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Scholarship Application Essay: 14 Tips to Make Yours Shine

Scholarships are a great way to offset the cost of college, so it’s a good idea to apply for as many as you can. Many of them require a scholarship application essay or a personal statement. What you write and how you express yourself can be crucial to pique the interest of scholarship judges. These 14 tips can help you write strong essays that will improve your chances of securing valuable financial support.

1. Start early

You probably won’t do your best if you rush to finish your essay just before the deadline. An early start to your scholarship application essay gives you the opportunity to explore different topics, write your essay carefully, and have it reviewed by someone.

2. Find out more about the organization offering the scholarship

If you want to make money from a scholarship, it makes sense to know why the organization funding the scholarship is giving money to students. What is his mission ? Understanding the who and why of the scholarship can help you tailor your essay to give you a better chance of receiving it.

3. Read essays from previous winners

Many organizations share winning essays online. Check if the scholarship you are applying for shares its past winners. If they do, take the time to review their topics, structure, and writing style. This can give you essential information about what judges are looking for.

4. Keep the word count in mind

It can be helpful to estimate word counts for sections of your essay when creating your outline. For example, in a 250-word essay, you might want to evenly distribute 50 words each for the introduction, the three main body paragraphs, and the conclusion. This will make it easier for you to hit every main point with equal vigor.

5. Create a template

Many scholarship application essays have similar topics, such as overcoming adversity or developing leadership skills. This means that you might be able to write an essay for one app and rearrange it for others. Even if you have to make it bigger, tighter or recenter it, it’s easier and faster than starting from scratch.

6. Get Feedback

Sometimes the hardest part is knowing what to write about. Talk to your friends and family about possible topics. They know what excites you and can suggest ideas. Perhaps even more important is to ask a teacher, guidance counselor, or friend to revise your essay once you’ve written a draft. Catching typos, grammatical errors, and structural issues before submitting can make all the difference.

7. Start with a plan

One of the worst writing strategies is to start writing without direction or a clear plan. Instead, take time in advance and come up with an outline that shows what you want to say in the intro, main body points, and conclusion. This will make writing much easier. A clear and well-thought-out organization and structure never fails to impress writing judges.

8. Open strong

Just as any writing should hook the reader from the start, so should the start of your essay. Paint a compelling picture rather than emptying a load of information and aspirations. Short, punchy sentences can also add energy and clarity.

9. Add emotion

If you want your essay to be truly personal, share your feelings so the judges can feel your personality and strengths. Sharing a certain emotion can also make your voice stand out from the many other people applying for the same scholarship, and help judges answer the question, “Why you?” »

10. Stay positive

It’s a tough world, but those who rise above it tend to impress more than those who complain about it. With that in mind, try to keep your essay positive and proactive. Sure, it’s perfectly fine to talk about the hardships you’ve faced and the struggles you’ve endured, but it’s how you overcame them — your resilience and perseverance — that impresses the judges.

11. Lean on your writing lessons

All the training and practice you received during your school years will come to fruition here. Dust off your old essays and notes to review them and find instructional gems like “Use precise language and strong verbs and keep flowery language to a minimum.”

12. Sleep on it

When you think your trial is over, set it aside for a while, ideally overnight or longer. When you read it with fresh eyes and some distance, you may find gaps in the narrative, clunky wording, and other issues to iron out before submitting.

13. Follow the instructions

It’s easy to get carried away when writing an essay. Be sure to keep a close eye on the instructions, because you want to give the judges what they asked for. If the write prompt asks you to address more than one point, have you touched all of them?

14. Don’t neglect the rest of the app

Scholarship application essays can take a lot of time and energy, but be sure to also gather the other documents you need for the scholarship application. You may need transcripts, letters of recommendation, or other items that can take time to gather.

Azusa Pacific University offers a range of college and other scholarships that can help make an APU education affordable. Are you ready to build your career and your future? Learn more about financial aid at APU today.

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