Helpful Tips How to Write Scholarship Essays

As every student preparing to apply to college, university or grad school knows, the application process is A LOT of work. You need to fill out the school applications, apply for financial aid, write an admissions essay and, in some cases, even write an essay for scholarships.

Yes, you read that right. In addition to writing a typical college essay – now you need to write an essay to be considered for a scholarship as well.

Don’t stress. We’ve compiled everything you need to know in order to write the best essay possible to help increase your chances of winning a scholarship that could help pay for part or all of your education.

Keep reading to learn more.

Simple Explanation How to Write Scholarship Essays

Writing a scholarship essay is easy when you take a categorical approach. Here are 5 simple tips to help you write the best essay possible.

  1. Capture the attention of the scholarship committee

There is much to be gained from having a rock-solid introduction. Here are two examples of introductory sentences. Are you able to pick out the differences?

  • There are many reasons why strong leadership skills are important.
  • September 25th, 2005, was the day it all fell apart.

Example a is boring, impersonal and void of important details. Whereas b is specific, engaging and more personal.

  1. Edit and reuse your essay – whenever possible.

Unless the prompts are extremely different, you might be able to save valuable time by editing and tweaking your essay to be used for multiple submissions.

  1. Always bring the WOW factor.

Consider the question “Who has been the greatest influencer on your life, and why?” Expect that everyone else will automatically write about their mother or father – and do something else. Consider a figure, alive or dead, famous or regular, and write about them on a personalized level.

  1. Follow the instructions.

Nothing turns off a selection committee more than when an essay fails to meet the basic requirements or guidelines. Do not write less than the required word count, do not write more. There is a lot to be gained, and even more to be lost. Stick to the instructions.

  1. Stay on topic.

It is easy to go off track. Remember, the selection committee reads hundred of scholarship essays, they do not have the time to read about that time your little brother got a lima bean stuck in his ear – unless of course, you have been asked to write about that time your little brother go a lima bean stuck in his ear.

A few DO’s and Don’ts


  • Follow a logical structure
  • Draft an outline
  • Research the school
  • Express yourself in a positive manner
  • Use proper grammar
  • Apply real life examples
  • Be as clear as possible
  • Use transitionary words


  • Use words that you don’t understand
  • Be generic or too broad
  • Start your essay with a quote
  • Use weird or unnecessary sentence transitions
  • Include your resume
  • Speak about the money
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What are Scholarships and Why You Might Need Them?

A scholarship is, for all intents and purposes, an award of financial assistance given to a student to help them in furthering their education.

Scholarships are most often awarded based on specific criteria having been met. Recipients of scholarships do not need to repay the money they are awarded, making them highly sought after and only available in limited quantities – despite most scholarship competitions being extremely competitive.

Nowadays, in order to level the playing field and ensure that students are being awarded scholarships based on merit, scholastic institutions are relying on things like case competitions, projects and scholarship essays to provide applicants with an unbiased way to not only showcase their skills but also to explain why they are the most deserving.

We have created an informative tutorial on how to write an outline for a research paper. A good outline serves to organize your thoughts and makes your paper very efficient.

How Long Is an Essay an Applicant Is Required to Write?

The required length of your scholarship essay will vary depending on the specific requirements of the competition. Be sure to thoroughly read (and re-read) the assignment details and the prompts.

What as Scholarship Essay Format Should Be

In most situations, the format (or outline) of a scholarship essay will look something like this:

Introductory Sentence or Statement

  • Include your full name
  • Mention the name of the scholarship or award you are applying for


  • Describe a significant challenge in your life
  • How were you able to overcome this challenge

Educational and Professional Goals

  • Describe your educational goals
  • Why have you chosen this specific college or university
  • Why have you chosen this field to study
  • In what way will winning this scholarship help you to meet your goals
  • What are your long-term goals
  • What do you plan to achieve with your degree
  • How will this scholarship or award help you to achieve your future goals


  • Summarize your story
  • Restate how the scholarship will help you

Scholarship Essay Examples You Might Use

As with all other forms of writing, the best way to gain a clearing understanding of what a decent scholarship essay entails is to view scholarship essay samples. Many schools are happy to provide examples of past essays, or you can search online.

Here are a few examples that might help you to see the differences between an ‘okay’ essay and one that is truly top notch.


The most important thing to remember when writing a scholarship essay is to make it just as much about you as it is about them. The scholarship committee wants to know why you are deserving and what makes you unique, but they also want to know what you intend to do with your education that will benefit them (or the community) in the future.

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