How to Write an Essay for a Scholarship: Examples That Won Scholarships

Writing a scholarship essay can be a daunting task, but with the right approach and preparation, it can be an opportunity to showcase your skills and achievements. A well-crafted essay not only highlights your strengths but also demonstrates your ability to clearly communicate your thoughts and ideas. The key to a successful scholarship essay lies in understanding the prompt, showcasing your uniqueness, and addressing the scholarship organization’s values.

Preparing to write a scholarship essay involves researching the scholarship organization’s mission and objectives, as well as the particular essay prompt. Reflect on your own experiences and accomplishments, linking them to the organization’s values and the prompt’s requirements. It is essential to create a strong outline that incorporates the main points you wish to discuss, ensuring that your essay remains focused and on-topic.

Utilizing a clear and concise writing style will not only engage the reader but also make it easier for them to understand your message. Paying attention to grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure is crucial in creating a polished and professional essay. Ultimately, your scholarship essay should be tailored to the specific organization and prompt, highlighting your skills and experiences that make you the ideal candidate for the award.

Understanding the Scholarship Requirements

When applying for a scholarship, it is crucial to fully comprehend its requirements. This section will provide insights into understanding key deadlines and planning accordingly, as well as breaking down essays into smaller steps to effectively tackle the application process.

Understand Key Deadlines & Plan Accordingly

Each scholarship has its own application period and deadlines for submission, and missing these deadlines can jeopardize your chances of receiving funding. To stay on track, create a calendar or timeline that highlights important dates and helps you organize your time effectively. Include application deadlines, essay submission dates, and any necessary follow-up steps to remain organized and stay on schedule1. Reviewing deadlines and planning ahead will increase your chances of writing a strong essay and submitting a successful application.

How To Break Essays Down Into Smaller Steps

Instead of attempting to write the entire essay in one sitting, break it down into smaller, manageable steps to make the writing process more approachable. This can include steps such as brainstorming, outlining, drafting, editing, and proofreading. Here’s a suggested breakdown for tackling your scholarship essay:

  1. Brainstorm ideas: Generate ideas for your essay by researching the scholarship organization’s values, reviewing the essay prompt, and identifying relevant personal experiences.
  2. Create an outline: Organize your thoughts and ideas into a logical structure, ensuring that your essay flows smoothly from one point to the next. The outline should include an introduction, body, and conclusion.
  3. Write a draft: Once you have a clear outline, begin writing the first draft of your essay. Focus on conveying your main points while maintaining the overall flow and coherence of the essay.
  4. Edit and revise: Review your draft and make necessary revisions to improve clarity, grammar, and overall content. Seek feedback from trusted peers, teachers, or counselors who can provide constructive criticism.
  5. Proofread: Carefully proofread your essay, checking for errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting. Double-check all names, titles, and other specific details to ensure accuracy.

Taking a step-by-step approach to essay writing can reduce stress, improve organization, and ultimately lead to a stronger final product.

Remember to stay organized, plan ahead, and break your essay down into manageable steps for a successful scholarship application process.

Choosing the Right Topic

When writing a scholarship essay, selecting the appropriate topic plays a crucial role in crafting a compelling narrative. Choosing a topic that resonates with your experiences, background, and interests allows for an authentic and captivating essay. Begin by considering the scholarship’s mission and essay topics, which can be a valuable source of inspiration.

A beneficial approach to choosing the right topic is to consult friends, family, or mentors who know you well. These individuals can provide guidance in brainstorming ideas and reminding you of significant stories from your life. Additionally, seeking feedback on your potential essay topics can be helpful in refining your choices and identifying the most promising options.

When selecting your topic, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Reflect on your experiences and strengths.
  • Consider how your unique background relates to the scholarship’s purpose.
  • Ensure the topic allows for an engaging and coherent narrative.

After determining your essay topic, remember that the most effective stories are those that can hook the reader from the first sentence. Aim to create a captivating opening that draws the reader into your world, providing insight into your personal growth and achievements.

In summary, when choosing the right topic for your scholarship essay, focus on your unique experiences, background, and interests. Consult with friends, family, or mentors for guidance and brainstorming support. Ensure your essay provides an engaging and coherent narrative that aligns with the scholarship’s purpose.

Creating an Essay Outline

Before you start writing your scholarship essay, it is essential to create an essay outline. An outline will help you plan the structure of your essay and ensure that you cover all the necessary points, providing a clear picture of how your argument will unfold(Scribbr). Follow these steps to create an effective outline:

1. List key questions and points: Start by listing out essential questions that will act as a guide. These questions should be relevant to the scholarship essay prompt and your background. This step will help you brainstorm ideas and determine the general flow of your essay.

