How to Write a Scholarship Essay

7
min read
September 13, 2020

For you, as a scholarship-hopeful, life would have been much easier if you didn’t have to submit a scholarship essay. Imagine applying to get funding for your dream education by submitting only your CV, a couple of references, and transcripts. Sounds great, doesn’t it? But, in reality, an essay for a scholarship is crucial for your application.


It’s important to be aware of this fact, as it might help you mentally prepare for this challenge, which is also an opportunity. In fact, you should try to see a scholarship application essay as a chance to persuade a scholarship committee that you’re the perfect candidate. And thus, make them feel that you’re worth awarding.


In the next paragraphs, you’ll find advice on what to keep in mind when planning and writing your essay as well as some handy scholarship essays tips. Studyfy tips will bring you closer to your dream and help you in this demanding process.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

How to Write a Scholarship Essay

To start with, let’s think about writing a scholarship essay in terms of Why, What, and How. Answering these questions will help you see the big picture, get a good idea of what is at stake, and how you need to approach the task.

Why?


It’s absolutely necessary that you have a clear understanding of why you’re doing this. As mentioned before, you need to write an essay for scholarship to stand out from the hundreds or thousands of other applicants. Also, you want to show the scholarship committee that you fit the profile of an ideal candidate both on rational and emotional levels.

Whot to Write?


Then, you need to think about what to write in a scholarship essay so that it conveys the desired message. It doesn’t have to be something that you will have to keep in your final version of the essay. Write down some spontaneous ideas and insights that come to your mind. You will explore them deeper when choosing the main topic of your scholarship essay.

How to Write?


Now that you have shed light on Why and What, you should think about how you’re going to write a scholarship application essay. Specifically, how to tell your story in such a way that it will grab your readers’ attention and meet all the formal requirements.

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Scholarship Essay Tips

The success of your essay depends on your will, diligence, and persistence. Yet, there are some scholarship essay tips that might help you throughout the process. For example, help you focus on the most important aspects of an essay and present yourself from the best side.

Put a Lot of Time Into Writing

Googling “How to write an essay for a scholarship” a few days before the deadline might not be such a great idea. Especially, if you want to produce a scholarship essay that will win you an award. Instead, you should start as early as possible to have enough time to write a well-thought-out essay.


When you start writing your scholarship application essay, you’ll discover that this process is far from being linear. You'll need to go back and forth between different parts of your scholarship essay to make it look like a meaningful and comprehensive story. So strive to put as much time into writing as possible.


As writing is a creative process, it requires much effort and inspiration. The latter is tricky, and that’s the reason why you need to manage your time effectively. Think about creating a schedule that will show the submission deadline as well as different stages of the writing process. This way, you’ll be able to keep track of your progress.

Read the Scholarship Essay Prompts Carefully

As a potential scholarship holder, you need to persuade a jury that your skills, experiences, and mindset correspond to their goal. They need to see what drives and inspires you as well as why you need funding. Thus, scholarship application essays usually have prompts designed to figure that out.


For example, a prompt topic can be about a global or local challenge that you think is important to address. You’ll need to elaborate on this by stating what role you have been playing in addressing that challenge. Besides, you might have to describe how this scholarship might help you in addressing the issue.


Your story should fit the prompt requirements. This way, the scholarship committee can see how awarding you with a scholarship might contribute to their goal. Also, this is your chance to prove that you’re able to be specific about why you deserve an award.

Get to Know Your Audience

Spend some time on the website of the scholarship program that you’re applying for. There, you’ll likely find some information on what kind of people the scholarship committee is looking for. Read carefully to see whether you fit their criteria. This way, you’ll understand what skills and personality traits you should emphasize in a scholarship essay.


Besides, look at the mission of the organization that is offering funding for studies. This way, you’ll gain an even deeper insight into which applicants are most likely to be awarded a scholarship.


Meeting expectations of the scholarship committee is crucial for your application. That’s why it is important to tell your story in such a way that it’s relevant and persuasive. To be on the same page with a funding organization, and increase the chances of winning, get to know them via studying their mission and values.

Bring Yourself to Your Scholarship Essay

This tip goes in hand with the previous one, as it's important to strike a balance between meeting expectations and being yourself. The point is that if your scholarship essay pictures you as perfect, the jury might feel that your true personality isn’t there.


To write a good scholarship essay, it’s important to be your true self. This way, your story will come across as genuine and authentic, as it will show your unique style. This is exactly what will make your scholarship essay stand out.


Keeping a balance is hard, and you might drift toward showing the committee that you’re a perfect match. Yet, don’t forget to bring your true self to this essay and highlight your own personality. It's much better than trying to be someone who is perfect, but not real.

Have a Point

A good strategy for writing a scholarship essay is to have only one main idea. You can use different examples to show your skills or experience, but they all have to center around the main idea. When you write your essay this way, any anecdote or example that you mention falls into place. Thus, you can convey your idea in a comprehensive and credible manner.


It’s vital that you focus on one specific point that you want to communicate to the jury, instead of writing about everything and nothing at the same time. The reason for this is hundreds or thousands of other applicants who want to win the same scholarship as you do. By applying for a scholarship, you’re entering a keen competition, so having a good strategy is a must.


To get better at writing captivating stories, you might want to check out some of the storytelling courses that can be of help. As our brains are wired to remember stories, this skill can help you write an outstanding essay that will stick in the memory.

