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The Ultimate Guide To Writing a Winning Scholarship Essay

Stand out from the rest.

Students sitting together and helping each other with how to write scholarship essays

With the cost of higher education skyrocketing in the last few decades, it’s no surprise that many students seek out scholarships to help cover tuition. As a result, it’s a very competitive endeavor, which is why students need to find ways to stand out. We’ve put together this resource to help write a scholarship essay that will get the application committee’s attention.

How To Find Scholarships

Many students know that they want to apply for scholarships but don’t know where to find them. Honestly, this can be the most difficult and intimidating part of the process for students! Here are some suggestions for where to start. 

Ask a Guidance Counselor

One of the best resources for high school students is their guidance counselor. They are prepared to help students make academic and career plans and should be aware of scholarship opportunities to align with your needs and goals. 

Talk to the College or University

Already have a college or university picked out? Reach out to the school’s financial aid department. In addition to the many scholarships you can find online, they may offer information about funding offered directly through the school. 

Submit a FAFSA Application

Even if a student isn’t planning to accept student loans, they should definitely consider completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Not only will the resulting report inform them of any financial assistance for which they qualify, but many scholarship committees require applicants to submit a FAFSA. 

Search Scholarship Websites

There are many scholarship websites where students can find awards and applications. Sites such as Scholarships.com and Scholarship 360 allow you to use filters to narrow down your search results based on your needs and interests. 

We’ve also put together the following guides:

  • How To Get a Full-Ride Scholarship
  • Best Merit-Based Scholarships  
  • Excellent Scholarships for High School Seniors
  • Great Scholarships for Black Students
  • Scholarships for Women
  • Best Scholarship Opportunities for Future Teachers

Do an Internet Search

Head to a search engine, social media platform, or sites like Reddit to look for scholarships. You can even create posts inviting other users to share suggestions.

Ask an Employer

Some workplaces offer tuition benefits or other financial assistance for higher education. If a student is employed, it’s an option to reach out to someone in the HR department to see if they offer any programs or scholarships. 

The Dos and Don’ts of Writing a Scholarship Essay

Do: know the rules.

The most important thing anyone can do before writing a scholarship essay is this: Read all of the rules and guidelines and then reread them! Students can even ask someone else to read them too, to make sure they fully understand what they need to do. Failing to follow the rules is one of the main reasons why students are unsuccessful in getting scholarships. 

Do: Set Aside Plenty of Time

Start working on scholarship essays right away. Do not wait until a week (or day!) before the deadline. This gives students time to write several drafts of the essay if needed. Also, you never know when a technology-related issue might strike, so having a little extra time can save you from disaster. 

Do: Research the Scholarship Provider

Dig deep when applying for a scholarship. Find out who is funding the award and spend some time researching the provider. Do they have a vision or mission statement? Do they support any specific causes or types of students? Is there any way that applicants can make themselves more attractive candidates for the specific audience? Students should use this information to their advantage! 

Do: Brainstorm

Students should take some time to think about what they’ve learned about the scholarship essay guidelines and the provider. Then, brainstorm about what they want to say and share and why. Here are some questions to ask as they pertain to education and career goals:

  • Who are you? Think of yourself but also your background.
  • What makes you who you are?
  • What have you done?
  • What do you want to do?
  • How are you going to get there?
  • Why do you need a scholarship?
  • How will it make a difference?
  • Are you a first-generation college student?
  • Do you have any unique qualities or needs?
  • What makes you proud?
  • What lessons have you learned?

These are heavy questions, but finding the answers to at least some of them will help provide the substance needed to write a truly effective scholarship essay. 

Do: Find Ways To Stand Out

Many, many students are applying for scholarships. They have to find a way to stand out from the rest. Students should think of the things they learned when they researched the scholarship provider. Are there any ways they can appeal to that audience? If so, focus on those areas. 

Do: Be Honest

Do not lie on a scholarship application. Let’s say that again: Do not lie on a scholarship application. Students should remind themselves that they are worthy on their own. If an applicant is discovered to be dishonest, it can really hurt them in the long run. 

Do: Stay on Topic

When reading the guidelines for the scholarship and doing brainstorming, be sure to keep the topic of the essay in mind. Everything students share and communicate should be related to the topic. 

Do: Be Professional

Students should use their very best skills when writing a scholarship essay. They should not use slang, casual language, unconventional fonts, emojis, or texting abbreviations. 

Do: Proofread and Edit Multiple Times

It’s a good idea to prepare to write this essay at least three times. First, there’s a rough draft that should be carefully proofread. Students can ask a teacher or other professional to also look at their paper. Then students should repeat this process once or twice more until they’re happy with the results. They shouldn’t just write it and submit it all at once! 

Don’t: Brag

While students want to highlight their strengths and accomplishments, they should not brag. They also don’t want to put down other candidates or people to make themselves look good. Tell a story without embellishments. 

Don’t: Reuse a Scholarship Essay

Students put a lot of effort into writing scholarship essays, but please don’t reuse them! 

Scholarship Essay Sample Outline

Ready to get started? Having a solid outline provides a road map for the journey. Here are some suggestions for making it easier to write a scholarship essay! 

Introduction

Students should explain who they are and try to make it engaging. Hook readers by sharing a few details that will be elaborated on in the body of the essay. 

Educational and Career Goals

Students should share what they want to study and hope to gain by getting an education, as well as how it will prepare them for their future career. They should be passionate! 

Who Are You?

Student should briefly explain their background, which can include details about family, personal values, and how they got to where they are today. 

Why Are You a Good Candidate for the Scholarship?

This is where students need to really think about what they learned about the scholarship provider. What are they looking for in a candidate? Students should do their best to not only shine as a good student and leader, but also find solid ways to connect with the scholarship provider’s mission. After including some teasers or breadcrumbs in the introduction to hook the reader, this is a good place to share the rest of the story. 

To wrap up a scholarship essay, students should reiterate their commitment to their education and career. Restate how the story shared demonstrates a readiness for college and how winning the scholarship can help the applicant follow their dreams. Best of luck!

Do you have tips on how to write a scholarship essay? Share them below! Plus, check out  The Ultimate Guide to College Scholarships!

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How to Write a Scholarship Essay (with Examples)

September 27, 2023

While applying to college, many students are faced with an additional, daunting task: how to write a scholarship essay. Financial need, already a sensitive subject, can become a stressful factor in the process alongside other existential unknowns. Luckily, scholarship essays will not require you to go tiptoeing around the taboo topic of money. Furthermore, most scholarship essay prompts more or less resemble standard supplemental essay questions. The trick then is to make your scholarship essay stand out. The following article and scholarship essay example will offer up pointers for anyone striving to win a college scholarship.

Organizing Scholarship Essays by Prompt

You may feel like melting into a lump of despair when facing a browser full of tabbed scholarships. The best way to avoid getting overwhelmed is to organize and analyze a list of prompts. Why? Because your first goal is not simply to figure out how to write a scholarship essay. Rather, you’ll want to know how to save time while writing complex and relevant scholarship essays.

As you look over the various prompts, you’ll notice that some sound fairly open-ended, while others ask for something quite specific. In response, you should annotate each prompt with thematic keywords. This will help you figure out when you can use the same essay for several prompts.

Your annotated list may look something like the following…

Sample Scholarship Essay Prompts

1) “Explain something that made a big impact in your life.”

  • Keywords: event , personal development, growth, background

2) “We’re committed to diversifying education abroad by providing funding to students who are typically under-represented in study abroad. Please describe how you and/or your plans for study abroad could be viewed as under-represented.”

  • Keywords: minority, diversity, identity, study abroad

3) “Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.”

  • Keywords: background, identity, interest, talent

Sample Scholarship Essay Prompts, Continued

4) “Please explain a personal hardship or catastrophic life event that you have experienced. How did you manage to overcome this obstacle? What did you learn and how did you grow from it?”

  • Keywords: event, personal development, growth, challenge, background

5) Describe a change you would like to make in the world. Tell us about how you would plan to make that change, and what obstacles you might encounter along the way.

  • Keywords: world development, challenge, future

6) “Tell us three things that are important to you. How did you arrive at this list? Will these things be important to you in ten years? Why?”

  • Keywords: background, values, interest, development, identity, future

Scholarship Essay Prompts ( Continued)

7) “What does it mean to you to be part of a minority community? What challenges has it brought and how have you overcome them? What are the benefits?”

  • Keywords: minority, community, challenge, growth

8) “Please explain how your experience volunteering and participating in community service has shaped your perspective on humanity. Elaborate on how these experiences have influenced your future ambitions and career choice.”

  • Keywords: community service, humanity, community, background, future, values, career

9) “Discuss in your essay any challenges or obstacles you have dealt with and overcome in life and how this will help you succeed in college and beyond. Describe how volunteer, community service or extra-curricular activities have shaped who you are today and what it has taught you. May also include future educational plans and career goals.”

  • Keywords: challenge, future, community service, interests, value, personal growth, career

How to Write a Scholarship Essay through Prompt Analysis

Let’s compare some prompts by keywords. You’ll notice that some prompts have a lot of overlap, such as prompts 1 and 4. Both have event, personal development, growth, and background as keywords . Prompt 4 includes the additional keyword challenge . This prompt explicitly asks you to explain how you have “overcome” a “personal hardship or catastrophic life event.” While prompt 1 is not so specific, it would be easy, even natural, to include this narrative arc in your response. This means depicting how you faced the thing that “made a big impact in your life.” In other words, these two essay prompts, though worded differently, allow you to tell the same story.

Other prompts provide potential overlap. In this case, it’s up to you to find and interpret these moments. You may consider the values, strengths, interests, and experiences you wish to relate. For example, prompts 7, 8, and 9 all mention community through different approaches. While prompt 7 focuses on one’s past involvement in a minority community, prompts 8 and 9 are more future-facing, and don’t mention minorities.

Scholarship Essay Examples (Continued)

Here, your best strategy involves answering prompts 8 and 9 together in a single scholarship essay. To do so, the essay would need to detail “a challenge or obstacle you have dealt with” (9) which has thus “shaped your perspective on humanity” (8). This narrative arc will thus inform your “future” educational and career plans (8 and 9). Note that prompt 9 allows you to mention extra-curriculars. However, I wouldn’t recommend it, since this would make your essay less relevant to prompt 8. After your essay is written, adapt it to align with prompt 7. Consider condensing the part about the future into one final sentence and focusing more on minority aspects of your community.

How to Scholarship Essay Avoid Burnout

The above tactic will allow you to avoid burnout by strategizing your essay approach ahead of time. In turn, you’ll be able to maximize your efforts from the get-go. You’ll also likely find that your essays become more complex and nuanced when you consider several prompts at once.

The next step involves editing. Refer back to the prompt, once you have a draft written. Ask yourself, did I answer the question fully? Do I need to edit this essay further to emphasize a particular point? Do I need to cut the essay down to fit a new word count? Contrarily do I need to bulk it up? If so, are there other essays in my portfolio from which I can borrow material? Strategic editing will allow you to respond to a large number of essays during peak essay-writing season.

Finally, you’ll notice that most essays require a word count between 250 to 600 words. It’s often easier to write a longer essay first. This will allow you to go into greater detail without censoring your ideas. You may find yourself including dialogue, scenery, emotions, and all sorts of other specifics that make an essay personal. As you whittle down this essay to comply with a similar prompt, you’ll want to identify which pieces of the essay do the most work to get your message across. Don’t simply condense everything by eliminating details, for details are often the most memorable aspects of an essay. More on this next.

How to Write a Scholarship Essay Using the Three Fs

The three Fs can be applied to any college essay, though they are particularily useful in scholarship essays. Why? Because the three Fs will enable you to impress readers and beat out other applicants. Ultimately, they’ll help you win financial support. Think of the three Fs as a checklist to go over, once you’ve completed an essay draft. Ask yourself, is my essay fabulous? Flawless? Fearless?

How to Write a Scholarship Essay (Continued)

If your essay is fabulous , it glitters with personality. It is detailed, unique, and does its best to highlight your impressive journey. If your essay lacks a little fab, ask yourself, how can I make this essay more enjoyable and memorable to read? If your essay is flawless , it lacks all spelling, syntactic and grammatical errors. It answers every aspect of the essay prompt, and leaves no room for vagueness or misunderstandings. To avoid flaws, give your essay to several people to proofread. Finally, if your essay is fearless , it is not afraid to get a little vulnerable. This may sound contradictory to the first F. On the contrary, this fearlessness refers to the confidence to tell your own story. A fearless story isn’t afraid to go deep, add complexity, or get emotional. It is unafraid to show why its author deserves a financial boost.

Scholarship Essay Example

Now that we’ve established how to approach the scholarship essay, let’s dive into a scholarship essay example. The scholarship essay below stems from a prompt we saw above: Describe a change you would like to make in the world. Tell us about how you would plan to make that change, and what obstacles you might encounter along the way (500 words).

My generation is growing up in a time of increased global turmoil. We’ve witnessed Brexit, the Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, a series of refugee crises, and the invasion of Ukraine. It’s easy to liken this moment to Europe in the 1930s, which saw a spike in fascism and propaganda (their version of fake news). Only now, my generation must also contend with the hottest summers on record, raging forest fires, and the beginning of the 6 th extinction. It’s no wonder we deal with it all through increased skepticism and existential dread.

While I don’t have a simple solution, I believe most problems stem from ignorance. Xenophobia and racism, offshoots of ignorance, can be overcome by exposing isolated groups of people to greater diversity. This begins in the classroom. While dictators are hard to dispose of, education provides critical thinking skills, which allow citizens to make informed decisions when electing officials. Finally, developing a willingness to learn at an early age creates an instinct to continue learning throughout life. We desperately need intellectual flexibility if we are going to adapt to the planet’s needs as a world population and put a stop to industry-led fossil fuel burning.

Scholarship Essay Example (Continued)

The change I’d like to make is free, enhanced education for everyone, at every level, from elementary school to post-doctorate research institutes. To do so, I suggest defunding national militaries and channeling this spending into schools. Imagine if 80% of the 877 billion dollars the U.S. military spends annually went into learning. Combating fascism and climate change would look more feasible. And yet, no leader would agree to making their country more vulnerable by relinquishing arms and armies. Change must come from the people.

As the planet continues to heats up, and conflict over land increases, we must work together. The first step towards increased education is communicating this need for education: through journalism, on social media, in the streets. Next, I suggest lobbying politicians for incremental change. Finally, I believe a global grassroots movement to implement future-focused education, led by activists, educators, and philanthropists, would make this theoretical idea a tangible reality.

Last year, my mother, who never received a college education, decided to offer free gardening courses in our backyard. I quickly joined in. While teaching a handful of neighbors how to provide year-round food for pollinators may seem trivial, I’ve already seen positive repercussions. One conservative neighbor has set up an organization that collects and redistributes leftover produce from the markets to refugees. Another neighbor is now teaching middle schoolers how to cook and compost. These efforts have brought unusual strangers together and given visibility to our movement, #futurefocusededucation. I’ve seen it firsthand. The more we educate, the sooner we can combine our knowledge to create solutions.

Scholarship Essay Example Dissected

This scholarship essay succeeds at answering all parts of the prompt. It includes the change the author wants to make, and inevitable obstacles she’d face at the governmental and international level. These obstacles may sound insurmountable. Yet the essay shows that individuals are not powerless to enact change when they work together towards a common goal. The author provides various thoughtful steps we might take in order to prioritize education and peaceful collaboration.

Finally, the author portrays herself as someone personally invested in the political, humanitarian, and environmental state of the world. She proves that she’s already begun to make the changes she wants to see at the microscopic level. Overall, readers of this scholarship essay can see that this student is invested in bettering the world. This student would make for a proactive participant in her academic environment.

What’s Next?

Now that you have some inkling of how to write a scholarship essay and have reviewed of our scholarship essay examples, you may want to delve into more aid-related articles on the College Transitions Dataverse. You can read up on Need-Based Financial Aid Grants , and learn about Selective Colleges with Generous Scholarships . Furthermore, you may want to create your own Scholarship Timeline , in order to stay on top of the various deadlines. Good luck!

  • Costs & Financial Aid

Kaylen Baker

With a BA in Literary Studies from Middlebury College, an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University, and a Master’s in Translation from Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis, Kaylen has been working with students on their writing for over five years. Previously, Kaylen taught a fiction course for high school students as part of Columbia Artists/Teachers, and served as an English Language Assistant for the French National Department of Education. Kaylen is an experienced writer/translator whose work has been featured in Los Angeles Review, Hybrid, San Francisco Bay Guardian, France Today, and Honolulu Weekly, among others.

