For many college students, scholarships are crucial in helping fund studies and achieve career goals. While most large scholarships are awarded to students by the institutions they attend, there are many smaller scholarship programs that can help shoulder school expenses allowing you to focus on your studies. Oftentimes, these smaller programs require students to submit academic essays about themselves to be selected for scholarship funding. If you’re a savvy student, you should apply to as many of these as possible. But before doing so, it’s important to know how to write a scholarship essay that will be effective. So, let’s take a look at some tips to help accomplish this goal.
Review All Relevant Instructions and Follow Them
Being disqualified for a scholarship based on a technicality can be very frustrating, which is why it’s important to carefully review all of the relevant instructions. Most scholarship essays have specific word counts, formatting requirements, and give you a prompt to direct the topic of your essay. Make sure you follow the rules carefully so your work is judged by the quality of its content.
Search for Examples Online
If you’re having trouble figuring out where to start or how to frame your essay, take some time to search online for example essays. The most successful essays are often ones that utilize unique approaches to the prompt that is provided. Here’s a great article that gives you examples of successful essays and analyzes why they work so effectively. However, while taking inspiration is a useful strategy, pay close attention to our next tip.
Never Plagiarize Someone Else’s Work
This is true for college scholarship essays and for any academic or professional work throughout your life–plagiarism is bad! Plagiarism is using, in whole, or in part, the words and ideas of someone else without crediting them. Plagiarism will not only result in you being disqualified from receiving the scholarships you’re applying for, it also sets a poor precedent for your academic life going forward, and consequences are much more serous at the university level. Check out this article for more information on what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.
Create an Outline
Think off your outline as the roadmap of your journey while writing your essay. Here, you’ll start with your introduction, move on to the body of paragraphs, and finish the essay with a conclusion. While outlines help guide you by keeping your thoughts in order, don’t allow your outline to constrain you. As stated earlier, applying your own unique approach and style can be an excellent way to demonstrate academic ability and creativity. Just use your outline as a way to keep you on track.
Make Sure to Tell a Story
College Scholarship essays are meant to help you flex your academic muscles and show how you stand out from a crowd. Simply writing details about yourself and your life may not be enough to do that. This is why it’s important to embrace your inner storyteller. If the prompt asks you why college is important to you, find ways to connect that question to who you are as a person, your desires for the future, and how you’ve gotten to where you are so far in your life. It’s okay to be personal, as long as you’re professional and appropriate. Don’t hesitate to demonstrate what is unique about you.
Proof Read Thoughtfully
Proofreading is the final step before submission. This is where you’ll go back through and edit your essay. You’ll be focusing on the obvious things like spelling and grammatical errors, but also issues of structure and content as well. Here is where it’s important to revisit the college scholarship essay guidelines and make sure your essay meets all of them.
By following these steps, you’ll be able to create an essay that is more impactful, academic, and better reflects you as a student. College scholarship essays are important in helping students succeed. Your Credit Union’s Scholarship Awards Program is underway now. Read the guidelines and be ready to bring what you’ve learned to the table.