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09/04/2019

How do you write a scholarship essay?

QUESTION
How do you write a scholarship essay?
What do these people look for most? An opinion that would coincide with how THEY would think (some of these questions are ethical questions) or how you really feel? Also, do these people look at your organization of your essay or more on content? Meaning it’s not important HOW it’s written as much as what it SAYS? Also, do these places want a more logical paper or an emotional paper telling about your “struggles to get to where you are today”? Because to me, that seems whiney and “high schoolish”, and a bit conceided. I don’t know what to do, or how to start this process. I could really use some help/advice.

ANSWER
I have to read 100 essays such in two days for a scholarship, there are a couple of things you should make sure you do.

1. Make sure it is clearly written, without errors. Have five people read it and give you feedback. One typo should kill your essay.

2. Make sure it actually answers the question being asked. I don’t know why about 20% of the essay I read didn’t seem to do that.

3. Emotion is OK if it is deserved. When I read a paper saying, “after my mother died in 1997, I left the refugee camp in Thailand…” it didn’t seem that whinny to me. Emotions can be happy or optimistic too. You can always talk about all the great things you intend to do with the money (lab fees, books, internships, etc).

4. Unless you are applying for a scholarship with the CATO Institute, I doubt that a essay based upon only logic will be all that compelling. People awarding scholarships want to feel connected to the student. Your essay is the best way to make this connection.

5. Read the organization’s mission statement, the ethics questions may relate to the organization’s mission in some way.

Good luck!