Writing a Strong Scholarship Application
Conceiving, drafting, and revising great applications to win you the award.
By Matthew Butler
What enables motivated students to get an education more easily? And what's a great way to show your ability before you even set foot on campus? Scholarships of course!
There are many factors that go into your scholarship application, but one of the most important may be your personal statement or application essay. Not all awards require an essay, but for those that do, you'll want to craft as strong a piece as possible.
Writing's an essential skill for students and academics, and it's just as important in everyday life. The scholarship application essay is a great way to merge these two writing worlds, while putting yourself to the new test of convincing scholarship providers to invest in you. Showing how your experiences, life story, skills, and academic history make you a qualified applicant is a great skill.
Great scholarship applications reflect the time and effort that was put into them. The best way to start off on the right foot is by reading the eligibility requirements and question prompts closely and paying close attention to the instructions. Don’t go over the word limit, but don’t drastically undershoot it. Don’t start off with a disadvantage — ensure that your grammar, spelling, and structure are flawless.
Top tips for writing your essay
The key to writing a successful application is your ability to transfer your life experiences onto paper in a meaningful way to best display your value.
Try keeping these tips in mind while you write:
- Brainstorm some memorable experiences you’ve had that can set you apart from others or have defined your life.
- Practice articulating a few major points: explain why these experiences matter and how they have shaped you and others.
- Identify your goals for yourself. Ask yourself why — why does this goal matter to you? Consider how your goals will affect your community.
- Consider connecting your story to the award. If the scholarship is offered by a community organization, you may want to discuss how your actions have supported and uplifted your community.
- Try reading your work aloud to get a feel for its tone and flow.
- Share it with a trusted friend or adult for a second opinion on what works and what needs another look.
Remember, your first draft is not going to get you the scholarship.
Like any skill, your writing will improve with practice. So get writing!