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Sample Scholarship Essay

What you can expect when you’re asked to write a scholarship essay.

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One of the most important aspects of your financial aid applications is the written statement. Get ahead of your peers by using these sample scholarship essay examples to write a better essay that puts you one step closer to earning scholarship money. A strong essay can bolster your application status even if you don’t meet all of the other requirements; likewise, a poor written statement may hinder your chances, even if you have a strong grade point average and extracurriculars.

Sample Scholarship Essay Example Questions

Write down a paragraph or a page for each and use them as a general foundation for your written statements -- most scholarship essays will require you to answer one of these three questions in some way.

The following sample scholarship essay examples have been taken from a number of accredited universities from across the country, including Cal State University Northridge, Purdue University, The University of California, and the University of Washington. All of these questions are somewhat common as scholarship essay prompts—the chances are high that you will see at least one of them on your scholarship application.

  • Where do you see yourself in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?
  • How would an education from (name of college you are applying to) enrich your personal life and help you reach your career goals?
  • Describe your cultural background and how it has shaped the person you are.
  • If you know what you intend to major in, discuss what led you to choose this area of study and how you hope to contribute to this field upon graduation from college.
  • What is your favorite novel, movie, song, or work of art? What resonates with you and why has it become an important part of your life?

Using These Sample Scholarship Essays To Your Advantage

Write down a paragraph or a page for each and use them as a general foundation for your written statements—most scholarship essays will require you to answer one of these three questions in some way.

However, do NOT simply copy and paste your responses on multiple applications. Every written statement you submit should be unique—simply use this exercise as a means to better prepare yourself for the application process.

Quick Tips

  • It’s better to be too long than too short. You can always edit down the material you find to be least relevant, but it is much more difficult to add to an essay that is too short.
  • Talk to teachers, counselors, and admissions officers and have them read your sample scholarship essays. Doing so will allow them to give you feedback about specific questions as well as suggestions about your writing in general.
  • Unless there is a very specific prompt, choose a topic that truly interests you. If you are genuinely passionate about something, it will show in your writing

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How to Apply for Scholarships
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