How To Write Scholarship Essay

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Cliche Stories Or Themes

How to Write an Effective Scholarship Essay

Many scholarship essay prompts ask you to discuss how winning a scholarship would impact you. And this is often where cliches creep in.

Cliches are phrases, stories, or themes that are overused to the point that they lose their power and meaning. And theyll definitely weaken your scholarship essay.

The most common example of a cliche theme in scholarship essays is the Cinderella or underdog storyline . Many cliches involve a person who, with a little help, turns it all around and prevails.

In real life, we LOVE a Cinderella story as much as anyone. But you can imagine why this type of story ends up in scholarship essays a lot!

DONT simply share a story about yourself that paints you as a down-on-your-luck student who could have it all if ONLY you won this scholarship money. Heres what this might look like: Ive never really won anything in life: no contests, giveaways, or competitions. But if I win this scholarship and save money on college, Ill be able to focus 100% on my academic performance and become the youngest Supreme Court Justice in American history.

Dont get us wrong, were all about dreaming BIG! But when it comes to scholarship essays, we want to help you to avoid falling into cliche narratives that dampen the power of your story and hurt your chances of winning.

How Do You Write A Winning Scholarship Essay

Earning financial aid from scholarship programs is heavily reliant on the strength of the essay submission. Just like writing college applications, the scholarship essay process takes thought and is often focused on the applicant’s life or experiences. Because the topic often focuses on the student’s life, it is helpful for students to think back to important moments in their life, ranging from experiences at a young age to middle school times up through the present.

Take these experiences and be creative, writing about personal lessons and experiences, rather than relying on clichés. Use what you’re passionate about, for an essay about your dream school or career goals would be more compelling than one simply listing test scores and academic performance successes.

Follow the essential tips from above, layout a strategic essay structure, and submit the best representation of you. There isn’t a guarantee for earning this financial aid through scholarships, but following these suggestions will give you a higher chance for future success on scholarships.

Research The Scholarship Provider

When you write a scholarship essay, you should try to tailor it to your audience. In this case, the audience is the scholarship committee reviewing your application. You probably will not know who these individuals are, but you can at least find out more about the scholarship provider. Research the organization or company offering the scholarship to learn about their values and what qualities they might be looking for in your essay. This information can help you write a powerful piece that your audience will appreciate.

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Read And Reread The Instructions

Following the instructions on the application is vital to writing a high-quality essay. Scholarship essays typically have a maximum word count you should avoid exceeding. Depending on how much you write, you might need to go back and edit your essay to stay within the upper word count allowed. Other instructions to note include the essay prompt and writing format. Read these instructions a few times to ensure you can follow them while writing your essay. This prevents you from having to rewrite your essay or make a lot of changes to it before submitting it.

Three Why Major Essay Examples

Best Scholarship Essay Examples (Winning Tips)

Heres a short essay that puts the thesis at the beginning:

Why Electrical Engineering?

My decision to major in Electrical Engineering was inspired by my desire to improve security through technology. When I lived in Mexico, my fathers restaurant security system lacked the ability to protect our property from robbers, who would break in multiple times a year. Thanks to the influence of my cousin, who now studies Autonomous Systems, I developed an interest in electrical engineering. I am inspired to not only improve my fathers security system, but contributing to security innovations for larger companies and perhaps, one day, national security.

Outline – Why Electrical Engineering?

  • Thesis: I want to improve security through technology

  • Robbers broke into dads restaurant

  • Cousin taught me about Autonomous Systems

  • In the future: work with large companies or on national security

Heres a medium-length example with the thesis at the end:

Why Gender and Sexuality Studies?

Outline – Why Gender and Sexuality Studies:

  • Eighth grade Civics class conversations

  • Shadowing OB/GYN at a nearby hospital and seeing woman receive postpartum exam

  • Being the school tampon fairy

  • School projects on reproductive rights

  • Thesis: name my major and briefly say why

You can also use a hook to grab your readers attention. Heres a medium-length example that does this:

Why Neuroscience?

