The cost of college tuition often requires students to seek student loans to help cover expenses, but scholarships offer a way to pay for school without needing to repay the funds. Scholarship opportunities often come from companies or foundations that want to encourage students to work in a particular field or support academic goals. If you plan to apply for scholarships, you'll need to write a personal essay that states why you chose to apply.
Research the Scholarship
Before you begin writing your essay, you should research the company or foundation funding the scholarship. This will give you an idea about the philosophy of the funder, and you may gain an insight to help you know how to direct your essay. Many companies and foundations only fund education in certain majors or people with a particular career in mind. You should apply for the opportunities that match your own goals. For example, if plan to pursue a nursing degree, you will want look for scholarships that support this career path.
List Your Reasons
To help you stay on track when you begin writing your essay, make a list of the reasons for applying for the scholarship. These may include personal reasons such as financial difficulties or overcoming other hardships. However, you also want to connect your research about the funders with your own goals, so you should include these in your list. You might include your career goals or your plans for an advanced degree.
Open your essay with central concept that will ideally connect your reason for applying for the scholarship with the goals of the company or foundation. The rest of your essay should always relate back to this central idea, showing the scholarship committee the drive behind your goals. Share the personal experiences, your triumphs and failures. Everything you share should inform the funders about your background and your character. Don't give a detailed, year-by-year account of your life. If you get stuck, refer back to your list of reasons for applying, and this may help guide your essay structure.
Do not send out your application packet and essay without first reading through your materials. You should check for overall grammar and sentence structure. As well, read through your essay to make sure you have shown the scholarship committee why you applied and why you deserve the award. Make sure you gave specific details and reasons, including any personal details you feel comfortable sharing to make your case.
Kate Beck started writing for online publications in 2005. She worked as a certified ophthalmic technician for 10 years before returning to school to earn a Masters of Fine Arts degree in writing. Beck is currently putting the finishing touches on a novel.