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  • Writing Tips

​How to Write a Scholarship Essay (With Examples)

​How to Write a Scholarship Essay (With Examples)

  • 6-minute read
  • 22nd August 2022

Writing a scholarship essay can seem like a daunting task. For many students , higher education isn’t possible without financial aid, and scholarships are especially valuable because the money awarded doesn’t have to be paid back.

Even though the stakes are high, there are a few manageable steps you can take to ensure you write a great essay to submit with your scholarship applications. We have a few top tips to help you get started, along with writing examples to demonstrate some key points. Check out our guide below to learn more.

A scholarship essay is a great opportunity to present yourself and your accomplishments in an impactful way. It is, therefore, essential to be aware of each scholarship deadline so you can allow sufficient time for the writing process, which typically includes the following:

·   Read the essay prompt and brainstorm ideas.

·   Create an outline covering the key points you want to address.

·   Write a draft and seek feedback from trusted teachers, family, or friends.

·   Make any necessary revisions and proofread before submitting your final draft.

Scholarship review committees will be able to tell if you rushed through your essay, so give yourself the best chance of winning an award by staying organized and on schedule!

Who and What?

Researching the scholarship provider and diligently reviewing the essay prompts can help you write an essay that makes you stand out as a top candidate.

1. Who are you writing to?

Learn more about the organization offering the scholarship and why the scholarship fund was created.

For instance, a scholarship may honor its organization’s founder, and the founder’s qualities (e.g., integrity, good citizenship, and leadership) might be the same values guiding the scholarship program as a way to continue the founder’s legacy.

If you identify with any of the same qualities, you can incorporate those keywords into your essay to demonstrate your shared values. Remember to remain authentic, though!

2. What are you writing about?

You must read the essay prompt carefully to identify precisely what you need to accomplish with your essay.

Some prompts ask about your career goals and how you plan to achieve them or your achievements and the challenges you overcame to reach them.

You’ll write about common topics across multiple scholarship applications – some may even be similar to your college admission essay – so you can repurpose your essays as long as you’re diligent about tailoring each one to its prompt.

Your application will likely require other items such as transcripts and test scores, but the essay is your chance to offer something entirely unique. Write about key experiences that highlight who you are and what you’ve accomplished, or you could mention something you’re passionate about.

Remember to follow any specific instructions regarding length and formatting, and be sure to answer all questions listed in the prompt. It can hurt your chances if you’re unable to show the committee that you’re detail-oriented and can follow directions.

Structuring Your Essay

Your essay should follow a standard format that includes a clear beginning, middle, and end. Typically, you should:

·   Establish your main idea in the introduction.

·   Include a separate body paragraph for each key point that supports your main idea.

·   Draw it all together and revisit your main idea in the conclusion.

Scholarship committees read thousands of essays each year. And often, there are hundreds of applicants for an award that can only go to a select few candidates. Writing a powerful introduction and conclusion gives you a chance to make a lasting impression.

1. Introduction

Write an introduction that hooks the reader and encourages them to stay engaged till the end of your essay. Don’t be afraid to add personal, tangible details and an anecdote .

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For example, if you’re writing about your career goals, demonstrate why you’ve chosen that career:

It was the biggest game of the season, and the stands were packed despite the bitter cold. My heart was beating louder than all of the cheers, and I was filled with the anticipation that one more run into the end zone would give us the championship. Everything went silent during that run when the tackle shattered both my leg and my dreams.

My world has always revolved around being an athlete – until one day it couldn’t. I spent many frustrating months rehabilitating, but I got through it because of my dedicated physical therapist, who helped me recover both physically and mentally after a devastating loss. And it was that profound experience that led me to pursue a career in the exercise sciences.

2. Conclusion

The conclusion is the last thing your reader will see, so it’s another opportunity for you to make your essay memorable.

Rather than summarizing with a general statement such as “this is why you should award me a scholarship,” perhaps explain what the financial assistance will help you achieve:

My parents never had the opportunity to go to college, and neither did their parents. I watched them work hard every day just to make ends meet, and I often questioned whether I could achieve anything more. Nevertheless, I spent four years working as hard as I saw my parents work, and I beat the odds by getting accepted to college. A scholarship could be invaluable for me, as it would allow me to attend and be successful without having to worry about finances.

Persuasive Writing

While you don’t want your scholarship essay to be overly informal, you’re certainly allowed to add some creativity and personal details to help persuade your readers.

One of the best ways to do so is by writing with the modes of persuasion ; that is, ethos, pathos, and logos.

Demonstrate your credibility. Use your real-life experiences and interesting details to establish, for example, how you’ve contributed to your community:

I saw how much bullying was impacting so many students at my school, so I founded my high school’s first anti-bullying club and organized campaigns to bring attention to the harm that people can cause one another.

Evoke an emotional response. The “show, don’t tell ” writing technique, which involves using descriptive words when discussing actions and emotions, can be especially useful here:

During one of our first awareness assemblies, the theater was completely silent as I read aloud anonymous stories from students about the scars bullying had left on their lives. Tears were stinging in my eyes as I described the struggles my classmates were facing, but I persevered to give a voice to those who didn’t have one.

Convey your point with reason and facts. Use statistics to demonstrate what you’ve accomplished:

In the first year alone, our club improved students’ feelings of safety and acceptance at our school by 53%.

Proofreading and Editing

Don’t forget the importance of proofreading your essay, as spelling and grammar mistakes can leave a bad impression on your reader. Our expert editors can help ensure your writing is clear, concise, and error-free. Give yourself a better chance at impressing scholarship committees by submitting a free trial document today!

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By submitting my email address. i certify that i am 13 years of age or older, agree to recieve marketing email messages from the princeton review, and agree to terms of use., writing a winning college scholarship essay.

If you need more money to pay for college, chances are you will be applying for several college scholarships . A great scholarship essay helps the scholarship provider understand the real person behind the application and can be the key to winning the award (assuming you meet the other scholarship criteria).

Student writing scholarship essay

Scholarship Essays vs. College Essays

Scholarship essays are very similar to your college application essays in terms of strategy. Many scholarship hopefuls will share the same grades, test scores, and ambitions: the essay is your chance to shine (and grow that dream college fund!).

How to Write a Scholarship Essay

When you’re drafting your scholarship essay, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

1. Start the essay writing process early.

Leave yourself plenty of time to produce a well thought-out entry. Take the time to brainstorm your ideas, create an outline, and edit your entry as you would for any essay writing assignment for your English class.

Read More: How to Craft an Unforgettable College Essay

2. Understand the scholarship provider’s overall mission and purpose.

Each scholarship provider is looking for students who meet certain criteria. Consider writing about an experience or interest that highlights your strong ties to the organization’s mission. Genuine passion and enthusiasm for your topic will show through in your essay writing.

3. Follow the scholarship essay instructions.

Make sure to follow all of the necessary steps and review them before submitting your scholarship essay. Trust us, some of the brightest students have missed out on the chance to earn scholarships dollars all because they neglected to follow instructions. You don’t want to fall into that category!

4. Steer clear from essay topics that focus on negativity or pessimism.

Scholarship committees would rather see how you overcame hardships and succeeded despite the obstacles in your path (or what you learned from the times you failed).

Read More: 200 Colleges That Pay You Back

5. Don’t be afraid to get personal.

Share something about who you are. This is your chance to elaborate on elsewhere on your application you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do so. Telling your story makes an essay genuine and ultimately more memorable to the scholarship committee.

6. Seek out writing advice and feedback.

Asking teachers, counselors, family members, or trustworthy friends for feedback on your essay will result in a better final product.

7. Yes, spelling and grammar matter.

Scholarship committees do notice grammar mistakes . Eveny tiny errors can distract a reader from your overall message. Before you submit your application make sure you take the time to proofread your essay from beginning to end.

8. Don’t give up!

When you’re tired, take a break, but don’t throw in the towel! Our online essay writing tutors are here for you anytime you get discouraged. We can help with everything from brainstorming and outlining to revising the final draft.

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How to Write a Scholarship Essay

What’s covered:, why do scholarships require essays.

  • Types of scholarship essays

How to write a good scholarship essay

What about scholarships that don’t require an essay.

For many, scholarships are a critical part of paying for your college education. That’s why you want to make sure your scholarship applications receive nearly as much of your care and attention as your college applications do. Essays are a huge component of this.

Many scholarships are competitive, drawing highly qualified applicants with excellent grades and test scores. Essays are a way of differentiating students, learning more about their interests, and determining to whom the organization should give the award.

Scholarships are also born out of organizational missions, and the committee wants to see how your values align with theirs. Essays help illuminate these values. 

Types of scholarship essays 

You’ll encounter several different types of scholarship essays during your search. These are some of the most common varieties you will find.

Career and education goals

Some scholarships target people with particular career ambitions and anticipated majors. This essay prompt is common for those types of awards, as well as more general ones. To approach your essay, you should be authentic, describing your true motivations and why this professional path appeals to you. Let your passion for the industry, sector, or discipline shine through.

Life experiences/qualities/group affinity

When a scholarship targets people of particular demographics, make sure you highlight your affinity with this group in your essay. Describe how these characteristics have contributed to and in some cases shaped your journey — and will continue to do so in your future.

Connection with the institution/organization

Your connection with the institution or organization offering the scholarship often plays a large role in determining winners — so much so that they may ask you to describe why that organization is important to you in your essay. It’s important to do your homework, considering why various aspects of the institution appeal to you and why you want a scholarship from them.

Past writing sample

You may not need to write a new essay at all. The organization could ask you to submit a past writing sample instead. If this is the case, choose a piece that shows your real personality and aligns with the message and mission of the organization offering the scholarship.

1. Understand your audience.

Scholarship committees want to see essays from students who share their organization’s values. Before you apply, you need to do some research to understand what those values are. Consider how your interests and experiences align with what the organization is looking for, and make them clear throughout your essay.

2. Show your personality.

You should also use your voice in your essay. Give the scholarship committee insight into who you are as a person — what drives you, what motivates you, and what interests you. This will allow them to understand you on a deeper level and see your words as genuine.

3. Use anecdotes and examples.

As with your college essays, you’ll bring your experiences to life by using plenty of anecdotes and examples. These will help ground your essay and make it more compelling for your audience.

You may encounter scholarships that don’t require essays. While the applications may be less time-consuming, for the most part, you will need to ensure that your GPA, test scores, and extracurriculars are strong because they will usually play a large role in assessing applicants.

While we’re on the subject of no-essay scholarships, we encourage you to enter CollegeVine’s weekly $500+ scholarship drawings . To get started, you just need to create a free account. Increase your chances of winning by referring friends, peer-reviewing essays, and more.

Related CollegeVine Blog Posts

best way to write a college scholarship essay

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How to Start a Scholarship Essay

Last Updated: April 20, 2024 References

This article was co-authored by Jake Adams and by wikiHow staff writer, Jessica Gibson . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 93,008 times.

College scholarships can be incredibly competitive and most of them have an essay component. While you may dread writing these essays, they're nothing to fear—the scholarship committee just wants to know a little more about you. With a strong introduction that hooks your reader, you're halfway there! But how do you start a scholarship essay? Here, you'll find some great ideas for how to start, along with some general writing strategies that you can carry through to the rest of your essay.

Sample Introduction and Template

best way to write a college scholarship essay

Include the 3 key elements of an introduction.

Get your readers' attention, give an overview, and list a thesis statement.

  • A great intro sentence could be something like, "I never thought I'd have to raise my siblings," or, "On April 7, 1997, my life completely changed."
  • Your overview sentences could go on to say, "My parents struggled to look after us, so I become the only constant in my brothers' lives. I had to grow up fast, but I also learned a lot about myself in the process."
  • Your thesis statement might look like this, "I realized that I have a lot to offer and I'm starting a career in social work. This scholarship will give me the financial support that I need to start my educational journey."

Open with an element of surprise.

Use a surprising or shocking fact about yourself to draw in the reader.

  • For example, you might write: "If you looked at my parents' mantle, overflowing with trophies and medals, you'd probably conclude that I was an athlete. But what you wouldn't know is that I was born with only one leg."

Compare yourself to the scholarship's namesake.

Show what you have in common with the person for whom the scholarship is named.

  • For example, you might write: "Mary Lewis dedicated her life to improving her community with public vegetable gardens. Last year, I worked with fellow disabled students to create a sustainable vegetable garden at our school that was accessible to others with disabilities."

Raise a question.

Ask your readers a question to stir their curiosity about the answer.

  • For example, you might write: "For the past 4 years, I've volunteered with my local hospice. Why would a healthy, athletic young woman want to volunteer with people who are dying? Because I, too, have faced death. I know what it's like to be told you only have a few days to live."

Set the scene dramatically.

This option works well if you have a strong, compelling personal experience.

  • For example, suppose you're writing an essay about rescuing an injured dog and how that made you decide to become a veterinarian. You might write: "I could smell him before I saw him. Small and frail, he limped toward me. His fur was matted and he trembled. His large eyes were full of fear. He pleaded with me for help."

Include quotes with caution.

Use famous quotes only if you can quickly tie them to personal experience.

  • For example, you might write: "Nevertheless, she persisted." I never really understood the meaning of that rallying cry until, at 14 years old, I stood in front of the principal of my school to speak on behalf of myself and other disabled students."

Use buzzwords from the essay prompt.

Highlight important nouns and adjectives that apply to you.

Include a roadmap of your essay.

Share tangible, real-world examples that directly address the prompt.

  • For example, you might write: "My compassion for and special connection to animals spurred me to pursue a career in veterinary medicine." Then, in your essay, you would provide an instance that demonstrated your compassion and another that demonstrated that special connection.
  • Your roadmap doesn't necessarily have to be a "spoiler." For example, if the prompt is to "discuss a book or experience that made you want to be a writer," you might write: "While I'd always loved reading, I never considered writing stories myself until my 7th grade English teacher gave me a book for an extra-credit report." In your essay, you would then go on to discuss the report and name the book. [11] X Research source

Close your introduction with your thesis statement.

Your thesis statement tells your reader the purpose of your essay.

  • For example, if the prompt is to describe what sparked your interest in veterinary medicine, your thesis might be: "My experience rehabilitating stray dogs sparked my interest in pursuing a career in veterinary medicine."

Write in your own voice.

Let the reader know who you are from the first line.

  • Focus on standing out, not writing like everyone else. Although you can look at samples of other winning scholarship essays to get ideas, make sure the words in your essay are your own.
  • Your own perspective is key. For example, if you're a person of color, don't try to "whitewash" your essay. Scholarship committees like diversity, so if you try to cover up your identity, you're only hurting yourself.

Make your sentences active and concise.

Use short sentences and action verbs to make your writing pop.

  • For example, you might write: "I strive to demonstrate my passion for the environment every day. In my sophomore year, I started the recycling program at my school. As president of the environmental club, I teach fellow students what they can do to help save the world we live in."

Expert Q&A

Jake Adams

  • Have friends or family read your essay—they can give you tips on how to make it stronger. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Make your introduction short and sweet. The general rule is that the introduction should be about 10% of the total word count of your essay—this usually isn't many words! Most scholarship essay introductions only have 3-4 sentences. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

best way to write a college scholarship essay

  • Typos can ruin an otherwise beautiful essay! Make sure you proofread carefully. [16] X Research source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

You Might Also Like

Write a Statement of Purpose

  • ↑ https://scholarshipowl.com/blog/apply-for-scholarships/scholarship-essay-introduction/
  • ↑ https://www.owens.edu/writing/scholarship/
  • ↑ https://www.nitrocollege.com/blog/how-to-start-a-scholarship-essay
  • ↑ https://www.thecollegemonk.com/blog/scholarship-essay-introduction
  • ↑ Jake Adams. Academic Tutor & Test Prep Specialist. Expert Interview. 20 May 2020.
  • ↑ https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/articles/ways-to-make-your-scholarship-essay-stand-out
  • ↑ https://www.internationalstudent.com/essay_writing/scholarship_essaysample/
  • ↑ https://online.maryville.edu/blog/how-to-write-a-scholarship-essay/
  • ↑ https://www.southuniversity.edu/news-and-blogs/2013/05/8trickstowritingstandoutscholarshipessays

About This Article

Jake Adams

To start a scholarship essay, open with an interesting story, experience, or anecdote to draw your reader in. Then, connect your opening to the broader topic or question you'll be addressing throughout your essay. If you need some inspiration for a good introduction, read the essays written by the previous winners of the scholarship you're applying for. Just make sure you use your own voice and experiences to write your essay so it comes across as authentic. To learn how to conduct research for your scholarship essay before you write it, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Scholarship Essay Examples

With college tuition costs rising each year, many students apply for merit scholarships to help make college more affordable. However, merit scholarships can be competitive—and that’s where our scholarship essay examples come in. By reading our scholarship essay examples, you can learn what it takes to write an award-winning essay. 

