Scholarship Essay Writing guide

Scholarship Essay 101: Double Your Chances With This Actionable Guide

What Is A Scholarship Essay?

Before we dive into the writing process, let’s review a quick definition of what a scholarship essay is. If you’re asking yourself, “What is scholarship essay?” You just need to know that it’s an essay that showcases a student’s academic successes, experiences, and aspirations for the future. The scholarship essay aims to persuade scholarship committee members.

Since the committee members decide who they’ll award financial aid to, it’s crucial for the student applying for a scholarship to create a scholarship essay. Your essay must be highly persuasive, authentic, concise, and compelling.

Step 1: Understand The Scholarship Prompt

Before you start writing your essay, you should take your time to understand the prompt to produce a coherent and strong outline. Prompts will vary, but some common ones that you might encounter are:

- Introduce yourself
- Tell us why you’re unique
- How will this scholarship support you?
- Tell us why you deserve this scholarship
- Why do you want to pursue ____?

Asking yourself, “Why is scholarship important essay?” and thinking of the prompt can help you write in clear terms from paragraph to paragraph, so make sure you’re genuinely grasping the concept of your prompt.

Step 2: Write Your Scholarship Essay Outline

After thoroughly researching and understanding your essay’s prompt and themes, you can create your scholarship essay outline. It serves as a guide for your writing. Your outline helps you organize your ideas with more ease. The parts of an outline are:

- Introduction. Create an intriguing and attention-grabbing introduction. It should be impactful and thought-provoking. It should introduce the main theme of your scholarship essay.
- Body paragraphs. The body paragraphs should all focus on a specific aspect directly answering or connecting to your prompt and your central theme. In the body paragraphs, you can expand and use evidence from your achievements and experiences to support your claims.
- Conclusion. In your conclusion, you should be able to sum up your main points and close it off with an impactful and lasting impression. You can remind your readers why you deserve the scholarship and its importance to you. "

Step 3: Write Your Rough Draft

After you’ve created your outline, you can now efficiently use it as a reference to start writing your rough draft. Remember to stay organized and don’t go off-topic as you write your rough draft. You should always return to your outline if you feel confused.

The rough draft is just the rough draft, so don’t fixate too much on grammar and spelling errors. You want to write everything out first. You can worry about editing it later. Once you’re finished, you should take a break from writing and return to it.

With these pointers on how to start a scholarship essay, you will surely be on your way to crafting an exceptional and unforgettable scholarship essay. "

Step 4: Proofread Your Scholarship Essay

A critical step in scholarship essay writing is proofreading. You’ll need to detect any errors in your paper so you can correct them. You’ll need to prove that you can submit a refined essay that meets academic standards.

If you find any mistakes in spelling, punctuation, or grammar, you should fix them right away. You can detect mistakes more easily if you read your essay aloud. You should also ask someone else besides yourself to read your essay and check for errors. Don’t skip this step; it can make or break the deal for you.

Step 5: Spend Extra Time On Your Introduction

The beginning is always the hardest, and you might ask yourself, “How to start a scholarship essay the right way?” However, the beginning only feels the hardest. You just need to spend extra time developing your introduction. It sets the tone for your entire essay and captures your reader’s attention and sympathy.

Your introduction aims to convey the central theme of your essay while successfully urging your reader to keep on reading. So, how do you do this?

You can use different tactics. Start with a personal anecdote, or maybe enter with a thought-provoking question. It would be best if you were concise and engaging. Developing a great introduction increases your chances of successfully delivering the whole essay and winning over the committee. So, don’t rush yourself when writing your introduction.

What To Avoid When Writing A Scholarship Essay

Certain elements will prove detrimental to the success of your scholarship essay, and you should avoid them completely when writing your paper. You can ruin your chances of securing your scholarship if you’re not careful. So, what exactly should you be avoiding when writing your essay?


Plagiarism is a severe offense that can ruin your chances altogether. Scholarship essay writing obliges you to submit a 100% original and authentic paper to your personal experiences and achievements. You can’t submit an essay that has plagiarized someone else’s personal experiences.

If you’re found out for having plagiarized your paper, chances are that the consequences of it will be more dire than just losing your scholarship. You must avoid plagiarism at all costs.

Excessive Use Of The Passive Voice

When writing any paper that serves to entice, engage, and excite an audience of readers, you should always avoid using the passive voice too much. This also applies when you’re writing a scholarship essay. Instead, you should write in the active voice as much as possible.

The active voice sets up a general tone that is more concise, direct, and engaging. Passive voice phrases involve the subject receiving the action of the verb. The active voice involves the subject acting rather than receiving the verb's action. Examples of this:

- Passive voice: The movie that I saw was directed by Stanley Kubrick.
- Active voice: Stanley Kubrick directed the movie that I saw.

Take note of this when writing.

Using the pronoun “I”

Using the pronoun “I” in scholarship essays is acceptable to write about your experiences, perspectives, and achievements. However, you should avoid the excessive use of it. Your essay might come off too self-absorbed and can detract from the central theme of your paper. You can showcase who you are without the need to refer back to yourself all the time.

Using the pronoun “I” moderately can help you convey a more objective and well-rounded message. You want to shift the focus from yourself to what you can do and how you can make a positive impact. You want to highlight how you can contribute to your new school body and achieve your goals.

Use of qualifying terms

When writing an essay on scholarship, you should avoid using qualifying terms. Qualifying terms make the writer feel unsure and lack confidence in their resolution and explanations. You want to come off as certain, confident, and self-sustained to win your scholarship. Qualifying terms include:

- Kind of
- Maybe
- Sort of
- Might
- Possibly
- Somewhat
- Essentially
- Basically
- Mostly
- Probably

Be sure to remove these words from your essay if you use one of them when writing your draft.

