Summer is the time of sunny sky, sunsets on the beach… and scholarship essays.
Don’t seem to go together well, do they?
Have you already guessed it?
Even though it can be hard to motivate yourself to write an essay instead of lying in the sun, there’s still a good reason to get yourself together.
That reason is your wellbeing during the year that follows.
Scholarship essay is, without any doubt, on the list of things that can significantly affect your life (and if you’re struggling with your scholarship writing, you can always find help here).
College admission boards and scholarship committees are looking for new effective ways to discover talented students who can easily and successfully communicate their ideas in writing (that’s why it is important to proofread your essay by Grammarly).
Scholarship essays have become an effective tool in this search. Even for students who want to study abroad. To help you out, we have conducted a thorough research came up with this definitive guide on scholarship essays.
So, what’s inside?
First, we’ll explain the whole point of writing this kind of essay and describe what components it should include to bring you success. Next, we’ll lead you step by step through the process of writing itself. You’ll learn exactly what you need to do to create the perfect scholarship essay.
And that’s not all.
We’ll also discuss the best choice of words when writing an essay and explain how you should create effective headlines. You’ll also get to check out a couple of essay examples, as well as a list of do’s and don’ts that will make the writing process even easier for you.
Last but not least, we’ll give a list of scholarships that you can apply to—so make sure to read our guide through to the very end!
But enough introductions, let’s move on to the most interesting part. It’s time to learn what scholarship essays are all about.
1. ✏️ Before Starting to Write…
There’s one important thing you need to know before even starting to gather material for your scholarship letter.
And here’s what it is.
You need to understand the real purpose of why you are writing a scholarship essay. Apart from that, you need to see the difference between phrases like “Why I Need This Scholarship” and “Why I Deserve This Scholarship.”
At a glance, there seems to be no difference between those two.
After all, you are going to write a mere essay. And it is probably not that important, which one of the titles you choose, right?
Still, if you look at the two titles closer, you will see a slight difference between a “Why I Need This Scholarship” essay and a “Why I Deserve the Scholarship” essay.
Obviously, the difference lies in the two words “need” and “deserve”.
So, let’s look at what sets apart these similarly titled essays in more detail.
“Why I Need This Scholarship” essay
If you’re using the word need in your essay, it will sound like you are begging for your scholarship.
And that may be true in reality.
However, do you want to sound like a beggar?
Your success will heavily depend on the language and tone you use in your essay. However, you must be aware that something like “Please, give me this scholarship. I need it. My family cannot afford to pay for my education, and I want to get a degree so much” will not make a good impression.
“Why I Deserve This Scholarship” essay
Writing an application letter that explains why you deserve a scholarship also shows that you are asking for it.
When you’re sure you deserve the scholarship, you will sound much stronger and more convincing.
Support your argument with a logical and detailed explanation of exactly why you deserve this scholarship. Tell about what makes you unique among other candidates. Describe your main strengths to persuade your readers that you’re the one who’s worthy of getting the money. It’s common to hold scholarship essay contests, so you need to do your best to win the competition.
With the right focus, writing a successful scholarship essay comes down to just following the prompts and completing all the necessary steps.
And that’s exactly what you’re going to learn in the next part of our guide.
2. 📋 Writing Scholarships Step by Step
Every essay—regardless of its type, purpose, or topic—has an individual writing process that consists of distinct steps.
And a scholarship essay is no exception.
What’s the purpose of this type of essay?
This is a convincing paper that tells a college admission board a short story about why you are the right person to give a scholarship to.
What are the stages of writing it?
Let’s find out how to start right now.
2.1 Gathering Ideas
To increase the chances of your essay being successful, analyze the institution you are applying to. Additional background knowledge will give you more confidence.
With a significant number of future college freshmen applying at the same time, it’s good to know that you have at least some advantage.
First things first—you should choose an appropriate topic to illustrate your unique qualities (unless the committee has already selected the topic for you).
