A great scholarship essay provides unique insight into an applicant’s ambitions. Writing a winning scholarship essay depends on your creation of something exclusively yours. Dig deep into your personal drive and passion, look inward, and develop an essay that only applies to you and your experience. Judges reward individuality.
A winning scholarship generally follows these basic principles:
Understand the Scholarship Committee’s Evaluation Criteria
Scholarship committee judges typically rely on two key criteria for evaluating scholarship application essays: leadership and community impact.
Scholarship essays should convey the extent of leadership experience, the results, and degree of accomplishment. They should also demonstrate your passion, sincerity, and inspiration to get involved in a project. Describe your obstacles, how you overcame them, and how the experience helped shaped you as a leader. A scholarship is an investment in your future, so if you plan to continue your involvement in a particular leadership activity, let the judges know.
- Community Impact
Essays about community impact should convey your long-term commitment to community activity. Provide a genuine and specific reason why helping others is important to you. Your essay should also show the impact you’ve had on your community (i.e. what would be different for the people involved, if you didn’t volunteer your time?) Lastly, express what community service, sharing, and giving has taught you.
Identify Key Themes
If the essay question inquires, “Where have you demonstrated leadership or innovation, and how did it make a difference in your work or community?” recognize the key themes center around community and leadership.
Comprehend the Meanings of Key Themes
Once you identify key themes, it is equally important to reflect the “true” meaning of these ideas. The more comprehension you have for the scholarship committee’s motivation for creating these themes, the more examples you will be able to provide from your personal experience, demonstrating your abilities and contributions.
Use Synonyms/Keywords from the Scholarship Statement
Repeating keywords stated in the scholarship/essay requirements demonstrates your commitment to the question being asked. Use synonyms whenever possible; avoid merely repeating the question or mission statement.
Engage Your Readers from the Beginning
An engaging start to your essay draws in the judges and shows you are an ideal candidate who shares their commitment to the topic. This helps convince judges to invest in you and support your intended path.
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