here you have some suggestions for organizing it:

  • Short description;
  • First paragraph. Grab the attention by telling why you are the best candidate for the scholarship. Tell something about yourself, outline your qualities, let the scholarship committee know what are your reasons for applying and your expectations;
  • Second paragraph. What are your goals? How does the scholarship help you achieve them? The judges will like to know to which extent the program can make a difference in your life;
  • Third paragraph. If the application has specific requirements, make sure you’ve met them all. Don’t forget to answer the main question and follow the directions. Some application essays are more permissive, and they encourage students to choose their own topic to cover. This way, you’ll be able to prove your creativity and reflect your true personality.
  • Conclusion.
  • Don’t forget, this is a general scholarship essay format, you might need to customize it depending on the specific requirements. Some scholarships have an application process described step by step, which makes it easier for every student to follow, and they even state the number of words desired. So crafting the essay is much easier.

Write a compelling description of your scholarship essay

Writing a scholarship essay is almost like writing a news article – you need an engaging piece of information right at the beginning. A short description which in journalism is called “chapeau.” This statement practically sums up your article’s content, proving your knowledge and how well you master the subject. It gives you a chance to make a good first impression, so use it wisely.

Use your best writing skills

Don't try to impress the jury with an unnatural language, especially if it doesn't fit you or the main theme. Your essay will look far-fetched, and while you'll make a good impression on your colleagues, the experts will most probably have bigger expectations, so you won’t knock them off their feet.

It's better to use your own words and treat the subject using a clear and concise language. You'll know that you're on the right path when editing the paper. This final phase will tell you exactly if and what needs to be changed. Read your essay aloud, and if the writing seems heavy, find simpler words, change any hard-to-read expressions, keep only the essential.

Keep it short

With sometimes hundreds of application essays to read, the members of the scholarship committee have a limited time. You need to impress them with few words; otherwise, they’ll lose interest. It’s desirable to stick to the specific requirements. Don't use filler words like quotes or unnecessary testimonials. We’d also suggest you write in the active voice. So, for instance, instead of saying “The contest was won by me,” try “I won the contest.” A simple, yet effective change.

Run a spellcheck

Proofreading is an important part of writing a scholarship essay, especially if you're applying for a foreign program. Run a spell check of your text and fix any error you might find. It is totally unprofessional to have grammatical and punctuation mistakes in a piece of work of this level. Make sure to always use a word thesaurus that you master, otherwise you'll get lost in terms and phrases that don’t fit good together. You’ll want your paragraphs to combine one with another like puzzle pieces. So make your finishing touches, paying extra attention to details.

Tip: ask for a second opinion before submitting your article. A second pair of eyes can see your writing from another point of view and may even spot errors you’ve missed. Precious feedback can help you come up with the best version of your application essay. You need these suggestions to improve your writing.

Keep your enthusiasm

You really want this scholarship, right? So don’t you just say it? Write with passion and honesty, and you’ll definitely make a good impression. After reading so many essays, the judges might just smile reading yours, and this is something they’ll remember. Show your enthusiasm, and how interested you are in being a part of their program. Also, don’t be afraid to prove yourself virtuous, as long as you’re honest and modest. Still, don’t forget to only write what’s of interest to your thesis, without wandering off the subject.

Tell a story

Everybody has a story, and this is yours. Follow a narrative structure when building your essay, it will be easier for you to tell your personal experiences. Use real life examples to outline your positive features, but also mention your weaknesses. The judges need to know you with good and bad.

Need more help?

Still worried that your story is not impressive enough for the committee? No worries, we can help you out here! Elite Essay Writers is an expert team with extensive academic writing epxereince, and we know exactly what the board wants to hear from you. So, put your trust in us and we'll provide with a great scholarship essay!