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Treat scholarship essays as an opportunity to introduce yourself and explain why you deserve a scholarship, rather than as if writing an essay is a chore. Remember that most scholarships are extremely competitive - you will not get a second chance to elaborate about your accomplishments or to provide further explanation about your motivation. The essay is your one chance to sell yourself – take full advantage of it. The following tips are designed to help you make the most of writing essays:
Avoid mistakes on your scholarship essays. Spellcheck, proofread and whenever possible ask someone else to critique your essay before submission.
Analyze the question or essay topic
- Write the question down.
- How many parts does it have?
- Is there a suggestion of structure or order in the question?
- Will you have to research before you can answer the question, or is the question based on an analysis of you and your opinions or experiences?
- Why do you think the judges posed this question? What do you think they hope to learn about you from your essay?
Research and Analyze the Donor Organization and determine what the scholarship is about
- Who founded the scholarship?
- What special characteristics or interests do the donor(s) possess or care about?
- Who are the judges?
- What special points of view do the judges possess?
Create Goals and Develop a Theme
- Outline the points that you want to convey in your essay.
- Develop a theme and make sure your essay relates to the theme you select.
- Review and then rewrite your essay, making sure you convey your goals and stick to your theme.
- Elaborate by way of examples whenever possible. For instance, don’t just make a simple - statement “ I am a caring person”. Instead, try something like “I volunteer at the local Manna food pantry three days a week, and visit my great-grandmother at the Shady Acres Rest Home every Sunday. I love playing cards with Grandma Rose’s friends, especially when they share stories about their youth and the changes they have witnessed over the years. During the holidays my family makes treats and delivers to Grandma Rose and her friends. Some of the residents don’t have visitors and they are so appreciative, but my family and I feel wonderful when we leave – like we have really made a difference.“
- Descriptions like this really give the judges a view of how caring you are. In turn, they begin to care about you and want to help you out – perhaps with some scholarship money!
- Plagiarized essays will disqualify you from consideration for any and all scholarships. In addition, any student who is found to have copied essay(s) or provided false information on scholarship applications will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct.