I am writing a biographical letter for a scholarship but i dont know how to start it or what to talk about?
A few key points to remember about scholarship essay:
1) The Essay is not your soapbox: Concentrate on only the most pertinent information, they want the basic bio, not the entire life history. Judges usually have little time to read the entire essay.
2) Turn weaknesses into strengths: Take hard lessons you have learned from errors less than perfect choices you have made and show how they have shaped you into the person you are and given you purpose.
3) Choose your words carefully: Most essays have a word or page limit, so avoid long words and use word economy. Don’t use 5 words when 3 will do.
4) Never whine: when telling your story, don’t tell me about how your life was hard: focus on how you solved the problems in your life and overcame adversity.
5) Remember the 1-3-1 rule: so many people have forgotten the simple and easy logic of an essay that has an introduction paragraph, body paragraphs, and a summary or conclusion. This structure is one that allows your essay to flow cleanly and is easier to read for judges.
6) Dont reinvent the wheel: Take the time to go to the website of the scholarships and review any past essays posted. Don’t copy them or plagiarize, rather take note of the style, format, and tone used. The same common formatting may be to your advantage if many of the winners use the same layout and styling.
Here is an example I feel illustrates all of these points quickly for a biographical essay:
Say Hello to Janice
Janice is a single mother of two, and has attended a local community college for over a year. She is working on a degree in education and plans to transfer to a state university in the fall she was accepted to. Her ex left her and her children without any financial support. Here are two essay statement examples for her situation;
“When my husband left, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. We have been living on food stamps since then, even though I am currently employed. My job, combined with the need to care for my two young children make it hard to study. In addition, even with full federal and state financial aid, I will still have to work which will also take away from time with my children. This is why I need this scholarship so badly, so I can spend more time studying rather than working.”
Did that in anyway impress you? Of course not. Yes, it’s sad she has to endure this, but most judges are not inclined to award funds to someone seeking to make things easier. Now, lets try this again…only with a bit of confidence and drive
“When my husband left, I wasn’t sure what to do. However, I quickly became determined to give my children a better life. I enrolled at a local community college, while working two jobs. My children and I made keeping our grades high a family event by studying together. This not only helped me keep my grades up, but also impressed upon my children the importance of an education. While I still have a few more years of study, I am on track to finish my degree and become a teacher. Receiving this scholarship would assist me in that effort.”
In around 100 words, I summarized a hardship, a solution, a goal, and the path towards that goal. So it’s critical to remember to never to simply list your problems and hardships with no context or explanation on how you overcame those hardships. Be confident that the path you have chosen is a positive one, and others will believe the same. This is especially true for scholarship judges.
I hope this helps. Feel free to ask any other questions or to clarify anything I have posted. Good luck to you.
*********Suggested links for your review**********************************…
The Dirty Secrets About Scholarships: Essays Are Not Your Soapbox
How to utilize a weakness as a strength when writing an essay: JR’s Daily Two-Minute Financial Aid Tip
How to Write Scholarship Essays and Win