Getting scholarship funding is an imperative part of a college student’s journey and one that needs to be done just right. Needless to say, writing the scholarship application essay is a challenge that may seem daunting.
The strategy, the content, the tonality, and the intent are aspects that need a reliable compass to get the right direction, and some effective scholarship application essay tips to help you with that are always a lifesaver.
Stand Out With These 14 Scholarship Application Essay Tips
There would be immense competition and evaluators will only select the best from a massive number of applications. So how does your essay stand out for clarity of thought and expression?
Here are 14 scholarship application essay tips that’ll get you noticed by the evaluators.
1. Plan in advance
Be prepared to start your scholarship application essay way before time. If you procrastinate till the last date, you will end up drafting an average-quality essay. Leave yourself enough time to brainstorm your thoughts and ideas, draft a compelling outline and create an engaging introduction for your essay.
To make this planning phase a success, create a calendar that includes your assignment deadlines, format requirements, scholarship essay criteria, etc.
2. Know the acceptance criteria
To craft the ideal scholarship essay, it is crucial to write it according to your audience’s perspective, to understand what they are looking for in the essay. Find out the criteria for the perfect candidate and tailor your essay in a way that fits the description.
Try and write about your strengths, experiences, or interests that tie-up with the institution's missions, goals, and purpose. This will elevate your chances of getting selected for the scholarship program.
3. Organize your thoughts
Answering your scholarship essay question with the correct strategies and quality insights requires a process and some thought around it.
Brainstorm ideas, write down everything relevant that comes to your mind and organize these thoughts in a way that doesn't come across as clumsy or haphazard.
To get it organized, list down all the points that are required to be included in your essay chronologically. This will help you remain focused on the contents of your essay, and what you want to express to the scholarship committee.
4. Adhere to instructions & answer the prompt
Make sure to read and understand the instructions very carefully before you start to write your scholarship essay. This might seem like an obvious thing to do, but many students neglect reading the instructions, thus resulting in not getting selected for their desired scholarships.
Double-check your writeup to make sure that you have acknowledged and responded to all parts of the essay prompt. Failure to do this will immediately result in disqualification.
5. Identify the key theme
When you are given an essay prompt, identify the key terms in this question that are crucial to be addressed in your draft. These terms would be the central themes on which you will have to use your own experiences in writing your essay.
As an example, you’ve identified ‘leadership’ as a key term in your essay question. You would be required to expand and explain in detail what actions took place, how being in a leadership position affected your life or what kind of results were achieved when you were deemed as a leader, etc.
The more depth and understanding you bring about your key terms, the more genuine your essay will be. You will also be able to reference good examples if you understand what you are writing about.
Here’s a useful video by Ace Study Guides on breaking down and understanding essay prompts.
6. Follow the standard essay format
Look through the formatting guidelines and writing specifications given to you by the institution for your scholarship application essay. Many times, if you choose to not follow the specified formatting guidelines and end up formatting your paper incorrectly, your evaluator can just choose to not read and completely dismiss your essay.
If no formatting guidelines are mentioned, you can use the standard formatting structure – introduction, two to four body paragraphs, and conclusion – as the layout of your application essay.
7. Create a comprehensive outline
For smooth readability and flow of sentences, it is important to create a well-structured essay outline. Organize your thoughts, write down everything that you want to include in your paper, and keep in mind to separate them according to the three sections – introduction, body, and conclusion.
Your ideas and thoughts should be written logically, with a little more added detail under each point. This will help you stay organized and focused on your central arguments.
8. Tell a story
An excellent essay should attract your reader right from the first sentence. Think about how you want to draw the attention and let the evaluators understand the kind of person you indeed are.
Don't be afraid to get personal and add specific characteristics of your life. This will offer insights to your readers and make your essay a very interesting read.
Through your application essay, tell a story about yourself by writing about specific experiences in real-life scenarios that have made a great impact on your life and are meaningful to you. Use interesting details and various examples to make it a standout and memorable essay.
9. Write a strong introduction
The introduction is the first passage your readers will see, so make it catchy, strong, and engaging. Hook your audience with an interesting fact, a memorable quote, or even an eye-catching question.
This introduction should mention the purpose of the essay in the form of a thesis statement and be interesting enough to make the readers want to read more of your story.
10. Use real-life examples
This essay is the best time to showcase your most significant traits through experiences and real-life situations. So, show your readers instead of telling them about yourself and how you’ve changed as a person through interesting real-life examples.
Furthermore, explain how your life experiences greatly impact your decision to choose this specific career or scholarship program.
Use your personal touch and expressions. This will transform your essay and make it unique instead of a generic write-up. In the end, this plays well to your credibility and makes your application essay an authentic piece.
11. Stick to the word count and be straightforward
It's of utmost importance to be clear and concise in your scholarship application essay. Short and crisp sentences give an impact to your story rather than dull, long, draggy sentences where you risk making errors.
Stick to the specified word limit as it is set on purpose, to determine whether you can follow important instructions and can express your ideas effectively within a specific word count.
12. Use inspiring and positive tonality
The ability to be able to show your readers your experiences through an essay is parallel to the perspective of the content and the tone of your writing.
In case you are writing about a difficult experience or an upsetting event in your life, try and keep the tone positive, inspirational, and engaging. Focus on how you overcame the obstacle, how you grew from it, and what you learned from this experience.
13. Proofread, revise and edit
Even qualified writers and authors need to revise and proofread their work to eliminate any grammatical mistakes or spelling errors and correct any vague sentence structures or other trouble spots found in their write up.
Read and re-read your drafts multiple times out loud to find the mistakes much more effectively. Grammatical errors and spelling errors show that you are not detail-oriented and are careless with your writing. This will eventually let you lose out on important marks and will take away your chance to get the scholarship funding.
14. Seek out constructive feedback
Once you have finished proofreading and editing your application essay draft, ask a friend, parent, or teacher with strong writing and editing skills to read through your essay and offer any feedback they have.
This will provide you with a second set of eyes that might spot mistakes and awkward sentences that you missed and put forward a new perspective and additional clarifications to your writing.
All the feedback you get, be it positive or negative, can help transform your writing. Revise your essay and use any negative feedback to make a positive, perfect and ideal scholarship application essay.
To get into your desired course, it is always beneficial to have scholarship funding – so, the application essay sent for evaluation is no small feat.
But we have it all – ranging from knowing what to do in the planning phase to executing them craftily in the writing phase to editing till no errors are found, our thorough guide of scholarship application essay tips will guarantee that your essay stands out amongst the rest as well as gets accepted for scholarship funds to study in the field of your choice.
If you have too much on your plate and don’t know how to start your scholarship application essay, we can help you with this crucial paper. Our scholarship essay writers have written several essays, helping students secure prominent scholarships from across the world.
From planning the essay and answering the prompt to formatting it and submitting it on time, we’ll craft a scholarship application essay that will get you the green flag.
Last edit at Jul 27 2023