Writing Scholarship Essays A Critical Step
The writing scholarship essays is a critical step in the scholarship application process because it helps
establish why a particular applicant is deserving of the money.
Other writing scholarship essays criterion such as a high SAT score
and a solid GPA, while still valuable, do not personalize the scholarship application like the essay does, as
the essay appeals to the emotional aspect of one's psyche.
For this reason it is important that the college scholarship essay is clear, concise and
So how does one go about writing scholarship essays ? Well, the very first step would involve one absolving
themselves of the notion that only those with talent have the ability to write well. If a person can talk they can
However, because writing does involve a little bit more thinking than regular talking, it is important to follow
a few guidelines during the writing process.
These guidelines are detailed below:
1) Read other college scholarship essays
Reading other winning scholarship essays is the best way to get a feel for what scholarship judges are looking
for. It may also help provide ideas during times of writer's block. Be careful, however, not to copy other people's
words unless they are properly quoted in the scholarship essay. This applies for both direct quotes and paraphrased
2) Use outlines and brainstorm
Outlines are a great tool for a writer to get their thoughts together. A traditional outline format consists of
a Roman numeral identifying the main heading, a capital letter identifying a subheading and numbers indicating
topics under the subheading.
Further points related to these topics can be denoted using small letters. Of course, for the scholarship essay
an informal outline could work just as well... all that really matters is that the writer is aware of what they
want to say before they actually start saying it.
3) Don't be afraid of research
Some scholarship essays seem so easy... so why does a writer still encounter mental roadblocks when starting
their piece? This is perfectly natural even on topics that one feels they are knowledgeable of. To get the brain
cells functioning again, sometimes researching on topics directly and indirectly related to the main topic is
4) Write from the heart
Don't try to sound like the latest best-selling author when writing scholarship essays. This includes trying to
sound 'deep', (unless of course 'deep' is one's natural writing style), and littering the essay with big words.
Scholarship judges can see through this and are usually turned off if they feel an essayist is trying to sound
like someone else.
5) Be creative
As long as creativity doesn't distract from the main theme of the scholarship essay, and assuming one is still
using proper grammar, don't be afraid to deviate from the 'academic style.' Believe it or not scholarship judges
are human and tend to notice essays that touch their emotions in some way.
Anecdotes, emotional personal accounts and even dialogues are creative approaches that have been used in winning
scholarship essays. If the scholarship essay instructions allow for creative expression, go wild with it.
6) Use proper grammar and punctuation
Scholarship essays full of grammatical errors are the first to be disqualified even if the content is otherwise
compelling. Therefore it is important that an essayist is fully aware of the rules of English grammar and writes in
a formal manner.
This means that when it comes to choosing to write a sentence with a traditional structure versus a
'contemporary' one, the writer should opt for the former.
For example, even though it has recently become acceptable to use and or but at the beginning of a sentence, it
should be avoided when writing
There are still a lot of editors that feel uncomfortable with the idea of using a conjunction at the beginning
of a sentence, so why even take the chance? A writer can never lose when choosing to write traditionally.
7) Use a standard essay format
A basic essay format consists of a thesis statement, three or four paragraphs expanding on points detailed in
the thesis statement and a concluding paragraph. This traditional structure, despite being seen as generic by some
writers, works very well.
Why? Because it allows the essayist to clearly lay out their thoughts both for themselves during the writing
process and for the judges who are reading the essay.
This is an important factor when creating the scholarship essay, particularly for inexperienced writers who may
have trouble clearly expressing the 'main point' in a non-traditional approach.
8) Follow the scholarship essay's instructions
It is important that the scholarship essay addresses the points asked for in the instructions. No matter how
brilliant a particular piece is, if it goes off on a tangent discussing irrelevant topics then it has not achieved
the desired objective.
9) Get someone else to proofread your work
It is very easy for writers to not catch all of their mistakes, whether they are grammatical errors, typos or
inconsistencies in the 'logic' of their piece. This is why it is important for everyone, even those who have
previously written winning scholarship essays, to get their work proofread by a variety of sources.
10) Don't get discouraged by 'losing' scholarship essays
Just because a scholarship essay didn't win doesn't necessarily mean that it was bad. Keep in mind that
scholarship judges are responsible for reading hundreds sometimes even thousands of scholarship essays.
Deciding who will win, particularly when there are so many good essays to choose from can be very difficult.
Sometimes the final choice will be based purely on emotion... the judge may see factors in an essay that reminds
them of their personal life. Either way, it is impossible to please everyone.
This is why it is important to apply to as many scholarships as possible.
As long as a person follows these guidelines and produces a well-written essay, the power of numbers shall be on
their side. Good scholarship essays are bound to get noticed eventually.