Outline – Why Neuroscience:

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Tips For Writing Effective Scholarship Essays

  • Read the instructions and make sure you understand them before you start writing. That includes paying attention to the formatting requirements, like font family and size.
  • Think about what you are going to write and organize your thoughts before you start writing. Brainstorm first, and edit your ideas second.
  • Begin the writing process by writing a comprehensive outline. Include your thesis statement, supporting statements and carefully-typed out quotes or citations that you plan to use in your essay.
  • Use clear, concise and simple language throughout the essay. Try varying up your sentence structure to add rhythm to your writing.
  • Write proudly of your accomplishments, but avoid bragging. Essay judges want to see your self-confidence come through, but it always benefits you to come off as humble.
  • Make sure your grammar and spelling are impeccable by using the Spelling and Grammar check tool in your word processor of choice. Try printing your essay out to get another perspective on how it reads. Typos that you skim by on the screen might pop out on paper.
  • Mind your word count. Some scholarship essay contests have a minimum and maximum word requirement. Your word processor should have a word count tool to help you gage your progress. If your essay is too long and you need to remove words to shorten it, try eliminating adverbs first.
  • Proofread And Ask For Help

    As much as we like to believe that were perfect, we all make mistakeswhich is why its so important to take the time to proofread your essay. One great way to find mistakes is to read your essay out loud. For more ideas, check out these helpful tips.

    Once youve taken the time to proofread your own essay a few times, have someone else do it for you. Asking a family member or friend for help can provide you with a different perspective on your writing and a second set of eyes might catch a mistake that you didnt.

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    Make An Engaging Start To Your Essay

    If you are struggling to start your scholarship application essay, why not include a quote or statement that relates to your intended course, and which you can later link to the main body of your text. Showing wider knowledge and aptitude for your subject will help convince the judges that it is a worthwhile investment to support you in your chosen course.

    Follow The Instructions & Answer The Prompt

    How to Write a Scholarship Essay in 7 tips | Tarek Ali

    It might seem like one of the more obvious scholarship essay tips, but many applicants make their first mistake before they even begin they dont read the directions. Exceeding the word count can hurt your chances since it shows that you didnt prepare your essay as well as other applicants. Also, double check to make sure youre responding thoroughly to all parts of the prompt and that youre following the correct scholarship essay format.

    Get matched to scholarships

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    Reuse And Repurpose Your Essays For Multiple Scholarship Applications

    Having to write a scholarship essay from scratch every time you apply is a time-consuming process. Instead, consider reusing or repurposing your essays if you plan to apply for multiple scholarships. For example, you might take an essay you have written and do a bit of revising to make it more relevant for another scholarship application, depending on the prompt. This saves you from having to write a new essay each time you submit a scholarship application. Just make sure you always submit a high-quality essay for every application.

    Post University offers several scholarships, including on-campus merit scholarships, online scholarships, and on-campus returning student scholarships. We also provide opportunities for students to apply for external scholarships that private organizations fund. Please contact Post University to learn more about our available scholarships.

    Thank you for reading! The views and information provided in this post do not reflect Post University programs and/or outcomes directly. If you are interested in learning more about our programs, you can find a complete list of our programs on our website or reach out directly!

    Please note jobs and/or career outcomes highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs or career outcomes expected from any Post program. To learn more about Posts program and their outcomes, please fill out a form to speak with an admissions advisor.

    Get Familiar With The Prompt

    Scholarship essay prompts are sometimes tricky, so read them carefully multiple times to understand what an organization expects from you.

    To become eligible for financial aid, submit an essay of about 400-500 words. A submission usually illustrates your perspective on why you deserve this scholarship while answering the following questions:

    • What makes you unique?
    • How do your beliefs align with the organizationâs interests?
    • What unique contribution can you make in this particular field of science?

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    Outline Your Essay Before You Start Writing

    Organizing your thoughts is a crucial first step to writing a clear essay, but it isnt always easy to know how to structure your ideas.

    One way to organize your thoughts is to create an outline of your essay. This can be as simple as jotting down a few bullet points for each paragraph.

    Once you have your outline, you can start filling in the details of your essay. If youre not sure how to structure your essay, ask a friend or teacher for help.

    Show Your Personality And Emotions

    9+ Scholarship Essay Examples

    In addition to incorporating your own experiences, your essay gives you a chance to let your personality shine through your writing. No matter which essay prompt you are responding to, include writing that shows your personality and emotions. For example, you might inject humor into your essay about a time you failed but managed to maintain a positive attitude. Including your personality and emotions in your writing helps your essay come across as more authentic.

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    How Do I Get Started

    First, read the essay question. Familiarize yourself with the prompt and begin thinking about how you can answer the questions.

    For a general scholarship essay, here are some questions you might think about before you start writing:

  • Why am I applying for this scholarship? What difference will it make in my life?
  • What are my goals and hopes? How have I worked towards them in my academic and professional career, and how do I plan to accomplish them?
  • Why am I a good fit for this scholarship? What makes me stand out from other applicants?
  • If you find it helpful, you can create an outline, use a basic template for general scholarships, or just jot down some quick bullet points with what youre planning to say in your essay.