Slang and needless words

Scholarship essay writing obliges you to leave out slang terms and needless words in your essay. If you want to convince your readers, you’ll need to meet academic standards and use appropriate language and words. Do not waffle and repeat your sentences by filling your paragraphs with unnecessarily wordy phrases.

Do not use slang terms and overly formal words when writing. You want to write eloquently and demonstrate your good use of vocabulary and the English language.

After all, it makes sense that the committee members want to reward the scholarship to someone who seems intelligent, worldly, and serious about their academic journey.

Reminder: Crucial Tips When Writing A Scholarship Essay

By now, you should have a good understanding of how you can move forward in your scholarship essay writing process and what you should avoid as well. However, it can be a lot of information to take in at the get-go. This part of the guide reminds you of some basic but essential tips to ensure you’re not ruining your chances.

If you ever feel in doubt, just remember to come back to this section and remind yourself of the do’s and don'ts of essay writing. It doesn’t hurt to check back from time to time; you might save yourself from a lot of mistakes.

Know your audience or aims

Knowing and understanding what the scholarship committee is looking for can help you out in the process. You can tailor your essay so that it resonates deeply with your readers. With this in mind, you should take some time to research the scholarship organization and its members. You should try to understand their values and which qualities they regard highly.

By doing so and by finding out the scholarship’s aims, you can highlight the most relevant experiences that resonate with these objectives. Knowing the audience can also help you choose the right tone when writing.

That’s not all. Knowing who you’re writing for will make it easier to write. Writing will become more seamless, and coming up with ideas will be met with less resistance because you have a better idea of who you’re writing for. You won’t feel too lost and confused when coming up with ideas.

Using what you know about the audience through your research can positively impact your writing and storytelling. Do your research and create your desired outcome through your hard work.

Write in the simple past tense

Writing in the simple past tense is an effective way of sharing your experiences and achievements. This tense enables a smooth communication of information, which makes it easier for readers to grasp and relate to the narrative. Here’s an example:

During high school, I realized I had a strong passion for motivational speaking. I felt immensely fulfilled whenever I could help someone with my words and experiences…

Since you’ll mostly be writing about events that have already happened, simple past tense makes a lot of sense. "

Read all promts carefully

You should make sure that you read your essay prompt very carefully. If you don’t do this, there’s a chance that you’ll largely misinterpret what’s being asked of you. The pressure of the whole process might rush you to write and finish something ASAP, but your paper won’t amount to anything if it’s completely off-topic.

So, when writing your scholarship essay, be sure to read your prompt very carefully. Go over it again and again if you must. You must understand it before you start writing. Luckily, a lot of times, you will probably receive an uncomplicated prompt. Whatever the case might be, just take your time to read."

Ask someone to read your essay

You don’t need an expert scholarship essay writer to proofread your paper. You can ask a friend, a family member, or even a teacher. You can also ask writing communities or online writing forums. The fact of the matter is that more brains are better than ones in this context. You are so used to your writing that it might be hard to detect your mistakes. Bringing someone in to proofread your essay for you can give you fresh insights into your writing and help you detect errors you might have overlooked.

Read your essay aloud

Have trouble finding your mistakes when reviewing your work? No problem. One way to find errors easily in your text is by reading it aloud. You’ll have to find a room to be alone to do this. Recite your essay to yourself. By reading it aloud, it should be easier to detect your mistakes.

Scholarship Essay Example

Look no further if you need a solid reference for your writing process. We know that scholarship essay examples can help some of you gain the clarity you need. Here is a sample essay for your convenience:

Do you know what makes a dream beautiful? It fuels you when it seems like there’s nothing else left to fuel you. In my last year of high school, I worked night shifts and part-time at the local factory. The work was uninspiring. It was boring. However, I needed that financial boost. Late nights had me wondering. Late nights brought in new ideas. I knew I wanted to pursue the study of rockets. If it weren’t for those late nights, realizing how deep my desire was would’ve remained hidden from me.

I would come home after the night shifts, exhausted and overworked. However, I still found myself getting up before afternoon classes. My body would ache when I got up. It didn’t matter. The person who will break all boundaries. That mantra saved me. It pushed me forward. That's the beauty of a dream. The power that it had to make me push my limits was beyond my human nature. It was pure will. A spark in my soul.

The day I told my parents I wanted to pursue aerospace engineering was the first day I saw them cry in front of me. They were so proud of me. They were so happy about my decision. It seemed like they were happier than I was. We sobbed in each other’s arms that day, and they’ve been encouraging me since. Regardless of their love and support, I knew I had to make money on the side. We weren’t poor, but we weren’t well off either. However, I refused to be a victim of my circumstances.

With this scholarship, I’m aiming for the stars. I want to pursue my dream, and I don’t want to stop until I get there. The person will break all boundaries, after all. The support that I could get from this scholarship will be a crucial stepping stone for my path forward. If you’re asking me for my greatest motivation, then it’s simple: Humankind needs to reach the stars, and it needs all the help it can get.

While this example is less orthodox, we’ve written it referencing a winning example that had been published online. You can opt to write more orthodoxly; just make sure that your passion and dedication for what you want to pursue is conveyed in your essay.

Key Takeaways

There’s a lot to consider, but let’s sum it up. To make a winning scholarship essay, you must follow these tips:

- Pay attention to key details like the prompt and the style of writing.
- Have an effective strategy for writing, like preparing an outline.
- Use the simple past tense and active voice, and don’t overuse the pronoun “I.”
- Do not plagiarize.
- Don’t use qualifiers or slang.
- Proofread and edit meticulously.
- You can always ask us for help our professional college essay writers. You can count on us 24/7