Guidelines and Steps to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay
- By Denise C.
- April 13, 2022
- 6 Min Read
Do you want to apply for a scholarship to cover your college expenses? Then, you must know that getting selected for a scholarship requires a good amount of effort. With growing tuition fees and other college expenditures, it is natural for students to apply for scholarships. However, how will you win the scholarship?
Well, chances are winning a scholarship requires you to write a scholarship essay.
What is a scholarship essay?
A scholarship essay is an essay that is usually submitted along with a scholarship application. It is an essential part of the application which decides whether you win the scholarship or not. The role of the scholarship essay is pivotal. It must be unique and make the writing stand out. Also, it must give the committee a sense of who you are as a person, what your goals are, and why you deserve the scholarship.
What is the purpose of the scholarship essay?
The prime purpose of a scholarship essay is to show that you deserve the scholarship. It is a chance to display your personality and tell what you are capable of. One of the essential goals of writing this essay is not just to inform but persuade the committee to consider you.
To make things more precise, we will now explain how a scholarship essay differs from a general college essay.
What distinguishes scholarship essays from college essays?
While both of these essays have one thing in common, that is, they should represent you and your opinions. However, there are a few distinguishing characteristics between the two:
Length: Scholarship essays are usually short in length. It is written in 500 words or less (however, this depends on the scholarship essay requirements. You may be given long essays as well). In comparison, college essays can be longer, with word count ranging from 650 words or above.
Purpose: College essay should reflect your opinion on a committee topic and your personality. Whereas, a scholarship essay must present your beliefs and interests (share with that of the organization).
Topic: Usually, college essay topics are broad compared to scholarship essay topics. And also, the students may have the freedom to choose a college essay topic. However, the organization issuing scholarship may give you specific topics to write about. For example, the scholarship committee may ask you to write an essay about why you deserve the scholarship.
These are some of the basic concepts that you must know before you start writing a scholarship essay. There is no particular way to write this essay. If you examine some scholarship essay examples, you will understand that each award-winning article has its style and uniqueness.
That being said, one must follow the basic essay format to write this essay too. In this article, we will show you how to write a scholarship essay.
Steps for writing an impressive scholarship essay
Before you begin writing the essay, you must have adequate planning. So, allocate sufficient time for it. With good planning and excellent preparation, you will be able to deliver a stunning scholarship essay on time.
Step 1: Familiarize with the requirements.
When you receive the scholarship essay prompt, the first thing to do is to go through it carefully to understand the prompt’s requirements. It is advisable to know what the prompts are about since they are sometimes tricky.
The essay will usually have a word limit of around 400 – 500 words. So, you will have to plan what you want to illustrate beforehand. As a rule of thumb, your article must reflect your perspective on the prompt and why you deserve the scholarship.
Consider the following questions to make your submission informative:
- What makes you unique?
- What are your career goals?
- Can you explain your contribution to the chosen field?
- In your opinion, what qualifies you for the scholarship?
Step 2: Select a topic
This step is applicable if you are given an essay topic. Keep your goal in mind while choosing a good research paper topic. You now know that the sole purpose of writing this essay is to show how deserving you are of the scholarship provided by the organization. Some of the questions that are worth pondering to make a list of topics are:
- What are the significant obstacles you faced in life? How did you conquer them, and what lessons you learn from them?
- What are your most significant achievements in life so far?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your dreams?
Going through these questions may give you some better research topic ideas. Some of the topics that you can select are:
- My dreams
- Goals to achieve in the next five years
- My biggest inspiration in life
- My destiny is in my hands
Step 3: Start writing
Before you start writing, you must know the basic essay format in which essays are generally written. Typically, the basic essay outline has three sections – Introduction, Body, and Conclusion. We have provided what to include in each unit in the next part.
Scholarship essay outline
The general essay outline is as follows
Introduction: This is the initial passage of the essay. It must include a hook sentence and thesis statement (usually explaining why you deserve the scholarship).
Having a hooking sentence at the beginning of the essay helps to grab the attention of the readers. It is no secret that the scholarship committee will be reviewing hundreds of applications; that’s why having a hook proves beneficial.
Tips: a) Keep your introduction short and interesting
b) Add your thesis statement at the end of your introduction
c) Avoid cliches
d) include only relevant information
Body: This is the longest section of the essay. It must reflect your personality and include what the scholarship committee is seeking. Some of the ideas that you can make use of to write the body are:
- Write about strengths, achievements, and positive traits
- Share an incident from your life that reflects your passion
- Talk about how deserving you are
- Explain how this scholarship is going to help your goals
- Share your personal experience – how you overcame obstacles in life/how you overcame struggles to reach where you are
Tip: a) Do not generalize your body content. Give your personal touch and be honest if you are sharing any personal incident.
b) Try to match your statements with the interests of the organization providing scholarship
Conclusion: This forms the final section of the essay. It must have a summary of your main points. Also, you have the restate your thesis statement.
One way to create an impact in the mind of your reader is by having a powerful conclusion. Some of the ideas you can consider are:
- Future look – If you are writing about your experiences, you may find that this type of conclusion fits well. Write how your experiences have shaped you as a person and how you will use these experiences in the future.
- Reflection – You can use this type of conclusion to demonstrate your growth. You may make use of failures as stepping stones for success.
- Reiterate – In this type of conclusion, you repeat your thesis statement to make it more effective. This kind of repetition shows how strong your statement is, and it also connects with the reader quickly.
These are the three steps to writing a clear and concise scholarship essay. However, your work does not with writing the essay. But, you must also pay attention to scholarship essay formatting. After all, it also plays an important role.
Scholarship essay formatting
Formatting content is a crucial part of the writing process. You may write a great essay, but it is useless if the formatting is done the right way. Since the essay evaluators have less time, poorly formatted articles will be rejected without a second glance.
The scholarship essay formatting rules that you can follow are:
- Use a 12-point font size
- Use Times New Roman font style
- Maintain a 1” margin on all sides
- Set the line spacing to double space
- Indent before each paragraph
- Insert page number and your last name at the top left corner of the page (in case of long essays)
It can be challenging to write a scholarship essay. You may feel incapable of writing the essay if you lack skills and don’t have a lot of time. There are high stakes involved, however. And only a fantastic scholarship essay can make the cut and help you earn the scholarship you want.
The guidelines and steps that are provided in this article, if followed, can help you immensely. All you have to do is to devote your effort and patience. Make sure that you take one step at a time and you will succeed. One last piece of advice is to be original in your writing and give a personal touch. Give the reader a glimpse of who you are, what are your achievements, and are your struggles.
Let them know how critical this scholarship is and how you are going to utilize it. Use your language carefully. Let it emphasize your enthusiasm, aim, and passion.
All the best!