An essay prompt is a thought-provoking question you’re asked to write about in your scholarship essay. It’s a personal statement that tells the scholarship board more about you.
Most scholarship essays are 500 words long, but some may be longer or shorter. Because essay prompts are an important part of scholarship essays, you should answer the question within your essay.
If you’d like to apply for a particular scholarship, get the prompt as soon as it’s available. The faster you get started on the topic, the better. Not all scholarship essays have a prompt, however. For help writing such essays, check out our tips on writing essays without a prompt.
As you write your essay:
- Analyze the topic
- Build your statement in a unique way
- Expound on your thoughts, aligning them with the essay prompt
- Summarize your thoughts and tie it back to the given topic
- Review the essay
- Is your essay unique?
- Did you follow all the directions?
- Is the essay clear and logical?
- Have you made the essay yours by including a personal story?
- Have you proofread and spellchecked everything?
- Have you asked a parent, guardian, mentor, teacher or friend to review your work?
Essay Prompts for Scholarships
Here are some essay prompts you might be asked to write about for a scholarship. We’ve grouped similar topics together to help you re-purpose your essay whenever possible.
Cultural or Social Issues – Essay Prompts
- What is the single, most important societal problem and why? How can you fix it?
- What do you see as the greatest threat to the environment today?
- If you had the authority to change your school in a positive way, what specific changes would you make?
- Pick a controversial problem on college campuses and suggest a solution.
Future Goals – Essay Prompts
- Why do you want to get a college education?
- What are your educational and career goals? How will earning a college degree help you achieve them?
- Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
- How will completing your education impact your community?
- What makes you an excellent candidate for medical school? Why do you want to become a physician?
Leadership – Essay Prompts
- Why should you be selected for a scholarship? Describe any academic achievements, community service activities, examples of leadership, or other personal characteristics that make you deserving of this scholarship?
- Discuss a special attribute or accomplishment that sets you apart.
- Describe an event in which you took a leadership role and what you learned about yourself.
- How have you provided leadership both in and out of school?
Challenges You’ve Faced – Essay Prompts
- What is the most challenging aspect of attending college for you? What you have done to overcome that challenge?
- How you recovered from a mistake, challenge or disappointment?
- What was the most difficult time in your life, and why? How did your perspective on life change as a result of the difficulty?
- What life experiences have shaped who you are today and what challenges have you overcome in achieving your education?
Academic – Essay Prompts
- Why have you chosen this field of study?
- What do you think your chosen industry will be like in the next 10 years?
- What do you find most challenging about a college major in engineering, math or science?
- In what ways have you advocated for career and technical education and/or your chosen field?
Financial Assistance – Essay Prompts
- Express why you should receive this scholarship and any financial hardship that you may be going through.
- Describe your need for financial assistance, worthiness for receiving this scholarship and what field you will pursue for further training.
Other Essay Prompts
- Let’s go back to a time when learning was pure joy. Tell us your favorite childhood book and why.
- Who do you most admire and why?
- In the interest of adventurous inquiry, pose a question of your own.
- You are required to spend the next year of your life in either the past or the future. What year would you travel to and why?
- Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are.
- What is something about which you have changed your mind in the last three years?
- If you could bring anyone — past or present, fictional or nonfictional — to a place that is special to you (your hometown or country, a favorite location, etc), who would you bring and why? What would you share with that person?
- Tell us about your favorite app and what you like about it, and tell us about a time an app played a significant role in improving your day.