5 Scholarship Essay Tips

Learn the basics of scholarship applications and how you can write a winning essay with helpful tips that will set set your essay apart from others.

Demonstrate your personality, interests and qualifications in a scholarship essay that shows your college goals and career aspirations.
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You go to apply for a scholarship, enter all of your information, and come to the most dreaded step of all: the essay.

It’s not fun, and it’s not easy, but the essay is the most important part of nearly all scholarship applications. It gives the judging panel an idea of who you are and why you deserve the award.

Not something to shrug off, is it? Luckily, Campus Explorer is here to help. We’ve got some tips for you to help write a top-notch scholarship essay to win whatever award you’re after.

1. Read the Prompt. No, Really.

Read the essay prompt. Got it? OK, now read it again. You’d be surprised how many people completely fail to address the prompt. Ultimately, the point of a scholarship essay is for the reviewer to get a sense of who you are, but they also want to see that you’re capable of following directions and understanding information.

Also, most scholarships are geared toward certain students with specific life experiences, and the essays are meant to explore that. It won’t reflect well on you if your essay is a jumbled tangent unrelated to the prompt.

2. Take Your Time

Scholarship applications can be grueling. Sometimes by the time you get to the essay portion, you’re ready to throw in the towel, and it can be tempting just to throw something together and send it in without a second thought.

Keep in mind, though, that the essay is essential to your application. It’ll give the scholarship committee a much better idea of who you are than your grades, test scores, or even your activities. Make sure you take the time to write a thoughtful, interesting response.

3. Revise, Rewrite, Reconsider

Many students can earn straight A’s throughout high school (even college, sometimes) without revising a single paper. If you’re that sort of person, keep in mind that a scholarship essay is different. In many cases, you’re competing against the best of the best.

Other applicants may be highly qualified, and the only way to outshine them is to write a great essay. So be sure to read through your essay several times, go through a couple of rewrites, and get feedback from other students and teachers whose opinion you trust.

4. Sell Yourself

We spend the majority of our lives being modest and reserved when it comes to self-praise. Scholarship essays are one of your best chances in life to tell people how great you are, so take advantage of it. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should brag or come across as conceited, but consider what positive qualities you have that are relevant to the scholarship, and play them up in your essay.

5. Make a Splash

Scholarship panels read thousands of essays each year. Most of them are generic, humdrum and safe, revealing nothing about the applicant’s personality. Think of the scholarship essay as a job interview. You don’t want to sit there and tell the interviewer a bunch of generic, vaguely positive things about yourself. You want to be noteworthy, to make a lasting impact. The same goes for essay writing. Don’t be afraid to take chances (within reason, of course). After all, being memorable is always better than being boring, and unique applicants are great applicants.

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