Tips for Searching & Applying for Scholarships | Part 3

How to Write a Scholarship Essay

Your College Scholarship Essay in Five Simple Steps

Scholarship essays are an important part of the application where the ‘real you’ can shine through.

Most scholarship applications require an essay so we suggest that you create one essay that can be changed for other scholarship applications.

Step 1. Read the application to see what information the essay needs to include: look for length, topic, or format. Be sure to follow directions and do not skip questions. Put the most important information at the beginning of your essay and the least important information at the end. Some applications may not have a lot of guidelines. For example, it may say, “tell us why you should receive this scholarship,” which does not provide detailed instructions. In this case, your scholarship essay should include the following main points:

  • Introduce yourself in detail: name, student identification number, school attending, academic standing.
  • List a personal statement: explain what or who has influenced or shaped your life in pursuit of your academic goal.
  • Describe your ultimate academic/career goals and the obstacles you face/faced to pursue them.
  • Describe work experience or skills do you possess, e.g., leadership, communications, analytical, etc.
  • Describe what educational and personal support systems are you connected with to make your goals happen?
  • Describe volunteer experience you have and how will you give back to the community after achieving your goal?
  • Do not forget to end with a “thank you” to the scholarship committee for their time and consideration.

Step 2. Write a trial essay just to practice and see what it feels like. Don’t assume people know your background, challenges, or strengths; briefly describe them as best you can and do not linger on or repeat yourself. Check for appropriate language, use good grammar and make revisions if necessary.

Step 3. Show your draft essay to other people to ask for their feedback. Inform academic counselors or instructors you are applying for a scholarship and ask if they can proofread it. This may also open doors for letters of recommendation if necessary.

Step 4. Re-read your essay out loud and listen for it to read well. Then make any last revisions before submitting it by the deadline.

Step 5. Save your work for future essays so that you can update information and cut & paste to fit other scholarship application questions.