Writing a scholarship essay can be difficult, especially for people who are not used to advocating for themselves or praising themselves. However, writing a "reasons why I deserve a scholarship" essay is an excellent excuse to learn how to brag about yourself.
How Do You Write An Essay for a Scholarship?
There are a number of reasons people might want to write an essay explaining why they deserve a scholarship. For many students, education is prohibitively expensive. The expense required to send a student to school, particularly to a private four-year college, can make the prospect of going to school an impossibility for some families. Scholarships and student loans are a lifeline to a student who otherwise would not be able to afford college, but in almost every case, a scholarship requires writing an essay, possibly a 250-word essay on "why I deserve a scholarship."
When you write an essay for a scholarship, you are going to be speaking about your accomplishments and selling yourself as someone who is deserving of this financial assistance and the honor itself. It's important, therefore, to make sure that your tone is appropriate at all times. Make sure your tone is honest and direct without being pompous. You want to communicate your many accomplishments, but you don't want to risk sounding conceited.
Point out that you understand the evaluation criteria for this scholarship and then highlight the parts of your experience that you feel correspond directly to this criteria. By demonstrating that you understand what this scholarship is for, you set yourself up for an opportunity to clearly express why you think you are in a position to deserve it. By articulating the particulars around the evaluation, you can begin to point to all the reasons you are the most qualified student to receive the honor.
How To Express "Reasons Why I Deserve A Scholarship"
Begin the essay by expressing your understanding of the evaluation criteria and why you think this scholarship is being offered. Use a bold, attention-grabbing sentence to open your essay, one that will help your essay stand out from all the rest and encourage the evaluators to keep reading. Once you've got the attention of the committee evaluating the essay, you want to quickly and easily transition to the point of your essay: why you feel you are deserving of this scholarship.
Next, it is critical to lead into your own achievements and how they dovetail with the evaluation criteria that the scholarship board is using to judge applications. It can be difficult and intimidating to talk about your accomplishments. Unfortunately, when advocating for yourself to be the recipient of something based on a demonstration of merit, you are inextricably tasked with talking yourself up.
When discussing the reasons you feel that you should receive this scholarship, you will need to point out the accomplishments you have made in your career as a student, your special talents, the effort you have put into your work and the unique activities that occupy your time.
What to Include in a Scholarship Essay
Once you have clarified and explained your list of accomplishments and pointed out how they align with the goals of the scholarship evaluators, it's time to talk about the different things that make you unique from other applicants. These can be as broad as your gender or ethnic background or as unique as the conditions of your particular upbringing and the experiences that have led you to the place you are in today.
Many of the applicants who are reaching for this same scholarship will have similar accomplishments. Your task is to make yourself stand out. This is the time to discuss what is special, unique and unusual about you. It may be that you have a very unique personal history, or it may be that you have demonstrated an incredible gift or talent for which you are hoping to be recognized. Whatever it is, be sure to express what makes you unique.
It's also a good idea to try to bring as much of your personality into your essay as possible. Your essay should be grammatically correct and written in standard English, but what you should also strive for is being true to your own voice, not being a mechanical reiteration machine who is only trying to please the scholarship board. By bringing your unique voice and personality to the essay, you cannot help but be an original, particularly because most students will simply be trying to write in the manner that they think will best please the evaluators.
How Do You Start An Application Essay?
Begin an application essay with a strong statement that will draw in the reader. No matter for what you are applying, application evaluators will read dozens if not hundreds of essays, and ones that stand out will stand to get the most attention. It should be related to the content of the essay and tied to the goal of the scholarship in some way. It may be helpful to ask a guidance counselor for some educational and career goals essay examples.
Avoid using a lot of purple prose in the opening paragraphs of your application essay. Purple prose is defined as flowery, ornate writing that doesn't serve a purpose beyond its own existence. It contains a lot of adjectives and descriptions and serves only to draw attention to itself. Many young students make the mistake of thinking that excessive description enriches their writing when it only distracts from the point they are trying to make.
Make sure that your application essay starts with a sentence or two that conveys that you understand how this application will be evaluated. It is important to communicate that you understand the purpose of this essay, why you are writing it and why the committee must evaluate it. Doing so sends the message that you understand that whatever you are applying for is something you must prove you deserve, not simply something you are due because you want it.
Tips for Essay Writing
Write from the heart. No matter what your scholarship is for, take some time and think about what it means to you. The obvious answer to why you are applying for this scholarship is "the money." Think beyond that. What is it that makes this particular scholarship right for you? How have you earned it with the work you have done up to this point? Take the passion that got you to this point and use it to craft your essay.
Speak honestly. Many people believe that the time to embellish their accomplishments comes when they need to speak in favor of themselves. This is not true. Speak with honesty to avoid being caught in a lie in the future.
Don't be afraid to laud yourself and your achievements. Applying for a scholarship is a chance to celebrate the work that you have done and the things you have achieved. Don't be afraid to shine a light on the things of which you are proud and the things for which others have praised you.
Additional Essay Tips
While it's absolutely OK to point out your accomplishments, make sure everything you bring up is related to your overall theme. Don't just make a laundry list of the reasons you're great.
Be careful with grammar, spelling, and punctuation. You want to send the message that you have spent time on your work and that the committee evaluating this scholarship essay should take you seriously.
Ashley Friedman is a freelance writer with experience writing about education for a variety of organizations and educational institutions as well as online media sites. She has written for Pearson Education, The University of Miami, The New York City Teaching Fellows, New Visions for Public Schools, and a number of independent secondary schools. She lives in Los Angeles.