Tips on writing scholarship essays
Clearly, college committees and recruitment boards look for certain things in a scholarship essay. For example, they look for students who are able to express themselves in an effective, correct, and eloquent manner. Therefore, scholarship essays need to impress those who read them with choice of topic, relevance, proper referencing, level of expressed intelligence, reasoning, eloquence, and good writing skills. Examiners additionally look for students who have interesting personalities and are keen to contribute to the colleges rather than just those who are only interested in study.
Steps involved in writing scholarship essays
- Once an essay question or topic has been decided, it is important to create a solid writing plan. It is essential to work out how long the essay should be, the number and type of sources, the citation style, and how much time should be devoted to researching the topic, drafting the paper, and editing the final work.
- When planning an essay the language should be straightforward and without flaw. The vocabulary and terminology the writer chooses should be taken from their research i.e. any information and source material they collect.
- Make a list of key points as a way of deciding what information and/or facts to use to support your argument i.e. the most relevant data and the best way of analyzing this.
- Choose a style of citation. Do not combine styles or stray from the one you choose.
- Remember to make a note of the aims of your essay. This task is competitive. Your aim should be to ensure your essay is more impressive than those of other candidates in order to attract the evaluation board’s attention.
- Thoroughly research the topic you are writing about.
- Start writing your first and second drafts, followed by the final version.
- Once completed, edit your written work (three times at least), preferably with help from a tutor or trusted colleague.
Check also our article: "Help with motivation letter"
Main points for consideration
- When a student decides to apply for a scholarship at some university or college, they should know the task ahead is a competitive one. Usually, only a small number of scholarships are awarded and there are usually thousands applying for them.
- You need to find a topic that is strong and relevant. This must differ a little from other topics and it is important that reference materials are plentiful and easy-to-access. A selection board is unlikely to be impressed by a scholarship essay that does not have good-quality, up-to-date, suitable, and relevant references.
- Once your topic has been chosen, you should assemble suitable supporting information from books, journals, magazines, and other reliable sources. This information should be arranged in a logical and orderly manner. An excessive amount of source material is better than an insufficient amount.
- Scholarship essays are tools that expose the writer and demonstrate their abilities more so than other scholarly writings. The writer needs to show knowledge and evidence of the ground they have covered, as well as any materials they have understood and correctly interpreted.
- It is important to make copious notes while reading. These should be written clearly, and they should be properly organized in a way that makes sense.
- The essay’s text should be correctly formatted and referenced in the APA, Chicago, MLA, or Turabian style, and all information should be well supported.
- It is best to use a well-proven system for making notes because this enables the student to keep everything in sequential and logical order. Good organization is vital and it is important to manage time effectively in order for the essay to be a success.
- The writer must extract all main points from their research, and all of this needs to be carefully planned and fully reported. Every paragraph in the essay should cover one specific point, which should be elaborated on in the reference.
- Choosing a style of writing is, perhaps, one of the easiest parts. The writing should be accurate and presented in an academic manner. The language of conversation is a mistake and should be avoided.
Dos and don’ts
What you should do
What you should not do
Students who are ambitious and want to be awarded a coveted scholarship need to be more careful than other students, and put in twice as much work. A good tip is to keep an essay checklist in a convenient place if you want your essay to be considered more favorably than others.
- Make sure the topic you choose is current, relevant, and interesting so that it engages the reader.
- The style of language you use should match your chosen style of argumentation. When writing on humanities subjects, take a philosophical stance and an objective and observational one for scientific subjects. To be as persuasive and credible as possible, avoid slang and colloquialisms.
- A scholarship essay that is engaging will appeal to the intellect and emotions of the examinations board and it will stick in the reader’s memory. It should also demonstrate a fresh approach to reasoning or to interpreting any findings.
- You should not present points as opinion. Each statement should be fact-based and well supported with accurate citation.
- Remember to include direct quotations from suitable and relevant sources, and use paraphrasing where appropriate. Make sure references are up-to-date and suitable for the subject matter and central theme.
- Do not be too emphatic in making points. It is sufficient to support claims with credible evidence. There is no need to exaggerate, over-hype, or repeat points.
- An essay with an excessive amount of negative words and sentences can destroy an argument, even in an otherwise successful essay. Scholarship essays should be constructive. They should be based on interpretation, analysis, and questions rather than being critical of other works, people, ideas, etc.
Do not present any information or facts without a well thought-out and clear argument in favor of your thesis. Create a plan or outline that is logical and stick to it.