Scholarship Essay Structure

How to write a good scholarship essay? This question is common for someone who is at the beginning of the process and wants to know about pitfalls. In case you don’t know how to start a scholarship essay or have some doubts about how to end a scholarship essay, it might be a good idea to look at some examples.


As for the structure of a scholarship essay, your story should have a beginning, middle, and ending.

Thus, you need to organize your essay:

  • introduction
  • body
  • conclusion

This is a traditional structure that will present your narrative in a clear way.  


Looking at different examples can help one familiarize yourself with a structure of a scholarship essay as well as serve as a source of inspiration. Yet, you should be careful when it comes to gaining inspiration from someone else’s work. Remember that your unique style and original thoughts are what any scholarship committee will be looking for. 

Scholarship Essay Example


If you’re asking yourself, “What should I write in a scholarship essay?” think about the main idea of your essay and how you want to convey it. All the parts of the essay should form a whole, meaning that starting from the introduction, you should address the main idea in some way.

Introduction

As for the introduction, it’s always a good choice to come up with an attention-grabbing first sentence. Try to get your readers’ attention from the very beginning of your essay and keep them interested throughout the text.


How do you introduce yourself in a scholarship essay? This question is necessary to think through if the prompt asks you to say something about yourself. Use this question to make the scholarship committee understand what is important to you and how it aligns with their goals. Here’s an example of such an introduction:


Fighting for human rights is what gives my life a feeling of purpose. Specifically, I am concerned with the issue of gender equality. Our legislation lacks mechanisms to fight gender-based violence and discrimination. In addition, such crucial issues as domestic violence and violence against women are not regulated properly. I believe it is of vital importance that women are aware of their right to be protected. My desire to help solve these issues is the reason why I want to get a bachelor’s degree in Human Rights.


Body Paragrephs

The body of your essay is its key part. Here, you should be very specific about your experience, skills, and achievements. Depending on your essay prompts topic, you can break this part into two or three paragraphs. You might illustrate each of them with different examples that together fit into the main idea that you’re conveying.


For instance, if your essay prompt topic is related to a particular social issue that you want to address, you might be asked to cover such points as:


  • Your experiences and skills that help you play an active role in addressing this particular social issue.
  • Your actions that demonstrate your contribution to addressing this particular social issue.


Have a look at the following two paragraphs to see how the body of a scholarship essay might look like. These paragraphs correspond to the above-mentioned points:


I have been volunteering for a human rights organization for a couple of years now. As a volunteer, I gained a deep insight into the issues of gender inequality and gender-based violence. This experience helped me develop strong communication and organizational skills. Specifically, my involvement with event planning. It has been my pleasure to be an active participant in many human rights campaigns that support gender equality.
I have planned several campaigns intended to raise awareness about gender equality in our society. For example, I helped organize and coordinate a movie screening about supporters of gender equality. My task was to explain to the guests why it was important to speak out against gender-based violence and discrimination.


Conclusion

When it comes to a conclusion, you should explain how the scholarship will help you in pursuing the desired education. For instance, you might discuss how the curriculum of the chosen program will add to your potential. Importantly, you should emphasize the main idea of your scholarship essay. Here is an example:


The program’s curriculum includes courses on human rights issues, which will help me gain a solid understanding of the field. In addition, it will help me learn the skills that are necessary when taking action in support of gender equality. It is my strong belief that each of us should try to make a difference for the benefit of our society. This scholarship would help me contribute to making gender equality one of the cornerstones of our society.

 

One can assume that the organization that is offering financial aid is preoccupied with human rights. The main idea of this essay is that it's important to fight against gender discrimination as well as increase awareness about women’s rights. With the help of different examples, an author proves one’s credibility.


Last but not least, in your writing, you might use the Rhetorical Triangle that consists of:


  • Logos; 
  • Ethos; 
  • Patos. 


Logos is about what reasons you use to illustrate your point. This technique might be useful at the beginning of your essay, as you need to explain why you deserve this scholarship.


Ethos is about the writer’s credibility, and you might use it in the body of your essay when presenting your experiences, achievements, and skills. 


Patos is about emotions, values, and beliefs. Make use of this rhetoric element in the concluding part of your essay when writing about your potential to make a difference.  

Final Thoughts 

Applying for a scholarship is an uphill struggle, especially when it comes to writing a scholarship essay. If you want to get a scholarship to be able to get your dream education, make sure that you put your mind to it.

  • Remember that you need to start writing as early as possible, read prompts carefully, know your audience, be yourself, and have a clear point.
  • Make use of the examples of a scholarship essay that are available online. This way, you will see how to structure it and how to illustrate your point to your best advantage. These examples may serve as a source of inspiration. Besides, your essay might benefit from the application of the Rhetorical triangle.
  • In case you don’t know how to format a scholarship essay, follow the requirements that are stated in the application guidelines. If there are no such guidelines, use Times New Roman font, size 12, and use double-spacing. Under no circumstances should you make your scholarship essay stand out with the help of uncommon fonts or text color other than black.
  • When you're done with writing, you might want to edit and proofread your essay to make sure that your main idea, examples, and conclusion are to the point. Also, double-check if you adhere to the word limit as well as check your grammar and spelling. These details are crucial to make a good impression on the scholarship committee.
  • Ultimately, the final version of your paper should be polished to perfection. Yet, don’t polish to perfection your own personality, experiences, and ambitions that you describe in the paper. It’s important that the scholarship committee feels that the author of this essay is a real human being who needs a little help to make a big difference.


Good luck with pursuing your dream!