Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Scholarship Essay - some tips on how to write it successfully

The dreaded Scholarship Essay... some tips to help.

Are you scared of applying for scholarships because you are dreading the essay section? Here is a short guide with some pointers by experts that will help as you tackle your scholarship essay.

#1. Be neat - make sure you make your essay match the guidelines given by each organization.

#2. Take your time. You don't have to finish your essay in one night. Take as long as you need to do it right.

#2. Be correct - check and double-check your essay after you write it, and get another pair of eyes to do that for you, too. Your mentor, your family, your friends - pick somebody who is good at writing to proofread your essay. He or she might find something you missed that you can fix before sending it in.

#3. Be specific - make your essay match the criteria that the organization specifies. Be sure to read all the instructions. Don't make your essays a "one size fits all" type that all seem the same. Each one should be completely different. In other words, make each essay directly apply to the group it goes to.

#4. Make sure you get your scholarship essay in on time. Double-check the due dates. Your essay could be thrown out if it gets there late. Allow extra time in the mail to make sure your college scholarship essay gets there when you want it to.

#5. Write in your own style - let your voice be heard. That is not to say to write in poor English. You still have to observe good grammar and use spell check (and see #2, above). But it's better than okay to be yourself. Scholarship committees are looking for people who are creative and original. Not TOO original, but definitely heads above the crowd.

#6. Back up, back up, back up. Make sure and save your essay every time you pause in writing it. Put a copy on a backup disk or online at a backup site. That way, if your computer has a problem, your scholarship essay will still be safe and sound. A great backup site to use (and it's free for most users) is MyOther Drive.

Want to learn more about how to make your scholarship essay the best it can be? Check out these great links:

Kay Peterson: Writing the Scholarship Essay (from the FinAid site)
From Owens Community College (Findlay, Ohio): Writing a Strong Scholarship Essay
Sample college essays - on the College Board site
Other Scholarship application tips - from the University of Maryland
Essay writing tips from Daytona State College
College Application Essays that will Get you Accepted by Christine Howell

Do you have a tip you would like to share? Add it in the comments, below.

Thank you!


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