Ideas that you can use as a topic for your essay include extracurricular activities, your major accomplishments, challenges and other aspects of your life. Talk about anything that you think can make you stand out among the other applicants for this scholarship.
Once you’ve selected the topic and established your goal, you need to outline the story you’re about to tell. Without a well-thought-out plan, it’s going to be difficult to keep the narration logical and straightforward and avoid getting lost in your thoughts.
Here’s a quick tip from us.
Take your time to prepare for writing this essay.
With a scholarship, you have no option to fail. It’s not a regular class essay that you can redo to get a better grade.
In fact, there will be no grades at all. And if you mess up, you won’t get another chance until the next year (depending on the specific scholarship you’re applying to).
That’s why you have to do your absolute best. Discuss the essay with your friends and family. It is hard to write an ode to yourself, so you can request a bit of writing help from people who know you well.
2.2 Writing the Introduction
The introduction is the face of your paper. Capture the interest of the committee. Because that’s the only way to get them engaged in your story.
And once you do that—you’ll have every chance to receive your scholarship.
In the introduction, you can start from the beginning, middle, or end of your story.
Make it brief, informative and descriptive.
Don’t use long sentences for the introduction. You may leave that for other parts of your essay.
Here’s what’s important.
Be optimistic. Think about your attitude. You like people who have a positive point of view. The same thing works with the committee.
So, there’s no need to add drama to your paper.
2.3 Crafting the Main Body of Your Essay
This is the part of the paper that has all the “meat.” The body of your essay contains the main argument.
The body paragraphs should include the information on your life, accomplishments, and plans for the future—anything that the committee might find interesting and persuasive.
Focus on family values and the importance of academic success.
Be sure to leave enough time to write this part. When finished, go over it again to see if you’ve left out anything significant.
Some of the main tips are as follows:
- Don’t try to summarize. Instead, provide as many details as possible to your story. You need to make it compelling, captivating, and convincing.
- Don’t be impersonal. It’s all about you. And it’s not only the story itself that should be focused on you. It’s even better if you can add a couple of personal touches to your writing style, too.
- Don’t complain. Remember that strong personalities struggle, and avoid whining. You also have to keep a positive attitude. Even if your story describes sad or negative events, it’s a good opportunity to show how you managed to deal with them.
2.4 Wrapping Everything up in the Conclusion
In this part of the essay, you’ll stress the significance of your story and why it’s necessary to give the scholarship to you.
There is only one main rule for the conclusion—don’t try to sum everything up.
Your scholarship essay is short as it is. So, there is nothing to go over and review, as the memory is still fresh.
To write a proper conclusion, just put extra emphasis on the points of your story that you consider to be the most important.
There’s nothing else to say about writing a conclusion.
To give you a final tip, let us remind you that it’s essential to proofread your essay. As we mentioned earlier, you won’t get the chance to redo it right away—so you have to do everything you can to nail it on the first try.
3. 📗 Choosing the Right Vocabulary for Your Scholarship Essay
A great, well-considered story about yourself is only one part of your scholarship essay’s success.
What’s the other?
It’s your language and the vocabulary you use.
You have to choose your words carefully, as they can make a huge impact on your essay’s overall success.
Here are three core principles you can follow to filter out the wrong words:
- Sincerity. ‘A good candidate’ and ‘well-prepared’ is much better than ‘fantastic background’ and ‘exceptional skills’.
- Positive views. ‘Well-prepared’ can be a good substitute for ‘struggling academically’.
- Conciseness. Delete ‘very’, ‘strongly’ and ‘literally’ from your papers and try to find stronger one-word synonyms, instead.
At the same time, don’t try to show off your vocabulary just for the sake of it. Instead, use it as a tool to help you craft your story. A story that will earn you that scholarship.
After getting into the right mindset, try using the following words to brighten up your vocabulary.
