Truthfully, we love exclamation points! And while winning scholarship money to pay for college IS very exciting, too many exclamation marks can be overkill. In this case, you can use exclamation marks more freely. Many people falsely believe that an exclamation mark will make a sentence more powerful. But the truth is, empowering statements pack a punch without one. Essay readers are not simply looking for the hardest story when selecting a winner, but rather a complete narrative that includes how the student has worked to overcome the challenge.
In addition, we recommend focusing on a central event or experience — which tends to read as more powerful, especially when faced with a word or character limit. So long as you keep it professional, readers want you to sound like YOU. Keep it clean and clear, but also keep it real! Is this the definition of a humble brag? Your character, dedication, and integrity should come through naturally in your writing. Most scholarship essays are fairly short, so avoid bloating your essay with gratitude and praise for the opportunity.
Use your character and words allotments to answer the prompt thoroughly instead! Polite but to the point. So revise, revise, revise! Walk away from your work to clear your mind and then come back to it. Choose a trusted teacher, peer, or friend, and be open to their suggestions for improvement. Make sure it is absolutely spic and span. Spelling errors, grammar mistakes, and typos are the fastest way to have your scholarship essay dismissed by the readers!
On the other hand, having a pristine essay substantially increases your chances of being selected. Need your work instantly proofed and improved? We sure do. Whether you find them scrolling Instagram or keep them tacked up above your desk, a great quote can be super empowering. I want to go to college so I can become a nurse and change the world.
This essay is about you , so famous quotes are just a distraction. The name of the game for winning scholarships is standing out from the mix. Platitudes are super common, overly simplified statements that people use all the time.
DO illustrate specifically how things will change if you win the scholarship money. Many scholarship essay prompts ask you to discuss how winning a scholarship would impact you, and this is where cliches often creep in. Cliches are phrases, stories, or themes that are overused to the point that they lose their power and meaning.
Many cliches involve a person who, with a little help, turns it all around and prevails. In real life we LOVE a Cinderella story as much as anyone, but you can imagine why this type of story ends up in scholarship essays a lot! But when it comes to scholarship essays, we want to help you to avoid falling into cliche narratives that dampen the power of your story and hurt your chances of winning.
DO be realistic and specific when talking about yourself, your background, and your aspirations. Winning this scholarship money would help fund my semester overseas. But you may be surprised at how many people do! Will you actually offend anyone with that kind of conversational tone?
Probably not. DO stress your excitement, perseverance, and preparedness for this next chapter without the curse words. You can always use a thesaurus to look up new and exciting ways to say things or use imagery to paint a picture of your experiences.
But keep your text speak in your group chats and out of your scholarship essays. Your scholarship essay is a great place to showcase your eloquence and professionalism, so unless directed otherwise , write as you would for a teacher or a boss. This kind of thing is super common and distracting for the reader.
DO remove any and all text speak in favor of your own unique voice and tone. You can still use mild humor and even talk like you , but keep it academic and professional. These essays are about you. A thoughtful essay reads times better than your stance on a popular topic of the moment. DO take firm stances on causes that you believe in and articulate how winning this scholarship will help you advocate for them.
For example, you can certainly discuss your commitment to advocating for gender equality or against wage inequality. Standing behind a cause you can convincingly argue for is the mark of critical thinker. The key is to be mindful of the prompt and to avoid unnecessary detours or tangents that tread into hot take territory unrelated to the prompt.
It may seem like a good idea, but keep it professional. More importantly, you want your essay to be as easy to read as possible, without overwhelming the readers. An extreme declaration involves only seeing one side of a situation and often the negative side and presenting it as fact.
See how both of these statements can give the reader a feeling that the writer is not seeing the full picture? DO replace extreme declarations with hopeful and open-minded approaches to the future. When talking about yourself, it can be easy to get on a roll and include more details than necessary, but try to stay focused.
It can be easy to believe that going beyond the stated word limit will come across as working harder or putting in more of an effort. In reality, essay readers actually put a lot of weight into your ability to follow directions. DO choose and focus on a central incident, challenge, personality trait, hobby, or aspiration.
For example, discuss only your love of animals, your passion for modern dance, your memory of the day your younger sister was born, etc. Try Scholly Search, our always-expanding, hyper-personalized scholarship database that matches you with scholarship tailored just to you based on all of your unique qualities. This saves the time, energy, and stress required when digging for scholarships, and drastically increases your chances of winning. College is expensive. Happy searching and good luck!
That means using 1-inch page margins, point font size double-spaced or 1. You want the content of your essay to be what stands out, rather than your unorthodox formatting. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how to best structure a good scholarship essay. In fact, you can see how wide-ranging these winning essays are. In fact, how to best answer and structure your essay depends partially on the essay and partially on your personal writing style.
However, one pretty common way of structuring your scholarship essay is how Going Merry winner John Flowers Jr did it. Since adding line spacing can make essays more readable, using 1. More important is to not leave your essay as one block of text. If you need additional resources to accompany this scholarship essay format guide, check out these related blog posts for more writing tips:. Back to all posts. Kelly Lamano. Categories: Scholarship Essays. Jump to:. Where do I start?
Does a scholarship essay need a title? How should a scholarship essay be formatted? What font should I use? How should a scholarship essay be structured? Can I get a template or outline?
This is bland and boring. The good news is that there are several ways that you can do this that are very easy to do. First, you could begin your essay with conversation This can be an interesting and unexpected way to start your scholarship essay.
Maybe someone asked you an unexpected question? Perhaps you were having an interesting conversation with a friend or family member? Either way, dialogue can be a powerful tool to start your essay. 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.
One of the essays that you will be asked is:. We are interested in learning more about you and the context in which you have grown up, formed your aspirations, and accomplished your academic successes. Please describe the factors and challenges that have most influenced you. How are they shaping your future aspirations? Makes a big difference, right?
As a reader, you are probably wondering: why does this person have chickens outside their bedroom window? Why did they name this particular chicken Henry? As shown, there are many questions that we as readers will have after reading an engaging essay opening such as the one just shared; We want to learn more about the student who is writing this essay.
After all, as a writer trying to stand out in a pile of essays, that is our main goal. 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. Additionally, outlines can help you properly format your scholarship essay.
Here are some essential tips for your scholarship essay format:. 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. 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.
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! Your scholarship essay is going to be your primary and sometimes sole form of communication with the organization granting the scholarship.
Here are some additional tips to help you better communicate your intentions through your 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.
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. 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.
Additionally, the organization that is awarding the scholarship is most likely going to be reading hundreds sometimes thousands of scholarship applications and essays. 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. 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.
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. Skip to main content. Apply Brochure. Image Source Paying for college is a top concern for many students in America today. What Is a Scholarship Essay? 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.
Outline One of the best ways to start constructing and organizing an essay is to create a comprehensive outline. Scholarship Essay Formatting Additionally, outlines can help you properly format your scholarship essay. 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.