Scholarship Essay Tips

You’ve filled out a scholarship application form, gathered together letters of recommendation, and obtained your transcript; now comes the part of the application process many students dread the most – the application essay. Numerous scholarships require an essay of some form, whether it is to tell about yourself or tell about a topic relating to the scholarship itself (e.g., why you chose your major). Some scholarships are evaluated and awarded based solely on the quality and creativity of the essay component.

Regardless of the type of essay required, many students become overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of writing one. This feeling can be exacerbated if they are applying for several scholarships at the same time. Often, students feel this way because they simply don’t know where to begin writing. If you find yourself in this situation, use this basic writing process to help you get started on your essay:

  • Brainstorm ideas. This can be as simple as writing down every topic that comes to mind or as complex as making a flow chart. Find whatever method lets your ideas flow most freely. It often helps to bounce your ideas off someone else and get that person’s feedback.
  • From your brainstormed ideas, come up with one or more main topics that you want to present in your essay. The number of main ideas you will use in your essay depends on the length required.
  • Make an outline of the structure of your essay.
  • Using your outline, write the essay. Take note of the length specified by the provider (if any) and stick to that. Many providers will automatically disqualify essays that do not stay within the limits they set. If you use any outside sources in your essay, be sure to give credit to the original author(s).
  • Have at least one person proofread your finished essay. Be sure to go back and make any necessary corrections.

Writing essays to receive scholarships may be a frustrating exercise, particularly if you are not naturally a good writer. Keep in mind, however, that scholarship providers often ask for essays so that they can see each applicant’s individual perspective. Use your essay as a tool to make sure that the scholarship provider sees your strengths and talents, especially those abilities that aren’t obvious from an application form or transcript. Even if the topic of the essay is specified for you, you can still make sure your unique personality shines through. Your essay can be a chance for you to stand out from the crowd of applicants – and increase your chances of receiving money for college!

Check your list of scholarships at to see which awards require an essay to apply. If you haven’t started searching for scholarships, be sure to complete a profile today!



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