- To support your point with additional information
Furthermore, moreover, similarly, what’s more, likewise, as well as, coupled with, to say nothing of, not to mention
- To give a general explanation
In other words, in order to, to that end, that is to say, to put it another way
- To develop contrast
Yet, then again, that said, on the other hand, by contrast, however, in comparison, having said that
- To show importance
Importantly, significantly, notably
- To add acknowledgment
In light of, despite this, provided that, given, with this in mind, nevertheless, nonetheless, notwithstanding
- To draw a summary
All things considered, in conclusion, compelling, above all
It’s fair to say that the words mentioned above aren’t the only ones you can use.
If you think that a particular word is suitable for your essay—use it without doubt!
There’s just one more thing to consider, though.
While thesauruses and dictionaries can help a lot when writing various research papers, it’s better not to use them when writing a scholarship essay.
The main reason is that you shouldn’t use words whose meaning you don’t know well. This will only show your insecurity, which is definitely not good if you’re aiming to receive a scholarship.
4. 📄 Sample Scholarship Essays and Essay Headlines
Of course, no amount of theory can compare to a nicely composed example.
Instead of reading endless tips and suggestions and trying to remember all that information, just take a look at an already-written work. It’ll give you an idea of what the finished essay should look like.
We couldn’t deprive you of this excellent opportunity. So, we’ve decided to provide you with a couple of sources where you can find these examples. They will give you a clearer understanding of how you should approach the writing of your scholarship essay.
- Scholarship paper examples from Custom-Writing
There’s a whole set of benefits you can get from checking out sample scholarship essays:
- You’ll learn the basics of this type of work—including the required structure, length, number of paragraphs, formatting, and more.
- It can help you overcome writer’s block, especially when you can’t even come up with a topic. Looking at a couple of examples can give you an idea of what your essay should be about.
- Any writing task requires research, and the same is true of scholarship essays. When the example topic is similar to yours, you’ll get some inspiration for ideas yourself! It might even be like you were searching for scholarship essay examples about yourself. That’s how similar these essays can be sometimes.
- Checking out essay examples can boost your creativity. You can borrow some of the techniques from the sample or even improve upon what you’ve seen in your own work.
- You’ll get a good reminder to pay attention to grammar, which unfortunately is still a problem in many essays. An example essay can also demonstrate what sentence structure you should have, how to properly insert quotes, and how to deal with punctuation. This exercise will be especially useful for scholarships for international students whose native language isn’t English.
But that’s not even all.
You should also think about a strong title.
This is the first hook that will grab your readers’ attention.
You can even start the whole writing process by choosing your headline. The headline can determine what story you’re going to tell and how you’ll do it. Let’s explore a couple of ideas about what your essay headline could be.
Remember, you don’t have to use these ideas exactly as they are. Instead, use this list as inspiration, and you’ll easily come up with a topic of your own.
- Previous scholarships and leadership roles.
- Personal contributions to clubs, associations, civic organizations.
- Special knowledge, skills, research projects.
- Prior experiences that have motivated you.
- Previous experiences that show your ability to face challenges.
- Academic and career goals.
- Personal financial circumstances (only if they reveal financial hardships).
- My attempts at entrepreneurship in high school.
- Turning dreams into achievements.
- What I learned from my school teachers.
- Role models who influenced my future.
- Finding new people, inspiration, and ideas.
5. 🙅♂️ Scholarship Essay Do's and Don'ts
We’ve already covered quite a lot in this guide.
There’s always more to talk about.
For instance, what are the most common do’s and don’ts of writing scholarship essays?
Let’s find out!
6. 👍 Do’s of Writing Scholarship Essay
Starting with a strong statement is important. Imagine that the committee reads only this first sentence. So, avoid beating around the bush wasting your chances and get down to business.
Start from your achievements, not problems—set the optimistic tone. For example, “My academic accomplishments and persistence have always helped me to work towards my goals.” Don’t begin by stating that you’re seeking financial assistance.
Make it energetic and persuasive—use active verbs: work, achieve, accomplish.