Scholarships are an excellent opportunity for students to lessen their college tuition costs. Most merit scholarships require a brief application, usually including one or more essays. Below, we’ve rounded up our best scholarship essay examples.

Reading winning scholarship essay examples, especially scholarship essay examples about yourself, can help you begin the scholarship essay process. By reviewing essay examples, you can learn how to craft a strong essay. You’ll also get a better sense of what scholarship committees look for when they review applications.

In this guide to Scholarship Essay Examples, you’ll find tips on how to write the best scholarship essay, as well as:

  • Various scholarship essay examples about yourself
  • A strong scholarship essay sample about why I deserve the scholarship
  • Scholarship essay examples about financial need, and more!

We’ve included scholarship essay examples specific to schools, including UC Berkeley, as well as specific programs, like the SHPE scholarship. We’ll also discuss the different types of scholarships you’ll find on your scholarship search. 

Now, before we jump into our essay examples, let’s learn more about getting scholarship money for college.

What is a scholarship essay?

A scholarship essay is an essay you’ll include in your merit scholarship applications. In many ways, your scholarship essays might resemble your college essays. So, the scholarship essay format should seem familiar. 

The best scholarship essays will highlight who you are and why you deserve money for college. Scholarship essay prompts will ask you to include various information, from details about your background to explanations of why you deserve a scholarship.

Crafting a compelling, well-written essay can help you win substantial financial awards to help cover your college tuition costs. However, not all scholarship essays are the same. Later on, we’ll review different winning scholarship essay examples to show you what kind of essays you’ll write in your application process.

Types of Scholarships

There are many different types of scholarships available to students. You can find a variety of scholarship opportunities on scholarships websites. The earlier you start your scholarship search, the more scholarships you’ll find. 

While some scholarship applications accept applicants of all backgrounds and abilities, some have very specific eligibility guidelines. So, you may not be eligible for every scholarship. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re eligible, you can find eligibility information on most scholarships websites. 

Here are a few different scholarship types you may come across in your scholarship search:

  • Academic scholarships
  • Merit scholarships
  • Essay competitions
  • Community service scholarships
  • Military scholarships

Scholarship essay prompts will differ across programs. As you’ll see in our winning scholarship essay examples, the prompts can vary in word count and complexity. We’ll provide you with descriptive essay examples to help you get an idea of what to expect.

Merit-Based Scholarships

Most scholarships we’ll highlight in this article are merit-based scholarships . A merit-based scholarship is money awarded by a college or community organization based on your academic achievements. 

In contrast, a need-based scholarship is awarded based on a student’s financial need. If you are applying for financial aid, be sure to check out our scholarship essay examples about financial need. You’ll find both merit- and need-based scholarships on your scholarship search.     

To qualify for a merit-based scholarship, you generally must meet specific criteria. Scholarship committees look at your grades, academic achievements, extracurriculars, and even test scores. Need-based scholarships can have similar requirements, but they’re primarily concerned with your family’s financial status.

There are many merit-based scholarships available to help students afford college, including:

  • National merit scholarships
  • Gates Scholarship
  • Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship
  • Robertson Scholarship

Check out our guides on these popular merit-based scholarships for more details. There, you’ll find tips on how to write a winning essay. Our descriptive essay examples can also help prepare you to apply to these programs After all, while prompts vary, the scholarship essay format remains fairly standard. 

Finding scholarships

In this guide, we’ll highlight some scholarships you may be eligible for. However, make sure to check out the rest of our resources to help you approach the scholarship search. 

Some scholarships we’ll discuss include:

  • QuestBridge scholarship : helps low-income students attend elite colleges
  • Park scholarships : for students attending NC State University
  • SHPE scholarship : offers financial assistance for Hispanic students interested in STEM degrees. 

Scholarship essay examples about financial need will help you prepare for your scholarship applications. For instance, if you apply for the SHPE scholarship, you’ll include a lot of details about your background. 

You can also use scholarship search portals or scholarships websites to find other scholarships you may be eligible for. 

How do you write a scholarship essay?

While scholarship essay prompts may differ, you’ll usually stick to the same general scholarship essay format. 

One resource that can help you write the best scholarship essays and find money for college is Sallie Mae. Sallie Mae is a private lender offering undergraduate, graduate, and professional student loans. They also grant scholarships and provide aspiring college students with a scholarship search portal on their scholarships websites. Here’s what they have to say about having a winning scholarship essay format.

Organization

When writing a scholarship essay, it’s best to start with a scholarship essay format that organizes your thoughts. This will allow you to follow a plan that clearly and concisely gets your points across. You should begin your essay with a solid introduction. Then, introduce your supporting arguments and add an appropriate conclusion. 

A good scholarship essay clearly states why you deserve to win money for college with evidence to back up your argument. You’ll see how to do this in our scholarship essay sample about why I deserve the scholarship. The best scholarship essays will be original and honest. It should be written in an inspirational and positive tone, highlighting your strengths and capabilities. 

When you feel like you have put your best foot forward, you should ask others for their feedback. This can be from a teacher, counselor, or one of our advisors here at CollegeAdvisor! Proofread your final essay and make sure you’ve caught any spelling and grammatical errors before submitting your application.

Up next, we’ll get into our descriptive essay examples and the different scholarship essay prompts they responded to. 

By looking at scholarship essay examples, you can learn what exactly makes a good essay. So, let’s look at some descriptive essay examples written by students looking to secure money for college. 

First, we will walk you through scholarship essay examples about yourself. Then, we’ll look at a scholarship essay sample about why I deserve the scholarship. Lastly, we will provide you with scholarship essay examples about financial need. Remember to keep these scholarship essay examples in mind when writing essays of your own!

Scholarship Essay Examples About Yourself

Let’s take a closer look at some scholarship essay examples about yourself.

Scholarship essay prompts vary quite a bit, so make sure you understand what the prompt really asks of you. That way, you can answer the question or address the prompt in its entirety.

Some scholarship essay prompts may ask how the scholarship will make a difference for you. They may also ask about any contributions you have made to your community. 

Ready to look at some winning scholarship essay examples? Check out these scholarship essay examples below.

The first of our scholarship essays is for Phi Sigma Rho. Here’s the prompt: 

How do you promote Phi Sigma Rho and STEM on your campus or in your community? (300 words Max)

Phi sigma rho scholarship essay.

In my campus and community, I strive to promote Phi Sigma Rho and STEM by promoting Phi Rho’s values and sharing my experiences and passion for Phi Rho.

My involvement in the Women in Engineering Program (WEP) and Society of Women Engineers (SWE) has allowed me the opportunity to promote Phi Rho and STEM. These activities have given me insight into how to successfully create a network that will support and encourage women in engineering to continue their careers. 

Within WEP, I served as a sophomore orientation leader (Envoy), mentoring first-year women and assisting with program logistics. As an envoy, I was able to promote Phi Rho ideals of friendship and encouragement. I was also able to informally recruit for Phi Rho by sharing my experiences and passion for the sorority.

Within SWE, I was the Internal Relations Chair my freshmen year and am the Director of Member Engagement this year. Both roles are related to member engagement, allowing me to promote friendship within engineering. Member engagement is important for creating a community among female engineers. Similar to my envoy position, my leadership within SWE has allowed me to share my love for Phi Rho.

Additionally, my volunteer experience with Engineering Ambassadors (EA), a STEM outreach group, has allowed me to promote STEM in the community. In EA, I give presentations on engineering, speak on panels, and lead hands-on activities for K-12 students. EA has taught me strategies to promote STEM to children and teenagers.

Because of Phi Sigma Rho, I have the confidence to inspire and encourage the next generation of female engineers. I hold the values of scholarship, friendship, and encouragement in the highest regard and strive to embody those in every leadership position and volunteer role. Through SWE, WEP, and EA, I have promoted Phi Sigma Rho, its values, and STEM as a whole in both my campus and community.

This is, in many ways, a scholarship essay sample about why I deserve the scholarship. The writer clearly highlights how they’ve engaged with Phi Sigma Rho and how their values align with those of the organization. The writer also provides specific examples of their leadership positions, skills, and accolades. 

The next two of our scholarship essay examples about yourself are for the SHPE scholarship. Here they are: 

SHPE Scholarship essay example #1

Essay prompt:.

Summarize your life experiences and any challenges that have impacted your path to higher education. (250 Words) 

Essay Example:

I vividly remember the first day of First Grade because I didn’t know the Pledge of Allegiance like the rest of my classmates. Growing up in a Hispanic household, I had never learned what the pledge was. This was the beginning of several years of disconnect. 

From receiving weird looks when I told classmates my family opened Christmas gifts at midnight, to my parents’ confusion when I didn’t want them to speak Spanish in public, both sides of my life never understood the other. As a result, I always felt out of place in school, like I was behind in some way because I didn’t share the same upbringing as my classmates. In contrast, academics felt like a level playing field, something we were all learning together in the same way.

While I couldn’t tell you who won the super bowl, I could do mathematics or read just as well, if not better, than my classmates. Socially, I always felt out of place, but academically I was always comfortable, and as a result, I tried to excel in that area of my life. That desire to succeed created the relentless work ethic I have today and the appreciation I have for education.

Despite the lack of emphasis from my parents on schoolwork, I developed this sense of responsibility and persistence to pursue an education. Although my family’s Hispanic culture made my life difficult when I was younger, it made me a more resilient person.

More scholarship essay examples

Shpe scholarship essay example #2.

Discuss your educational and career aspirations as well as your ability to complete and achieve these goals. (250 words)

Using a degree in engineering, I hope to work on improving sustainability and efficiency in the aerospace industry by creating cheaper, safer, and more environmentally-conscious options.

Recently, Pratt and Whitney designed an engine that is 16% more efficient and will release 3600 less metric tons per airplane per year. Excitingly, it also greatly reduces the noise footprint of an airplane. Innovations like these will allow the aerospace industry to evolve and improve while reducing negative environmental impact. I hope to work at the forefront of this innovation, pushing the boundaries of improved engine performance and efficiency. 

Last semester, I started working in the Experimental and Computational Convection Laboratory on campus to learn more about turbines. Some current projects in the lab involve new turbine cooling techniques and additive manufactured heat exchangers. Throughout the course of my undergraduate career, I hope to learn more about the barriers facing improved engine and turbine efficiency. Following undergraduate, I plan to attend graduate school to gain a deeper knowledge of these topics. Following graduate school, I may go into industry working on turbines and jet engines. Due to beginning research early, I believe graduate school is an attainable educational goal.

The potential ability to make a difference in the environmental impact of the aerospace industry is exciting. To accomplish this, I know studying Mechanical Engineering will give me the skills necessary to fulfill my career goals.

Both of these scholarship essay examples use specific details to highlight the writer’s strengths, experiences, and accolades. In reading these winning scholarship essay examples, we get a sense of who the writer is both as a person and as a student. 

Scholarship Essay Sample about “Why I deserve the scholarship”

Another scholarship essay prompt you may come across is “why I deserve this scholarship.” A good scholarship essay clearly highlights why you deserve to win the scholarship and provides evidence to support your argument. 

Below, you’ll find scholarship essay samples about why I deserve the scholarship. You can use these as a guide to help you tackle your own scholarship essays. 

Here’s the first of our scholarship essay examples, which was used for the Park Scholarship: 

The Park Scholarship is an investment in the potential of young people. It prepares scholars to make lifelong contributions to communities, states, nations, and the world. Tell us a story that illustrates your potential to make these lifelong contributions. (What have you done that should compel us to invest in you?) (Max. 3,990 characters including spaces.)

Park scholarship essay example.

Coming from a Venezuelan family, I have always been able to connect with total strangers through Spanish. Whether I’m eating at a restaurant or volunteering, I am constantly stumbling upon other Spanish speakers. The ability to converse in their language allows me to bond with them in a way I couldn’t in English, something I do not take for granted. 

Because of my experience, I believe that learning a foreign language is an incredibly important skill. Being able to speak in a second language allows a person to understand another community and reach out to people within that community. Additionally, speaking a second language assists in appreciating other cultures. This appreciation is important for fostering open-mindedness, something America as a whole struggles with today. 

In my school district, foreign language classes are not offered until late middle school. Once in high school, many students drop the class. In addition, those who stay in the class often find that the classes provide little more than a basic understanding of the language and then become discouraged in their learning. On a larger scale, this issue affects America as a whole. Second language programs often come second in terms of funding and planning and are not encouraged as rigorously as other academic courses. As a result, many Americans are ignorant to the benefits of bilingualism and are unable to understand the viewpoint of those who are multilingual.

After my freshman year of high school, my frustration with my community’s lack of priority for second language learning culminated in my desire to take some sort of action to promote foreign language education. In my sophomore year, a classmate and I created and ran an introductory Spanish program, Spanish in the Spring, at my local library for young children in the district. I spent hours at home creating lesson plans, activities, themes, and advertisements for the program. I placed heavy emphasis on cultural aspects and the importance of the Spanish language in America and the world as a whole.

My purpose for this program was to introduce children at a young age to learning a foreign language, so their desire to learn would continue throughout their life. Through the program, I was also able to share my belief of the importance of learning a second language with the children, as well as their parents. After the final day of the program, I was thrilled when one parent mentioned their desire to learn a foreign language program themself. I felt that if I made an impact on one person or family, the entire program was worthwhile. 

Unfortunately, this past spring I was unable to continue the Spanish in the Spring program due to library scheduling restraints. However, I hopefully plan to offer the program again this spring with some changes that will improve and expand the experience. One of these changes will include the immersion of parents into the experience to encourage foreign language education as a family activity.

While this program was only offered once, the impact was immeasurable, for the children, for the cause of foreign language education, and for me.

This is another scholarship essay sample about why I deserve the scholarship. In it, the writer clearly and directly answers the prompt—that is, they highlight their potential to make a lifelong impact on members of their community. 

Ready for another scholarship essay example? Here’s the next one: 

How will a ScholarSHPE impact your life and education? (200 Words)

Shpe scholarship essay example.

Receiving a ScholarSHPE will give me the gift of time and opportunities. My parents are unable to support me financially throughout college due to large amounts of accrued debt. A ScholarSHPE will reduce my financial stress and allow me to improve my overall health as a result. It will also prevent the need to work several hours a week at a part-time job to pay for tuition, books, and living expenses, which will limit what I can do academically and outside of class. A ScholarSHPE will allow me to spend more time on research pursuits, engineering extracurriculars, volunteer work, and school work, instead of long hours at a part-time job. 

This essay sample is fairly straightforward. In it, the writer follows a clear scholarship essay format, explicitly answering the prompt. 

UC Berkeley Scholarships essay examples

Let’s look at some school-specific merit scholarship essay examples. 

At the University of California – Berkeley , students can apply for a variety of merit scholarships. These scholarships can help offset the cost of UC Berkeley tuition. 

Below, we’ve included various scholarship essay examples for the UC Berkeley scholarships. These UC Berkeley scholarships can help students cover their college tuition costs. This can make the UC Berkeley tuition less of a barrier for students hoping to attend. 

You’ll find a variety of UC Berkeley scholarships that can help you afford UC Berkeley tuition. Available UC Berkeley scholarships include: 

  • Berkeley Undergraduate Scholarship
  • Fiat Lux Scholarship
  • Middle Class Scholarship
  • Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship

These are just a few ways to cover the cost of UC Berkeley tuition. UC Berkeley students also receive more than $10 million per year in outside scholarships to cover college tuition costs. If you are interested in exploring non-UC Berkeley scholarships, check out this list of outside scholarship resources . 

To help you get started, check out our winning UC Berkeley scholarship essay examples. The authors of these scholarship essay examples about financial need all won money to help cover their UC Berkeley tuition.

UC Berkeley scholarship essay examples

I am grateful to realize how fortunate I am today. All the loved ones around me and their acts of kindness have given me such a great life. I also realize the sacrifices that those around me have had to give up in order for me to succeed. It is because of this that I have realized what “paying it forward” truly means. I have been given the opportunity to make an impact in my community and I have fully taken advantage of this opportunity. I have been a volunteer for the Buddyball Sports Organization, which is a non-profit sports organization dedicated to providing the opportunity for children with developmental disabilities to play sports.

Growing up, watching and playing sports has been one of my greatest pleasures of life, so teaching these less fortunate kids has been something I have enjoyed doing every single weekend. On top of this, I am also both a volunteer at the South Orangetown Ambulance Corps and the Nyack Hospital. With the desire to pursue a career in the medical field, volunteering at these places has given me a great idea of what my career could look like in the near future. While all of these volunteer activities have had a significant impact on me, little did I know that this summer would truly make a lasting difference in my life. 

