Writing the winning scholarship essay

Post By: COYD Staff

scholarship essayWriting a winning scholarship essay is difficult because like the application essay, it could make or break your chances of attending the college of your dreams. Like the application essay, your essay is crucial to your scholarship application. Below is a list of things you should be mindful of when writing your scholarship essay:

1. Be a tasteful bragger – show, not tell and be charming
Show, not tell: You must brag in a scholarship essay. However, be a smart bragger not an obnoxious one. When you meet somebody who lists all of their accomplishments, you probably get turned off by that person. However, if they engage in conversation by describing their experiences while stilling talking about their accomplishments, it’s more “sharing” than “bragging”.
Charm: Use what you know about the person/organization that will be giving the scholarship to charm them. When you mention details in your essay about the scholarship giver, it makes them feel special and in turn are more likely to want to learn more about you. You have to give a little to get their attention.

2. Be organized but not methodical
– You should always have a theme and structure in your essay. Each sentence should somehow be related to the overall purpose of the essay. Because you only have a certain amount of words, make sure each of them count. However, on the flip side, it’s an essay not a lesson plan so no bullet points. The scholarship essay is not a lecture. It’s a chance for you to show the scholarship committee who you are and why they should give you money. So remember your audience. You want them to walk away with an emotional connection to you, not a list of deliverables or an action plan (like this posting:).

-This should be an obvious one but unfortunately it is something that needs to be included in the list. The temptation is there and it crosses the mind of the majority of students who are swamped with senior classes and college applications. Don’t play with fire. Not only is it wrong, but if caught, it will destroy your chances from getting into that college. In the NY Times last week, there was an article title “Exactly How Personal Is That Personal Statement?“. Basically it talked about a company called Turnitin which has been used in the past to “expose cut-and-paste malfeasance in term papers” which is now being used to “detect plagiarism on applications. Penn State’s MBA program is the first [university’ to sign up.” With technology this day, don’t even play with fire. You don’t want to get caught!

4. Record your thoughts and ideas onto a tape recorder.
– Your brain works faster than your fingers. So you don’t want to miss important thoughts, words, expressions. If you an introvert, you might actually be a better writer than talker so this might not pertain to you.

5. Ask your family and friends what they think makes you unique.
– Being a teenager this day in age is hard. There is so much peer pressure to be a certain way. Individuality is not always rewarded in the local halls of your high school and so many students suppress certain qualities so that they can “fit” in and be accepted. With that said, your family and true friends can see what makes you different and special.

6. Sob stories without some kind of redemption are just sob stories.
– If you are going to talk about a hardship in your life like how you survived poverty or the death of a parent, make sure that you show how you overcame it and how it has shaped who you are. A scholarship committee is attracted to people who have EXPERIENCE but like Aldoux Husley says, “Experience is not what happens to someone but what someone does with what happens to them.”

7. First impressions are everything
– Your introduction is key. You should spend the most time writing your introduction.This is where your personality should pop. The introduction is the hook. Reading the introduction should make them wanting more.


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