How To Write A Scholarship Essay That Will Get You Approved Immediately
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Writing a scholarship essay is a task you’ll never have to worry about until you’re applying to your dream college. This task could go one of two ways. One, you either want to oversell yourself by listing down every accolade and convincing the admissions committee of why you’re the perfect candidate. Or two, you could completely space out and go on an existential crises and end up asking yourself how you could even be chosen. We’re here to help sort you out!
Before we dive deep into how you can begin writing your scholarship essay, take this time to pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for how long you’ve come. Scholarships aren’t granted to all students. If you’ve found this blog, chances are you probably have every prerequisite already and only need that extra push and belief that you are worthy of getting a scholarship.
All About Scholarships
Here’s a little history lesson before we learn how to write a scholarship essay. Lady Anne Radcliffe Mowlson is who we all have to thank for the existence of scholarships. Harvard College established the first scholarship in 1643. She was the first to provide financial aid to Harvard College specifically so that impoverished scholars could study at Harvard. Lady Anne was a pioneer and truly ahead of her time – 259 years to be exact!
The few next notable scholarships to be established were the Rhodes Scholarship in 1902 by Cecil John Rhodes and the United Negro College Fund that was founded in 1944.
While it could have been a far fetched idea in the past to get your education funded for, today almost all schools, colleges, and universities have scholarship programs in place to ensure students who have talent and potential but might not have the resources, get a chance to be part of educational institutions that will build them up and train them with the appropriate funds to help them achieve their dreams.
Setting Yourself Apart: Tips For Writing Scholarship Essays
Writing a scholarship essay is one of many important documents you will need when you apply for a scholarship. Contrary to what most people think scholarships are and what they initially started as, there are now many types of scholarships you can apply for. One tip to set yourself apart from other applicants is making sure you’re tailoring your scholarship essay to the type of scholarship you are applying for.
Let’s explore each type of scholarship available and see what’s best for you.
The Different Types of Scholarships
1. Academic Scholarships
The most widely-known type of scholarship is an academic scholarship. Academic or merit-based scholarships are usually awarded to students who show exemplary academic skills. A student doesn’t necessarily have to be in financial need or assistance to apply for the scholarship. Since it’s merit-based, regardless of a student’s financial background, they can be awarded an academic scholarship as long as they don’t go below the cumulative GPA standard. Learning how to write a scholarship essay about yourself might not be enough for this type of scholarship since you need good grades to get along with your amazing essay.
2. Athletic Scholarships
Scholarships tend to be merit-based in one way or another. If academic scholarships are based on grades and not just a student’s need for financial aid, athletic scholarships are based on a student’s excellence in athleticism. Some colleges even offer their student athletes or varsity students a rebate percentage off their tuition fees. Similar to academic scholarships, student athletes must still uphold a certain GPA to stay on a scholarship.
3. Extracurricular Scholarships
Joining extracurricular activities and school clubs could also open up opportunities for students to apply to scholarships. School club advisors are great sources of recommendation letters and can help find scholarship opportunities for students who are talented in dancing, acting, arts, and more.
4. Student-Specific Scholarships
Another type of scholarship to consider as you learn how to write a scholarship essay are student-specific scholarships. There are committees, organizations, and institutions that are dedicated to help students from marginalized communities, specific religious denominations, and heritages. Student-specific based scholarships examples include:
a. Religious – Based on your religious background, there are churches, temples, or private organizations that are dedicated to helping students from specific religious backgrounds.
b. First-Generation – Other organizations cater to first-generation students who come from immigrant families.
c. Legacy – Some universities cater to legacies or children of the university’s alumni.
d. Identity-Based – Other organizations cater to students from these specific communities:
i. Hispanic Heritage
ii. African American
v. Learning Disabilities
5. Need-Based Scholarships
Learning how to write a scholarship essay about financial need is most suited for students who are applying for need-based scholarships. The difference between need-based and academic scholarships, is the latter doesn’t take into account the student’s financial background. As long as a student shows exemplary academic performance, they can be eligible for academic scholarships. Need-based scholarships are specifically for students who are looking for financial aid because they are unable to fund for their education themselves. For this type of scholarship, students may also need to present proof such as income documentation.
6. Employer Scholarships
Many companies also offer employer scholarships, awarded to students who are employed at the company. Most employer scholarships can also be awarded to children or relatives of employees, or family members of deceased employees.
7. Military Scholarships
Military scholarships are more so prevalent in the United States. Members of the US Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Navy, or Marine Corps are able to receive scholarship grants for themselves, even as veterans, and for their families. There are plenty of programs that fall under military scholarships in the US like the Air Force ROTC scholarship for high school students.
