While the application season itself is winding down, there’s still a lot of admissions work to be done. Even if you haven’t received a single acceptance or rejection, it’s not too early to start thinking about next steps.
One of those next steps is funding. School is already expensive (there’s an early contender for understatement of the year) and costs show no sign of slowing their never-ending rise anytime soon.
Luckily, there are also many opportunities to earn education scholarships out there today. www.fastweb.com is a great resource for students looking for scholarships, as it offers a gigantic searchable database that can help you find scholarships that match your needs and qualifications.
Lots of scholarships ask you to write an essay as part of the application process. In the rest of today’s post, I want to provide three tips that will help you write those scholarship essays.
1. Pay attention to what they’re asking
Just as with any writing assignment, you need to begin your scholarship essay by building a clear understanding of what exactly you’ve been asked to write. Scholarship essay prompts span a broad variety of topics ranging from targeted questions to requests for more general biographies.
When you sit down to write an essay as part of your scholarship application, make sure to give the prompt or instructions careful consideration. Doing so will make the writing process both effective and efficient, since you’ll focus on appropriate content without wasting time on things that are irrelevant.
2. Don’t exaggerate or plagiarize
Scholarship essays are similar to admissions essays in that they can encourage writers to stretch the truth. Because you’re directly competing against others for something, whether admission to a school or a financial award, you try to present yourself in the best light possible.
There’s nothing wrong with focusing on positives and working hard to write well. There is something wrong with exaggerating your accomplishments or credentials or paying someone to write for you. Beyond the moral implications, lying or plagiarizing will ultimately hurt your chances.
The people who read scholarship essays are masters at identifying work that is plagiarized or falsified. If they even suspect that your essay fits one of those criteria, they’ll simply drop you from consideration. Masses of applicants compete fiercely for almost every scholarship out there, the majority of whom are remarkably qualified. If you give them a reason to cut you, they’ll take it since there will still be dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of impressive candidates to choose from.
Finally, exaggeration and plagiarism directly lead to writing that is impersonal and clichéd. Essays like that aren’t going to impress anyone.
3. Save and Reuse your OWN Work
I need to be very careful in explaining what I mean here. As just discussed, plagiarism in admissions, whether for scholarships or applications, is wrong. It’s immoral, causes bad writing, and is increasingly easy to spot.
However, there is nothing wrong with reusing your own work whenever possible. In fact, doing so is one of the hallmarks of a smart applicant. Because you’ll almost certainly apply for more than one scholarship, there’s a good chance that you can write an essay that will work for more than one application. Keep an eye out for such opportunities. You may need to spend some time making small adjustments to the essay so that it fits the new scholarship instructions or prompts, but that’s much less effort than writing an entirely new essay.
So long as the work is 100% your own, there’s no reason you shouldn’t look for new ways to use already-written essays.
Ryan Hickey is Managing Editor of Peterson's & EssayEdge and an expert in many aspects of college, graduate, and professional admissions. A graduate of Yale University, Ryan has worked in various admissions capacities for nearly a decade, including writing test-prep material for the SAT, AP exams, and TOEFL, editing essays and personal statements, and consulting directly with applicants. He enjoys sharing his knowledge to aid others in achieving their educational goals and, when he gets a break, loves hiking and fly fishing with his wife and two border-collie mixes.
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An essay is often the best thing to help the examiner understand the thought process of the applicant. Thus it is essential to know what are the things that can make the essay a more exciting read. Writing a scholarship essay could be a challenging job if there is the need to do it well. You would need to make the reader feel caught up in writing and also speak directly to the goals of the organization. The same application would rarely apply to the multiple awards. These essays would need to be tweaked or altered entirely to make the reader feel that you are deserving of the reward.
1. Interpret the essay prompt and write accordingly
The organizations and the schools which offer scholarships would give prompts, which the essay would address. It is essential to read the prompt carefully and even ‘read between the lines.’ You would need to understand that whether the prompt asks you to be honest about what you think or there is some tweaking that is required. You will need to figure if the motive is to address the issue in the prompt or to understand what the things you like are, what motivates you and what the topics that interest you are. These things would let them decide if you were a good candidate for the program they are offering.
2. Make a list of the essential points to include
Inducing some relevant information about yourself is necessary regardless of the essay prompt. You would need to prove yourself as an ideal candidate, and that would require some insights about the organization and what they would expect. A few of the keywords need to be found out from the mission, and these words should be the buzzwords in the essay. Scholarship committees are not just on the lookout for excellent candidates but would also need to find out the person who would fit their organizational goals. Transcripts and resumes should gather, and the qualifications should be reviewed to ensure that what is missing in these are included in the essay.
3. Grabbing the attention of the reader
Getting the attention of the reader would be pretty important as the power of a strong induction can never be underestimated. It is never a good idea to make the essay vague. It should also not be dull and impersonal. The article should be personal, specific and intriguing, making the reader want more. It would make the piece stand out from the rest. It would be a good idea to start hitting the ground from the very first paragraph.
4. You would always need to make the essays more surprising
The prompts would mostly be asking you some questions to understand how you think and analyze. There would be questions about how your life had influenced and how you have coped and worked accordingly. It would not be a good idea to write about parents as there are chances that many others would do that as well. Someone like Superman could be your hero, and it would be a good idea to mention them. The plan would not be traditional, but as long as it is personalized, it would surely be an exciting read.
5. The essay instructions would need to follow
You would need to make sure the essay reader does not get turned off that would almost apply to the guidelines. The essay should not be somewhere around the limits. You should not write under the deadline or over the limit. As significant money is at stake, you should ensure that you offer just the thing that asks of you.
6. Focusing on the topic and having a point is pretty important
You would need to understand the fact that examiners are probably going through hundreds or even thousands of scholarship essays. You should not roam astray as it would be difficult for you in such circumstances to ensure your survival in the game. You need not mention something out of the topic unless it would help to illustrate the main point. It is essential to make sure that the scholarship has a consolidated statement behind it. The thesis should be a one-sentence answer to the essay question. The answer could just be a one-sentence answer to the essay prompt, and the essay should be elaborating this statement.
7. Crating a Draft before writing the essay
You would need to make sure that the article has been drafted to ensure that nothing miss when you are giving form to the materials. The critical points must be there before you begin to start writing. Telling a story could be the most natural and most effective ways to tell a story for most of the scholarship essays. There should be significant headings that would be describing the primary storyline. The next step would involve filling in the storylines by including subheads. There are lots of things that one could mention in this case, and the draft would do just that.
8. Filling in the missing parts and leaving no holes
Filling in the missing pieces is one of the most important parts before you are anywhere near concluding the essay. Drafting the article before you write it would help you ensure that you can get through this process with ease. The first sentence has a lot of importance as it would attract the attention of the reader and motivate him further. You should be ready to start painting a vivid picture which you would be mentioned in the essay and create the first sentence accordingly. Also, you should ensure that there is no gap in the storyline leaving the reader in disgust.
9. Avoid the spelling errors and rewrite and revise
The rewriting and revision could be just the difference between a good writer and a poor one. You would need to look at the essay with fresh eyes a day or two after it has written. Also, make sure that there are no spelling errors in the article. It would show that you are reckless and would put you up for elimination.
Before submitting the final draft, you should read them yet again or could get them checked by a new pair of eyes. Some insights on the essay could help a lot.
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