Because students spend a lot of time working on college application essays, it’s understandable why many choose to reuse those essays for scholarship applications. However, since the majority of scholarships ask for an essay that addresses a very focused topic, using those recycled college essays – even if they are beautifully written – could actually cause you to lose a scholarship. A thoughtful, well considered essay will get you much further.
Presumably, if you are applying for scholarships, you are serious about finding some extra money to help you pay for college. That means it’s well worth your time to write the best essay possible. These few hints can help you do just that.
Make sure your essay is on target. Read the prompt carefully before you decide what to write. If you’re not absolutely sure your topic addresses the prompt, ask someone like a teacher, career specialist or guidance counselor for their opinion and guidance.
Know your audience. Find out who is sponsoring the scholarship and carefully review its description on the scholarship application. Knowing what’s important to the organization or person who is offering the scholarship is essential to understanding what they may be expecting in an essay. This information should be considered carefully as you decide what to focus your essay on.
Engage the reader by making it personal. Few things will cost you a scholarship faster than submitting a generic essay that could have been written by anyone. Readers are looking for an insight into who you are and why the subject you are writing about is so important to you. Don’t be afraid to write from your heart.
Use one or two concrete examples. One of the easiest mistakes to make in an essay is to make a sweeping statement without providing an example that illustrates your point. In the case of a scholarship essay, unless it asks for something different, being able to provide an example that is personal to you can make all the difference.
Have your essay proofread. An essay that contains spelling and grammatical errors can easily lead the reader to conclude that the writer was too lazy or didn’t care enough to proofread. That’s all some essay readers need to disqualify an applicant. Another reason to have it proofread is to make sure the tone of your essay is appropriate. As the author of the essay, you know what you meant to say, so it can be difficult to be objective. It just makes good sense to have someone else to read your essay in order to know if you have been successful in conveying your message in a positive way.
I know that this can seem to some like a lot of work for an uncertain outcome. However, the more effort you put into your essay and the scholarship application itself, the better your chances are for being chosen to receive a scholarship.