You can find the full list of available military scholarship programs, deadlines, and amounts here.
8. STEM Scholarships
This particular scholarship is for students who are specifically interested in STEM majors. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
How To Find Scholarship Programs
According to the Federal Student Aid which is an office of the US Department of Education, there are many ways for you to find the right scholarship program for your specific needs. Here’s a list of free resources where you can find the right type of scholarship for you!
1. Financial Aid Offices in Colleges or High Schools
Most schools have financial aid offices and if you’re not sure if your school has one, you can always venture out to other schools that do. Don’t be afraid to ask your teachers, advisors, or counselors and they can steer you in the right direction.
2. TRIO (For US students)
The US Department of Education has these so-called TRIO Programs that are sort of outreach service programs for American students from disadvantaged backgrounds. We know now that there are different types of scholarship programs and ones that are student-specific and TRIO programs help students from marginalized communities.
3. Library’s Reference Section
Never underestimate the power of research and going back to basics. The reference section at your school or local library could provide you with information to lead you to the right organizations that offer scholarships.
4. Private Foundations or Religious / Community Organizations
Also under the student-specific type of scholarship, reach out to your local nonprofit organizations, private foundations, and even your local church and ask about their financial assistance programs for students.
5. Ethnicity-based Organizations
Scholarships.com has a list of ethnicity-based organizations that provide financial assistance for students. Most notably on the list for example are, Assistance League of Las Vegas Scholarships, Banatao Family Filipino American Education Fund, and Central California Asian Pacific Women Scholarship.
6. Private Companies
Employer scholarships are indeed a great perk that your parents or family members might not even be aware of. Have your family ask their employers regarding their programs for student financial assistance. If you’re a working student, you can also inquire directly with your employer and see if they can help you or at least direct you to other companies that do offer employer scholarships.
How To Write A Good Scholarship Essay
Here are our top 8 steps on how to write a scholarship essay.
1. Start Early
Just like any type of essay, writing a scholarship essay will do you no good under pressure. And unlike regular essays, there’s a lot more on the line if you’re wanting to learn how to write a good college scholarship essay. If you’re already set on applying for any type of scholarship, you’ve got to plan ahead. That means even as early as your junior or senior year of high school. Starting early and planning ahead means you get to strategically do your last years of high school right by joining appropriate clubs, getting good grades, and prepping yourself to write the best of your accomplishments before college applications begin.
If you’re a serial procrastinator, believe us when we say your scholarship essay is not one to leave to write at the last minute. If you are looking for ways to get other types of essays done within a certain time and quality, check out Homework Help USA’s list of services to see if you can find what you’re looking for!
2. Do research on the scholarship program
The best scholarship essay examples you’ll find on the Internet were surely written by students who did research on the scholarship programs they applied for. It only makes sense for anyone to make sure they are optimizing their chances at being granted a scholarship once they find the right program. Regardless of your major, need, or circumstance, with the right research, you’re sure to find the perfect scholarship program for you.
It’s also important to research ahead of time because depending on the scholarship program you choose, they’ll have different requirements. Prepare all the required support documents ahead of time. Even if you get professional scholarship essay writers to help you, without complete requirements, you could easily get denied.
3. Follow instructions
Once you’ve decided on your scholarship program to apply to, make sure you follow their instructions. Contrary to popular belief, there are also scholarships that don’t require essays from their applicants. You could save yourself a lot of time, which is precisely why we advise you to plan ahead and do your research.
Instructions vary for any kind of essay. Instructions always seem so simple, but when they’re not followed, it could be very detrimental to your whole application process.
4. Highlight positivity
You can appeal to the scholarship committee much better when you highlight your strengths and abilities in your essay. Similar to writing a cover letter for a job application, you can’t just tell potential employers that you need a job because you are currently unemployed. You want to tell the committee why you are a person worth investing in. You want to show your previous work ethic and highlight all the best parts of yourself while retaining a level of relatability.
The committee technically does not know anything about you besides what a file with your basic credentials contains. Your essay will allow them to peek through your personality and life. So use this to your advantage! Make sure they remember you not because they pity you or because you’ve been through many hardships, but rather, see you for the best version of you that you envision for yourself as well.
5. Don’t shy away from being personal
As we stated earlier, relatability is key, but there should also be boundaries. Don’t be afraid of sharing personal experiences that led you to achieve certain goals or have taught you specific life values. But also, try not to overshare and remain professional in your tone and way of writing.
If you have all the right ideas but aren’t confident enough in your storytelling abilities and essay writing skills, Homework Help USA provides a scholarship essay writing service that you could most definitely benefit from!
