How to write a great scholarship essayVincent Tan
How to write a great scholarship essay
Writing a scholarship essay is quite similar to writing a university entrance essay. Understand that almost all of the applicants that apply for a scholarship are somewhat qualified to receive it. The reality however, is that only a tiny fraction of applicants are actually successful. Therefore, to distinguish each applicant from the next, scholarship bodies will almost always require applicants to write a scholarship essay. The main aim of the scholarship essay is to distinguish each applicant from the next. The topics vary and some are even given a few choices of titles to write on. Here are some key points on how to write a great scholarship essay:
The basic requirements
First things first, remember to read and understand all of the basic requirements such as the formatting, number of words, title requirements, submission date and the ‘dos and don’ts’. Make sure that the word limitations are met according to the required spacing, font size and paragraphing. In addition, always remember to convert you essay into PDF format to avoid tampering.
Understanding the title
If given multiple titles, do not be quick to pick the easiest one or the only one you understand. Take some time to digest the title and understand what is required of the title. In fact, you can start by drawing up a draft plans for your essay for each title. You could be pleasantly surprised that the title you initially thought was difficult turns out to be the one you are most comfortable with.
After you have chosen your title, do not rush into writing it, or what some might call ‘freewriting’. Write a detailed skeleton with important keywords you might want to include. Where possible, include keywords that display leadership such as ‘take charge’, ‘lead’, ‘initiative’ or words that display resilience such as ‘persevered’, ‘overcome challenges’ or ‘refuse to give up’. Such key words tend to catch readers’ attention and will give your essay extra credence.
The content is the most important part of the essay. This is where you are able to show your true self, the human part of the string of A’s and the kind soul who aspires to change to the world. Whatever the title of the essay may be, there are a few key point which you can always include which would make the essay great. These are:
– Real life examples that show your ability to problem solve;
– Famous quotes that you live by and;
– Life obstacles that you overcame
Speak about your future aspirations too and how the scholarship will help you to get there. Also do elaborate on how you intend to give back to society. Be sure to tie all of these back to the original title and purpose of the essay. Future aspirations are important for the scholarship committee to gauge the plans you have for your future and how the scholarship will be best put to good use.
Leadership qualities are one of the key determining factors in a scholarship application. The scholarship panel is almost always looking for leaders that can represent the scholarship awarding organisation. Therefore, try to include instances and examples where you displayed leadership qualities and where you stepped up in a situation that required leadership.
Where possible, also be sure to display your problem solving abilities within the scholarship essay. The scholarship panel is always more than happy to know what problem you face, how you solved the problem and what the outcome of the solution was. Use real life examples in this section as you would probably be using the same example in the interview phase.
Another important criterion to add is the impact you intend to make in your local community. Often, the scholarship committee are interested in how you intend to use your soon-to-be acquired skills and knowledge to give back to your local community. This is especially true if you are applying as a foreign student from a disadvantaged background. You can start this segment by asking yourself a few simple questions such as ‘what is the one thing you would like to improve within your community?’ or ‘how will your degree help you in improving the community you live in?’.