How to write a winning essay for college scholarship

There are many times in a student’s academic career when they find themselves facing an opportunity which could slip through their fingers without proper attention to detail. These opportunities include things like being accepted into certain programs, earning certain scholarships, and even making friends with the right mentor. Today, we’re going to focus on scholarships and one of the most critical parts of the scholarship application: the essay.

Why are scholarship essays so important?

The rest of the student’s application will consist of important materials, of course. Transcripts, test scores, and lists of achievements are all well and good. And of course, it is very necessary for students to have these things at an appropriate level in order to be accepted for their scholarships. However, any student can duplicate any other student’s achievements in this respect. Even a student with a perfect SAT score, for example, might find themselves up against another student with a perfect SAT score. And they might even find that they lose a scholarship to a student with a lower score, if that student excels in one singular way: the essay.

Essays humanize the student. Scholarships are often as much about who the student is as a person as they are about what the student has accomplished in their academic careers. These are things that can only be conveyed in the student’s own words, not in numerical records or transcripts.

How to make an essay stand out

That said, all too many students write college scholarship essays that are mediocre at best. There’s a great reliance on overly sentimental material, bragging which is out of place, or even worst, false modesty. Many students don’t realize that writing an incredible college scholarship essay is not as complex as they thing:

  1. Be genuine. That means no arrogance, no false modesty, and no drama.
  2. Have a thesis. Yes, even for this. It’s so important to organize your thoughts if you want your writing to have the proper level of impact.
  3. Be professional. Writing a clear, professional, mature essay shows that you’re ready for the responsibilities of the program you want to enter, and that you deserve a scholarship to help make it happen.
  4. Edit, proofread, then edit and proofread again. Nothing undermines a great essay like being riddled with typos, misspellings, or poor grammar. And have a friend help, too.

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