Those apprehensive about student loans or the cost of attending school might look towards scholarships to help ease that burden. Most, if not all, scholarships require an essay to apply, so today we’ll be giving you five tips to writing a better scholarship essay.
- Write with passion: Scholarship essays are a dime a dozen, so don’t make the mistake of submitting uninspired writing. Speak on your passions, what you truly care about, and this will translate to good writing. Pour your soul, all that you are, onto the page, for that’s the most anyone can ask for. As long as that 12-point font captures who you are, you’ll have given it your best shot.
- Know your audience: Don’t necessarily pander to the scholarship committee’s tastes, but do keep in mind what this scholarship is for and why it is being offered. If the American Legion is offering a scholarship, you’ll likely want to focus on your dedication to community service. If a student-teacher scholarship is what you’re applying for, you’ll want to emphasize how you would make a great future educator. There is always an underlying theme for scholarships, so think to yourself, “Why did these individuals donate their hard earned money? What type of person do they want to support?”
- Cite specific experiences: Don’t simply write in vague platitudes — make sure to spice up your writing with specific, concrete experiences. If this is a merit-based scholarship, point to your accomplishments and elaborate on what you’re most proud of! If this is a need-based scholarship, explain the challenges you overcame, bringing the reader into the moment. We as humans love stories, so capture a slice of your life and embed it into your essay. There’s no easier way to rally readers to your cause than to present your story. Give them something of you to remember.
Don’t write a sob story: No one likes a pity party. No one likes someone who wallows in sadness. If you have faced obstacles in your life, express it, but don’t leave it at that! We love the underdog story, the tale of one who overcomes all odds, so make that the focus of your essay. Don’t dwell too long on the negative. Convey the obstacles you faced, but emphasize how you gathered the strength to proceed forward.
- Don’t rehash your resume: You’ll likely have to submit a resume or CV alongside your scholarship essay, so don’t waste space just listing out accomplishments. Point to a few notable ones, but use this room to really elaborate on why you’re proud of these accomplishments. Express what you’ve gained from those lines on your resume, and emphasize how much you’ve grown from the experience. Show why you bothered to list these bullet points and why you’ve invested so many hours of your life into these activities. Elaborate and expand. Don’t simply list.