Perhaps the most important and the most daunting aspect of writing a scholarship essay is deciding what your focus will be. Scholarship committees want to know who you are and why you’re applying for their scholarship. So if you’re asked for a personal statement or an essay about your career goals, you’ll be talking about your background, your experiences, your influences, your goals and ambitions. If you aren’t given a specific topic, brainstorm ideas. Pick an original topic, one that you’re passionate about, not one that you think the scholarship committee wants to hear about. Be creative and tell your story. What motivates and inspires you? Even if you are given a topic to write about, you can still write an essay that conveys your strengths and talents, particularly ones that aren’t directly obvious from the information on your transcript.
Creating an outline is a great way to get your thoughts and ideas down on paper, organize those thoughts into a coherent and interesting story, and plan a dynamic and succinct conclusion. Be as detailed as possible and include all notes and ideas – you can weed out superfluous information later. Your essay will need a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Begin your essay with a sentence that grabs the attention of your audience (in this case, the scholarship committee). Then tell your story. Use specific examples to show how your experiences lead you to your passion for your goals and to applying for this scholarship.
After you tell your story, write about your goals. In addition to goals you have for the future, talk about goals you’ve accomplished in the past, using any measurable outcomes you can. Conclude your essay with a reminder of your story, how it influenced your goals, and how winning the scholarship will help you accomplish those goals.
When your essay is finished, make sure you have given credit to any sources you have used. Proofread the text yourself and have someone you trust proofread and give you constructive criticism on what might be improved.
Avoid these things while writing your essay:
- Waiting until the last minute to write your essay
- Not following the essay instructions for topic and length
- Turning your essay into a sob story
Be confident, honest, and determined in telling the story of how you will accomplish your goals, and let your personality and strengths shine through for the scholarship committee to see.
Need More Help?
If you’d like help with your scholarship essay, we offer a Scholarship Boot Camp for students who are interested in assembling their Scholarship Portfolio. We have a professional writer and editor who will review your essay, provide feedback, and ensure that your essay is powerful and error-free. Check it out here and send us an email. If you’d rather not be part of a class, we also offer individual coaching to create a Scholarship Portfolio that helps you stand out from the crowd.