Financial aids have become important to students as a way of obtaining college education regardless of their financial constraints. Scholarships and grants enable students to pay for their education without repayment plans. Such scholarships and grants are offered by the government as well as private sources such as corporations, churches, foundations, nonprofit groups, unions, service clubs and many others. In most cases an applicant is required to have achieved academic excellence or met a financial threshold. Regardless, one has to apply for the scholarship or grant with an outstanding and impressive application essay. As such, a scholarship essay requires additional effort compared to normal academic essays because one’s financial stability is at stake. Scholarship essays come in different forms depending on the requirements of the granting organization. Some essays may be based on a certain prompt or a list of questions where an applicant is required to respond. The essay can also be open where the applicant has the freedom of including relevant information about their academic achievements and goals within a certain word count. Nonetheless, one has to follow the guideline to qualify.
Tips for writing a scholarship essay
1. Understand the scholarship essay prompt or guidelines
The scholarship guidelines are designed to help the granting organization assess the eligibility of the applicant for the scholarship or grant. This is why it is important to take your time to understand what is being asked of you. In most cases, scholarship essays follow a similar theme however, it is advisable to stick to the specific questions in your application. Although you might need to add some information, it is important to understand that your ability to respond to the prompt is part of what is being tested.
2. Choose an appropriate topic for your essay
While some scholarships provide prompts, some allow you to select a topic or write about a subject related to your application. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your authenticity in the best way you can. Select a topic you are passionate about and make it as relatable as possible to prove your authenticity. It is advisable that you do not select what you think the reader will want to hear but what resonates with your personal experience. This will give you a strong foundation to put forward your case and financial situation and how the scholarship will be of significance to you.
3. Conduct some research
The main objective of a scholarship essay is to articulate your financial situation backed with your academic or co-curriculum performance to appeal for a scholarship opportunity or a grant. In essence, you need to convince them and provide proof as to why you deserve the scholarship or grant amongst other applicants. This is why it is important to conduct some research on the organization offering the scholarship to understand their motivation for providing the scholarship as well as their general mission. This will help you align your essay with their goals for a better chance to win the scholarship. You can also conduct research on scholarship sites to identify previous scholarship winners and how they wrote their winning applications as a guide for your essay.
4. Brainstorm and plan
Like any other essay writing process, brainstorming ideas is a key stage to help you gather relevant points for your essay. Brainstorming helps you identify ideas and have a clear sense of focus of your essay. After collecting enough ideas, create an outline or a roadmap on the flow of the essays. A plan is important to guide you into creating a draft for your scholarship essays. It involves synthesizing through the ideas gathered during the brainstorming stage to fit a certain theme of focus of the essay. You can create a plan by identifying the details for the introduction, main points for the body section of your essay as well as the conclusion section.
5. Maintain honesty
Another important tip to writing a good scholarship essay is honesty. The readers and reviewers of the scholarship essays are professionals with extensive experience in the field. They can easily spot baloney in your application. This is why it is important to maintain honesty in describing your experiences. Any attempts to exaggerate your case to appear more deserving may turn out to be dramatic and dishonest to the readers hence disqualification.
6. Be concise and focus on the main issue
The choice of words matters a lot in your scholarship essay. The primary intent is to convince the reader that you deserve the opportunity. This aspect can also make the essay emotive and hence the use of evocative language. However, it is important to understand that at the end of the day the reader will want to understand and synthesize your point in order to consider your application for the next stage. Therefore, it is advisable to evoke emotion in a concise manner without boring the reader. Make succinct sentences instead of ornate language.
7. Maintain professionalism
While scholarship essays are often about being yourself and describing your situation it still remains an academic paper and thus professionalism is key. Make your essay clear with the right choice of words, and tone. Avoid profanity or overly conversational language and ensure that the essay looks as professional as possible in terms of formatting, spelling and use of grammar.
8. Focus on your resilience
Many people have experienced hardships and the winners are the ones that come out strong. This is why many scholarships focus on the resilience of the applicant. They don’t only want to hear about your problems but also how you overcame them. For example, as you write about your school fees problems during your high school, you also talk about how you worked on weekends to top up what your guardians could afford.
9. Demonstrate your case
In most cases, the scholarship essay may ask you to explain or describe a challenge you have faced. This is the opportunity to be as persuasive as you can. Instead of explaining the situation, make the reader feel the situation. Describe the situation in a manner that paints a picture for the reader. However, as indicated earlier, painting a picture does not mean being wordy but using the right words to describe the situation in a manner that evokes emotion.
Sample of admission essay
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