Scholarships create incredible opportunities for students who prove that their passion and studies make them the ideal candidate. Requesting a scholarship, whether in a personal statement or in an application essay, is your best chance to display those qualifications. Write a stand-out scholarship request by crafting a compelling personal narrative about your unique desires and future academic goals.
Follow the Rules
Your scholarship application should respond to all the prerequisites for the award, and your writing should emphasize your qualifications. Carefully read the scholarship application instructions and guidelines to ensure that you do not omit important details. Create a checklist of the information you must provide, and run through the checklist after you write your request.
A scholarship application essay describes who you are and how you will benefit from the scholarship. Include details about your studies, background and interests when relevant to the scholarship requirements. Answering "Why do I deserve this scholarship?" should be your primary goal. Focus your application on how your particular passions or personal ambition will thrive if you receive the award.
Use an Outline
Like a college essay, your request for a scholarship should have a clear structure. Begin with an introduction that establishes the main reason why you are applying for the scholarship. Add body paragraphs about your educational goals, accomplishments and other interests as needed. The length requirements on the application should determine the level of detail you include about less important subjects. Include a conclusion that ties the essay back to the main reason stated in the introduction.
Be Straightforward and Upfront
While your writing should reflect your personality, avoid writing that is too stylized to be easily understood. Use simple, straightforward language whenever possible. Your request should clearly state the reasons why you deserve and would like to receive the scholarship. Clever phrasing and overusing a thesaurus can give the impression that you are trying to compensate with style when the substance of your qualifications should be enough.
Recruit an Editor
An extra level of polish sets your application apart from that of other candidates. Have a friend, relative or teacher look over your writing to spot grammar and spelling errors. Ask him whether he understands your writing; if he needs to ask questions about a particular sentence, you should rewrite that sentence to make the answer to the question clear. An outside reader also provides distance and objectivity, which adds perspective and clear judgment to an otherwise personal paper.
Chuck Lander holds a Masters of Fine Arts in creative writing from American University. In addition to working at university writing centers and teaching writing skills in high school classrooms, he has written for blogs and publications such as the American University Writing Center and "Practicing Planner" since 2008.