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How to Start a Scholarship Essay

Last Updated: May 26, 2023 References

This article was co-authored by Jake Adams and by wikiHow staff writer, Jessica Gibson . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 88,161 times.

College scholarships can be incredibly competitive and most of them have an essay component. While you may dread writing these essays, they're nothing to fear—the scholarship committee just wants to know a little more about you. With a strong introduction that hooks your reader, you're halfway there! But how do you start a scholarship essay? Here, you'll find some great ideas for how to start, along with some general writing strategies that you can carry through to the rest of your essay.

Sample Introduction and Template

how to start an essay about yourself for a scholarship

Include the 3 key elements of an introduction.

Get your readers' attention, give an overview, and list a thesis statement.

  • A great intro sentence could be something like, "I never thought I'd have to raise my siblings," or, "On April 7, 1997, my life completely changed."
  • Your overview sentences could go on to say, "My parents struggled to look after us, so I become the only constant in my brothers' lives. I had to grow up fast, but I also learned a lot about myself in the process."
  • Your thesis statement might look like this, "I realized that I have a lot to offer and I'm starting a career in social work. This scholarship will give me the financial support that I need to start my educational journey."

Open with an element of surprise.

Use a surprising or shocking fact about yourself to draw in the reader.

  • For example, you might write: "If you looked at my parents' mantle, overflowing with trophies and medals, you'd probably conclude that I was an athlete. But what you wouldn't know is that I was born with only one leg."

Compare yourself to the scholarship's namesake.

Show what you have in common with the person for whom the scholarship is named.

  • For example, you might write: "Mary Lewis dedicated her life to improving her community with public vegetable gardens. Last year, I worked with fellow disabled students to create a sustainable vegetable garden at our school that was accessible to others with disabilities."

Raise a question.

Ask your readers a question to stir their curiosity about the answer.

  • For example, you might write: "For the past 4 years, I've volunteered with my local hospice. Why would a healthy, athletic young woman want to volunteer with people who are dying? Because I, too, have faced death. I know what it's like to be told you only have a few days to live."

Set the scene dramatically.

This option works well if you have a strong, compelling personal experience.

  • For example, suppose you're writing an essay about rescuing an injured dog and how that made you decide to become a veterinarian. You might write: "I could smell him before I saw him. Small and frail, he limped toward me. His fur was matted and he trembled. His large eyes were full of fear. He pleaded with me for help."

Include quotes with caution.

Use famous quotes only if you can quickly tie them to personal experience.

  • For example, you might write: "Nevertheless, she persisted." I never really understood the meaning of that rallying cry until, at 14 years old, I stood in front of the principal of my school to speak on behalf of myself and other disabled students."

Use buzzwords from the essay prompt.

Highlight important nouns and adjectives that apply to you.

Include a roadmap of your essay.

Share tangible, real-world examples that directly address the prompt.

  • For example, you might write: "My compassion for and special connection to animals spurred me to pursue a career in veterinary medicine." Then, in your essay, you would provide an instance that demonstrated your compassion and another that demonstrated that special connection.
  • Your roadmap doesn't necessarily have to be a "spoiler." For example, if the prompt is to "discuss a book or experience that made you want to be a writer," you might write: "While I'd always loved reading, I never considered writing stories myself until my 7th grade English teacher gave me a book for an extra-credit report." In your essay, you would then go on to discuss the report and name the book. [11] X Research source

Close your introduction with your thesis statement.

Your thesis statement tells your reader the purpose of your essay.

  • For example, if the prompt is to describe what sparked your interest in veterinary medicine, your thesis might be: "My experience rehabilitating stray dogs sparked my interest in pursuing a career in veterinary medicine."

Write in your own voice.

Let the reader know who you are from the first line.

  • Focus on standing out, not writing like everyone else. Although you can look at samples of other winning scholarship essays to get ideas, make sure the words in your essay are your own.
  • Your own perspective is key. For example, if you're a person of color, don't try to "whitewash" your essay. Scholarship committees like diversity, so if you try to cover up your identity, you're only hurting yourself.

Make your sentences active and concise.

Use short sentences and action verbs to make your writing pop.

  • For example, you might write: "I strive to demonstrate my passion for the environment every day. In my sophomore year, I started the recycling program at my school. As president of the environmental club, I teach fellow students what they can do to help save the world we live in."