2. Organize your thoughts: Once you have a list of key points, start organizing them in a logical order. Think about the flow of your essay and how you want your arguments to be structured. You can use headings, subheadings, and bullet points to break down the information into smaller sections. This will help make your essay easier to read and understand.

3. Write a brief summary for each section: After organizing your thoughts, write a quick summary sentence or phrase for each section. This will serve as a blueprint for your essay, helping to ensure that you stay on topic and cover everything you need to discuss.

4. Add relevant examples and evidence: To support your arguments, it is crucial to include examples and evidence. These can be personal experiences, anecdotes, or data from reputable sources. Make sure to link these examples back to the key points you made in your outline.

Key Takeaways:

  • Create an outline to plan the structure of your essay
  • List and organize key points in a logical order
  • Write summary sentences for each section
  • Include relevant examples and evidence

Writing the Essay

Starting Strong with an Interesting Introduction

Your scholarship essay should begin with an engaging introduction that captures the reader’s attention. This is your opportunity to make a strong first impression and set the tone for the rest of your essay. Consider starting with a personal anecdote, a surprising fact, or a question that will pique the reader’s curiosity. Make sure your introduction is relevant to the essay prompt and clearly conveys the main theme of your essay.

Developing a Well-Structured Body

The body of your essay should be well-organized and focused on addressing the scholarship essay prompt. Break your essay into paragraphs, each addressing a single point or idea. Use clear and concise language to explain your thoughts and experiences. Here are some tips for constructing a well-structured body:

  • Use topic sentences to introduce each paragraph
  • Support your points with specific examples and details
  • Avoid repetition and stay on topic
  • Ensure a logical flow between paragraphs

Crafting a Convincing Conclusion

A strong conclusion is essential for leaving a lasting impression on your reader. Summarize your main points and connect them back to the essay prompt. Show the reader how your experiences have prepared you for the scholarship and how it will help you achieve your goals. Be sure to end on a positive and persuasive note.

Key Takeaways: Start with an engaging introduction, develop a well-structured body using clear and concise language, and craft a convincing conclusion that leaves a lasting impression.

Proofreading and Editing

Proofreading and editing are crucial steps in the process of writing a scholarship essay. Taking the time to polish your work can significantly improve the quality of your essay, ensuring that it effectively conveys your message and leaves a positive impression on the decision-makers.

Before starting the editing process, it is advisable to separate editing from proofreading. Focus first on the overall structure and development of ideas in your essay. During the proofreading stage, concentrate on grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors.

When editing, ensure that your essay is concise, directly addresses the essay prompt, and demonstrates the scholarship organization’s values. Check for logical flow, coherence, and transitions between paragraphs. Make each main point in separate body paragraphs and ensure they support your central idea.

During the proofreading phase, read the essay aloud or ask someone else to read it. This can help identify awkward sentences or unclear phrasing. Pay close attention to grammar, punctuation, and spelling, as well as word and paragraph spacing. Verify the accuracy of dates, names, and other specific information. If you refer to the awarding organization, ensure their name is spelled correctly.

If you reuse the same essay for multiple applications, carefully review the prompts and requirements for each scholarship, making adjustments as needed.

Key takeaways:

  • Separate editing and proofreading to improve the overall quality of your essay.
  • Focus on the structure, logical flow, and support for your main idea during editing.
  • Proofread carefully for grammar, punctuation, spelling, and formatting errors.
  • Verify the accuracy of specific details and adapt your essay for different scholarship applications.

Seeking Feedback from Others

When writing a scholarship essay, it’s important to get feedback from others. This helps you refine your essay and make it more effective. Let’s explore how you can seek feedback from various sources, like friends and family, social media groups, and mentors.

How To Seek Feedback From Friends & Family

Friends and family can offer valuable insights into your essay. To get the most out of their feedback, share your essay with them in its early stages, when you have a draft or an outline. Be clear about the specific feedback you’re looking for, such as content, tone, or structure.(source) Encourage them to be honest and constructive in their criticism.

Bullet points or highlights of your essay can also be beneficial when sharing your work. It helps your readers focus on the key points and offers a structured format for their feedback.

