Tips for Writing a Great Scholarship Essay

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You have spent forever looking for scholarships. You’ve scored through websites. Finally, you have seen suitable ones. You have a list of awards that are perfect for you. Now you need to fill out applications and more likely than not, write an essay.

It’s not easy to separate your scholarship application from the crowd. After all, even if you fit the criteria to a “T,” you’re still likely to be one of a number of applicants with similar grades, goals, activities, and aspirations. This is where a great application essay comes in. It can either make or break your chances of getting that scholarship. It helps the scholarship provider learn about the person behind the application, and gives them a much more detailed look at your school and home life.

Writing a scholarship essay might seem like an insurmountable task, especially if you don’t consider yourself a great writer. The following tips would help:

1. Know your audience:
Who is going to read your essay? It is important to note that every scholarship provider is looking for a specific student who meets unique criteria. When you get your application, look closely at the questions, the organization giving the scholarship, and look for any past recipients you can find.
What’s the theme? Are they emphasizing classroom performance? Are they looking for someone who’s dealt with adversity at home? Interested in character or community service more than grades? Whatever the answer, your research will put you a step ahead of those applicants who copy “one-size-fits-all” essays.

2. Plan in advance:
You can also avoid the “one-size-fits-all” essay by getting an early start on each application. Begin your research (on the theme) and planning a week or so before you think you should, so you’ll be able to take enough time to turn out something great.
This will also give you time to craft an outline, which can help your essay stay concise and on target. Think of two or three main points you want to make in response to the essay question, add some supporting information under each of them, and consider a sentence or two of introduction and conclusion. Before you know it, you’ll have built the structure and thesis of your essay, and you won’t have to rush to write it.

3. Stick to the theme and share a piece of you:
When you do start writing, don’t forget that the main purpose of your essay is to convince the scholarship provider that you’re the student they’ve been looking for. Answer the questions you’ve set out in your outline, but make sure every point you make is illustrated with a specific detail that shows you care about the subject.
If you are writing about your involvement in an activity, do not summarize your involvement over the years and list all your achievements. This would sound more like a resume (which by the way you should include with every application) and it would not tell the judges anything new. However, if you focus on just one aspect of an experience, you could spend some time going below the surface and share something about who you are, which would be far more memorable.

4. Seek an editor:
Lastly, run your essay by a good editor, whether it’s a parent, teacher, or friend. It would be preferable though to seek out professional help. For this, you can contact us at, because even a well-researched and passionately written essay can be derailed by spelling mistakes or awkward sentences. If you’ve spent a lot of time looking at your words, it is easy to miss basic mistakes. A few minutes of proofreading by a professional editor can make a huge difference.

Scholarship essays are a huge part of your applications, and can be a major headache, too. But by starting early, answering the right questions, and describing what makes you unique, you can write outstanding essays without stress.

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