This past summer, my family decided to go on a vacation to India to visit my relatives. This was the first time in my life that I was going to India and this was only because my grandmother came down with Parkinson’s disease and was extremely sick. Little did I know at that time that my visit to India would be a life-changing experience. Never could have I imagined such a filthy village. Everywhere I looked, there was garbage and to make matters worse, no one seemed to do anything to try to ameliorate the repugnant image of my home country.

While I realized on my flight home that I was not going to be able to make a difference and help my community back in India, there was nothing stopping me from doing so right here in Rockland County, New York. When I was told that I would have the opportunity to help organize and direct “Make a Difference Rockland,” I joyfully accepted! Make a Difference Rockland is a free public meet and greet for all local non-profits and other government agencies in an attempt to promote different community service opportunities within the public. By gathering all the local non-profit organizations and giving them a chance to present themselves, people learn more about all of the local community service opportunities that are available to them. This way, the community will be able to recruit volunteers and will not have to suffer through calamitous conditions.

As one of the people in charge of organizing, it was my responsibility to adequately contact, invite and help prepare for hundreds of people. Once I gathered their contact information, I had to ask each one of these places if they would be interested in joining the fair. If interested, I had to also prepare a table for them to present themselves at the fair. The feeling of bringing all of these community service groups together brought me a feeling of happiness that I will never forget. 

The best scholarship essays will teach the reader about who the writer is, what they care about, and why they deserve a scholarship. The essay above does just that—it highlights the writer’s background and describes how they give back to their community. 

Next, let’s dig into a few more scholarship essay examples. 

If you’re interested in more descriptive essay examples, keep reading. 

Reading a ton of winning scholarship essay examples is a great way to pick up on what makes them winners. Over time, you’ll start to notice how the details, tone, and flow all work together to tell a story.

Below, you’ll find a few more scholarship essay examples. Our first one is from the NC Parks Scholarship. Here’s the prompt:

What do you do to serve your community? Why do you do the service that you do? What impact have you made? What challenges or insights have your service contributions given you? (Max. 3,990 characters including spaces.) 

Community-focused scholarship essay example #1.

“What are the boys like in high school?” “Is it easy to get a boyfriend?” Sighing, the other frustrated leaders and I look at each other as we read the questions posed by the younger girls. Every year at Girls’ Night Out (GNO), a program that introduces and prepares eighth-grade girls for high school, the girls question the leaders about relationships and dating ad nauseum, irritating other leaders to the point of ignoring the questions. 

Giving each question a careful and deliberate answer is often difficult, but instead of disregarding the issue, I try to offer my most sincere and honest advice. Originally, when I began as a group leader in the program I would give the same response, “You shouldn’t worry about boys. Instead, enjoy your friends, and do things you enjoy.” While that advice is true, it is often not the answer that will satisfy the girls. Through many years in the program, I have learned that advice is not “one size fits all”; it must be individualized to the person’s needs. Now, when faced with a question about dating, I respond with more questions before giving “words of wisdom”.

Many times I am able to understand the perspective of the middle school student, allowing me to give advice accordingly. Supplying proper advice about sensitive topics is one of the most impactful parts of GNO. As a role model and positive influence for the girls, I largely impact their ideas and perception of the environment when entering high school. In addition to teaching the students valuable lessons, volunteering at GNO has taught me that various perspectives may present themselves identically. To better understand those around me, it is important that I look beyond the surface for the other person’s viewpoint.

Beyond understanding other viewpoints from GNO, I have learned from other service that understanding a person’s situation is essential for providing exceptional assistance. Through Key Club, I volunteer many times a year at the local food pantry. As a volunteer, I help the recipients “shop” at the small grocery store using a point system. The process takes up a lot of time because shoppers do not always know what they want. Originally I  thought this was a poor design. I believed it would be much more efficient to just hand out the food rather than giving out points and shopping with the food pantry recipients.

Upon expressing my opinion to one of the adult food pantry staff, he explained to me that the grocery store aspect of the store taught the recipients life skills. Additionally, by giving them autonomy over what food they “bought”, they retained a sort of independence, an important skill to have if they find themselves above the income level required to use the food pantry.

The next time I volunteered I took note of the skills presented. Budgeting of points, deciding whether or not they needed something, determining the quality of the fruit, and decision-making of choosing extra food or toiletries, were all skills that those above the poverty line have ingrained. For those who have been using food pantries and other assistance for prolonged periods of time, these skills are not so natural. As a result, teaching the people means after they no longer need the services of the food pantry, they have valuable skills necessary for their independence.

From this experience, I learned an important lesson: helping people is not just giving them what they need at the moment, but understanding what they will need in the future and providing that as well. After realizing this, I emphasize the abilities that the food pantry teaches whenever I dedicate my time. By doing that, I am positively affecting the development of those skills. 

When reflecting on the various ways I have served my community, one thing stands out to me: I always understand another viewpoint or gain a new perspective afterwards. For me, the ability to look at something from different angles is an unparalleled talent, and one of the most important skills a person can have.

Describe your volunteer or community experience with SHPE or other organizations and any internships you have held.  (250 Words)

Community-focused scholarship essay example #2.

In SHPE, I have been involved in planning the Penn State College of Engineering STEP-UP (Student Transition Engineering Program at University Park) Program as a chair. The STEP-UP program helps students from Penn State branch campuses smoothly transition to the University Park campus through a 3-day program in the spring. The program introduces them to engineering resources, other engineering students, and provides professional development. Due to COVID-19, this year it was held virtually. 

Within the Society of Women Engineers and the Women in Engineering Program, I have volunteered at different STEM events in the community for elementary school students. I am also currently serving as an Envoy (a mentorship and logistical position) for the Women in Engineering Program Orientation. Additionally, I participate in many of SWE’s service events, such as donating and collecting donations, cleaning up areas on and around campus, and visiting nursing homes.

On campus, I am also involved with Engineering Ambassadors (EA), a group that does STEM outreach around Pennsylvania from the elementary school to high school level. EA goes virtually or in person to schools, does engineering presentations and activities, and answers questions.

Prior to COVID-19, I had secured an internship with Pratt and Whitney, however, they had to cancel their internship program. As a result, I was fortunate enough to obtain a Process Quality Engineering internship at Brentwood Industries for summer 2020.

Both of these scholarship essay examples highlight how the writers have given back to their communities. These winning scholarship essay examples highlight the writers’ strengths. In doing so, they highlight why these writers deserve help with college tuition costs. 

Reflecting on scholarship essay format

As important as the content of your essay is, your scholarship essay format is equally important. As you write, be sure to adhere to the scholarship essay format guidelines provided to you. 

However, there are some things all of the best scholarship essays have in common. Here are some general tips, tricks, and outlines to help you in your own writing process.

Three scholarship essay writing tips:

  • Word counts are hard to adhere to, but the other applicants must adhere to them, too. Make sure every word counts. 
  • When you write a solid essay, you can repurpose some of your key points, including specific anecdotes and details, in other scholarship applications.
  • Writing a good essay helps you solidify who you are and what you want. This sets you up for success in the scholarship application process and beyond. 

Three essential elements to include in your essay:

  • State your goals. Scholarship committees are investing in your future and your potential. To take a chance on you, they need to know your plan and what you want to do with your award. 
  • Establish an implicit or explicit link between your goals and the scholarship you are applying for. Describe to the committee how the specific scholarship will help you attain your goals. Give them a tangible reason as to why you deserve their investment. 
  • Share your story. Use personal details about your experiences that highlight your identity and objectives. How have you pursued your goals and prepared for your future? How will the scholarship help you going forward? Get personal and be honest.

Storytelling in your essay

Some of the best scholarship essays utilize good storytelling strategies. You should share the details of your personal story in a narrative, using a logical order. Remember, telling personal details about yourself and your goals does not mean simply restating your resume!

By the end of the essay, the scholarship committee should have an in-depth sense of why you applied. You should reveal:

  • When and how you arrived at your future goals
  • Your motivations to accomplish these objectives
  • What traits or skills you have developed along the way
  • The meaningful experiences that drive you to your goals
  • Any personal challenges you have faced and how you have overcome them
  • What has shaped you and your worldview

These details humanize you and show your complexity as a person and an applicant. It’s helpful to use anecdotes and personal experiences to give life to facts and details about yourself. Sharing real-life experiences will help make your essay more interesting and more fun to read.

Creating your scholarship essay format

Once you have thought about what you want to say, start thinking about your scholarship essay format. You may start by making a list of what your reader may be interested in:

  • How you spend your time
  • Your accomplishments
  • What your passions are, etc.

Start by brainstorming everything you may want to include in your essay. Then, think about whether the stories you include support your arguments. Ask yourself, “What did I learn?” or “How did this get me closer to my goals?”. These reflections help the reader connect to your purpose for writing. 

Make sure to organize your thoughts in a narrative order. However, there isn’t just one way to write an essay. So, don’t limit yourself to one version of your story. You may find yourself writing multiple drafts before you get to your final scholarship essay format.

Editing and proofreading your essay

When you think you have finished, be sure to proofread and edit to ensure it’s ready to be submitted. Check that you’ve adhered to all the scholarship essay format guidelines (like the word count). 

Reviewing also includes getting input from others! An outside reader’s opinion can help you confirm your essay effectively communicates your ideas.

Tips for scholarship essays

You may notice some similarities between the scholarship essay examples about yourself we’ve provided. That’s because the authors of the best scholarship essays all use similar strategies to make their essays great. 

Here are 5 tips from U.S. News to help you make all of your scholarship essays stand out:

Tips for writing stand-out scholarship essays

1. get personal and be specific.

The best scholarship essays will share an authentic story with impactful details. The key is to be yourself and not shy away from personal details. The more the committee gets to know about you, the more likely they are to invest in your future. You want your essay to offer a genuine, in-depth look into who you are as a person.

2. Tell a story

Your essay should be more than a collection of facts—it should tell a story. That means having a solid introduction that grabs the reader’s attention from the very start. Then, you should include a logical flow of experiences or details. By the end of your essay, you want your reader to have learned something valuable about you.  

3. Tailor the scholarship essay to the prompt

Some of your scholarship essay prompts may be similar across different scholarship applications. However, it’s important that your essay is specific to each prompt and answers the question entirely. While you can repurpose an essay you’ve already written as inspiration or a starting point, be extra attentive when doing so.

4. Don’t tailor yourself to the reader

Many students fall into the trap of telling a story they think scholarship foundation committees want to hear. Instead, stay true to yourself as you craft your scholarship application essays. Don’t tell your reader what you think they want to hear—just tell them who you are. 

5. Follow directions

This final tip may arguably be the most important. Above all else, students should follow instructions. This means adhering to the scholarship essay format guidelines and word count. It also means answering the essay prompt in its entirety. Application readers can be easily frustrated by a student’s failure to follow directions. This could reflect poorly on you and your essay in the long run. 

Use these tips to guide you as you approach the scholarship essay format. 

Scholarship Essay Examples – Final Thoughts

We hope our roundup of scholarship essay examples has shown you how to approach your scholarship applications. With rising college costs, scholarships should be a part of your college financial planning process. Take the time to do your own scholarship search based on your specific interests. You can find plenty of scholarships to apply to on scholarships websites and college financial aid pages. There are many different scholarships websites to help you with your search. 

Save this guide

Feel free to save this guide and review our scholarship essay examples about yourself and about financial need. You can always look back on our scholarship essay sample about why I deserve the scholarship when writing your own essay. 

Start with an outline that organizes your thoughts. Then, make sure your essay is clear and concise. Be original and honest, and include personal details and anecdotes when appropriate. State why you deserve to win the scholarship. Then, support your claim in a way that makes a scholarship committee invested in your future. 

We’re here to help

Don’t forget to proofread your essay and ask others for their feedback. When in doubt, reach out to our advisors at CollegeAdvisor. Our team is always here to help support you find and apply for scholarships!

This article was written by Bailey Bennet. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.

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Home / Blog

How To Write a Scholarship Essay

February 15, 2019 

best way to write a college scholarship essay

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Paying for college is a top concern for many students in America today. Even just a generation ago, a student’s primary concern was more about getting into the college they preferred, instead of about being able to afford college at all. Now, young students are trying their best to budget and save up in order to afford a college education, and are planning ahead for how they will pay off their student loans.

As important as FAFSA is for most students , there are other options available to help students pay for their college education: mainly scholarships and grants. The best thing about these options? They don’t require repayment plans.

Debt.org notes on scholarships for students: “Each year, an estimated $46 billion in grants and scholarship money is awarded by the U.S. Department of Education and the nation’s colleges and universities. In addition, about $3.3 billion in gift aid is awarded by private sources, including individuals, foundations, corporations, churches, nonprofit groups, civic societies, veterans groups, professional groups, service clubs, unions, chambers of commerce, associations and many other organizations.”

But how can you take advantage of this $49.3 billion dollar (and growing) pool of grants and scholarships? Scholarships require either proof of academic excellence or that students meet a financial threshold, as well as completion of an application and, usually, a scholarship essay. Just as some colleges and universities require an entrance essay to apply, many scholarships also require an essay along with the application.

Writing an essay for school is one thing, but writing an essay to help you pay for college is another. Financial stability is on the line when it comes to scholarship applications, so writing a winning essay is key to impressing those granting the scholarships you’re applying for. Here are some tips to help you better prepare for your scholarship application and essay.

What Is a Scholarship Essay?

Scholarships are a form of student financial aid that do not require repayment, as long as you meet the terms of the award and use it as directed. They are often gifted based on merit, either through academic excellence, financial need (also known as “need-based” aid), or by meeting specific requirements set by the organization awarding the scholarship; such as specific scholarships or grants for women .

Aid may come from federal scholarship funds, state or local scholarship funds, or private organizations, such as churches, nonprofit groups, and more. Additionally, almost every scholarship will require an accompanying essay along with the application.

The scholarship essay varies depending on the requests of the organization granting the essay. It may require a specific word count, or be based on a prompt. Whatever the requirements are, it is essential to follow the guidelines presented in order to qualify for the scholarship. Preparing your essay is like writing a resume for financial aid, and depending on which scholarship you’re applying for, the competition may be anywhere from minimal to fierce. It’s important to write an essay that can stand out amongst the crowd of applicants.

Grant vs Scholarship

Although the terms “grant” and “scholarship” often refer to a similar idea — student financial aid that doesn’t require repayment — they are two fundamentally different awards. The key difference lies in how they are awarded, and where the funds are originating from.

Grants , such as Pell Grants, are typically awarded by the federal government and are generally awarded based on need rather than merit. There may be minimum requirements that recipients are required to live up to, such as family financial status limits, but these are often less specific than scholarship requirements are. Additionally, colleges and state agencies may also award grants based on need.

Scholarships on the other hand are often awarded based on merit. They may require that students meet (and sustain) a specific GPA in school, or that students with athletic excellence join the college’s sports team. Most scholarships will have rules that recipients are required to follow in order to continue to qualify for that scholarship. Many scholarships are funded by colleges, private organizations or donors, and some state or local programs.

Both grants and scholarships may require an accompanying essay with the application, although there are some rare cases of scholarships and grants that don’t require essays and are easier to obtain. Be cautious of fraudulent scholarships or online scams associated with “easy to obtain scholarships”, as they are becoming increasingly common online.

Steps for Writing a Scholarship Essay

Just as when applying to colleges, scholarship applications may require that you to send in your grades, academic achievements, test scores, and ambitions for the future. As such,  scholarship essays offer you the chance to speak to these accomplishments and ambitions. Here you can shine and win over the organization granting the scholarship.

Once you’ve found a scholarship that you qualify for or that interests you, it’s important to read over the instructions thoroughly to understand what is expected of you. Then, follow these steps to write the perfect application essay for the scholarship of your choosing:

The prompts can be anywhere from basic — “What was a challenging experience you faced in high school and how did you overcome it?” — to more complex or specific — “How has coffee helped you study for your SAT or ACT test?”

The prompt should help you start to formulate ideas on how you want to construct your essay. Be sure to fully understand what is expected of you by reading the instructions, and do your best to not stray from the topic being covered. Some essays may have a word or page count, while others may only request you answer the prompt.

Brainstorming is an important step to ensure your idea fits with the prompt and properly expresses what you are trying to communicate through your essay. You also want to make sure that you express what is meaningful and relevant about yourself that can help your essay stand out from all the others.

One of the best ways to start constructing and organizing an essay is to create a comprehensive outline. They serve as an essential tool to help you avoid structural mistakes, repetition, and to help you cover all your bases and ideas without rambling.

