How to write a scholarship essay

A vast majority of scholarship programs applications require personal statements i.e. essays or motivational letters. It’s very rare to find a scholarship program that is based on college (or high school) transcript and application form. Your essay gives the scholarship committee a brief insight into your personality and dedication towards achievement of your goals. 

How to write personal statement essays for scholarship

This is the part where you get to showcase your knowledge, vocabulary, and let them know what makes you ideal person for that program. With that being said, it’s important to do your best and ensure the essay you compose represents all your tremendous potential to achieve great things.

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Unless it’s specified otherwise, most scholarship essays should have the following format:

  • Times New Roman font
  • Font size: 12
  • One-inch top, bottom, and side margins
  • Double-spaced
  • 500 words

In order to write a high-quality essay, you should follow tips listed below.

Step 1

In most cases you’ll get a specific topic that usually asks from you to demonstrate the cases when you had to showcase your leadership or innovation skills and whether it had difference. The choice of the topic sometimes depends on the study program. Regardless of the statement you get, you shouldn’t read it only once. Reread it a couple of times to identify the key themes and make sure you understand the topic.

Step 2

Scratch under the surface to demonstrate depth. For instance, if you have to write about cases when you demonstrated leadership, it doesn’t necessarily mean the position itself. It means you should focus on changes you have made and how others responded to them. The more depth your essay includes, the more you showcase your abilities.

Step 3

Use specific keywords from the essay statement throughout the text, but make sure you don’t overdo it. Also, use the jargon characteristic for certain program. For example, if you’re applying for Faculty of Business and Economics program, you should use the jargon specific for that niche. On the other hand, if you’re applying for Faculty of Arts, your essay should contain terms used to refer to different art aspects and so on. This doesn’t necessarily mean the essay should be overcrowded with these terms; their primary purpose is to show you’re in control of that specific field and eager to learn more.

Step 4

Make sure the very beginning of the essay is engaging and interesting. It’s supposed to be the hook that will catch the committee’s attention. You can freely use a quote that you find perfect for that topic and link it to the body of your essay, but if you get inspired to use your own words instead of someone else’s, it’s even better.

Step 5

Try contacting someone who had to write an essay for some specific study program in order to find out more about essay criteria that committee uses to evaluate the quality of applications. Let’s say you want to apply for a program of Social and Political Science. The essay should demonstrate your take on the world, current affairs, as well as to address your potential to make a difference with education and academic success. It’s important to show deep understanding of the entire niche, society, and the world around you.

Useful tips to use:

  • Follow instructions closely regarding topic, word count, and formatting
  • Don’t use thesaurus to find synonyms of the words you normally use. Ideally, you should never use words that you don’t know. Writing essay isn’t the time when you should risk inclusion of wrong words at the wrong moment. Although you should showcase your vocabulary, it’s important to stick to the words you do know
  • Don’t use sentences such as “In this essay I will…”
  • Writing style should be concise, precise, and specific. Every word should contribute to the text
  • Take enough time to research and adapt the essay to the specific study program you’re applying for
  • Make it personal and passionate, committee members don’t want generic essays when you discuss the topic in general manner, they want YOUR opinion and they want to find out more about things that YOU can do.

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