With every year that passes, college tuition rates grow higher and higher. Taking out student loans is one option, but graduates end up needing years to pay them off. That is why winning scholarship awards can go a long way towards reducing the burden. The ability to write a scholarship essay that sticks out from the pack is important, but aspiring college students often have trouble figuring out achieve this. After all, even if a particular scholarship that you are applying for might be perfectly suited for you, this could equally be said of the other applicants who have a similar GPA, share your goals and aspirations, and were heavily involved in school activities and clubs. However, just because a great scholarship essay can be difficult to write, it doesn’t mean it is impossible. Recognize how to start a scholarship essay through an intriguing hook, emphasize your qualities point-by-point with supporting evidence, and conclude by discussing where an education from the college you plan to attend will take you in the future.

But let’s back up a moment. What is the purpose of a scholarship essay exactly? As an applicant, it allows you to explain why you are worthy of the scholarship. It also gives you an opportunity to share your story with the individual or organization responsible for providing those scholarships. In particular, most scholarship essays ask you to provide details about your successes both within the classroom and in your regular day-to-day lives. The ability to impress can mean the difference between a rejection letter and a big scholarship check. As you think about how to write a college scholarship essay understanding the format is very crucial.

Scholarship Essay Format

While a lot is potentially at stake (including the decision to decline an invitation from your preferred college in favor of one that charges less tuition), there is no reason why you cannot succeed. But if you really want to know how to write a winning scholarship essay, it is highly recommended that you follow these two suggestions:

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  • First, it is important to note that while there is no universal format, you should nonetheless keep it highly organized and make sure to follow the instructions perfectly. Ultimately, how you should write it depends entirely on the expectations of the scholarship provider. This is why you should understand what the organization or individual giving out the scholarship wants from its applicants. Pay attention to the questions and recognize what qualities are being emphasized. Are they asking you to highlight your academic achievements? Do they want to know how you respond to difficult situations outside of school? Are they looking for students who have demonstrated leadership both in school and within the community? By knowing what exactly they are looking for, you can gain an edge over applicants who take the cookie-cutter approach and send out the same essay regardless of the instructions.
  • Second, planning ahead of time is essential. High school students have a tendency to seek out scholarship essay contests at the last moment and rush through them. If you give yourself plenty of time, the end result can be something that really gets the scholarship provider’s attention. Draft an outline is ideal for proper formatting as it keeps your essay focused on the most important points and on the right course. These points, as well as the supporting evidence, will make up the body of the paper. Once you complete these paragraphs, add a brief introduction that captures the attention of the scholarship provider and a likewise short conclusion that nicely wraps things up.

How to Write a Good Scholarship Essay Examples

With most scholarship essays, it is useful to understand how to write a scholarship essay about yourself. However, do not merely focus on your general achievements or what activities you took part in, discuss what inspired you to get involved and how these things shaped you as a person. In other words, make it personal. For example, if you took part in a speech competition, do not simply boast about how you advanced to the state level. Instead, discuss how delivering speeches helped you become more confident in yourself. These are skills that will serve you well in college, so emphasize them in your essay!

Some scholarship rewards are based on your family’s income level. In this situation, it would be good to know how to write a scholarship essay based on financial need. The key is to demonstrate sincerity and passion. Explain to the scholarship provider that the award will go a long way towards helping you achieve your goals. In this particular case, it would benefit you greatly to be very specific about your future aspirations. For example, you could say, “Once I graduate with my bachelor’s it is my intention to enter law school where my focus will be on human rights.” This is far better than simply stating, “I want the scholarship so that I will be able to do something good for the world.”

Finally, if you are already enrolled in college and plan to study abroad, it would serve you well to understand how to write a scholarship essay for study abroad. The focus, in this case, should be on your desire to experience different cultures. It would also be a good idea to stress your willingness to be flexible as you confront unfamiliar situations while in a foreign country. For instance, you might write, “While abroad I would be keenly aware that I am representing my home country. Therefore, I would maintain a high level of maturity and make every effort to leave a positive impression as I interact with the locals and my fellow international classmates.”

Now that you have a better idea on how to write various types of scholarship essays, your future success is in your hand! Good luck!