Your outline should read like a barebones argument for why you deserve this scholarship and how your idea relates to the prompt given. Once you start writing the essay in full, you can fill in more of the details needed to explain your point, or to describe yourself and your situation.

Scholarship Essay Formatting

Additionally, outlines can help you properly format your scholarship essay. Here are some essential tips for your scholarship essay format:

  • Introduction that ends with a thesis or idea
  • Explanation that supports and proves your thesis
  • Conclusion that reiterates your argument and thesis
  • 12 point font
  • Times New Roman, Arial, Courier, Helvetica, or Georgia font (whatever is standard on your preferred writing system, nothing too stylized)
  • Double spaced
  • 1 inch to 1 ½ inch margins
  • If there is no required word or page count, as a general rule, aim for ¾ to 1 full page in length.
  • Be sure to include your name and the name of the scholarship you are applying for near the top of the page (either as a header or simply above the optional title).

Once you’ve brainstormed and outlined your article, you can officially start writing the piece. Be sure to follow your outline and cover all of the key ideas that you came up with while brainstorming. Be concise, avoid rambling, and ensure your point is clearly stated. Also ensure you’ve formatted your essay correctly and stay true to the word or page count, if applicable.

Take a Break

Once you’ve completed your first draft, you should take a break from writing. Go outside and take a walk, or spend some time cleaning — anything to help you get your mind off the essay so that you can return later with fresh eyes. If you find it hard not to think about the essay, wait a day (or even a few days) before coming back to reread it.

In general, spending time away from your work can help you clear your mind. When you do come back, you may be more likely to notice mistakes or see gaps which require elaboration. For any essay you write, this is always a helpful tip.

As you return to your essay, go through and nitpick your work. Use your fresh mind to rewrite sections or include more (or less) context, as needed. Ask yourself if the core idea that you came up with during your brainstorm is still apparent in the article. Are you communicating your ideas clearly?

Additionally, keep an eye out for grammatical mistakes, such as missing or too many commas, misspellings, or other typos. If you notice repetitive words, utilize a thesaurus to find acceptable replacements. Once you’ve gone through your essay, you can submit it as is, or you can follow the optional next step.

Peer Review

For many people, it can be hard for them to revise their own work because they hold biases about their writing or are unaware of personal mistakes. Asking another person to review your work may help you refine your essay even more. Additionally, having another person read over your essay can help you determine the clarity of your point: do they understand the flow of your piece, or are they confused by any information? Does the context you provide make sense to the overall idea, or does the reader still have questions?

If you have a friend, relative, mentor, or peer that has editing experience — or that is simply a voracious reader — ask them if they can take a moment to look over your piece and make comments or suggestions. You may be surprised at what they find that you missed!

Scholarship Essay Tips

Your scholarship essay is going to be your primary (and sometimes sole) form of communication with the organization granting the scholarship. That’s why it’s so important to communicate directly and clearly through your essay in order to attract their attention and garner their support. Here are some additional tips to help you better communicate your intentions through your scholarship essay:

How To Start a Scholarship Essay

First impressions matter, and your introductory paragraph will serve as your first impression to the scholarship organization. Refer back to your brainstorm to help identify your message and consider how to attract the attention of the reader through your introductory paragraph. For some people, it may also help to construct or outline the body of the essay before you construct the introduction, so as to better understand how to concisely get your message across.

Once you’ve properly outlined the entirety of your essay, you can start writing. In your introductory paragraph you’ll want to state in clear and succinct language who you are, why you are interested in college and this scholarship (or your hopeful direction), and what the reader will find in your essay.

Be Personal

Another important point to keep in mind while you’re writing is that this essay isn’t a book report (unless otherwise stated in the prompt); this essay is about you. Don’t write impersonally, but take a personal tone: use “I, me, myself” or other personal pronouns and avoid general statements unless they relate to your situation.

Through your writing you should also be revealing some of your motivations pertaining to why you’re going to school and why you’re seeking out this scholarship. Discuss how you will become an effective student in the coming years, and how you’ll make good use of the money you may be awarded. You may have more freedom to write about yourself in detail for some scholarship prompts, and less of the same freedom for others. Use your discretion.

Stay Focused

When you originally brainstormed your essay topic, you should have been able to narrow down your topic to just a few key points that you could communicate and cover in detail. As you fully flesh out your essay, you should ensure that you stay focused on these core ideas. Try not to ramble or get side tracked. Every sentence in your essay should be related in some way to one of your core ideas. If it’s not, delete it or rewrite the sentence so that it does relate.

Be Succinct

It’s important to keep in mind that your essay most likely won’t be more than a page, double spaced. Since you don’t have a lot of room for fluff or non-essential information, it’s important to stay focused, to the point, and brief.

Additionally, the organization that is awarding the scholarship is most likely going to be reading hundreds (sometimes thousands) of scholarship applications and essays. Everyone will most likely be working off the same prompt, so you’ll want to ensure that your essay stands out, gets straight to the point, and doesn’t waste any of the reader’s time.

Follow Instructions

Finally, the most important tip is to simply read and reread the instructions multiple times to ensure you understand the prompt, what is expected of you, and all of the other essential guidelines pertaining to your essay.

While you should be sure to do this before you start writing, you should also do this after you’ve written the piece. Simply double check your work against the requirements set by the scholarship organization, and make sure you’re following the instructions to the letter. Essays that don’t follow instructions will most likely be thrown out first, and you don’t want your hard work to go to waste simply because you forgot something in the instructions.

Scholarship Essays for Online Students

If you’ve decided to pursue your education through an online bachelor’s degree or master’s degree program , it can be even more important to communicate effectively through your scholarship essay. It is entirely possible that you will never meet your collegiate benefactors or professors in person, and will only communicate with them via your writing online.

Luckily, there are some unique scholarships out there that are aimed just for online or “distance learning” students. Keep in mind, even some of the smaller scholarships (such as those for $50-$500) can still help you pay for books, online texts or subscriptions, or other essential learning materials.

Writing an imaginative and thoughtful scholarship essay can help you pay for online schooling for either a bachelors or masters degree program. It can also get you started on the right foot to have a solid financial aid foundation to pursue your college dreams.

Whether you’re writing one scholarship essay or many, these tips will help you make a solid first impression, and hopefully will win over whichever scholarship organization you’re targeting.

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Tips for Writing an Effective Application Essay

Find the right college for you.

Writing an essay for college admission gives you a chance to use your authentic voice and show your personality. It's an excellent opportunity to personalize your application beyond your academic credentials, and a well-written essay can have a positive influence come decision time.

Want to know how to draft an essay for your college application ? Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing.

Tips for Essay Writing

A typical college application essay, also known as a personal statement, is 400-600 words. Although that may seem short, writing about yourself can be challenging. It's not something you want to rush or put off at the last moment. Think of it as a critical piece of the application process. Follow these tips to write an impactful essay that can work in your favor.

1. Start Early.

Few people write well under pressure. Try to complete your first draft a few weeks before you have to turn it in. Many advisers recommend starting as early as the summer before your senior year in high school. That way, you have ample time to think about the prompt and craft the best personal statement possible.

You don't have to work on your essay every day, but you'll want to give yourself time to revise and edit. You may discover that you want to change your topic or think of a better way to frame it. Either way, the sooner you start, the better.

2. Understand the Prompt and Instructions.

Before you begin the writing process, take time to understand what the college wants from you. The worst thing you can do is skim through the instructions and submit a piece that doesn't even fit the bare minimum requirements or address the essay topic. Look at the prompt, consider the required word count, and note any unique details each school wants.

3. Create a Strong Opener.

Students seeking help for their application essays often have trouble getting things started. It's a challenging writing process. Finding the right words to start can be the hardest part.

Spending more time working on your opener is always a good idea. The opening sentence sets the stage for the rest of your piece. The introductory paragraph is what piques the interest of the reader, and it can immediately set your essay apart from the others.

4. Stay on Topic.

One of the most important things to remember is to keep to the essay topic. If you're applying to 10 or more colleges, it's easy to veer off course with so many application essays.

A common mistake many students make is trying to fit previously written essays into the mold of another college's requirements. This seems like a time-saving way to avoid writing new pieces entirely, but it often backfires. The result is usually a final piece that's generic, unfocused, or confusing. Always write a new essay for every application, no matter how long it takes.

5. Think About Your Response.

Don't try to guess what the admissions officials want to read. Your essay will be easier to write─and more exciting to read─if you’re genuinely enthusiastic about your subject. Here’s an example: If all your friends are writing application essays about covid-19, it may be a good idea to avoid that topic, unless during the pandemic you had a vivid, life-changing experience you're burning to share. Whatever topic you choose, avoid canned responses. Be creative.

6. Focus on You.

Essay prompts typically give you plenty of latitude, but panel members expect you to focus on a subject that is personal (although not overly intimate) and particular to you. Admissions counselors say the best essays help them learn something about the candidate that they would never know from reading the rest of the application.

7. Stay True to Your Voice.

Use your usual vocabulary. Avoid fancy language you wouldn't use in real life. Imagine yourself reading this essay aloud to a classroom full of people who have never met you. Keep a confident tone. Be wary of words and phrases that undercut that tone.

8. Be Specific and Factual.

Capitalize on real-life experiences. Your essay may give you the time and space to explain why a particular achievement meant so much to you. But resist the urge to exaggerate and embellish. Admissions counselors read thousands of essays each year. They can easily spot a fake.

9. Edit and Proofread.

When you finish the final draft, run it through the spell checker on your computer. Then don’t read your essay for a few days. You'll be more apt to spot typos and awkward grammar when you reread it. After that, ask a teacher, parent, or college student (preferably an English or communications major) to give it a quick read. While you're at it, double-check your word count.

Writing essays for college admission can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. A well-crafted essay could be the deciding factor─in your favor. Keep these tips in mind, and you'll have no problem creating memorable pieces for every application.

What is the format of a college application essay?

Generally, essays for college admission follow a simple format that includes an opening paragraph, a lengthier body section, and a closing paragraph. You don't need to include a title, which will only take up extra space. Keep in mind that the exact format can vary from one college application to the next. Read the instructions and prompt for more guidance.

Most online applications will include a text box for your essay. If you're attaching it as a document, however, be sure to use a standard, 12-point font and use 1.5-spaced or double-spaced lines, unless the application specifies different font and spacing.

How do you start an essay?

The goal here is to use an attention grabber. Think of it as a way to reel the reader in and interest an admissions officer in what you have to say. There's no trick on how to start a college application essay. The best way you can approach this task is to flex your creative muscles and think outside the box.

You can start with openers such as relevant quotes, exciting anecdotes, or questions. Either way, the first sentence should be unique and intrigue the reader.

What should an essay include?

Every application essay you write should include details about yourself and past experiences. It's another opportunity to make yourself look like a fantastic applicant. Leverage your experiences. Tell a riveting story that fulfills the prompt.

What shouldn’t be included in an essay?

When writing a college application essay, it's usually best to avoid overly personal details and controversial topics. Although these topics might make for an intriguing essay, they can be tricky to express well. If you’re unsure if a topic is appropriate for your essay, check with your school counselor. An essay for college admission shouldn't include a list of achievements or academic accolades either. Your essay isn’t meant to be a rehashing of information the admissions panel can find elsewhere in your application.

How can you make your essay personal and interesting?

The best way to make your essay interesting is to write about something genuinely important to you. That could be an experience that changed your life or a valuable lesson that had an enormous impact on you. Whatever the case, speak from the heart, and be honest.

Is it OK to discuss mental health in an essay?

Mental health struggles can create challenges you must overcome during your education and could be an opportunity for you to show how you’ve handled challenges and overcome obstacles. If you’re considering writing your essay for college admission on this topic, consider talking to your school counselor or with an English teacher on how to frame the essay.

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What’s the Best Scholarship Essay Format?

best way to write a college scholarship essay

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Cece Gilmore is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cece earned her undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Arizona State University. While at ASU, she was the education editor as well as a published staff reporter at Downtown Devil. Cece was also the co-host of her own radio show on Blaze Radio ASU.

best way to write a college scholarship essay

Bill Jack has over a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. Since 2008, he has worked at Colby College, Wesleyan University, University of Maine at Farmington, and Bates College.

What’s the Best Scholarship Essay Format?

Many scholarships require students to write an essay as part of their application. These writing and essay scholarships want to learn about your experiences, interests, or background as a student through your essay. But once you have finished writing, you may wonder: What is the best way to format my scholarship essay?

Should you include a title? What about spacing, page numbers, or citations? These are important questions and should be essential parts of your editing and revising process. Keep on reading to make sure that your essay is formatted properly!

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Getting started with essay formatting

The first rule of the scholarship essay format is following all of the rules that the scholarship application states. Whether that is spacing, citations, or font size, you should always follow the directions. There isn’t a faster way to get a scholarship committee member to say “nah” than ignoring the directions.

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Essay titles.

Should you begin your essay with a title? In my experience reading essays of all types, a title is very optional. If it is an especially clever or necessary title, then sure, go for it!

Otherwise, I would recommend saving your valuable word count and put it towards the actual essay. If you write your essay and are feeling stuck on a title, let it go and don’t worry about it. Prepare for your scholarship writing endeavors  by reading our short essay guides for 250 word essays , as well as 500 word essays !

Related: How to write an essay about yourself

Font size & style

The MLA recommends using size 12 font, and that’s what we’d recommend using. As far as the style of the font, you should stick to something that is legible and easy to read. Times New Roman or Arial are both going to be good bets. The scholarship essay is not the best place to get creative with a funky, hard-to-read font.

Should I single or double space the essay?

We know that most of your essays for school are probably double spaced. This is usually a good call for scholarship essays as well, because it makes the essay easier to read. In addition to spacing, you want to make sure that your scholarship essay is broken down into paragraphs and is not one single block of text.

Are page numbers required?

On many school papers, you may have to put a page number on each page. This is not necessary for your scholarship essays unless it is a clearly stated requirement.

Does proper scholarship essay formatting require citations?

If you are citing other sources, it is a good idea to use citations. It does not matter whether you are using MLA, Chicago, or some other type of citation (unless it is specifically required). Instead, it is important to simply be consistent in how you cite your sources. Most essays probably will not require outside sources or research, but if you are applying to certain research-based or STEM scholarships you may want to brush up on your citations.

Do’s and don’ts for scholarship essay formatting 

Final thoughts.

Writing can be a very stressful process for students, both in the scholarship process and the college admissions process. One of the best things that you can do is give yourself plenty of time to write and refine your essays. Ideally, you will also have a trusted outside reader serve as an editor for all of your essays.

The major rules of scholarship essay formatting are to follow the application instructions and make sure that your formatting is not distracting. Ultimately, you will want to ensure that the essay reader can easily and clearly read your essay and not distract them with sloppy or unconventional formatting.

Additional resources for writing essays

Here at Scholarships360, we have nearly every resource to help you write your best scholarship essay and to help you through the college admission process. Learn how to write winning scholarship essays , including how to start a scholarship essay and how to end a scholarship essay as well! Maybe you are writing a “Why this college” essay ? We can help with that too! Also, be sure to check out our individualized supplemental essay guides for schools that require them.

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Key Takeaways

  • First and foremost, always carefully read the instructions of what format is required 
  • Unless otherwise specified, double space your essay and break it down into easily digestible paragraphs
  • If not stated, use easy to read fonts like Times New Roman or Ariel
  • Never use information without citing, and if you do need to cite, be consistent with citation style (such as MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.)
  • Always. always double check that your essay is not only formatted correctly, but thoroughly proofread for grammar and spelling

Frequently asked questions about scholarship essay formatting  

Should a scholarship essay be double spaced, what citation style should i use in a scholarship essay, is it better to include a scholarship essay title, what font is good for a scholarship essay, scholarships360 recommended.

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Financial Need Scholarship Essay Examples (2023)

Jennifer Finetti Oct 2, 2022

Financial Need Scholarship Essay Examples (2023)

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Many scholarships are awarded based on financial need. In order to win these scholarships, you must explain the nature of your financial need. In the guide below, we’ll explain how to write these types of essays to increase your chances of winning. Check out these scholarship essay examples for financial need scholarships.

