Your Scholarship Essay – Give Them What They Want – But Do It Your Way

Scholarship essays can be a frustration for many applicants. But if you learn some simple principles and follow these guidelines, you will write a better essay and enhance your chances of scholarship success. Your essay may be the determining factor in whether you get a scholarship or one of the other applicants does, so make your efforts worthwhile and let them work for you.

Principles And Guidelines To Follow:

Keep It Simple: Don’t try to use big, fancy or sophisticated words if short, simple, easy to understand ones will get your point across. Unless your essay is for a highly technical or English comprehension type of scholarship, do your best to eliminate complicated words because they may actually work against you if their meaning is misinterpreted or not understood. Scholarship selection committees are usually intelligent, but normal individuals and they are not looking for your vocabulary to impress them. They are looking for your character, knowledge and personality to shine through and that is usually easiest if you keep it simple.

Brevity: It is a truly a skill to get your point across in the shortest way possible. If you are given a topic or a question to answer, answer it in as few words as possible. One way to do this is to write your essay as quickly as possible, then go back and read it. Next read it again and ask yourself these questions. “Do I really need this sentence to get my point across?” and “If I cut this part, will It still make sense?” If the answer to either indicates it should go, cut it. If there is a minimum word count requirement, make sure that you meet it, but just barely. Don’t get long-winded.

Write As You Speak: When you are writing your essay, talk to yourself and write as though you were dictating the essay in your own words. Talk to the readers (aka: scholarship selection committee) as if they were sitting across from you and asking you a question. The best part about this is that they are not actually there, so you can go back and edit your first draft to make sure that it is complete and addresses every point that you want to get across. Once you have it ready, read it again out loud to a family member, friend or favorite teacher.

Summary: An essay can make or break your efforts. Give the selection committee what it wants and make sure that the “real you” shines through. If you do this for every scholarship essay, your efforts will be rewarded and your writing will continue to get easier and better the more that you practice these principles.