Many organizations that provide scholarships to students have
pretty stringent requirements in order for students to qualify
for their limited funds. Typically, the basic information
such as GPA, field of interest, and financial need will not
be enough to narrow down the field, so the providers seek
out more personal and individual information. Oftentimes this
means writing the dreaded essay.
Seniors typically get accustomed to writing essays for their
admissions applications, and scholarship essays are not usually
very different. Many admissions applications will ask students
why they are choosing to apply to a particular school or what
their professional aspirations may be after graduation. Essays
for scholarships tend to differ only in that they usually
ask a student to write about him or herself or a life-altering
situation, and that personalization can help the committee
make its final decision.
Regardless of what the question may be, there are some basic
tips that students should consider when they are composing
- STAY ON THE TOPIC-Try to keep yourself focused and answer
only the question that was asked. Anecdotal stories and
scenarios can be fun and add personality to the essay, but
it is easy to let the story take you off of the topic.
- REMEMBER YOUR AUDIENCE-Although you may have had a touching
personal experience, remember that some information is TOO
personal. Relationships with your boyfriend/girlfriend,
a recent argument with your parents, etc. may not be well
received by the decision makers. Also, remember that you
are writing to adult professionals, not to your peers, so
you should remove all slang and colloquialisms from your
- REMEMBER YOUR PURPOSE-You are trying to convince people
you have never met to give you large amounts of money, so
be convincing and succinct in your essay. You want to be
sure that your essay can answer any questions they may have,
as they may not be willing or able to contact you if any
questions should arise.
- DON'T FORGET THE FORMAT-Remember that you are writing
an essay for scholarship money for COLLEGE; therefore, be
sure to stay on top of the basic conventions-use paragraphs,
punctuation, spelling and grammar check. Your essay should
be polished and professional-this is your time to shine,
so be sure to get it WRITE!
It may sound like a lot-and it will certainly feel like a
lot to remember in the moment-but it isn't impossible, and
with practice gets much easier. Keep these tips in mind when
writing essays for your classes, and when an essay for a scholarship
or admissions application should come up, the steps will become
second nature. Good luck!