As they say, first impressions last. When it comes to scholarship applications, the sponsorship organisation will “meet” you for the first time via your essay, so it is pivotal to make sure that it is well-written and impactful.
As the reviewer reads the scholarship essay, he or she will form a picture of you as a person.
What phrases do you like to use? Do you favour short paragraphs or long sentences? Do you concentrate on broad topics, or magnify a small incident to ponder its wider implications? All these things tell us about the person who wrote them.
In the same way, when the reviewer reads your scholarship essay, she or he will gain an idea of what you are like.
So, since this is your first meeting, you must prepare to give a good first impression. The tips below will help guide you to craft a scholarship essay that showcases the impressive, scholarly you.
Tip 1: Have a Plan
The order is: your theme informs your outline which is the basis for your draft. Decide on the main focus, or theme, of what you want to say. Then draft an outline based on the theme, listing the main point of each paragraph. At this point, it is a good idea to review the outline and see if it flows logically and easily. This way, you don’t end up writing sentences or paragraphs that you don’t need!
When you have confirmed your outline, start writing the essay proper. At this point, be prepared for a lot of editing, backspacing and rewriting. Take all the time you need to draft out a well-written essay.
If you just write blindly, the “whatever comes out when I put my pen to paper” method, you will write an unfocused, meandering essay that has no persuasive power. Such an essay will also fail to impress the scholarship reviewer.
Tip 2: Be Direct
The people assessing your application will look through hundreds of the same. Your task is to make their job easier by writing an essay that is direct and clear.
Cut out the flowery phrases and long-winded sentences. Don’t get so involved in your stories that you forget to answer the prompt. Avoid adjectives and adverbs.
Tell your reader exactly what you want them to know, thus saving both of your time.
Tip 3: Take a Look From Afar
What looks good to you now may not look so good when you look at it the next morning. Sometimes you just need to take a break from writing and return to it on another day. A good idea is to take a break for a few days after you have finished your draft. When you have finished writing, save your work and close the laptop. Then go out and enjoy yourself – play a game, hang out with friends, have a good meal.
When you come back to your draft with a fresh pair of eyes, you will discover all the mistakes and issues that you would not have noticed during your initial proofreading phase.
You should also get a friend or family to look over your
essay and give you feedback. Their impressions will be invaluable in crafting a
Tip 4: Tell Your Story
The scholarship essay is about you. With every prompt the sponsoring organisation is asking, “Why should we invest in you?”
In order to answer this question, your essay has to be about how you, and you alone, are a good fit for the scholarship provider. What unique experiences do you have that will provide value to the organisation? How do your passions resonate with their mission? What will you bring to their table that no one else can provide?
The only way to truly write a winning scholarship essay is to be honest and showcase your individuality.
So dig deep within, and write from the heart!
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