One of the requirements in applying for most scholarships is to submit an essay. An autobiographical essay should pertain to your personal situation and a topical essay, defines and describes a particular topic.
Keep in mind that scholarship committees have a selection of applicants to review. Therefore, spend time writing your essay, for it could be the most important feature to your application and it may be what distinguishes you from another candidate.
Think of the essay as a scholarship interview. The major difference is that you do not have the opportunity to convince the committee in person to give you the scholarship; you must convince them with your essay.
Prepare your Facts
- Make a list of your achievements/accomplishments (both academic and other), re-entry student, community involvement, leadership positions, participation in clubs, volunteer work or any experience related to your major, etc.. Include any awards or honors you have received or have been recognized for; school or work related. Incorporate educational, career and future goals.
- If you have not been involved in any extracurricular activities, show the committee that you have been particularly involved with your family or within the classes you have taken, depending on your personal situation.
- Make a list of your personal characteristics including your strengths, weaknesses, and any obstacles you have overcome or are currently confronting. (i.e. economic hardships, medical, financial need, or any special circumstances etc.)
Writing the Essay
- Be sure your introduction is strong and draws in the reader and compels them to learn as much as they can about you through your essay.
- Be personal. Make sure the committee can assess what type of person you are, what motivates you, who or what influences you as an individual. (i.e. family, friends, teachers, or role models, etc.)
- Make sure your body paragraphs relate to your introduction and that your conclusion summarizes the points you have made in your essay.
Review your Essay
Proofread your essay carefully and check for grammar and spelling errors.
- Have a friend, a teacher or counselor read your essay and edit for clarity, conciseness, grammar, and spelling.
- Does the essay express your personal character, your commitment to excellence and why the scholarship is important to you?
- Did you include examples of your academic interest, achievements, any special circumstances or unusual hardships, financial need, community or campus involvement?