Applying for college scholarships may assist in decreasing your student loans. Some scholarships require multiple items such as a resume (Career Services can help with that), transcript, or essay. Writing an essay that stands out is important in your scholarship application process. Here are a few tips to follow to knock the socks off of the committee.
- Pick something unique to write about. Your essay is not the place to write about scoring the winning run, volunteering in a soup kitchen, or why your mother/uncle/famous athlete is your personal hero (unless you have a specific prompt that asks you to write about one of those). Why? Because literally hundreds of other students will have nearly identical essays. Pick something that makes you uniquely you. Do you collect original 1960’s Spiderman action figures? Did you go to Oceanography camp in 7th grade and decide to become a marine biologist? Did you single-handedly start a disaster relief drive after a tornado destroyed a neighborhood in your town? Select a topic that is unique to you, and you’ll ensure your topic isn’t going to be one the scholarship committee will see repeatedly.
- Be genuine. Don’t make something up. Even the most mundane topic can be interesting if described with vivid, detailed language, like the time you went flounder gigging on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico at midnight, and it felt like you were the only person in the universe. Give the committee insight into what makes you you (hobbies included), and be truthful.
- Proofread, and then proofread again. An omitted word can change the entire meaning of a sentence, at best, and it will make you look like a sloppy student, at worst. Put your best foot forward, and avoid typos by checking your document multiple times. Ask someone who excels in English to read it over, and make sure you put it away for a little bit before proofing again. Another method to catch errors is to read it aloud to yourself instead of silently in your head. You will catch many more mistakes that way.
- Follow directions. This is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s essential to follow, to the letter, any directions the university gives regarding the scholarship essay. If they have a specific prompt (like a pivotal moment in your life), don’t write about why your English teacher is your hero. Instead, write about the moment your teacher inspired you and knew you wanted to pursue a career as an English teacher. See what we did there?
- Be on time. If you have a scholarship application deadline, write it in your calendar, but for two weeks before. Submit everything two weeks early, and you’ll never be caught unawares by a technological glitch or faulty mail service.
Now you’re ready to rock your scholarship essay, so what are you waiting for? Start writing! If you need some more information about university admissions processes, check out these related articles.