What to Say in a Descriptive Essay for Scholarships

Writing a descriptive essay is like painting a picture with words.
... Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

A descriptive essay is a written piece describing a person, place, thing or event. The goal of any descriptive essay is to capture readers' attention with vivid imagery, immersing them in your topic. Descriptive essays allow you to use your creative license, letting your writing style and personality shine. Set yourself apart from other scholarship applicants by carefully planning your essay to include vivid language and a peek at your personality and drive.

1 Topic Selection

Choosing the right topic will help you compile a first-rate essay. Narrow your topic according to the essay requirements, keeping it simple if you are writing a one-page essay and adding complexity for longer pieces. Consider experiences, places or people that you have firsthand experience with. Whether you love cheeseburgers or have a special place in your heart for your family's summer beach house, your words will flow when you speak from experience.

2 Create Images

Carefully choose words that allow the reader to "see" your topic in its full glory. Instead of saying, "The house was old and white," say, "The crusty, white paint peeled off the old boards in layers, creating a wall of shredded wheat." Use descriptive words that paint a picture of the experience. Use metaphors and similes to help the reader compare and contrast the images. Describe your emotions or memories of a particular place to give the reader a clear picture of what the topic means to you. This also provides a window into your personality and character traits that financial aid officers are looking for.

3 Use Your Senses

SuperCollege.com urges you to show passion in your writing to convey a sense of enthusiasm and drive for the scholarship. You can demonstrate passion by involving the senses as you describe an object, not only visual images but also smells, tastes, sounds and textures. If possible, visit the place, person or object you are writing about. Jot down notes as you focus on the atmosphere of a specific place or the tastes and smells of a specific food. Give the reader a clear picture of your topic by relating it to one or more of the five senses, and connect those sensations to the emotional response they generated within you.

4 Organize It

Keep your writing organized and concise, rather than rambling on about the topic with no clear purpose. A description of an experience might be organized by its time frame, from the first events to the last. Organize an object's description by focusing each paragraph on a different aspect of the object. SuperCollege.com recommends including a thesis statement in the first paragraph to explicitly tell the reader what or who you are describing. An example of a thesis statement is, "The summer spent cleaning the oil-stained shore of the Atlantic is etched into my heart."

Dana Tuffelmire has been writing for DMS for three years. She taught elementary school for seven years and earned a master’s of education degree with a specialization in literacy. She is currently a stay-at-home mom to two sons. Her dream is to one day write a children's book.