How to Write a Community Service Essay: 9 Steps to Follow When Writing Your Paper
In case you are applying to a scholarship or a college right now or you intend to do this in the near future, most probably you are well aware of the terms and conditions required, one of them being to write a community service essay that truly stands out. You really need to create impact and to make the readers accept your application. So if you want to know how you can do that and what are the most important aspects to follow when writing such an essay, you should definitely read on the rest of the article.
What does a community service essay imply and why it’s so important?
First things first, in order to know what the most essential steps to follow in the writing process are, you need to have a clear idea on what exactly a community service essay is and why it’s so vital to have it. This essay has the main purpose of describing in details your complete volunteer work you performed until that moment, how it changed you and, most importantly, how it impacted the community. Of course, requirements for how to write or what to include in this essay might vary depending on the institution you are applying to, but basically you will be asked to give these details previously mentioned.
Why people ask for community service essays?
Many institutions around the world ask their applicants to submit community service essays and there are two main situations in which they are requested:
- When applying to college – as part of the application, students are asked to include a community service essay; worth mentioning is that you can also opt for mentioning the most important community service work you performed in your personal statement.
- When applying to scholarships – some scholarships have some very strict selection criteria and one of them is submitting an excellently written community service essay. Thus, only those that prove to have exceptional writing skills and exceptional volunteering experience will be awarded with those scholarships. One very good example of an incredible scholarship is the one offered by the Green Mountain College. They carefully review each essay and only offer scholarships (which consist of board, room and full tuition) to those students who have significantly impacted their community in a positive way through their volunteer work.
In the following sections, you will find the most important steps you need to take in this journey. You should know that the first two ones will help you get started with everything and the rest of the steps are going to reveal you what aspects you should pay attention to when writing the essay.
Step 1 – get well informed
Now that you know what a service community essay is and why institutions require it, it’s time to get to the real business. The first thing you need before you even get started with writing the essay is to know all the requirements and conditions your application has. Take some time browsing the Internet, reading different articles, browsing the official website of the institution you are applying at in order to know exactly what they are asking and only when you have all these information, you can go to the next step.
To make things easier, you can write down the aspects you find most important. You should pay special attention to details such as:
- The length required for the essay
- The deadline for application
- The main focus or purpose of the community service essay
- If there is any structure to follow
You should know that prompts can vary a lot, depending on the institution. Read the following prompts examples and notice how different they are, not only in terms of length, but also in the information the writer is required to include in the essay:
Laura W. Bush Traveling Scholarship
: “Essay (up to 500 words, double spaced) explaining your interest in being considered for the award and how your proposed project reflects or is related to both UNESCO’s mandate and U.S. interests in promoting peace by sharing advances in education, science, culture, and communications.”
AXA Achievement Scholarship
: “Describe your outstanding achievement in depth and provide the specific planning, training, goals, and steps taken to make the accomplishment successful. Include details about your role and highlight leadership you provided. Your essay must be a minimum of 350 words but not more than 600 words.”
LULAC National Scholarship Fund
: “Please type or print an essay of 300 words (maximum) on how your academic studies will contribute to your personal & professional goals. In addition, please discuss any community service or extracurricular activities you have been involved in that relate to your goals
As you can see, the all have different ways to explain their essay requirements. You should take these into serious consideration, as they can make the difference between getting accepted in the scholarship program and getting rejected.
Step 2 – it’s time for some brainstorming
So, you know now what the essay’s topic should be. Start writing then, right? Well, you’ll notice that it’s not that simple. Even with all these details at your fingertips it can still be quite challenging to begin writing. You should make a plan and think how to organize the essay. Here’s a short list of questions that you might use as a guideline. Through answering them, you can brainstorm your essay ideas and have at least a draft.
- Is there any community service activity in which you’ve participated that has had a more powerful impact on you? Why is that?
- What do you remember first when you think of that period? Describe your favorite memory.
- Why and when did you first decide to get involved into community service?
- What were the reasons?
- Has volunteering changed you in any way?
- How has it influenced your plans for the future?
- Do you believe that your volunteering experience changed the community in any way?
Keep in mind that this is only an indicative list to help you begin your writing. It’s not necessary to answer all of them, but the more you answer and the more detailed your answers are, the better. The structure of your essay will most probably depend on the requirements made by the scholarship you’re applying to. Whether you choose to highlight the way your community benefited from your volunteering or the way it has influenced your personal growth, and whether you choose to present your complete volunteering experience or focus on only one or two memorable moments, make sure you write the essay with the requirements in your mind.