Save your readers’ time—start with the most important claims.
Thoroughly research the scholarships you’re applying to. This will give you an understanding of which key ideas your essay should cover.
Think about your essay’s transitions. Arrange the paragraphs of your essay in such a way that your readers will be fully immersed in your story.
Choose your words carefully, and remove all the unnecessary ones. Remember that you have a tight word count.
Make your essay unique—from the headline and the thesis statement to the story itself and its conclusion. Avoid using clichés and general phrases as much as possible. Even if the scholarship you’re applying for is less competitive than others, you still need to make the most of your essay.
7. 👎 Don’Ts of Writing Scholarship Essay
- Avoid irrelevant info—inappropriate quotes, too general or obvious phrases.
- Don’t show your uncertainty.
- Avoid exaggerations or unnecessary pathos. Such as “chemistry is my only passion” or “my never-ending quest for knowledge”.
- Don’t ignore feedback. Never miss out on the opportunity to have someone else check your essay in the first place.
- At the same time, don’t allow anyone else to get too involved in the creative process of your essay. It’s still ultimately about you.
- If you’re applying for multiple scholarships, you shouldn’t assume that one essay will fit them all. It may be tempting to use the same essay since the work might be unpublished, but that really isn’t a good idea. It’s always best to tailor your essay to each scholarship you’re applying to.
- Never rush your essay writing. Make sure you have enough time to write a first draft. Leave some time for a couple revisions, too. You can revise the essay yourself, and then have someone else check it. That’s at least two revisions.
- Don’t forget to check the required scholarship essay format in order to make it right.
8. ✍️ Easy Scholarships to Apply for in 2020
It would be unfair to give you all these tips on how to write a scholarship essay and then leave you without any actual scholarship sources.
But that’s all about to change right now.
Wondering where and how to get a scholarship? It’s easy!
You should apply for scholarships online. You don’t even need to use a search engine to find one.
Here’s a list of scholarships you can easily apply for in 2020 (they’re going to be available later, too, so make sure to check out the links even if 2021 is approaching).
- Courage To Grow Scholarship
This is a $500 scholarship given on the last day of every month. It’s a great opportunity for those in financial need. High school juniors and seniors or college students with a minimum GPA of 2.5 can apply. The application requires a 250-word essay on why you should receive this scholarship.
- Cappex Easy College Money ScholarshipThis scholarship awards a $1,000 prize every month. It has no GPA requirement and is open to any undergraduate. To apply for the scholarship, you have to create a profile and describe your extracurricular, volunteer, leadership, or other free-time activities.
- Course Hero Scholarships
This $5,000 scholarship is given every month. All it takes to apply for this scholarship is to fill out the registration form and answer the question of the month. Winning depends on the answer given by applicants.
- Bachus & Schanker, LLC ScholarshipThis is a semiannual scholarship with a $2,000 award, designed for high school students accepted to a four-year university or university students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. To win, you have to write a short essay about the Seventh Amendment and how it influences your life.
- Americanism Essay ContestThis annual scholarship offers a main award of $5,000 and 3 additional prizes for first, second, and third places ($2,500, $1,500, and $1,000 respectively). It includes contests that require a short essay to be written on a specific topic with a deadline of December 1st. You should also pick an FRA US department sponsor.
- Innovation in Education Scholarship
This is a scholarship of $500 given every month. To apply for it, you must be creative by designing an innovative project and describing it in a cover letter.
Guaranteed, there are many more scholarships to choose from. And not only for students in the USA but also for those in Europe.
We’ve only given you a couple of options, so you know that there are many simple ones out there
With a little research, you can easily find the scholarship that fits you best (something like the AVVO scholarship program or Chegg monthly, for instance). There are even scholarships with essays for those who play football or basketball and for those pursuing a masters degree.
Tell us about your results! Or share interesting scholarships you’ve found in the comments.
But for now, we wish you luck with all your essay writing!
Learn more on this topic: