Will Write For Money - Tips for writing a scholarship essay
When applying for scholarships,
you will often be asked to write an essay either about yourself, your goals, or
a topic chosen by the scholarship committee. There is no guaranteed absolute
perfect way to write an essay, but the following tips may help guide you as you
write your essay:
The most important thing to help ensure success of your essay is to PROOFREAD,
PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD! The number one reason a scholarship applicant
"loses" is because they had a typographical, spelling, or grammar
error in their essay. Some students feel that it is not fair to penalize an
applicant because they had a single spelling error—that only
"content" should count.
On the contrary, it is completely
fair to expect you, the applicant, to take the time to proofread
your essay. What is unfair is to expect the judges to spend time on your
application when you could not spend time on it to make sure it was correct.
Please remember that the people who are reading your application are also
reading several thousand other applications. Do not insult their time by sending
in an essay that contains simple spelling and grammar errors.
Another common error that students make when writing their essays is they don't
answer the question. The essay they turn in has little or nothing to do with
what the scholarship
application asked the student to write about. For example, the application
asked the student to write a short essay on why they chose their major, but the
student wrote about why they want to go to college. The difference between the
two may seem small to you, but to the judges, you didn't follow the directions
and will not be considered for the scholarship.
You don't have to spend months on an essay, but you do have to spend some time
on it. Make sure it is relevant, accurate, neat, clean, and professional. Since
many students do not spend much time on the essay ("Gee, I have a 4.2 GPA,
I'm a shoo-in, why bother, I have better things to do..."), it can often be
the very first "weed-out" factor when a scholarship administrator is
facing a large pile of applications.
Ultimately, you are asking the judges for money. By writing from your heart
about yourself, your goals, and your experiences, you will help make yourself
"real" to the judges. Sincerity and honesty may influence a decision
more than stellar grades and GPA.
Sounding Like A Singles Ad
"Hi, my name is Ann and I'm 18 and I'm studying Art History..."
Excessive Use Of Big Words, Foreign Words, Slang, Or Jargon
There is nothing wrong with a few well-placed big words or foreign words, but
trying to replace every safety-net with a cordon sanitaire becomes somniferous
after a while.
Creative Imagery And Descriptive Writing
Try to make reading your essay fun. Give the judges something to picture about
you and your experiences as they read it.
Quite often, when faced with four or five thousand essays to read, the judges
may quickly skim your essay and not read it closely. Write a compelling,
eye-catching introductory paragraph that will entice the judges to slow down and
really read the rest of your essay. Be careful that the rest of your essay is of
the same quality as your first few paragraphs!
Another Set Of Eyeballs
Ask people you know to proofread your essay and give you an honest and critical
opinion of it. This may sound silly, but you may find that you have to ask them
to REALLY be critical. Most people are not comfortable with criticizing the work
of others, especially when that person is someone they care about. However,
those who tell you your essay is "great" even when it isn't, out of a
fear of hurting your feelings, are doing you a far greater disservice than if
they told you about every little error you made.
Do not write in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS or all lower case letters.
Start Every Sentence With The Same Word
"And, I want to be a teacher. And, it would be cool to have every summer
Don't Be A Potty Mouth
Never use curse words ("four letter words"), insulting,
derogatory, or abusive language.