How To Seek Feedback From Social Media Groups & Mentors

Online platforms are another great source for feedback. Social media groups related to education or writing may offer valuable insights from experienced individuals. Be sure to join reputable groups and engage with their members before asking for feedback to build trust and credibility.

Mentors and professionals in your field can provide specialized feedback based on their expertise. To approach them effectively, draft a brief, polite email expressing your desire for feedback on your scholarship essay. Include a description of your goals and a mention of their relevant experience. This shows respect and thoughtfulness, increasing the likelihood of a positive response.

Key Takeaways:

  • Seek feedback from friends, family, social media groups, and mentors.
  • Be specific about the type of feedback you’re looking for when sharing your essay.
  • Use bullet points and highlights to focus on key aspects of your essay.
  • Approach mentors and professionals with a brief, polite email for specialized feedback.

Submitting the Essay

When it’s time to submit the scholarship essay, following a few crucial steps can ensure the application makes the best impression on the reviewers. First and foremost, confirm the submission deadline, method, and format stipulated by the organization or platform. Missing the deadline or not submitting the essay as required can lead to disqualification.

Adherence to formatting guidelines is essential; read the instructions thoroughly before submission. For instance, if you are submitting outside of a platform like Going Merry, set up the document with a 1-inch margin, a 12-point font, and use Times New Roman as the preferred font (Going Merry). Formatting the essay correctly demonstrates attention to detail and increases the chances of a favorable review.

Proofreading the essay is an essential step before submission. Catching grammatical errors, typos, and other minor issues will make the essay appear polished and professional. It is advisable to seek feedback from teachers, trusted peers, or other professionals who can provide constructive criticism.

Lastly, respecting the word count specified in the instructions is vital. Essays that fall significantly below or exceed the word limit may lose points or be disqualified altogether. Conciseness is crucial; expressing ideas within the given word count is a valuable skill in writing a successful scholarship essay.

Key takeaways:

  • Double-check submission deadlines, method, and format.
  • Adhere to formatting guidelines and use the preferred font.
  • Proofread the essay and ask for feedback from others.
  • Respect the specified word count.

Example Essays That Won Scholarships:

Have a look at this list below and use them as inspiration only of course! Sometimes it can be very helpful to see what makes up a winning essay.

My Journey Toward MedicineChristine FungWeAreTeachersThis essay won the North Coast Section Foundation Scholarship and masterfully shares how Christine’s upbringing instilled strong values, a love for education, and a passion for medicine.
Open TopicPeter KangCollege Essay GuyThis essay won three scholarships, including the Kang Foundation Scholarship, Kingdom Dreamer Scholarship, and the national contest from the Lamber Goodnow legal team. It is a great example of how to write an engaging and open-ended scholarship essay.
Going Merry Scholarship Success StoryGabby DeMottGoing MerryThis essay won a scholarship from Going Merry and is a great example of how to write a personal essay that highlights your unique experiences and goals.
Describe how working for Chelsea’s Chicken restaurant has developed leadership skills that will help you succeed in collegeN/AScribbrThis essay is a great example of how to answer a specific scholarship prompt in a clear and concise way.
Who is a ‘Good’ Doctor?Joseph LeeGoing MerryThis essay won a scholarship from the AAMC and is a great example of how to write a thoughtful and reflective essay that showcases your passion for your field of study.

Each of these essays is a great example of how to write a successful scholarship essay.

“My Journey Toward Medicine” by Christine Fung shares her personal story and passion for medicine, while “Open Topic” by Peter Kang is an engaging and creative essay that won multiple scholarships.

“Going Merry Scholarship Success Story” by Gabby DeMott is a personal and heartfelt essay that showcases her unique experiences and goals.

The essay prompt for “Describe how working for Chelsea’s Chicken restaurant has developed leadership skills that will help you succeed in college” is a great example of how to answer a specific scholarship prompt in a clear and concise way.

Finally, “Who is a ‘Good’ Doctor?” by Joseph Lee is a thoughtful and reflective essay that showcases his passion for his field of study. Each of these essays effectively highlights the author’s unique experiences, goals, and passions, and provides insight into what makes a successful scholarship essay.

Helpful Resources

Navigating the scholarship landscape can often be overwhelming, but there's no need to go through it alone. Scholarship Owl offers a supportive platform that can help simplify your search by matching you with scholarships suited to your unique situation. By consolidating numerous scholarship opportunities into one place, it provides a significant time-saving benefit, allowing you to focus more on your studies and less on the search. If you're looking to streamline the scholarship application process, Scholarship Owl may be a valuable tool in your educational journey.


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