How to Write a Scholarship Essay

Writing a scholarship essay doesn’t have to be an ordeal. Many students let themselves be discouraged by the essay requirement, and wind up never applying for scholarships that they’re eligible for. But this doesn’t have to happen to you, not if you follow the steps listed. If the scholarship essay instructions call for you to pick an essay topic, brainstorm at least three ideas that you could use. Write down every interesting topic you can think of, even if it doesn’t seem useable. It may lead you to an idea you can use. Think about subjects that you feel strongly about. Then follow these other tips:

Writing a Scholarship Essay

  • Don’t pick a topic that’s too broad. Your essay will most likely have a word limit. It may be impossible to discuss fully a topic like “The Problems of Today’s College Campuses” in 500 words or less. Instead, try writing about an aspect of the topic, such as “Violence Prevention on College Campuses.” Then you will be able to cover your topic better within the required word limits.
  • Start your scholarship essay with a grabber. Capture your reader’s attention in the first sentence. Feel free to begin with an engaging anecdote or interesting quotation, as long as it functions as a lead-in to your main point.
  • Keep it short and to the point. If you ramble on and take your time getting to the point of your scholarship essay, the judges may lose interest. Remember, they will be reading hundreds of other essays.
  • Let your personality shine through. Scholarship judges want to know what you really think about a topic, not merely what experts have said. In other words, save extensive quotations from famous authors for your English papers. Judges are more interested in your personality, what makes you tick, and your thoughts and feelings about the subject.
  • Don’t use a lot of big words in order to impress. It is important to use the correct words to fully express your ideas, but using too many big words will sound as if you are trying too hard. Be clear and succinct in stating your ideas.
  • Stay on the subject. It might be tempting to veer off the subject of your scholarship essay, but scholarship judges will be looking for an essay that is to the point, with no extra information included.
  • Follow instructions. For instance, most scholarship essays have a length requirement, such as 500 words or less. Stick to the length specified, or your application could be disqualified.
  • Proofread your essay carefully. Plan to complete your essay at least two weeks before the application deadline, so you have enough time to proofread it and make any changes. Use spell-check if you are writing the essay on your computer. It’s also very important to give your essay to at least one other person to proofread, such as a parent or teacher. They may catch something that you miss.

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