7 Steps to Scholarship Essay Writing

You might be saying this to yourself, ‘I am not good at writing.’ You might be right as well, but it does not mean you cannot win a scholarship. You have selected a list of awards that are perfect for you. So it is time to actually win the scholarship. To do so, you need to submit the application form and more likely to write an essay. Scholarship essay is only a part of awarding scholarships, nonetheless a crucial part. Scholarship essays either make or break your chance of winning. So ensure that your essay gives you the best chance of winning the scholarship.

7 Steps to Scholarship Essay Writing

Here is a 7-step guide to writing a remarkable scholarship:

Step 1: Know your audience

The crucial step you need to take in writing a scholarship is to know who you are writing for. Remember you are Writing A Scholarship Essay for a panel which is offering you the scholarship. The committee comprises experts, in particular field, subject or group of generally educated, non-specialist member of an organization. You need to find few answers before you understand your audience clearly.

  • Who is in the committee? What is their background?

Are they educated non-specialists? Or are they all specialists in your specific academic field? Are they representatives of universities, industry or other organizations? Are they native English speakers? If not, what country they belong to?

  • What are their goals?

Scholarship committees have different agendas. A scholarship committee overseen by the US State Department cannot be same as the scholarship committee operated by the private organization. Is the organization offering the scholarship committed to fighting for climate change or promoting the traditional values among youth or simply helping students in their needs? Remember you are writing for someone or group of people who are working towards a particular reason.

Step 2: Find answer to the underlying question

It is the most basic step of scholarship essay writing and also the most difficult part of all.

Let’s assume a simple scholarship essay topic, ‘Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the decision again?

If you are planning to describe how you chose medical profession by following your father until you discovered your passion for social work, the story how you blossomed personally out of Daddy’s protégé is the one to share. But here you are asked two questions, what made you challenge a belief and would you do it again?

If you cannot focus on the central question, try these approaches to get a strong grasp on your essay question.

  • Question the question mark:

In the above example, the declarative statement in the first sentence of the essay prompt asks you to think about something and create an argument within the frame. Keep in mind, not every ‘question’ will have a question mark at the end. Sometimes it will be prompted by declarative phrases like, ‘discuss’ ‘compare’, etc.

  • Simplify it:

Rephrase the question in your own words. Like if you take the same example, the second sentence of the question ‘What prompted you to act?’ can be written in one word ‘why’ and the last sentence ‘would you make the same decision again?’ can be toned down to ‘would you do it again?’

  • Highlight it:

In the example above, you should underline the first sentence and highlight the next two. Highlight the phrases like ‘what prompted you’ or ‘the same decision again’.

Step 3: Write the introduction

Once you understand your audience and identify the main focus of the question, you should move on to crafting the first draft of the essay. And introduction is the biggest hurdle you need to overcome.

Even the first line of the essay can decide your fate for the scholarship. By reading the first line or the introduction, the examiner will decide whether he is reading a fresh take on the topic or experiencing the monotony of having gone through the same thing dozens of times.

Here are some concrete components of writing an attractive introduction –

  • Avoid stating the obvious:

‘I am writing to express my interest in qualifying for the university’s scholarship’ is an awesome way to nudge the interest of examiners, but the reader already knows why you are writing it. And that’s the 20th time in the same day they are reading the same line. The worst you can do is, ‘I will first discuss my motivations, then my qualifications and lastly come to what this scholarship means to me personally and professionally.’ These are the worst mistakes you can make.

  • Answer the questions:

If the question circles around ‘what kind of research you would like to do after winning this scholarship’, you should start your essay with a simple introductory line, ‘With the University Summer Research Scholarship, I will spend three months in Washington D.C. conducting archival research on the role of the prominent national newspapers.’

  • Create visuals:

The introduction should comprise three to four concise sentences that introduce an argument to the reader and you support it for the rest of the essay. This is not the place for nitty-gritty details. You can save them for the latter part. It is true that you won’t win the award singularly based on your introduction but you can easily lose it in here.

Step 4: Write the body and conclusion of the essay

An understanding of the essay question and strong introduction is only the prerequisites to writing a winning scholarship essay. But they are not enough.