How to write financial need scholarship essays

Here are some tips for writing financial need scholarship essays:

  • Maintain a positive tone throughout the essay . You do not want to come across as self-pitying. Focus on ways you learned and grew from past experiences – how they made you stronger.
  • Do not diminish other people’s suffering. This is a competition, but that doesn’t mean you should belittle your competitors. In fact, it would be better to say “I know there are many worthy candidates for this scholarship, but…” than to say “I have suffered far more than…” Show respect in everything you write.
  • Frame your essay around a specific event. You may add other details if you have space to, but use one experience as the thesis for your essay.
  • Avoid controversial statements and opinions. When discussing events from your past, do not belittle someone else or talk negatively about a group of people. You never know who will be reading your essay.
  • Tell your story with honesty. Do not fabricate any details to make yourself sound needy. Your past and present circumstances will speak for themselves.
  • Don’t try to sound philosophical. Some students will do this because they think it makes them seem smarter, but it rarely has that effect. Focus on proofreading and writing solid content. That is enough intelligence on its own.
  • Discuss your career goals, if possible. You may not have room for this if the essay is short. If you do have room though, discussing your career goals will indicate a plan for the future. Review boards reward determination.

You know why you need financial aid. Tap into the key elements of your circumstances and use them to craft the perfect essay.

Many scholarships are awarded based on financial need. In order to win these scholarships, you must explain the nature of your financial need. In the guide below, we’ve provided examples of scholarship essays for financial need scholarships, along with some tips to help you write your own essay.

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Example 1: “Provide a statement of financial need”

Some scholarships will simply ask for a statement of financial need. There are no parameters to follow. You’re left to write whatever you want. Typically, a statement of financial need is two or three small paragraphs. This will come out to roughly 150-200 words, but it could be slightly longer. Think of this as a cover letter for your scholarship application, highlighting the key elements of your financial need. Don’t build up to the thesis. Get directly to the point.

I am the first person in my family to graduate high school, and thus the first to attend college. Both of my parents dropped out of school when they were teenagers. Because of their limited education, they have always worked in entry-level positions, earning barely enough to put food on the table. My first job I got was at the age of 12 delivering papers, and I have worked hard ever since to relieve pressure from my family. I enrolled in Mississippi’s HELP program during my senior year, which covers tuition and fees at select colleges in the state. I also have a Federal Pell Grant to cover my housing. However, I still need funding for books, supplies, and transportation to campus as needed. I am an engineering student, and our classes come with high fees. My parents cannot contribute to my college expenses, and I cannot work much while I’m in school. This scholarship would help me avoid costly student loans that could take years to repay.  

Example 2: “Describe your financial need in 100 words”

This essay is even shorter than the financial need statement. It may be one of several short answer questions you need to fill out. Working with 100 words is tricky. That only leaves room for about 7-10 sentences, depending on length. Make compelling statements using the fewest words possible.

Also note that grammar errors and misspellings will be much more noticeable in this short essay. Carefully proofread your writing before submitting the scholarship application.

I got pregnant and dropped out of high school when I was 15. By the age of 20, I had two more children, and we all shared a one-bedroom apartment. I worked three jobs to pay the bills, but I never earned much. When my oldest started high school, I did the same. I got my GED at 29 and enrolled in nursing school. My financial status has improved now with a GED, but I’m still a single mom with three kids. I want to become a registered nurse to give my children a stable future. I appreciate your consideration.

Word Count: 100

Example 3: “Explain your financial need in 500 or more words”

This scholarship essay prompt is the opposite of the one above. You have much more room to discuss your circumstances. Talk about your family life, your income, and other restraints that contribute to your financial aid . Try not to throw too much in the essay though. You want the information to flow together seamlessly. Edit carefully, and give the readers a full view of your situation.

My name is Brandon Noviello. I am a sophomore on track to earn my Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. I need financial aid because I do not have a family to contribute to my education. I was in foster care for two years before I aged out of the system, and now I am pursuing a degree completely on my own. I was raised by a wonderful woman who didn’t always have a wonderful life. My mother got pregnant after a sexual assault, but she was determined to raise a smart, successful man. She went through an accelerated program to graduate high school before I was born. She devoted the rest of her life to supporting me, both financially and emotionally. My mother’s family cut ties with her the moment she became pregnant. Life wasn’t easy for us, but I never wanted for anything. She always found a way to keep me fed, dressed, and in school. Unfortunately, she lost a long-term battle with depression when I was 16, and I was put into the foster system until I reached adulthood. I did not have a positive experience with foster care, but I admit, I had no desire to. My mother’s passing weighed heavily on my mind, and I felt an overwhelming sense of anger, regret, and frustration. There was one gleam of hope in my experience though. I had a great social worker. I fought her decisions every step of the way, and she still managed to find a family to get me through high school. My social worker was the only person I invited to my graduation ceremony.  She helped me realize how much one person’s efforts can make a difference in the lives of others. I was only one of countless children she had helped over the years. I researched how to become a social worker so I could help other children like me. My plan is to work with the Department of Human Services in the foster care and adoption division after I graduate. In order to make my dreams a reality, I need financial aid. I am working as a server to pay for food, utilities, and basic necessities, but I do not earn enough to pay for college as well. I go to school during the day and work at night. Furthermore, I have a maximum Pell Grant to cover most of my tuition, but I still need help with other expenses. I did not do well in high school as a result of my mom’s passing, but I have done well in college. I have a 3.25 cumulative GPA, and I have never made less than an A in a degree-related course. As such, I am committed to being successful despite my circumstances, and I want to help young people find that motivation within themselves. I look forward to working with children and teens in the foster system, so I can be the hope that someone else was for me.

Word Count: 498

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  • Scholarship Essay

Jennifer Finetti

Jennifer Finetti

As a parent who recently helped her own kids embark on their college journeys, Jennifer approaches the transition from high school to college from a unique perspective. She truly enjoys engaging with students – helping them to build the confidence, knowledge, and insight needed to pursue their educational and career goals, while also empowering them with the strategies and skills needed to access scholarships and financial aid that can help limit college costs. She understands the importance of ensuring access to the edtech tools and resources that can make this process easier and more equitable - this drive to support underserved populations is what drew her to ScholarshipOwl. Jennifer has coached students from around the world, as well as in-person with local students in her own community. Her areas of focus include career exploration, major selection, college search and selection, college application assistance, financial aid and scholarship consultation, essay review and feedback, and more. She works with students who are at the top of their class, as well as those who are struggling. She firmly believes that all students, regardless of their circumstances, can succeed if they stay focused and work hard in school. Jennifer earned her MA in Counseling Psychology from National University, and her BA in Psychology from University of California, Santa Cruz.

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10 Strategies for Writing a College Application Essay

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Strategies How to Write a College Application Essay

Your college essay, frequently asked questions about writing a college application essay.

Writing a college application essay can have an incredible influence on the college admissions committees . The essay is designed to give students a chance to really show colleges who they are and what they aspire to be. This is why it’s important to compose something that makes your personal statement stand out amongst the hundreds of other students.

You want to write something captivating and impactful without overwhelming the reader yet staying true to you. But between knowing where to start and what to write about, the essay itself seems almost impossible to conquer. And this is where I come in.

Today’s article focuses on my carefully crafted 10-step strategy for writing the perfect college application essay . With some colleges no longer considering factors like high school grades and standardized test scores (i.e., SAT and ACT scores ), the pressure to create a college application essay can be fierce but stress no more. With the help of these ten strategies, you will be on your way to writing the strong college application essay that just might get you a seat at your dream college. Let’s get right into it!

Visit our Scholarship blog for more insight on college-related topics, plus access to hundreds of exclusive scholarships . So, don’t wait. Start applying today !

Start Early:

Because the whole application process is tedious from beginning to end, you want to give yourself plenty of time to work on your essay. Be sure to start brainstorming ideas early and create and outline your essay. Not only will this give you an idea of how you want to structure your essay, but it will also provide an ample amount of time to work on the essay. If you start early, you will also have more than enough time to edit and go through multiple drafts until your final draft is complete.

Understand the Prompt:

Before you begin writing anything, make sure you fully understand the essay prompt. The last thing you want to do is write an essay that has nothing to do with the theme/prompt the school has given prospective students. Look into the essay’s guidelines beforehand to have a clear understanding of what your topic is. That way, you don’t waste words and time.

Show, Don’t Tell:

It’s easy to put words on a paper and call it an essay, but that’s boring (and lazy)! Show your readers what you want them to see; don’t just tell them. Use specific examples to illustrate your points and qualities. Try adding some humor in there to give them an even clearer sense of your personality, as well.

Whatever theme or prompts you are focusing on in your essay, just make sure you show who you truly are. Bring your readers on your journey through any experience you’re highlighting rather than just telling them you were there. Use your achievements and moments of clarity to draw them in. An admissions officer will want to see your colors, not just hear about them.

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Be Authentic:

This is the key and probably the most important part of your essay. Be authentic and unapologetically you. Write in your own voice, and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Share your experiences, passions, and aspirations, but focus on how who you truly are, your values, and your goals. It’s easy to tell when something is forced, so stray away from generic tones and cliché jargon. Be fun, use humor, and showcase your natural tone. College admissions committees respect transparency and honesty as these characteristics usually line up with their institution’s values, so be authentically you.

Focus on a Specific Topic:

When you’re working on something like a college application essay where your goal is to stand out, it’s easy to ramble on about yourself, and that’s okay! But it’s important to know what is necessary and what overflow is. Choose a specific topic/theme that gives your story a way to showcase your personality and stick to it. You want to focus on key details and not details about the details. Stick to what you want to convey and use supporting information and/or characteristics.  

Structure Your Essay:

The key to a well-thought-out, formed essay is a strong outline. Organizing your thoughts will help you more than you know, so make sure you start your outline with a clear introduction that leads to strong body paragraphs that support your main points. And when all is said and done, you will wrap up your essay with an impressionable conclusion. You might go through a few outlines before you get to your final one, but that’s okay! Whatever works for you will shine through your essay.

writing an essay for college applications

Edit and Revise:

Editing is going to be your best friend. The first draft is always going to be a little messy, so make sure you go back and proofread your work for any grammar and spelling errors. The editing and writing process can also help you gain some clarity on what you are trying to convey to the college admissions committee. Because we’re the ones writing it, our thoughts make sense as soon they spill onto the paper, so proofreading your work will give you a chance to realign those thoughts and make it more coherent and smoother to read.

And since you’re the one writing it, it’s easy to overlook typos and missed punctuation, so I suggest taking breaks. And this can go any way! You can complete the first few paragraphs and then take a break; you can do one paragraph at a time or even the entire essay and then take a break. Whichever way you choose to go when it comes to writing essays, stepping back from your words can help you regain that sharp eye that will catch the errors.

Seek Feedback:

If you’re anything like me, you don’t like to bother people or ask for help, but for your college application essay, you have to put that aside. Don’t be afraid to ask teachers, counselors, your parents, peers, and friends to read your essay and provide constructive feedback in areas that need improvement. A second, third, and even fourth set of eyes will be able to catch things you can’t. Just be sure the people you know will set time aside to help you.

Also, request that your readers tell you what they gained from the essay. Did you perceive yourself well, did you miss anything, should you include a detail you don’t think it relevant to personal essay, but they do? You want to make sure your essay represents you academically, professionally, and personally, so listen closely to what they have to say and revise until it’s ready to go.

Be Positive:

Though I know it’s important to share your experiences and stories in your applications essay, I want to make sure you don’t focus on the negative aspects of your experiences (if any!). Colleges want to see their prospective student’s personalities and how they get through even the happiest of life experiences, and not just the challenging ones. Focus on your strengths, achievements, and growth while maintaining a positive and optimistic tone throughout your essay.

Leave them wanting more:

The goal point of your application’s essay is to stand out, so ending your essay with a strong closing sentence will amplify the reader’s interest that much more. Not only will these strategies inspire a well-written and authentic essay, but they can also increase your chances of making a strong, lasting impression on college admissions committees. Make sure your closing statement is witty and powerful and ties it all together.

Your college essay should show your personality, special qualities, experiences, and aspirations to the college admissions officers and committee. You don’t want to do too much, but you also don’t want to leave anything out . So, in case you get stuck, here are some elements to include in your college application essay:

  • Personal Story : Share your story and experiences that have shaped your identity and/or influenced your passions.
  • Academic Achievements : This is not the time to be modest about academic achievements, so highlight any awards or honors that demonstrate your dedication to education.
  • Goals and Aspirations : Clearly state your goals and aspirations and explain how attending the college you are applying to support those dreams.
  • Unique Perspective : Offer the unique perspectives or insights that set you apart from other applicants. This will showcase your individuality.
  • Writing Style : You want your essay to demonstrate strong writing skills, creativity, and clarity. Provide vivid language, clear storytelling, and proper grammar and punctuation.
  • Relevance : Make sure your essay directly addresses the college’s prompts or questions and aligns with the values and mission of the institution.
  • Reflection : Reflect on your experiences, challenges, and growth, and show how they have shaped your character and prepared you for college.
  • Be Yourself : But most importantly, be You. Stay true to your authenticity, as it is the one thing that will make you stand out the most!

In truth, your college application essay doesn’t have to drag . Include some of these elements into your work, and you might even (dare I say) have fun showing every college board member who you are and what you have to offer the world of academia. Good luck, and happy writing your admissions essays .

college essay writing

What should I write about in my college application essay?

When it comes to topics for your college application essay, choose a subject that boasts your unique personality, experiences, and personal values. Consider sharing a personal story that shines a light on your strengths, or write about any challenges you’ve overcome gracefully or a significant moment that helped shape your identity. The goal of college essays is to provide admissions officers with insight into who you are beyond your academic achievements, not just that you can put together an essay.

How long should my college application essay be?

Most colleges have specific guidelines regarding the length of the application essay, typically ranging from 250 to 650 words. It is important to adhere to the word count limit provided by the college to ensure that your essay is concise and focused. Be sure to carefully review the college application process and instructions to determine the appropriate length for your essay.

How can I make my college application essay stand out?

To make your college application essay stand out, focus on your authentic voice and perspective. Avoid clichés and generic statements, and instead, strive to convey your unique personality and experiences. Use bold language, descriptive details, and storytelling techniques to captivate the reader’s attention. Don’t be afraid to get feedback from teachers, counselors, or peers to ensure that your college essay topic is well-written and effectively communicates your message.

Interested in learning more from Bold.org ? Visit our Scholarship Blog to stay up to date on everything you need to know about college topics and apply for scholarships today.

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How To Get Academic Scholarships: An Easy Guide

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Introduction

The high cost of education has been the #1 factor in decreasing college student enrollment in the United States. Paying out of pocket is never easy, especially for middle—to lower-class groups. Fortunately, there are scholarship programs for all types of students. Wondering how to get academic scholarships? Look no further.

It’s important to note that with only 1.7 million average yearly scholarships awarded and 18.58 million college students in the US, the competition is fierce. In this guide, we’ll explore how to get academic scholarships to increase your chances of being one of the lucky ones. 

Why Academic Scholarships Matter

A college degree can help you achieve personal and professional growth. It can lead to higher earning potential, workforce success, and improved financial stability. 

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However, with the rapid increase in college education costs, a degree can only be an investment if you don’t accumulate a mountain of loans. The higher your student loans are, the lower the return on investment. 

The rising student debts and loans are underscoring the importance of reevaluating the cost and value proposition of higher education. Many students find themselves saddled with significant debt burdens upon graduation. 

An academic scholarship is free money given to deserving students. Usually, schools, companies, or government groups give these scholarships to help students keep studying after high school or continue to grad school.

However, even for students with excellent academics, competing for a scholarship is hard. This is where knowing academic scholarship requirements becomes crucial. The more you know about academic scholarships, the higher your chances of obtaining one. 

Types of Academic Scholarships

Scholarships are not limited to students with top-notch GPAs or exceptional athletic abilities. They are, in fact, accessible to students from all backgrounds. The key is to understand the different types of scholarships available.

Let’s pause to discuss the various scholarship opportunities accessible to deserving college applicants.

Merit-Based Scholarships: Recognizing Academic Excellence

Merit-based scholarships recognize students for their exceptional achievements in their field. It aims to motivate others and create a competitive learning environment. They fall into four main categories:

  • Academic Excellence Scholarships. Awarded for outstanding academic performance.
  • Research Scholarships. Given to students with exceptional research abilities.
  • Artistic Achievement Scholarships. Reserved for students excelling in artistic disciplines.
  • Athletic Achievement Scholarships. Targeting students with exceptional sports abilities.

Need-Based Scholarships: Financial Assistance for Students

Need-based scholarships provide financial assistance to economically disadvantaged students. While demonstrating low income is essential, these scholarships may also consider merit-based criteria. They want to break the cycle of poverty and empower recipients to impact their communities positively. 

Common need-based scholarship requirements:

  • Demonstrate low income.
  • The second selection factor is often based on merit.

Specialized Scholarships: Pursuing Passion and Talent

This scholarship is often a combination of the two previously mentioned types. This scholarship can be categorized into three: 

  • Location-specific. This targets students from a particular geographical area. 
  • Subject-specific. This is given to students pursuing particular fields or subjects. It mainly aims to address shortages of skilled professionals in those domains.
  • Program-specific. These scholarships are linked to specific academic programs or courses. They aim to attract talented students to innovative or unique programs by offering financial support.

