No matter what the criteria is or what the application process looks like, most scholarships require at least one essay. Although essays are one of the most important parts of a scholarship application, they can also seem difficult and time-consuming, especially if you are not a naturally skilled writer. How can you put your best foot forward in your scholarship essays? Check out these tips!
- Plan some common responses in advance: Although you should write individual essays for each scholarship, many of the essay questions will share similar themes that you can use for other scholarship applications. Make some notes on a few common topics before you start applying and save your scholarship essays as you apply. You should never copy and paste a whole essay from one application to another, but if you have a supply of relevant essay information, you can keep track of your best ideas to write better scholarship essays later in the year. This approach will also keep you from scrambling to write an essay at the last minute. Some common essay topics can be found here.
- Tell your story clearly and concisely (and follow the instructions!): Scholarship essays can be as short as 200 words or as long as 1,000 words (or more!) depending on the scholarship application. It is important to follow the word or page limit set in the instructions. Keep in mind, your scholarship essay can be excellent and still not answer the question. Be sure to answer the question!! If it’s helpful to you, create an outline based on the essay prompt to make sure that you hit all the required points. Your essays are a chance for the scholarship committee to get to know you, so be sure to paint a clear and interesting picture of yourself.
- Be Professional: You will want to be honest in your scholarship essay, but you need to be careful that your writing is interesting without being too casual. You don’t have to be completely formal, but avoid slang and make sure that your writing is polished. Your English teacher would be a good resource to ask about writing style.
- Proofread, Proofread, Proofread! Before you submit your scholarship essay, pass a copy to a couple trusted individuals to read. Options for people to ask include your English teacher, your school counselor, a trusted friend or mentor, or even your parents (if you think they’d give you an unbiased opinion). In addition to fixing spelling and grammatical errors, ask them if your essay is interesting, if it stays on topic, if it is clear and concise, and if they have any suggestions or corrections. Be sure to read through your essay one more time before you submit it as well!
Although scholarship essays are time-consuming, you can take steps to make writing essays easier. What are your best essay-writing tips? Leave them in the comments below!