Writing a winning scholarship essay

female student sits at computer in library

Many scholarship applications will require an essay or a personal statement. Check out these tips to write an effective essay!

Tips for Getting Started

  • Use an outline to organize your thoughts
  • Give examples and be specific
  • Personalize your essay and be passionate
  • Write about something of interest to you
  • Talk about your impact on other people
  • Proofread a printed copy of the essay for spelling and grammar errors
  • Save your work-you may be able to use or modify your essay for future scholarship opportunities!

Writing Tips

First, carefully analyze the directions. Are there different parts of the directions? Are you asked to provide different types of information about yourself?  Make sure you are addressing each part of the question.  You may want to consider making a list to answer each part of the question.  Once you have considered all parts of your question and outlined your responses, you may want to look at developing your essay using a 3-5 paragraph model.

The Introduction Paragraph

Many personal statements begin with a catchy opening or a distinctive personal example to gain the reader’s attention. From there you can connect the example to the actual scholarship for which you are applying. Mention the specific name of the scholarship as well as the degree/diploma you are seeking in the first paragraph.

Body Paragraph(s)

Address any specific questions from the application, which might deal with your qualifications, your need for the scholarship, or long-term goals. Each paragraph should be focused and have a sentence which information the reader of the paragraph’s emphasis. The examples from your experience should be relevant and should support your argument about your qualifications.

The Conclusion Paragraph

Tie together the various qualifications you have brought up in your essay and reiterate your interest in receiving the scholarship. You can mention how receiving this scholarship would help you achieve your long-term goals.  Make this paragraph count-this is how the scholarship reviewer will remember you!

These are all great tips to write an effective scholarship essay, but the best tip to remember is just apply! You can’t win if you don’t apply!

Good luck!

Written by Julie Waldvogel-Leitner
Director of Admissions