Writing A Winning Scholarship Essay

    2 minutes
    Tips to help you stand out and improve your chances of being awarded a scholarship.

    When applying for scholarships, even if you're the most deserving recipient, it's going to be hard to stand out amidst all the other applicants vying for the award. You know they should give it to you—you just need the committee to know that. Here are tips to help you create the perfect scholarship essay.

    Check the requirements of the scholarship carefully. Before doing anything else, read and re-read the scholarship statement and work out what they are looking for in an applicant. Do they want someone who's academically gifted and gets consistently high grades? Are they instead looking for someone who has encountered hardship at home, or given their time to charity? Make sure you fit the profile before putting pen to paper.

    Consider what makes you stand out. Think about why the committee should pick you. Now is not the time to be modest. Have you won special awards at school or competed professionally in a sport? What makes you unique?

    Pick a theme. You'll need a central theme to hang the rest of your essay on. The theme you choose will depend on what you want the reader to focus on. For example, you could base the essay on your experiences and takeaways from a volunteering event or a sport you play.

    Draw in your readers with a brilliant first sentence. Your opening line sets the tone for the rest of your essay. If you're stuck for ideas, perhaps use a relevant quote that means something to you and relates to your topic. Make sure you come full circle and reference your opening at the end of your paper.

    Use keywords from the scholarship statement. The scholarship committee will be looking through hundreds of applications. If you want to get noticed, make sure you use keywords from the statement to show that you've paid attention to their requirements and that you've fulfilled them.

    Keep an optimistic tone. No matter your topic, be sure to end on a positive note. The tone of your writing will rub off on the reader. Conveying optimism shows you are looking forward to the future and conveys your ability to learn from past experiences.

    Ask for feedback. Once you've written your draft, don't be tempted to send it off straight away. Ask a trusted teacher, friend or family member for constructive feedback. Additionally, your school or local library may offer proofreading services to ensure there are no grammar or spelling errors.

    Your essay will be personal to you, it should be unique and seamlessly navigate the reader through your experiences. Keep it concise and well organized, making them want to get to know you more. For more information on how school tuition can impact your spending plan, visit your local Financial Health Centers.