Due to the rising costs of education worldwide, scholarships have become more and more important. They allow students to pursue higher education without having to break their backs doing part-time jobs and taking out loans.
Just in the US, the costs have increased by almost 134% according to USNews.com. We found a graph from the same website that shows the price of tuition for private, in-state, and out-of-state universities from 2003-2023.
Precisely, because of such high costs, scholarships are more valuable. They have a lot of competition due to the limited number of seats available. So, in this article, we will teach you how to write a winning scholarship essay/application, or at the very least improve your chances of winning the scholarship.
- Learn About Your Prompt
Scholarship-giving organizations can take two approaches when they ask applicants for an essay/application. They can either give you free rein to choose your topic, or they can give you a prompt that you have to write on.
If they did give you a topic, then simply choose your favorite topic, one that you are confident in.
The tale is different if they give you a prompt. A prompt can be very vague or it can be very precise. The vague ones can be a problem as they are too open. However, there is one easy way to understand any prompt; pose it as a question.
For example, this is a prompt by the New York University, it goes as follows:
“Explain something that made a big impact in your life”
If we pose it like a question, then it could be changed like this:
“What was something that made a big impact in your life?”
The second version makes you think about that one impactful thing that really changed your life.
- Learn the Guidelines and Follow Them
Scholarship essays usually have some guidelines. These guidelines can contain anything such as:
- Word limit
- Submission method
- Tone of writing
You have to follow these guidelines to the letter, and failure to not meet them could result in the rejection of your scholarship.
To find the guidelines, you need to visit the scholarship provider’s website and find the guidelines. For example, witspot.org provides scholarships to eligible students. Their guidelines look like this:
As you can see, the guidelines are quite unique, and that holds true for most scholarship providers. So, be sure to look them up and check them out.
- Gather Some Information About the Scholarship Provider
You can get some easy brownie points that may be just enough to get you accepted if you know what the scholarship committee likes.
Most scholarships have some kind of message, or mission, for example, the Ron Brown scholarship is dedicated to improving the lives of African Americans that are financially not well off.
If you can show that you empathize with their message in your essay, you will be able to impress the committee and possibly get accepted.
- Be Concise
You cannot go into too much detail when writing your essay. That’s because rambling sentences are not great to read. Whatever you have to say, you should say it in a concise way.
“My nanny is a great woman, a real spiffing brit mind you, she can cook up all sorts of maladies that can mess you up, but do I adore her.”
If this sentence could be rewritten for conciseness, then it could look like this:
“My nanny is an adorable British person, who likes to experiment with cooking.”
A much smaller sentence and it has the same meaning as well.
- Proofread and Edit your Essay
Finally, you need to proofread your essay for mistakes such as:
- Grammar mistakes
- Accidental plagiarism
- Unclear passages
And anything else that you feel unsatisfied with.
Most of these errors can be found by just reading your work aloud, or having someone else read it. But plagiarism is something that can only be found with the help of a tool. Here, you can see one of them in action in the screenshot below:
If the report comes back with plagiarism, you can either removed the plagiarized parts of rephrase them using different words.
And that’s it, five tips that can help you write a convincing scholarship essay/application and raise your chances of getting accepted. Hopefully, you will write a great essay and get a great scholarship.