The body of the essay is not the place where you narrate your CV; it is where you answer the questions in a detailed way. Some essay questions will ask you to put a broader view like what are your goals? How will this scholarship help in future professional life? Others will ask you to describe a specific goal, which the scholarship will help you to carry out. If you are applying for international exchange, you are expected to give details how you would serve the organizational goals of increased inter-cultural communication after being selected for the award.

Here are few professional tips to make your essay body appreciable –

  • Back every view:

Avoid writing claims like, ‘I am an excellent time manager and work very well with diverse group of people.’ Instead of making a blunt claim, you could say, ‘During my sophomore year, I spent every weekend arranging multicultural movie night at the student union center. This helped me to adhere to a strict deadline while managing a group of students from all years, departments and cultural backgrounds across the university.’

  • Be clear and concise:

Your writing strategy should be finding a short, directly more logical route to conveying your ideas. Get to the main point as fast as you can.

  • Write in active voice:

Instead of writing, ‘motivated by something’ write you find your inspiration in something. Using active voice puts you and your action in the centre.

  • State your accomplishment tactfully:

The examiner already has your resume so restating information from your resume is just waste of few more words. Avoid making sentences out of your resume, ‘Student Body President – Fall 2013 to Spring 2015’ translated into ‘I was Student Body President for five semester.’ Instead of simply telling your achievements, state how it helped you. ‘During my tenure as Student Body President, I developed convincing skills to bring different stakeholder together and facilitate a compromise.’

Overwhelmed by the writing process? It is not an easy task to accomplish. You will often feel alone in this journey. But you can take help from the writing services online providers to ease your way.

Step 5: Revise and edit accordingly

For most of us, the essay process has already ended. Numerous students don’t bother getting into revising an editing part. But it is the most crucial stage where you make yourself more eligible from others. Editing your own work is tough, but entirely possible if you know what to do.

Here are a few editing tips to get you through the essay process –

  • Reread your essay prompt and essay together:

While reading your essay, ask yourself the following questions – ‘Does your essay address every part of the question? Does it sound more diplomatic than it should be?’

  • Review each sentence individually:

Ask yourself whether each sentence you created in your essay advance your writing. Does it make sense? Does it logically follow the sentence that appears before it and precede the sentence that comes after it? Does it relate to the argument of the paragraph and the theme of the whole essay?

  • Read it out loud:

Reading aloud helps you identify awkward sentences, unnatural phrasings that should be removed and edited.

Step 6: Proofreading

Do not think proofreading will be covered in editing. It is entirely a different step. If you reach to this step, you are just one step away from completing your essay. To do it correctly, take some measures to avoid letting careless mistakes steal the chances of winning the scholarship.

  • Trick your brain:

Normal human brain works efficiently and hates wasting time. Even if your essay has some incorrect letter in the sentences, your brain and eyes waste no time correcting those because they still understand it. To counter this habit, try reading the essay in different locations, like coffee shop, library, that allows your brain to think it is reading something new. Alternatively, print out in different font sizes and fonts. So, you can see the writing with fresh eyes.

  • Get expert opinion:

After proofreading, you think that you are good to go. But you have read the essay so many times that you no longer can see imperfection in the writing. Here you need a fresh pair of eyes to catch the grammatical mistakes. You can hire an editor to get a professional touch in your writing. If you are thinking about expenses, get a trusted family and family to read over and edit it.

Step 7: Know on and off-campus resources:

If you desire to bag a scholarship to fund your college, your high school guidance counselors are the best resources you can find. If you are already in the university, there’s a broad support system you can have.

Here are two key ones that most universities offer,

  • Offices to National Scholarships/Fellowships:

Some institutions have an office in the campus that’s there’s support you with the process of applying for the well-known scholarships. Some will help you in everything from applying for small academic research grants to writing admission essays for graduate school. The best universities usually boast a whole office staff to guide you through the entire process.

  • University Writing Center:

Your university writing center is more likely to comprise graduate students specializing in writing and other communications disciplines. They are not here to help you check your editing and proofreading errors, but help you enhance your writing quality.

  • Purdue Online Writing Lab: (OWL)

OWL is one of the most popular writing resources. From writing to formatting and citations to how to conduct logical arguments, you can refer to this site and make this your go-to guide.

When you are asked to compose an essay to win thousands of bucks for studies, most of us do not think it as a writing exercise, but that may actually be greatest value in the whole process. If you closely follow the above suggestions and employ them in the right manner, you will certainly end up with better writing skills than when you started.

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