Expert Q&A

Jake Adams

  • Make your introduction short and sweet. The general rule is that the introduction should be about 10% of the total word count of your essay—this usually isn't many words! [16] X Research source Most scholarship essay introductions only have 3-4 sentences. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • Have friends or family read your essay—they can give you tips on how to make it stronger. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

how to start an essay about yourself for a scholarship

  • Typos can ruin an otherwise beautiful essay! Make sure you proofread carefully. [17] X Research source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

You Might Also Like

Write a Statement of Purpose

  • ↑ https://scholarshipowl.com/blog/apply-for-scholarships/scholarship-essay-introduction/
  • ↑ https://www.owens.edu/writing/scholarship/
  • ↑ https://www.nitrocollege.com/blog/how-to-start-a-scholarship-essay
  • ↑ https://www.thecollegemonk.com/blog/scholarship-essay-introduction
  • ↑ Jake Adams. Academic Tutor & Test Prep Specialist. Expert Interview. 20 May 2020.
  • ↑ https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/articles/ways-to-make-your-scholarship-essay-stand-out
  • ↑ https://www.internationalstudent.com/essay_writing/scholarship_essaysample/
  • ↑ https://online.maryville.edu/blog/how-to-write-a-scholarship-essay/
  • ↑ https://libanswers.library.cqu.edu.au/faq/169732
  • ↑ https://www.southuniversity.edu/news-and-blogs/2013/05/8trickstowritingstandoutscholarshipessays

About This Article

Jake Adams

To start a scholarship essay, open with an interesting story, experience, or anecdote to draw your reader in. Then, connect your opening to the broader topic or question you'll be addressing throughout your essay. If you need some inspiration for a good introduction, read the essays written by the previous winners of the scholarship you're applying for. Just make sure you use your own voice and experiences to write your essay so it comes across as authentic. To learn how to conduct research for your scholarship essay before you write it, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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how to start an essay about yourself for a scholarship

How to Write a Personal Statement for a Scholarship + Examples

What’s covered:, what is the purpose of the scholarship personal statement, what to include in your personal statement, personal statement example: breakdown + analysis, how to make sure your writing is effective.

Either before or after you’ve gotten into your dream school, you’ll have to figure out how to pay for it. For most students, this involves a combination of financial aid, parent contributions, self-contributions, student loans, and scholarships/grants. Because scholarships are money out of someone else’s pocket that you never have to pay back, they are a great place to start!

Scholarships come in two forms: merit-based and need-based. Need-based scholarships are also often called grants. These designations tell you whether an organization looks at your financial situation when deciding about your scholarship.

Additionally, different scholarships fall under different categories based on the mission of the organization or person providing the scholarship’s financing. These missions typically emphasize different things like academic achievement, specific career goals, community service, leadership, family background, skill in the arts, or having overcome hardship. As you select scholarships to apply for and complete your applications, you should keep these missions in mind.

No matter what type of scholarship you are applying for, you will be asked to provide the review committee with standard materials. This includes your transcript, GPA, and resume/extracurriculars, but also, importantly, your personal statement. A scholarship personal statement is a bit different from your normal college essay, so we’ve put together this guide and some examples to help you get started!

The purpose of your personal statement is to help a review committee learn more about your personality, values, goals, and what makes you special. Ultimately, like with your college essays, you are trying to humanize your profile beyond your transcript, GPA, and test scores.

College essays all have one goal in mind (which is why you can apply to multiple schools at once through applications like the Common App or Coalition App): convince admissions officers that you would be a valuable addition to the university environment. The goal of your scholarship personal statement is different and differs more from one scholarship to the next. Rather than convincing various review committees that you are a generally good candidate for extra funding for college, you need to convince each review committee that your values have historically aligned with their organization’s mission and will continue to align with their organization’s mission.

Common missions amongst those who give scholarships include:

  • Providing opportunities for students with career ambitions in a particular field
  • Helping students who have experienced unexpected hardship
  • Supporting students who show outstanding academic achievement
  • Funding the arts through investing in young artists with strong technical skill
  • Supporting the development of civic-minded community service leaders of the future
  • Providing opportunities for historically underrepresented ethnic communities 

If a specific mission like this is outlined on an organization’s website or in the promotional material for its scholarship, the purpose of your personal statement is to show how you exemplify that mission.