Getting Started: Preparing for Scholarship Success

The first advice we will give you on how to get an academic scholarship in full is to ensure that the opportunity aligns with your personal profile. 

Assess yourself. 

Do you have a certain set of talents? Are you great at sports? Is your GPA high? What’s your parents’ combined income? These questions will help you determine what type of scholarship you have the highest chance of obtaining. 

Once you’ve evaluated your strengths, weaknesses, and eligibility criteria, you can narrow your focus to scholarships matching your profile. You may also use online databases or search engines for open entry programs. 

Research scholarship opportunities.

When researching for scholarships, do not limit yourself. Many students tend to focus only on FAFSA and institutional scholarships. Do not make this mistake. 

Always look into community organizations, foundations, and corporations. Apply to everything that you qualify for. While a high GPA to get a scholarship is often the primary criterion, you’ll also find opportunities with no restrictions. For example, Unigo and ScholarshipOwl offer academic scholarships of up to $20,000 based on a random draw. 

Here are a few pieces of advice: 

  • Talk to local professionals to point you toward local scholarships.
  • Apply to the small scholarships, too. A 500 award can help you pay for a few credit hours. 
  • Look for scholarships based on qualities and experience.

Crafting a Winning Application

One of the most common questions asked during scholarship applications is, “What GPA do you need to get a full scholarship?” While the answer depends from program to program, the strongest GPA for a full academic scholarship is 3.75 on a 4.0 scale. There are, however, scholarships that accept 2.0 GPAs. 

GPAs are not the only requirement to secure scholarship opportunities. Essays, recommendation letters, and resumes play crucial roles, too. 

Tips for Writing Compelling Scholarship Essays

It’s important to tailor your essay according to the scholarship. Stay alert on specifications, including minimum length, word count, formatting, font size, and line spacing. This also includes submission deadlines and any other guidelines or instructions.

Here are some key tips for crafting a standout scholarship essay:

  • Start Strong. Begin with a captivating introduction that outlines your essay’s topic and ends with a clear thesis statement.
  • Show Your Creativity. Don’t shy away from being imaginative. Let your unique voice and personality shine through to make a memorable impression.
  • Stay Consistent. Maintain a consistent tone throughout the essay. Use relevant anecdotes and examples to support your points.
  • Align with Values. Demonstrate your alignment with the organization’s mission, vision, and values.
  • End with Impact. Conclude your essay by emphasizing how the scholarship would benefit you and expressing gratitude for the opportunity.
  • Focus on Quality. Ensure your essay is well-written, grammatically correct, and organized. Keep it focused and avoid unnecessary content.
  • Address the Prompt Thoroughly. Respond thoughtfully to all aspects of the prompt, providing examples illustrating your points and highlighting your alignment with the organization’s values.
  • Submit on Time. Be punctual with all required materials, as late submissions are typically not accepted.

Showcasing Your Achievements: Résumé and Letters of Recommendation

In addition to academic scholarship GPA requirements and essays, you should also work on your résumé and LORs. These papers will contribute insights into your character, academic abilities, and potential for success. Submit them only when they’re asked for. 

Here’s what to include:

  • Personal info: Name, location, contact details.
  • Education: Schools attended, GPA, class rank, test scores.
  • Extracurriculars: Organizations, dates, leadership roles, impact.
  • Outside activities: Work, volunteering, with details.
  • Honors: High school awards only.

Recommendation letters are used to help committees gain a deeper understanding of who you are as a person and a student. When selecting individuals to write your LORs, consider people who know you well and can speak to your strengths, character, and potential. This might include teachers, coaches, supervisors, or mentors.

Navigating the Scholarship Application Process

Beyond asking, “What do I need to get a scholarship?” It’s also wise to ask for advice on creating a scholarship application timeline. While most deadlines fall between September and May, opportunities exist throughout the year, even in summer. 

According to FAFSA, students should start applying for scholarships the summer before their senior year of high school. Starting early can improve your chances of securing funding and help you understand the process better.

Ask your counselor about school-related scholarships you might miss otherwise. They can provide information on deadlines, especially for local scholarships.

Once you start, keep applying for scholarships throughout high school, college, and even graduate school. Starting early is best, but continue applying throughout your academic journey.

Here’s a quick timeline that may work for you: 

  • Research months, or even a year, before college AY. 
  • Start to gather documents as soon as you read the scholarship requirements.
  • Prepare essays, resumes, and LORs at least two months before the deadline.
  • Submit a week before the deadline.
  • Interview Preparation (if applicable). 

Maximizing Your Chances

When crafting your scholarship application, do not include outdated information like middle school experiences. Focus on recent achievements to show your potential impact as a college student and alum. Highlight leadership and community involvement.  

If you are unsure what to include, ask friends or family for advice.

There are also scholarships where interviews are necessary. Here are a few commonly included topics in scholarship interviews: 

  • Tell us about yourself.
  • Share a challenge you’ve overcome, including strengths and weaknesses.
  • Why should you get this scholarship?
  • What is your proudest personal or professional achievement?
  • What is your desired career?
  • What is your vision for yourself in a decade?
  • Who inspires you?
  • What are your hobbies and fun activities?
  • The last book you enjoyed?

To show more interest, you should also prepare at least two tailored questions for the interviewer or scholarship panel. Even if they don’t prompt you for questions, having them ready showcases your professionalism and engagement.

The cost of higher education in the United States is high, which is why it’s important to be strategic when paying for school costs. Scholarships are the most suggested educational assistance. Unlike loans, these don’t require you to repay the money you receive. 

Instead of being overwhelmed by the cost, take charge of your college dreams. Enhance your leadership experiences, prepare for interviews, and actively hunt for scholarship opportunities. With a wide array of scholarship programs available, we’re confident you’ll discover one that suits you!

Your Best College Essay

Maybe you love to write, or maybe you don’t. Either way, there’s a chance that the thought of writing your college essay is making you sweat. No need for nerves! We’re here to give you the important details on how to make the process as anxiety-free as possible.

student's hands typing on a laptop in class

What's the College Essay?

When we say “The College Essay” (capitalization for emphasis – say it out loud with the capitals and you’ll know what we mean) we’re talking about the 550-650 word essay required by most colleges and universities. Prompts for this essay can be found on the college’s website, the Common Application, or the Coalition Application. We’re not talking about the many smaller supplemental essays you might need to write in order to apply to college. Not all institutions require the essay, but most colleges and universities that are at least semi-selective do.

How do I get started?

Look for the prompts on whatever application you’re using to apply to schools (almost all of the time – with a few notable exceptions – this is the Common Application). If one of them calls out to you, awesome! You can jump right in and start to brainstorm. If none of them are giving you the right vibes, don’t worry. They’re so broad that almost anything you write can fit into one of the prompts after you’re done. Working backwards like this is totally fine and can be really useful!

What if I have writer's block?

You aren’t alone. Staring at a blank Google Doc and thinking about how this is the one chance to tell an admissions officer your story can make you freeze. Thinking about some of these questions might help you find the right topic:

  • What is something about you that people have pointed out as distinctive?
  • If you had to pick three words to describe yourself, what would they be? What are things you’ve done that demonstrate these qualities?
  • What’s something about you that has changed over your years in high school? How or why did it change?
  • What’s something you like most about yourself?
  • What’s something you love so much that you lose track of the rest of the world while you do it?

If you’re still stuck on a topic, ask your family members, friends, or other trusted adults: what’s something they always think about when they think about you? What’s something they think you should be proud of? They might help you find something about yourself that you wouldn’t have surfaced on your own.  

How do I grab my reader's attention?

It’s no secret that admissions officers are reading dozens – and sometimes hundreds – of essays every day. That can feel like a lot of pressure to stand out. But if you try to write the most unique essay in the world, it might end up seeming forced if it’s not genuinely you. So, what’s there to do? Our advice: start your essay with a story. Tell the reader about something you’ve done, complete with sensory details, and maybe even dialogue. Then, in the second paragraph, back up and tell us why this story is important and what it tells them about you and the theme of the essay.

THE WORD LIMIT IS SO LIMITING. HOW DO I TELL A COLLEGE MY WHOLE LIFE STORY IN 650 WORDS?

Don’t! Don’t try to tell an admissions officer about everything you’ve loved and done since you were a child. Instead, pick one or two things about yourself that you’re hoping to get across and stick to those. They’ll see the rest on the activities section of your application.

I'M STUCK ON THE CONCLUSION. HELP?

If you can’t think of another way to end the essay, talk about how the qualities you’ve discussed in your essays have prepared you for college. Try to wrap up with a sentence that refers back to the story you told in your first paragraph, if you took that route.

SHOULD I PROOFREAD MY ESSAY?

YES, proofread the essay, and have a trusted adult proofread it as well. Know that any suggestions they give you are coming from a good place, but make sure they aren’t writing your essay for you or putting it into their own voice. Admissions officers want to hear the voice of you, the applicant. Before you submit your essay anywhere, our number one advice is to read it out loud to yourself. When you read out loud you’ll catch small errors you may not have noticed before, and hear sentences that aren’t quite right.

ANY OTHER ADVICE?

Be yourself. If you’re not a naturally serious person, don’t force formality. If you’re the comedian in your friend group, go ahead and be funny. But ultimately, write as your authentic (and grammatically correct) self and trust the process.

And remember, thousands of other students your age are faced with this same essay writing task, right now. You can do it!

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Board of Trustees Recognizes Faculty Members

Congratulations to the 23 members of the faculty who were awarded promotions and/or tenure by the Ithaca College Board of Trustees at its May meetings.

The biographies of the faculty members were provided by their respective schools.

AWARDED PROMOTION FROM ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR TO PROFESSOR Department of Theatre and Dance Paula Murray Cole (M.F.A. Southern Methodist University) teaches acting, voice, and movement. Her professional work is centered on the development and dissemination of Rasaboxes, a suite of exercises originally devised by Richard Schechner. She co-authored and edited the first book dedicated to the exercises, “Inside the Performance Workshop: A Sourcebook for Rasaboxes and Other Exercises” (Routledge 2023), and co-authored “The Actor As Athlete of the Emotions: The Rasaboxes Exercise” for the book “Movement For Actors (2nd Edition, 2017), edited by Nicole Potter, Barabara Adrian, and Mary Fleischer. She has taught performance workshops at New York University, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, the Dell’ Arte International School of Physical Theatre, Brown University, and Rose Bruford College and has presented Rasaboxes at conferences and workshops in Israel, Montreal, Turkey, Singapore, China, and Poland.

Department of Occupational Therapy Melinda Cozzolino (P.P.O.T.D. Creighton University) teaches courses in neuroscience, mental health, and research. She received the founding grant for the Center for Life Skills, an interdisciplinary program at Longview for adults with chronic neurological conditions. This program has operated for over 20 years and has provided experiential learning for thousands of students and therapeutic services for hundreds of community members. She is a prolific scholar in the areas of interprofessional education and supporting mental health and is an advocate for mental health at the local, regional, and national levels.

Department of Theatre Studies Chrystyna Dail (Ph.D. University of Maryland) serves as director of the Integrative Core Curriculum. Her area of specialization is theatre history, with research interests in U.S. social activist performance, labor theatre, 20th-century Ukrainian-American performance, and the representation of witches in performance. Her book, “Stage for Action: U.S. Social Activist Theatre in the 1940s,” is part of the Theater in the Americas series published through Southern Illinois University Press, and her chapter, “Driving Race Work: The UAW, Detroit, and Discrimination for Everybody!” is included in the edited collection “Working in the Wings: New Perspectives on Theatre History and Labor.” Additionally, her chapter on Margo Jones is included in the eight-volume book series The Great North American Stage Directors published through Methuen Drama. She is currently writing a book about theatrical stagings of the Salem witchcraft crisis by female-identifying artists, and is the book review editor of Theatre Survey, which is published through Cambridge University Press.

Department of Philosophy and Religion Serge Grigoriev (Ph.D. Temple University) imbues the array of courses that he teaches with his ready sense of humor and his gift for oratory. In his classes, laughter is a regular feature, allowing students to enjoy themselves intellectually as they grapple with complex material. His research focuses on pragmatism and the philosophy of history, and he has published prodigiously, producing original, philosophically significant, and refreshingly readable scholarly work. He has been a generous citizen of the college, bringing thoughtful insights to the H&S Faculty Senate, the C.P. Snow Lecture Series Committee, and the Faculty Grievance Committee, to name just three of his service endeavors.

Department of Management Narges Kasiri (Ph.D. Oklahoma State University) bridges theory and practice in her courses in operations management and business analytics. She has integrated cutting-edge technology, including generative AI, into the curriculum. Her collaborative projects with local businesses allow students to apply their skills in real-world settings, enhancing both their learning experience and IC’s engagement in the community. As a scholar, she has earned prestigious honors such as the Fulbright Innovation Award and a grant from HSBC’s Sustainability Office.

Department of Exercise and Athletic Training Patrick McKeon (Ph.D. University of Virginia) is best described as a teacher/servant/scholar. He teaches both graduate and undergraduate students to better understand research and its application to their clinical practice. He serves the department as the Athletic Training Clinical Education Coordinator, the college as chair of the Institutional Review Board and his profession as an editor of two prestigious professional journals. He is also a well-respected scholar, serving as an Executive Council member of the International Ankle Consortium and mentoring numerous students each year to present their own research at local, regional, and national conferences.

Department of Music Education James Mick (Ph.D. Florida State University) teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in string pedagogy, orchestral rehearsal techniques, instrumental conducting, and the psychology of music teaching and learning. In 2020 he was honored with Ithaca College’s Faculty Excellence Award. Recent all-state orchestra appearances include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, and Wyoming. Internationally, he has worked with student ensembles in the United Kingdom and Belgium. He served as music director and conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra from 2015 to 2023. During his tenure the RPYO held annual side-by-side performances with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra at Eastman Theatre’s Kodak Hall and performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. A popular clinician, he has presented at numerous state, regional, and national conferences including the American String Teachers Association National Conference and the Midwest Clinic: An International Band & Orchestra Conference.

Department of Music Theory, History, and Composition Alexander Reed (Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh) is the author of the books “Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music (2013 Oxford University Press) and “Laurie Anderson’s Big Science” (2021 Oxford University Press). He also co-wrote the volume on the They Might Be Giants album “Flood” (2014 Bloomsbury) for the 33 1/3 book series. He has published in the Journal of Popular Music Studies, Popular Music and Society, Perspectives of New Music, the Journal of Popular Music Education, ImageTexT, Music Theory Spectrum, Music Theory Online, and the Journal of Musicological Research. He is founder and former chair of the Popular Music Study Group of the American Musicological Society and has served on the board of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music’s U.S. branch. He has received awards, fellowships, and residencies at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Mellon Foundation, Contemporary Arts International, and the Association for Recorded Sound Collections. Active as a musician, he has toured internationally and released seven albums with his bands Seeming and ThouShaltNot. He has also produced dozens of records for others, and his work has aired on MTV and in popular television on series such as “Gossip Girl.”

Department of Music Performance Michael Titlebaum (M.M. Eastman School of Music) is a saxophonist/composer/arranger who serves as Director of Jazz Studies at Ithaca College, where he directs the Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble; coaches combos; and teaches jazz saxophone and courses in jazz standards, arranging, repertoire, and pedagogy. In 2010 he founded the Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble Composition Contest. He also teaches and coordinates the jazz area in the IC Summer Music Academy. He is the author of the book “Jazz Improvisation Using Simple Melodic Embellishment,” published by Routledge/Taylor and Francis in 2021. He has performed and given workshops and lectures at numerous state and national conferences, including the Jazz Education Network, the International Society for Improvised Music, the New York State School Music Association, the New York State Band Directors Association, and the Texas Music Educators Association.

Department of Computer Science Doug Turnbull (Ph.D. University of California) teaches across the computer science curriculum, exhibiting a persistent dedication to making his classes accessible and to providing research opportunities to the largest possible number of students. Students appreciate that he involves them in his research as genuine partners and grants them foundations for future careers. His scholarship has earned wide recognition in the form of NSF and NEA grants that have brought more than $600,000 to IC. He has published widely in the area of music information retrieval, and he recently delivered a keynote lecture at a conference in Singapore. In his service, he has continued his efforts to promote undergraduate research, and he serves on the H&S Faculty Senate. He also engages in service to the music information retrieval research community, nationally and internationally.