6. Get good feedback
As you’ve hopefully planned ahead and have made a draft of your scholarship essay, you have every resource in school to get your essay checked by your trusted advisors, teachers, and even peers. You always want to have fresh eyes to look at your essay for a different perspective that you might have missed or could work on better.
7. Check your grammar and spelling
Scholarship essays are a great way to gauge a student’s writing skills and level of intellect. That being said, if you don’t write with correct grammar and spelling, that could easily rob you of your chance of being granted a scholarship. Imagine applying for an academic scholarship and your essay had misspelled words. To the scholarship committee, that’s already a huge red flag. Make sure to proofread your essay by re-reading and re-checking twice if not thrice.
If you want that extra edge for your essay, you could also have it proofread professionally by one of our trusted writers. If you’re not comfortable with sharing your essay to your peers and teachers, having it proofread by a professional writer could be the perfect solution.
8. Believe in yourself
Your scholarship essay is about showcasing who you are past your current educational attainments, grades, and accolades. For anyone to see the worth in you, you’ve got to believe in yourself first! Be confident in your writing and believe in your worth.
Scholarship Application Essay Tips
Besides our 8 steps to how to write a scholarship essay, here are some more tips to really solidify your essay! According to Pierce College, you need to be organized in the way you write your scholarship essay. If you need some scholarship essay ideas, here are some questions you can ask yourself during the writing process that will help you stay on track and organized.
1. How would you describe yourself and who you are?
2. How have your life experiences shaped who you are today?
3. What are your current passions and sources of inspiration?
4. What are your most proud accomplishments so far?
5. Where are you currently located?
6. Where do you envision yourself in the future?
7. What are your plans in place to reach your goals?
8. Why do you need this scholarship?
9. How will being granted this scholarship make a difference in your life?
10. How important is your education to you?
For more organizational tips, check out our blog on Organization Tips To Rock Your University Life and Help You Stay On Track.
Scholarship Essay Format
With your organizational questions in hand and knowledge on what types of scholarships are available and where to find them, here’s a sample scholarship essay outline to really get you to understand how to write a scholarship essay.
In your introduction, start by stating your name and which school you are from. You could say at what year or level you are currently at in school. It’ll also show how far ahead you’ve prepared by telling the scholarship committee that bit of information right off the bat. Keep your introduction light and save the personal anecdotes for the middle part of the essay.
II. Objectives and Goals
For this second part of your scholarship essay, you can slowly provide more information about yourself. Give your educational objectives and career goals by starting with your major. Tell the committee why you chose your major and what you plan to do once you get your degree. You can also expound on why you’ve chosen your specific career path.
III. Personal Background
In the third part of your scholarship essay, you can provide more of a brief background that the committee won’t see on your other documents. Paint a picture of what your family life is like, how many siblings you have and what your parents do. This is where you can expound on the earlier organizational questions we laid out like answering the question, “how did you get to where you are today?”
You can also add in this section what is most important to you and weave that in with your academic accomplishments and experience. If you’ve had any volunteer work experience, extracurricular interests, or hobbies that will make you stand out, here’s where you add them.
Because of the many different scholarship types, you also need to be specific about your needs. Tell your readers why you need the scholarship grant and the impact or difference it can make in your life. Just as you start to paint a picture of your current life to the scholarship committee, try and paint a picture of what life would be like once you’re granted the scholarship.
Always thank the scholarship committee or your reader in the conclusion of your essay. Remember that for this specific essay, you are seeking an opportunity and saying “thank you” could mean the world of a difference. In this final part of your scholarship essay, you can say how impactful your educational path has been and how excited you are to continue on that journey.
What Not To Add To Your Scholarship Essay
In our attempt to make sure you have everything you need to know about how to write a scholarship essay, here are some quick do’s and don’ts of what to add and what not to add to your essay.
Do be honest about who you are, your personal life experiences, and qualities you possess.
Don’t outwardly ask the scholarship committee to admit you.
Do stay on a positive note and highlight your accomplishments and best qualities.
Don’t just say cliche lines like “I am unique and interesting”.
Do pay attention to your conclusion and make sure you provide closure to the reader.
Don’t use the words “in conclusion” or “to summarize” in your conclusion.
Do be concise in providing your personal information and communicating your specific needs.
Don’t write about personal romantic relationships, views on illicit substances, or opinions on current events and moral issues.
Do use analogies like metaphors and similes to help you further convey your message.
Don’t quote others regardless of their fame or notoriety. The committee wants to hear from you specifically.
Do be specific with impactful experiences that shaped who you are and concentrate on the best one.
Don’t be too idealistic.
Do remain a level of professionalism in your essay and make sure you proofread.
Don’t use slang and not check for grammatical and spelling errors.
Need Help Writing Scholarship Essays?
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