Some scholarships ask for your personal statement to be guided by a prompt, while others leave things open for interpretation. When you are provided a prompt, it is obvious what you must do: answer the prompt. When you are not provided a prompt, you want to write a personal statement that is essentially a small-scale autobiography where you position yourself as a good investment. In either case, you should identify a focus or theme for what you are trying to say about yourself so that your application does not get lost in the shuffle.

Prompts include questions like:

  • Why do you deserve this scholarship?
  • How have you shown your commitment to (leadership/community service/diversity) in your community?
  • When did you overcome adversity?
  • Why is attending college important to you?

If you are provided a prompt, develop a theme for your response that showcases both your values and your achievements. This will help your essay feel focused and will subsequently help the review committee to remember which candidate you were as they deliberate.

Themes include things like:

  • I deserve this community service scholarship because my compassion for intergenerational trauma has inspired me to volunteer with a local after-school program. I didn’t just sympathize. I did something about my sympathy because that’s the type of person I am. Within the program, I have identified avenues for improvement and worked alongside full-time staff to develop new strategies for increasing attendance.
  • I overcame adversity when my mother had to have a major surgery two months after giving birth to my younger brother. I was just a kid but was thrown into a situation where I had to raise another kid. It was hard, but I’m the kind of person who tries to grow from hard times and, through my experience taking care of a baby, I learned the importance of listening to body language and nonverbal cues to understand the needs of others (baby and nonbaby, alike).

Without a prompt, clarity can be harder to achieve. That said, it is of the utmost importance that you find a focus. First, think about both your goals and your values.

Types of goals include:

  • Career goals
  • Goals for personal growth
  • The type of friend you want to be
  • The change you want to make in the world

Values could include:

  • Authenticity
  • And many more!

After you write out your goals/values, write out your achievements to see what goals/values you have “proof” of your commitment to. Your essay will ultimately be an exploration of your goal/value, what you have done about your goal/value in the past, and what you aspire to in the future.

You might be tempted to reflect on areas for improvement, but scholarships care about you living out your values. It is not enough to aspire to be exemplary in leadership, community service, or your academic field. For scholarships, you have to already be exemplary.

Finally, keep in mind that the review committee likely already has a copy of your extracurricular activities and involvement. Pick one or two accomplishments, then strive for depth, not breadth as you explore them.

My interest in the field of neuroscience began at a young age.  When I was twelve years old, my sister developed a condition called Pseudotumor Cerebri following multiple concussions during a basketball game.  It took the doctors over six months to make a proper diagnosis, followed by three years of treatment before she recovered.  During this time, my love for neuroscience was sparked as I began to research her condition and, then, other neurocognitive conditions.  Later, my love of neuroscience was amplified when my mother began to suffer from brain-related health issues.  My mother had been a practicing attorney in Dallas for over twenty years.  She was a determined litigator who relentlessly tried difficult cases that changed people’s lives.  Now, she suffers from a cognitive impairment and is no longer able to practice law.  Oftentimes, she has headaches, she gets “cloudy,” her executive functioning slows down, she feels overwhelmed, and she forgets things.  My mother has gone from being the strong, confident, emotional and financial caretaker of our family to needing significant help on a daily basis. Once again, with this illness came a lot of research on my part — research that encouraged me to pursue my dreams of exploring neuroscience.

Due to my experiences with my mother and sister when I was in middle school, I knew that I wanted to make a difference in the field of neuroscience.  I also knew that, to obtain this goal, I needed to maintain superior grades in school while also pursuing opportunities outside of school to further my education.  In school, I was able to maintain superior grades to the point where I am currently valedictorian in a class of 567 students.  In addition, in school, I challenged myself by taking 16 Advanced Placement classes and 19 Honors classes.  Two of the most beneficial classes were AP Capstone Seminar and AP Capstone Research.  AP Capstone Seminar and AP Capstone Research are research-oriented classes where students are given the opportunity to pursue whatever track their research takes them down.  As a junior in AP Capstone Seminar, I researched the effects of harmful pesticide use on the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in children.  This year, as a senior in AP Capstone Research, I am learning about the effects of medical marijuana on the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  