Department of Media Arts, Sciences, and Studies Andrew Utterson (Ph.D. Birkbeck College) has expertly taught courses across the Screen Studies curriculum including Film Aesthetics and Analysis, Hollywood and American History, and Fiction Film Theory as well as ICC courses and mini-courses for the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, of which he is now co-director. The focus of his scholarship in film history, theory, and criticism is the intersection between film and new media as well as the changing nature of cinema from production to exhibition.

Department of Exercise and Athletic Training Justine Vosloo (Ph.D. West Virginia University) is a model for faculty within helping professions. She has spearheaded significant improvements to the department’s graduate Sport Psychology and Mental Performance programs. She is an outstanding mentor to students as they present their own research within professional journals and at national conferences and when they consult with student-athletes to improve their mental performance. Finally, she has grown to be a well-respected scholar within her profession as evidenced by her recent keynote lecture, “Reflections on cultural humility, inclusion, and belonging: Current trends and future challenges for the practice of sport psychology when considering the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Department of Music Education Baruch Whitehead (Ph.D. Capella University) is the founding director of the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers, which is dedicated to the preservation of the Negro Spiritual. He also founded the Orff-Schulwerk certification program, a music education that views music as a basic system like language, at Ithaca College and Marshall University, and is the past director of the annual Orff Certification Training Course at Boston University. His other areas of expertise include diversity in music education, gospel music and its preservation within mainstream musical settings, African American music, and the music of the Civil Rights movement. He has been a featured speaker/workshop presenter at many state, national, and international conferences, including the International Arts and Humanities conference in Honolulu and MENC, NYSSMA, NJMEA, and the American Orff-Schulwerk Association national conference. He has taught at the World Music Village in Helsinki, Finland, and continues to present workshops on diversity in music education for state, national, and international conferences.

Department of Strategic Communication Cory Young (Ph.D. Bowling Green State University) regularly teaches Crisis Communication, and this topic is the focus of most of her research. She is an organizational communication scholar whose work also explores risk communication and projects on diversity and inclusion. She has served in many capacities, including administrative roles for her department and for the school’s graduate program as well as for the college as a whole, as director of the Honors Program, a member of All-College Tenure and Promotion Committee, and chair of the Faculty Handbook Committee.

AWARDED TENURE AND PROMOTION FROM ASSISTANT TO ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR Department of Music Performance Mike Truesdell (D.M.A. The Juilliard School) is a percussionist who has performed with numerous ensembles, including the New York City Ballet, International Contemporary Ensemble, and Lucerne Festival Ensemble conducted by Pierre Boulez, and with members of the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, Chamber Music Society (New York), and Alarm Will Sound, among others. As an educator, he has previously been on the faculties of the University of Northern Colorado, Rutgers University, and Columbia University. Also engaged with mentoring the next generation, he has taught in the acclaimed Music Advancement Program at The Juilliard School, and founded Wildcat Percussion Camp, a summer percussion program to introduce aspiring percussionists to the spectrum of percussive sounds and techniques.

AWARDED TENURE AT RANK OF PROFESSOR Department of Media Arts, Sciences, and Studies James Rada (Ph.D. University of Georgia) expertly teaches budding journalists how to tell important stories in inventive ways in courses such as Documentary Journalism Workshop and Investigative Journalism. His creative activity includes producing and directing “With Infinite Hope: MLK and the Civil Rights Movement,” among other films he contributed to that tell the history of the movement and the Underground Railroad. He was awarded IC’s Faculty Excellence Award in 2020. He is an active reviewer and judge for several industry professional publications and organizations.

AWARDED TENURE AT RANK OF ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR Department of Media Arts, Sciences, and Studies Andy Watts (M.F.A. Columbia University) is an outstanding teacher who can successfully teach across the various film and television programs in the Roy H. Park School of Communications. His creative work as a screenwriter, director, and producer, combined with a 20-year career as a set lighting technician, directly contribute to his efficacy as an educator, mentor, and colleague. He has demonstrated an exemplary level of service to the department, the school, and the college, while maintaining ties to the industry.

AWARDED PROMOTION FROM ASSISTANT TO ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR Department of Biology Rebecca Brady (Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin) is renowned for her creative teaching of such classes as Human Genetics and Fundamentals of Biology, enlivening them with innovative techniques and placing a firm emphasis on students’ intellectual growth. Her scholarship is integrally connected to her teaching—she has contributed to the biology education literature through her published work in American Biology Teacher and is at work on a study of the flipped classroom. She has mentored student research projects that have resulted in public presentations, and her service contributions have students at their core. As examples, she has judged sessions for the Whalen Symposium and she was a member of the Innovation Scholars Program steering committee, helping to give birth to that vital new program in H&S.

Department of Music Performance Daniel Coakwell (D.M.A. Texas Tech University) teaches in the Voice area of the department, and students and peers alike commend his commitment to promoting a learning environment that prioritizes the mental health and well-being of his students. He also enjoys guest teaching artist residencies at institutions such as El Teatro Teresa Carreño in Venezuela, Yale University, and Dartmouth College. He specializes in the Evangelist and tenor roles of J.S. Bach, and he frequently performs the composer’s major oratorios—St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion, Christmas Oratorio, and Mass in B-Minor—as well as many of Bach’s cantatas. Recent performances as a tenor soloist include G.T. Handel’s Messiah at the Myerson Symphony Center in Dallas, TX, and at the Steinmetz Hall in Orlando, FL, and as tenor soloist of J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor at the Judson Memorial Church in New York City and at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Salem, OR.

Department of the Environment Paula Turkon (Ph.D. Binghamton University) teaches generously not just in her own department but for programs across the college, including Anthropology and Innovation Scholars. She is known as an exuberant and imaginative instructor, and her students express gratitude for the lifelong impact she leaves on them, often helping them to forge careers in science. Her research in the areas of dendrochronology and aquaponics has resulted in three NSF grants as well as published scholarship. She has left an indelible imprint on H&S by leading a discussion that resulted in a new Innovation Scholars Program with sustainability at its core. Colleagues characterize her as an embodiment of the scholar-teacher ideal in the liberal arts.

Department of Writing Jaime Warburton (M.F.A. Sarah Lawrence College) offers courses at every level of the Writing curriculum, with a focus on first-year writing, poetics, creative writing, and gender. Faculty and students point to her welcoming and passionate approach to instruction, noting that she teaches with humor and vivacity, and she empowers students to interrogate their biases and preconceptions. She is a prolific author of creative nonfiction, poetry, and scholarship on the craft of writing. Reviewers call her work “gorgeous,” “self-aware,” and “self-deprecating.” She has been a generous citizen of IC, directing the Writing Center and the Ithaca Young Writers Institute, and chairing the Faculty Handbook Amendment Committee, among numerous activities.

AWARDED PROMOTION FROM CLINICAL ASSISTANT TO CLINICAL ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR Department of Physical Therapy Kayleigh Plumeau (D.P.T. Ithaca College) is a highly effective teacher and has exceptional clinical skills. She launched a novel mentoring program that directly addresses diversity, equity, and inclusion in clinical settings. She has had multiple presentations at national conferences including about the mentoring program, representation in clinical education, and growth mindset, with presentations and publications in interprofessional education and home exercise program for cancer survivors. She is the chair of the awards committee for the NY State Physical Therapy Association.

Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Jana Waller (M.S. Ithaca College) has been a clinical faculty member since 2011, serving as fieldwork coordinator, graduate co-chair, and interim chair. Since 2021 she has served as associate dean for the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance. She was selected for a prestigious HERS leadership development fellowship based on her leadership experience. She has conducted clinical research in autism, developing an innovative program for autistic adolescents and adults. More recently, her scholarly work has focused on interprofessional education in the health sciences.

IMAGES

  1. How to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay in 10 Steps

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  2. FREE 7+ Sample Scholarship Essay Templates in PDF

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  3. 12 Tips on How to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay

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  6. Best Scholarship Essay Examples (Winning Tips)

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VIDEO

  1. HOW TO WRITE A WINNING SCHOLARSHIP ESSAY ⭐️ #scholarship #scholarships #essays #winning

  2. How to write good essays for the Mastercard Foundation Scholarship

  3. How to Apply for Scholarships using the SMART Method

  4. How to write a scholarship essay!

  5. How To Write A Scholarship Essay Steps Guide

COMMENTS

  1. How to Start a Scholarship Essay (With Examples)

    Put the reader in your shoes. Alternatively, you can choose to start your essay by placing the reader right in your shoes and show them something from your life. Appeal to the senses and show the reader what you see, hear, smell, or taste. These specific details will help your essay come to life and make it even more memorable.

  2. How to Write a Scholarship Essay

    Yes, but make sure your essay directly addresses the prompt, respects the word count, and demonstrates the organization's values. If you plan ahead, you can save time by writing one scholarship essay for multiple prompts with similar questions. In a scholarship tracker spreadsheet, you can group or color-code overlapping essay prompts; then, write a single essay for multiple scholarships.

  3. How To Write a Winning Scholarship Essay: The Ultimate Guide

    It's a good idea to prepare to write this essay at least three times. First, there's a rough draft that should be carefully proofread. Students can ask a teacher or other professional to also look at their paper. Then students should repeat this process once or twice more until they're happy with the results.

  4. How to Write a Scholarship Essay (with Examples)

    Sample Scholarship Essay Prompts. 1) "Explain something that made a big impact in your life.". Keywords: event, personal development, growth, background. 2) "We're committed to diversifying education abroad by providing funding to students who are typically under-represented in study abroad.

  5. How to Write a Scholarship Essay (With Examples)

    Structuring Your Essay. Your essay should follow a standard format that includes a clear beginning, middle, and end. Typically, you should: · Establish your main idea in the introduction. · Include a separate body paragraph for each key point that supports your main idea. · Draw it all together and revisit your main idea in the conclusion.

  6. How To Write A Winning Scholarship Essay

    8 Tips to Write a Scholarship Essay. 1. Start Early. The sooner you start exploring scholarship opportunities, the more time you'll have to get organized. It's a common myth that you have to ...

  7. How to Write a Scholarship Essay: Complete Guide + Examples

    Two ways you can go with this: Approach #1: Use the resources above to write a great essay that spells out your big dreams, then end with 1-3 sentences describing specifically how you'll use the scholarship money. (We'll call this the "I have big dreams and you can help" approach.) Approach #2: Explain your financial situation in detail ...

  8. How To Write A Winning Scholarship Essay (with example)

    There are a number of ways to hook the reader, including: Using startling statistics. Opening with a moving sentence. Making a strong statement. For an example of an engaging hook, say you are writing an essay about social media distraction. Perhaps you could open with: It might sound odd, but I love my flip phone.

  9. Writing a Winning College Scholarship Essay

    How to Write a Scholarship Essay. When you're drafting your scholarship essay, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind: 1. Start the essay writing process early. Leave yourself plenty of time to produce a well thought-out entry. Take the time to brainstorm your ideas, create an outline, and edit your entry as you would for any essay ...

  10. How to Write a Scholarship Essay and Win BIG (2024 Edition)

    Enter to win $2,000 for college. A new winner is drawn each month. NO essay! Takes less than 2 minutes to enter. Enter $2,000 scholarship*. *No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Ends 12/31/2024.

  11. How to Write a Scholarship Essay

    2. Show your personality. You should also use your voice in your essay. Give the scholarship committee insight into who you are as a person — what drives you, what motivates you, and what interests you. This will allow them to understand you on a deeper level and see your words as genuine. 3.

  12. 12 Ways to Start a Scholarship Essay

    Make your sentences active and concise. Download Article. Use short sentences and action verbs to make your writing pop. Compelling writing carries your reader along. Maintain the active voice throughout your essay to show, rather than tell, your reader why you're the best choice for the scholarship. [15]

  13. 9 Scholarship Essay Examples

    A scholarship essay is an essay you'll include in your merit scholarship applications. In many ways, your scholarship essays might resemble your college essays. So, the scholarship essay format should seem familiar. The best scholarship essays will highlight who you are and why you deserve money for college.

  14. 14 Scholarship Essay Examples That Won Thousands 2024

    Scholarship Essay Example #5. Questbridge Finalist essay earning $3,000 in application waivers plus $3000 in local scholarships by Jordan Sanchez. Prompt: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it.

  15. 5 Ways to Make Your Scholarship Essay Stand Out

    When writing a scholarship essay, follow these tips to win the most money for college. ... College scholarships had an average award amount of about $5,000 to $8,000 last year, says Katelen ...

  16. How to write a winning scholarship essay

    3. Fill your scholarship essay with keywords/synonyms of keywords used in the scholarship statement. Using the keywords from the scholarship statement throughout your essay will demonstrate your commitment to addressing the question being asked. For instance, I made a special effort to ensure references to 'leadership'; 'innovation' and ...

  17. How To Write a Scholarship Essay

    1 inch to 1 ½ inch margins. If there is no required word or page count, as a general rule, aim for ¾ to 1 full page in length. Be sure to include your name and the name of the scholarship you are applying for near the top of the page (either as a header or simply above the optional title).

  18. How To Write A Scholarship Essay Introduction (w/ Example)

    Your introduction should include the following three things: Attention-grabbing first sentence. A short explanation for what you will talk about in your essay. The thesis statement in which you address the essay prompt. Your introduction should be short, sweet, and to the point. This is the place to establish for the reader what you will be ...

  19. Tips for Writing an Effective Application Essay

    Follow these tips to write an impactful essay that can work in your favor. 1. Start Early. Few people write well under pressure. Try to complete your first draft a few weeks before you have to turn it in. Many advisers recommend starting as early as the summer before your senior year in high school.

  20. How to Write a Scholarship Essay

    Depending on the essay prompt, you might include a story about how you have contributed to your local community, why you believe you deserve the scholarship, or what makes you a unique individual. Including stories from your life allows the committee to get to know you better. 8. Show Your Personality and Emotions.

  21. What's the Best Scholarship Essay Format?

    Niche $25,000 "No Essay" Scholarship. 1 award worth $25,000. Open to All Grade Levels. Apply. $25k "Be Bold" No-Essay Scholarship. 1 award worth $25,000. Open to All Grade Levels. Apply. $10,000 CollegeXpress Scholarship.

  22. Financial Need Scholarship Essay Examples (2023)

    Example 2: "Describe your financial need in 100 words". This essay is even shorter than the financial need statement. It may be one of several short answer questions you need to fill out. Working with 100 words is tricky. That only leaves room for about 7-10 sentences, depending on length.

  23. What should I write in a scholarship essay?

    A scholarship essay requires you to demonstrate your values and qualities while answering the prompt's specific question. ... If you've got to write your college essay fast, don't panic. First, set yourself deadlines: you should spend about 10% of your remaining time on brainstorming, 10% on outlining, 40% writing, 30% revising, and 10% ...

  24. 10 Strategies for Writing a College Application Essay

    With the help of these ten strategies, you will be on your way to writing the strong college application essay that just might get you a seat at your dream college. Let's get right into it! Visit our Scholarship blog for more insight on college-related topics, plus access to hundreds of exclusive scholarships. So, don't wait. Start applying ...

  25. Unlock Your Future: Mastering the Art of the College Admission Essay

    However, when it comes to crafting a college admission essay, set this formula aside. The admission essay is a unique genre that demands a different approach. Rethinking the Essay Structure. Forget everything you know about standard academic essays because the college application essay follows different rules.

  26. How to Get Scholarships for College: Your 2024 Guide

    3. Draft your applications. Typically, scholarship applications require a personal statement or essay, transcripts, and SAT or ACT scores. Brainstorm ideas for your personal statement, which tends to be the component that takes the longest. Start drafting early, long.

  27. How To Get Academic Scholarships: An Easy Guide

    For example, Unigo and ScholarshipOwl offer academic scholarships of up to $20,000 based on a random draw. Here are a few pieces of advice: Talk to local professionals to point you toward local scholarships. Apply to the small scholarships, too. A 500 award can help you pay for a few credit hours.

  28. Your Best College Essay

    Your Best College Essay. Maybe you love to write, or maybe you don't. Either way, there's a chance that the thought of writing your college essay is making you sweat. No need for nerves! We're here to give you the important details on how to make the process as anxiety-free as possible.

  29. 2024 CAPITAL HIGH SCHOOL COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY

    2024 CAPITAL HIGH SCHOOL COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY

  30. Board of Trustees Recognizes Faculty Members

    Congratulations to the 23 members of the faculty who were awarded promotions and/or tenure by the Ithaca College Board of Trustees at its May meetings.The biographies of the faculty members were provided by their respective schools.AWARDED PROMOTION FROM ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR TO PROFESSORDepartment of Theatre and DancePaula Murray Cole (M.F.A. Southern Methodist University) teaches acting, voice ...