    Adhere To The Principles Of Writing Any Strong Essay

    Like any other essay you write for school, youll want to format your scholarship essays in a way that makes it easy for the reader to consume and digest the content. In other words, a winning essay will have a good flow.

    Here are some effective essaywriting skills that will help you develop an effective scholarship essay format:

    • Have a strong opening sentence to the essay, sometimes called a hook. This is a great overview of types of essay hooks, but remember, stay true to your own voice and tone .

    For example, you may want to come out of the gates strong with a snapshot of where you see yourself in 10 years, after getting the education of your dreams: Diving deep into the mysterious reaches of the ocean daily may not be everyones central goal in life, but I cant wait to search for and protect endangered aquatic life for a living.

    And because sometimes the hardest part is starting when writing a scholarships essay or personal statement, heres a video that will give you some ideas on how to write an intriguing first line:

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    Educational Objectives And Career Goals

    • Identify your major
    • Why did you choose this major?
    • What will you do with a degree in this field?
    • What career path have you chosen? Example: I have always enjoyed working with computers and I love to write. Im pursuing a career in technological writing this will allow me to pursue both interests – focusing on a viable career and doing something that I enjoy.

    Give Yourself Enough Time To Start Writing

    Write A Winning Scholarship Essay!

    To craft an exceptional scholarship essay, you need to:

    • Ensure the prompt is clear.
    • Plan what the essay should say.
    • Draft an outline.
    • Write the essay.
    • Revise and reread.

    These steps together take time, so have at least a couple of weeks to brainstorm and write before the essays deadline.

    Avoid writing burnout by putting a few days of break time between each step in the writing process if time allows. This gives writers a fresh perspective each time they work, which is beneficial for writing and editing.

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    Scholarship Essay Examples For University

    University students often require scholarships for further studies. The scholarship essay is your chance to shine among other students.

    At the university level, all students are required to study in a dream college to get a job after they complete their studies.

    Here are some excellent scholarship essay examples for university students that help you in writing the essay.

    Scholarship Essay Example #7

    Millennium Gates Last Dollar Scholarship and $3,500 in Outside Scholarship Essay Examples by Famyrah Lafortune

    Prompt: Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. – Nelson Mandela. Describe a change you would like to make in the world. Tell us about how you would plan to make that change, and what obstacles you might encounter along the way. *

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    Keep Your Scholarship Essay Descriptive But Concise

    As you get into your main paragraphs, remember that you are telling some sort of story. If your writing is bland and provides little detail, you are less likely to illustrate your point. Using the “show, don’t tell” method is a helpful way to keep your writing interesting and descriptive. At the same time, don’t go overboard with your descriptions. Be detailed, but don’t let that cover up the point of your essay.

    How To Format A Scholarship Essay

    Best Scholarship Essay Examples (Winning Tips)

    If the format style is not specified by the university, opt for these scholarship essay guidelines:

    However, often the choice of the format for your essay depends on the university you apply for. Check out the requirements posted by the admissions board to make sure you are applying proper formatting.

    Four most common formats for such an essay are APA, MLA, Chicago, and Harvard format styles. To learn more about each of these format styles for a scholarship essay, check out our essay format guide.

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    Review Other Scholarship Essay Examples

    How can you tell what kinds of essays a scholarship committee is looking for? Some scholarship providers post sections of winning essays from prior years. Reading through these can give you an idea of the quality or tone they expect from applicants. You can also review examples of scholarship essays online to see how you might approach different essay prompts. For example, writing an essay about your most significant influence or inspiration might differ significantly from one about a time you failed and what you learned from that experience.

    But Where You Do Apply

    Now that youre writing stellar essays, start applying for scholarships! Heres a list of 10 scholarship search sites, but wed just recommend you go straight for the best one: for free with Going Merry, and then upload your essays to your documents section. Get started with your scholarship applications today.

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    Create A Strong Introduction

    Since the introduction is what draws the reader into your essay and convinces them to keep going, it should be one of the strongest parts of your essay. Instead of starting off with a general overview, why not hook your reader with a surprising first line?

    For example, which of these two opening lines pulls you into the story more? Which one makes you want to keep going?

    My first time traveling abroad was during a family vacation to Mexico in 2010.

    It was 2010 I had just crossed the border into Mexico and my life was about to change.

    The second sentence gives the reader something to look for it makes them curious about not only how your life changed during your trip but also why it changed. It gives the readers unanswered questions and they have to keep reading to find the answers.

    Overall, youll want to give your reader a quick preview of what they can expect from your essay think of it like the written version of a movie trailer. Why should they keep reading?

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