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Tips for Writing an Essay for a Scholarship

Renuka Savant Mar 15, 2020
Let's face it - only a handful of scholarship essays are so groundbreaking, that they leave a lasting impression on the evaluating person. But, it is the only opportunity you get to reach out to the scholarship committee and win that coveted check. So, let your creative juices flow, with a little help from here.
Your scholarship application essay allows readers to know the actual person behind the numbers printed on the transcripts, and make a decision that is not based solely upon academic performance.
To impress someone whose job is to read scholarship essays, is certainly not a mean task. This is someone who may be reading up to 50 scholarship applications a day, and being human, a hint of skepticism is bound to creep in.
Viewing the situation from a distance, there may be several students with a particular academic background, wanting to win a scholarship in the same university. Their test scores and GPAs may also be at par. Which is precisely the reason that makes the scholarship essay so crucial.
Therefore, it is necessary that you make judicious use of this opportunity to draft a letter which is realistically grounded, yet flattering to your personality. The tips that follow will come to your aid.

Before you begin...

Understand the importance of this letter

Devote all your faculties to writing this essay, and be sincere about it. If you think of yourself as a sure shot prospect at winning a scholarship based only on your academics, you couldn't be more wrong.
As mentioned before, there could be several other applicants with scores similar to yours, so you need to focus on things that make you tick as an individual. Follow the instructions that are mentioned, and please ensure that you qualify for the scholarship you're applying for.
If you are given a choice of essay topics to pick from, do so with absolute diligence. Do not pick a topic only because it seems erudite; choose one that allows you ample opportunity to make your case. Consider you have a choice between these.
Describe how you have demonstrated leadership ability in your school, work, or community.
Discuss a special attribute or accomplishment that sets you apart.
So, unless you've actually demonstrated leadership abilities in high school, it would be prudent to choose the second topic, which provides ample scope for you to shine through.

Plan, plan, plan

Do not underestimate the power of planning ahead. Come up with rough drafts of points that you wish to highlight. They need to be concrete and noteworthy. Review and analyze them, so as to be sure of what you wish to capitalize on, and what you wish to exclude. Once your groundwork is ready, you can get down to actually drafting your essay.

Once you begin...

Follow your plan

Assuming that you've invested time on a rough draft, you now have to focus on making it spic-and-span. If you've rounded up 7-8 noteworthy points, narrow them down to 3-5. You wouldn't want to send over an autobiography, after all.

Address the issue right away

If your topic of choice is a question, consider addressing it right away. Furthermore, stick to the task at hand throughout the essay, ensuring that you do not veer off in a different, unrelated direction.

Gloat a bit

Your achievements belong to you, and you have every right to brag about them. The key lies in making it seem naturally flattering, and not over-the-top pompous. There's a fine line separating the two, so get another opinion on how you've fared.

Add a sliver of pathos

In case you have a proverbial chink in the armor (we all do), address it as subtly as possible. Bad grades on a subject? Tell them why. Accepting your drawbacks indicates that you're aware of their existence, and going all out to change them. Overall, remember to keep this part concise.

Bring in variety

It would be boring to read an essay that harps on and on about one particular thing. It also indicates that you have a one-dimensional personality. So, talk about different aspects that matter - your hobbies and interests, sporting activities, community work; basically, anything that suggests you're full of life.

Fingerprint it

Your essay should carry an unmistakable touch that screams 'you'. We all have our academic achievements and extracurricular activities to boast about, but there are a few unique things that set us apart. Find what makes you tick (keep it include-worthy, please), and let it be your fingerprint.

Get it checked

Our fancy gizmos come with all sorts of correction tools for spellings and syntax, but it is recommended that you get it scanned by a reliable human, like a teacher, parent, senior, or anyone whose opinion you value.
Essays are not just a bunch of fancy and flattering statements about you - they are you. Getting another opinion will help you look at it from another perspective that is fresh. It will take your essay closer to being more refined.
Dispensing advise is an endless task, but conclude we must. So, here's wishing you great success in your endeavor, provided you've followed all that was mentioned here.