How To Write A Winning Scholarship Essay

You have your scholarship application carefully filled out. Your letters of recommendation are collected and your scholarship resume is ready. The last thing to do for your scholarship application packet is to write the winning essay. How do you decide what to write about? Where do you start? Is there a secret to writing a scholarship essay that will help you be picked by the judges to win the scholarship money?

The first thing you need to understand is the point of the scholarship essay. The essay is a way for the scholarship judges to get to know YOU. They want to learn more about you than your name, GPA, ACT/SAT score, date of birth, etc... By writing the essay, you are able to share your thoughts, opinions, and feelings on the essay subject. Don't start your essay with, "My name is ___________ and I attend _________ high school". They already know this because it is easily found on your scholarship application.

Your essay writing needs to instantly draw in the scholarship judges (who have probably read thousands of essays at this point) with a compelling statement. Get their attention right off the bat and make them want to read your whole essay, instead of skimming through it quickly and throwing it into the reject pile. How do you draw them in? Answer the essay question by using a personal experience that you feel very deeply about. For example, to answer the question, "If you win this scholarship, how will the money help you?" you can begin your essay with something like, "My favorite thing to do on Saturday mornings is sleep in, but for the last 12 months I have set the dreaded alarm clock and dragged myself out of bed so I can go to my local children's hospital to read stories to the kids who are sick and alone there..." Then you share how winning the scholarship money will bring you one step closer to being able to afford college so you can become a doctor, which is your life-long dream.

Make yourself real to the judges. You are much more than a name on a flat piece of paper! Your essay allows you to come alive in the judge's minds, so help them use their imagination to see you with lots of descriptive words, heartfelt emotions, and real life situations. Use a thesaurus to help you use words that make yourself stand out and be remembered. Always tell the truth. Never lie in your scholarship essays. Don't have a parent write your essay for you. After reading so many essays, scholarship judges KNOW which students wrote the essays themselves, which ones stretch the truth, and which ones want to win so bad that they will say anything that makes them look better that the other applicants.

Scholarship judges want to find YOU in your scholarship essay. By writing from your heart, telling the truth, and drawing them in from the very first sentence, your chances of winning the scholarship improve dramatically. There are other ways to make all your scholarship applications stand out right from the moment the judges pull your applications out of the envelopes.

Essay Writing

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