Tips & Resources

What Goes Into A Winning Scholarship Essay

December 23, 2019

Scholarship essays are a great way to reflect on what drives you as an individual. It also forms the scholarship provider’s first impression of how good a fit you are for the organisation.

Many scholarship applications require you to submit an essay alongside your academic achievements and the other necessary details. These scholarship essays are intended to find out more about you beyond what your grades say; don’t make the mistake of using it as merely another place to list out your achievements. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you’re crafting your scholarship essay that will help you give the best first impression to potential scholarship providers.

Keep To The Outline

Before you even start on the essay, you need to be clear on the point or theme that is central to your essay. Using this, draw up an outline on the key points that you’ll be using to convey this idea to the reader, and use that as a guideline to help you stick to the topic instead of veering off course.

It’s Not About Sounding Smart

Don’t use jargon and convoluted sentences just because you can. If someone has to dig out a thesaurus to understand your point, you’re not doing it right. What you want is to write an essay that is easy to understand and still shows your thoughtful insights into the various matters that motivate you. If the scholarship essay asks a specific question, avoid derailing too much with a lengthy anecdote; keep your story concise and make sure it illustrates your point without beating around the bush.

What Makes You Tick

Those assessing your scholarship application can already see how good your grades are in the relevant documents, so use your essay to highlight what makes you unique. Include your personal interests – especially those that are relevant to the specific scholarship you are applying for. For example, if you have a passion for sports and hope to join the Ministry of Education as a physical education teacher, share how sports has been a key part of your life and how it has helped you to grow more holistically, and elaborate on how you might want to help youth by teaching them the importance of physical fitness.

At the end of the day, your essay is a story about you, and why you’re a good fit for the scholarship provider. It’s important to be honest about what makes you tick. You really don’t want to be stuck with a bond if the organisation is not truly a good fit.

Check Before Submission

Don’t end up in a situation where you’ve written an eloquent and thoughtful essay, only for the impact it makes to be marred by misspelled words and awkward grammar. If you’ve given yourself plenty of time by starting the essay in advance (as you should have), close the draft and come back to it in a few days so it’s easier to review it with a fresh pair of eyes. You’ll find it’s much easier to spot mistakes that you might have skipped over otherwise.

If you have friends or family who are experienced in assessing such essays, you can also try sending your work to them for some valuable insight that you can use to take your essay to the next level.

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