Scholarship Essays are those that give you a free or an inexpensive ride to college. These essays are meant to show the College or University Board that you are one of those students who should get money to study in that school rather than to pay money out of their own pocket. Scholarships can be based on merit and need and depending on the type a successful scholarship essay should look different for both cases:
- Scholarship essay (Need-based, FAFSA). This type of essay shows to the evaluators how poor or unprivileged you are and how much the money you can get will help you success in college and make your American Dream come true.
- Scholarship essay (Merit-based). This type of essay shows to the evaluators how remarkable or genuine you are and how much the money you can get will help you to further your abilities, outstanding skills and how likely you are to benefit your university, your community and your country in the future.
Both types of a scholarship essay speak about your personal experience and self rather than about some abstract things.
The most important element of a scholarship essay is the subject matter. The writer should spend several days on brainstorming to come up with the best ideas, achievements, needs or experiences to put on a limited piece of writing that a scholarship essay represents.
The first area is the major accomplishments, achievements and victories. Usually, the best and most interesting scholarship essays are based on accomplishments and victories that everyone recognizes. The victories and achievement need to be current and challenging. The writer should be ready to provide a proof of achievement to the scholarship review committee upon demand.
A scholarship essay should point out the factors that distinguish the writer from the rest of applicants and emphasize the efforts the writer made to achieve something. The writer can speak about hobbies, favorite books, films, clubs, and skills that will impress the review committee and will distinguish the writer from other applicants. A scholarship essay needs to be succinct, easy to read, and impressive. It should trace the writer’s life and persuade the review committee that she/he is the right person for the scholarship the university provides.
It makes sense to speak about the challenges and difficulties the writer has in life. Still, the essay should not stir up emotions of compassion, guilt or sadness in the review board. On the contrary it should impress them with how these difficulties and challenges influenced the writer’s life and caused him/her to become a better person. A scholarship essay speaks about the lessons learnt rather than the actual problems or difficulties. Even the scholarship essays that are written to obtain a merit-based scholarship do not directly beg for cash, yet rather point out to the reviewers of the essay how much that cash would benefit the applicant and how much the applicant will do for the university, the community and the country.
A Scholarship Essay must show the university that the applicant will not only benefit from the money (scholarship) but also will make the university benefit from such investment in students and community. Therefore, an scholarship essay should show the university that the student is a winner, an achiever and a leader who has a chance to win their place under the sun as they did in the past. The past is what one writes about in the scholarship essay.
Regardless of the topic of a scholarship essay, the writer must keep in mind the fact that the universities want to know the answer to only two questions in all types of scholarship essays they require you to write:
Your past successes and learning abilities. How did you learn from mistakes, failures, challenges and victories? By knowing how you learnt from these mistakes will allow a university or college to make predictions about your future successes. No one will give money/scholarship to a potential loser.
Your current aspirations and how the scholarship will benefit your career. What role will you play in the society 5-10 years from now?
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