Scholarships, particularly highly competitive academic ones, often require essays outlining the reasons applicants deserve this scholarship. This is your opportunity to let your unique talents shine through in a clear, well-written essay. An essay on why you deserve a scholarship should focus on the achievements you've had that are relevant to the scholarship. It should also highlight the talents you bring to a program and the ways in which choosing you can benefit the school or program you've selected.
Focus your essay on the topic or writing prompt you're given, not a broad and general topic. Financial aid offices sometimes ask students to focus on their biggest achievements, their biggest struggles, their goals for the future, their most cherished values or the ways in which they can benefit an academic program. Your essay should directly answer this question. If you're given a broader topic that simply asks you to explain why you deserve the scholarship, brainstorm about your most impressive achievements and the most unique things you can offer to a program, then focus your essay on these personal traits and achievements. Where possible, emphasize the ways in which your life experiences have helped you develop your skills. For example, you might mention how mentoring at-risk children has helped you develop compassion and a strong work ethic.
All papers, including scholarship essays, need a thesis statement outlining your main argument. A thesis will help you keep your paper focused, and for scholarship essays, your thesis might argue that you deserve the scholarship because of prior academic achievement or because of the ways in which the scholarship will enable you to continue a program at which you've excelled. Every sentence and paragraph in your paper should relate to your thesis. Avoid veering into off-topic discussions.
Highlighting your previous achievements, particularly those relevant to the scholarship you want, is key for a winning essay. If you've achieved something that is not mentioned elsewhere in your application packet, the essay is a great chance to mention it and to explain its relevance to your scholarship application. For example, you might argue that you have an excellent work ethic as evidenced by your time organizing a volunteer program while taking a heavy course load.
While admissions offices and scholarship organizations might be impressed by your previous achievements, they want to know the ways in which these achievements can benefit them. Outline the ways in which you will use the scholarship. For example, mention that a school's rigorous math program will give you an opportunity to expand upon your math achievements or address ideas for programs you'd like to start. You might mention that you want to start a tutoring organization for children or that you intend to publish a paper addressing a particular academic problem.
Grammar and Structure
There's no room for grammatical or spelling errors in a scholarship essay, so check and double-check your paper and have someone else review it. Your structure should be clear and well-organized, with a logical flow. While your paper should avoid overly casual language and slang, it should also be fun to read. Don't use dry, academic language; instead write in a way that displays your personality.
Style Your World With Color
Create balance and growth throughout your wardrobe.View Article
Let your clothes speak for themselves with this powerhouse hue.View Article
Barack Obama's signature color may bring presidential power to your wardrobe.View Article
Explore a range of beautiful hues with the year’s must-have colors.View Article
- Scholarships.com: Top 10 Tips for Writing Effective Scholarship Essays
- Peterson's: Top Graduate School Essay Writing Mistakes You Must Avoid
- International Student: Scholarship Essay Writing Tips
- Just Colleges: Write a Scholarship Essay That Works!
- University of Michigan - Flint: Writing a Scholarship Essay/Personal Statement
- University of Massachusetts: Writing the Scholarship Essay
- Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images