A scholarship essay is written in response to a scholarship application. It tells who you are and why you’re the right candidate for the award.
Most organizations or colleges provide the topic they want you to focus on, but others do not. Additionally, not all scholarships require an essay.
If you’re applying for multiple scholarships, prepare a standard personal statement in advance, then customize it for each application. Working from a general statement, you can quickly cut and paste paragraphs into your essay, instead of starting from scratch. You’ll want to remove any information specific to other scholarships or colleges before submitting the essay.
Read through all the requirements, and be sure to answer all the questions and stay within the word count. You’ll be surprised how many candidates do not follow this rule.
Your scholarship essay should be unique to you.
Sometimes, your essay is the only way that the scholarship committee can learn more about you. Donors want to know their money is going to a worthy cause. They want to see who’s behind the essay and hear the authenticity in your written words. They get a lot of canned responses from applicants, so coming from a different angle is a breath of fresh air.
Instead of highlighting the same accomplishments from your application packet, write about defining moments in your life. Write about two or three accomplishments that are unique to you and tie them into your essay. If you’ve experienced some hardship, demonstrate what you learned through it, while remaining positive.
When writing your scholarship essay, give yourself plenty of time — possibly a few months in advance.
The extra time gives you a chance to review your essay or have another set of eyes proofread your work. You’ll also avoid the rush of having to submit a half-written essay that’s rigged with spelling and grammatical errors.
Scholarship essays say a lot about you, and are perhaps the most important document in your scholarship packet. Why not take the extra time to make your essay shine?