Writing Scholarship Application Essays


The following are some tips to writing a successful essay for scholarship applications.

Before you start writing,

  • Think about what character traits/ experiences/ talents make you unique.
  • Read the essay prompt several times, and think about what they are REALLY asking you to write about.
  • If possible, conduct some research on the organization sponsoring the scholarship.

Next, get your ideas on the page:

  • Freewriting
  • Listing Ideas
  • Brainstorming

Now it’s time to start a draft:

  • Think about which ideas flow well together and how to organize them in a way that makes sense.
  • Reread the essay question and ask yourself if your answer fits the question.
  • Write! Get creative, but stay professional.

Once you have a draft for the essay, follow the next steps to keep you on track.

Revision- Focus on the “big picture” of your writing first. Ask yourself,

  • Am I answering the question?
  • Is this essay the correct length?
  • Are my ideas well developed and supported?
  • Do I transition smoothly from one paragraph to the next?
  • Make changes as needed!

Editing- Focus on these issues only when you are happy with what you have written:

  • Spelling- Remember, Microsoft Word won’t catch everything, and be especially wary of homophones (i.e. you’re and your).
  • Typos
  • Missing words
  • Unnecessary words- Try not to use words and phrases that don’t really add any meaning or are implied (i.e. very, really, in my opinion).
  • Punctuation

Finally, prepare the final copy:

  • Make sure you double-check the submission instructions.

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