The most difficult part of a scholarship application is very often the essay. This is also the part, however, where your unique personality and style can shine through. The following tips should help you to put your best foot forward.
Before you begin, brainstorm to generate some good ideas for your essay. Get an idea of what you want to say on the topic and how you may bring a fresh perspective or unique idea to the essay topic.
Know your audience – Write a new essay for each application, rather than trying to take an essay for another scholarship or class that may loosely fit in with the topic or theme that the committee is seeking. Make sure that it fits in with the interests and ideals of that organization. You are requesting from them that they choose you above the other candidates because you best represent the ideals or goals of the organization. Bottom line: you are not just asking them for their money; you are asking to be endorsed by them as a representative of their group. The essay portion of the application process is your one and only chance to show how you fit with the overall ideals of the scholarship committee.
Be original! – It is your job to make your essay stand out among the others. Be creative in how you answer the questions or address the topic for your essay. Remember, judges may be asked to read hundreds of essays on the same topic, so try to give them a unique view on the topic.
Develop a theme – Listing your achievements and favorable attributes is common when submitting a scholarship essay. After all, this is what they have asked you to do. However, placing these assets in relation to an overall theme will show creativity and strength of character. It will also help to differentiate your application from the rest.
Use stories, examples or anecdotes to individualize and humanize your essay. Make sure that these examples have pertinence to the topic at hand. If your story or anecdote is not one that will make judges look at you in a favorable and positive light, don’t use it! While it does add to your overall presentation, you don’t want to tell a story out of context or with questionable elements that will not reflect your part in the best light.
Most of all, confidence may be one of the best ways in which to make your essay shine through. Research the topic if you know little or nothing about it. Get a little background information by reading essays or articles that share the same topic so that you can state your opinions with confidence and surety.
Scholarship committees are looking for that essay that grabs their attention. Humor is often a great component to add – making the reader laugh or making them think is a wonderful way to make yourself stand out. You want to offer your unique personality and perspective to the committee, and the essay is the place to do this. These tips will help to ensure that you give your best effort every time that you apply for a scholarship.