What makes you so special? That question may sound a bit harsh, but it’s meant to. Competition can be fierce these days for finding financial assistance for your education. This is one of the most important questions you must ask yourself when seeking and applying for scholarships. Everyone has characteristics and experiences that make them unique. In order to win a scholarship, you must not only learn to recognize these differences in yourself, but be proud of them.
Scholarships are available for almost anything you can imagine, from academics to the kind of sports drink you prefer, and from ethnic background to unique artistic skills. There are basically four types of scholarships: merit-based (academics, sports, arts, etc.), need-based(for low-income families), student-specific (age, race, religion, etc.), career-specific (some careers are in higher demand, and therefore more scholarships are available for those seeking a degree in that field).
Once you’ve found a list of scholarships that you would like to apply for, the hard part begins. Filling out the application can be a daunting task, especially the essay portion. But don’t worry. Get comfortable and we’ll discuss how to write a good scholarship essay.
1. Know the topic and stick to it. Many scholarship applications require that the essay portion answer a specific question. Here are some examples:
Discuss a special attribute or accomplishment that sets you apart.
Who in your life has been your biggest influence and why?
Why do you want to get a college education?
How will your study of _____ contribute to your immediate or long-range career plans?
Please, stick to the question! Use the wording of it to create a premise, or a one sentence statement about what you are going to be writing about. This sentence goes at the very end of the introductory paragraph in the essay. Here are examples to match the previous questions, in the same order they were presented above:
Throughout my life, my unique ability to see the good in others has set me apart.
My grandfather, John Doe, has been the biggest influence in my life because of his selfless service to his country.
I want to get a college education because I am determined to become a doctor and help others.
My study of computer science will prepare me to be employed for one of the world’s leading companies, the Microsoft Corporation.
Stay tuned for part 2!