tips on writing a scholarship essay?
I need to write a personal essay for a scholarship application and I would really appreciate some advice on things to include and general tips on format and approach. Thanks to anyone that will answer!!
Specifics: It’s for continuing college students, I’m female with no kind of minority status or disabilities, my family is educated but low income. I’m 27 and need to work a full time job so I likely count as a non-traditional student these days. I’m also an English major with the intention of writing professionally and going on to graduate school.
I teach people how to write essays (mostly my students, as I, are in the field of aviation but this applies to all essays), I have served as a reader and I give away my own award (mostly aviation in nature though.) The first thing I give them to get started is to break their essays into 3 sections.
The 1st section is “Who you are” : Who are you? What have you accomplished? Your past essentially. A good thing to do also for this section is to list all your accomplishments. Now not everything will go into your essay but it’s a good reference when you fill out the many applications you will be doing rather than picking out of your head each time.
The 2nd section is “Where are you?” What I mean by that is Where are you student wise, professionally wise, volunteering wise, etc. Now you wrote some specifics in your question so you can plug those in these 3 sections.
The 3rd section is “Where do you want to go?” This section is where you list your future aspirations. The more specific you are the better. It helps the reader know you are serious about your intended path rather than not really giving the scholarship or award much thought. The more you gear your essay toward what the scholarship / essay is asking the more you are in a good position to pass through to the “good” pile or candidate pile rather than the “bad” pile or the round file (if you know what I mean, if not .. the trashcan essentially)
BIG BIG Deal is to follow directions!! Can’t tell you how many times I read essays and they didn’t follow directions. IF they say not to include videos, folders or you go off topic or some people have even begged .. this is Bad. I don’t take the time. No matter how “special on the inside” the person is. They usually won’t call you to find out more about you…your writing is what matters. Spell check is good too! Use it. Especially since you said writing is your major.
One more thing (although there is much more about award pursuance I could elaborate on here) … Writers Block! Yes, even writing majors get Writers Block. These two exercises I learned from my English teacher and they are excellent & simple.
The 1st is a good exercise for describing and being more elaborate: Sit down (outside is best because there is more going on) and write exactly what you see. The trees, the flowers, the day, the cars, the people… as you start to write describe these items in more and more detail…then work on you, describe yourself, describe what you do, describe where your going (sound familiar) in more and more detail.
The 2nd is a good exercise to clear the block: Sit down again and say everything that comes to mind..no matter if it’s just a Bart Simpson rambling of ‘I can’t think of what to say, I can’t think of what to write…etc etc.’ : ) Essentially you will sooner or later get bored with writing that over and over and your writing/ thinking will start saying..’ Ok I need to start writing about myself, lets see, I am a 27 year old female who is interested in an English major because ..
Well, Hope this information helps!
Remember, A good essay, that explains who you are and a detailed what you want to do or answers the questions they ask and sticks to it .. detailed like, Will Win. Don’t sound wishy, washy or say things that don’t make you sound like you’re strong and deserving of the award.
When I write, I make it sound like I’ve already won and that all they have to do is pick me – that comes with practice though. Also, have somebody read your essay. Good to catch mistakes and read your ‘voice’ out of your writing.
Good Luck in all you do! All the Best!