Outside of school, I furthered my education through taking advantage of the Duke TiP summer program. Duke TiP is a summer program run by Duke University where students who score extremely well on the SAT as middle schoolers are able to take college classes at different universities throughout the summers of their middle school and high school years.  I took advantage of this opportunity twice.  First, I went to Trinity University in San Antonio to expand my horizons and learn more about debate.  However, once I was done exploring, I decided I wanted to go into neuroscience.  This led me to take an Abnormal Psychology class at Duke University’s West Campus.  This class opened my eyes to the interaction between neuroscience and mental health, mental illness, and personality.  Years later, I am currently continuing my education outside of school as an intern at the University of Texas Dallas Center for Brain Health.  Through this internship, I have been able to see different aspects of neuroscience including brain pattern testing, virtual reality therapy, and longitudinal research studies.  With this background, I have positioned myself to be accepted by top neuroscience programs throughout the nation.  So far, I have been accepted to the neuroscience department of University of Southern California, the University of Virginia, the University of Texas, and Southern Methodist University, as well as the chemistry department at University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.  

It is with this passion for neuroscience driven by my family and passion for education driven by internal motivation that I will set out to conquer my career objectives.  My educational aspirations consist of acquiring a bachelor’s degree in a biological or health science that would assist me in pursuing a medical career as a neuroscience researcher.  I decided to attain a career as a researcher since my passion has always been assisting others and trying to improve their quality of life.  After obtaining my Masters and my PhD, I plan to become a professor at a prestigious university and continue performing lab research on cognitive disorders.  I am particularly interested in disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  In the lab, I hope to find different therapies and medications to help treat the 3.5 million people around the world suffering from ASD.  Furthermore, I want to contribute back to underserved populations that struggle because they do not have as much access to medical assistance as other privileged groups.  As such, I hope to do a part of my research in less developed or developing Spanish-speaking countries. This will also allow me to pursue my love of Spanish while pursuing my love of neuroscience.  I think that following such a career path will provide me the opportunity to learn about the medical needs of the autistic community and improve their quality of health.  Furthermore, I hope to train a new generation of students to strive to research and make comparable discoveries.  Whether it be through virtual reality labs or new drug discoveries, I believe that research leads to innovation which leads to a brighter future. 

This student does a great job of making themself appear competent and dedicated to the field of neuroscience. This is primarily because they provided tangible evidence of how they have pursued their dedication in the past—through their AP Capstone courses, their Abnormal Psychology class at Duke TiP, and their internship at UTD. There is no doubt in the mind of a reader that this student is high-achieving. 

This student also engages successfully with a past-future trajectory, where they end with a vision of how they will continue to use neuroscience in the future. This helps the review committee see what they are investing in and the ways that their money will go to good use.

This student has two major areas for improvement. As we have said, the purpose of a personal statement is for a student to humanize themself to a review committee. This student struggles to depict themself separately from their academic achievements. A solution to this would be for the student to establish a theme towards the beginning of their essay that relates to both their values as a human and their achievements.

At the beginning of the essay, the student explores how their interest in neuroscience began. They explain their interest through the following sentences: “During this time, my love for neuroscience was sparked as I began to research her condition and, then, other neurocognitive conditions” and “Once again, with this illness came a lot of research on my part — research that encouraged me to pursue my dreams of exploring neuroscience.” The student made the great decision to tell the backstory of their interest, but they described their research in very mundane and redundant terms. Instead, they could have focused on their value of intellectual curiosity as a magnetic force that encouraged them to research their mother and sister’s ailments. Curiosity, then, could serve as a value-related thematic throughline to taking AP Capstone classes, taking college courses during the summer that weren’t required, and interning before even graduating high school.

A second area for improvement would be avoiding statistics. As the student identifies their valedictorian status and the number of AP classes they have taken, they might turn away certain personalities on a review committee by appearing braggy. Even further, these statistics are a waste of space. The review committee already has access to this information. These words distract from the major theme of the essay and would have been better used to humanize the student.

Throughout my academic career, I have been an avid scholar, constantly pushing myself towards ambitious goals. I held and continue to hold myself to a high standard, enrolling myself in rigorous curriculum, including Honors and Advanced Placement courses to stretch my mental potential. During my junior year of high school, I took four AP tests, two on the same day, and earned the AP Scholar with Honor Award. Additionally, I received the Letter of Commendation for the PSAT/NMSQT, and qualified for Rotary Top 100 Students both my freshman and senior year, a sign of my commitment to my studies. However, school has not been all about having the best GPA for me; beyond the numbers, I have a deep drive to learn which motivates me to do well academically. I truly enjoy learning new things, whether it be a new essay style or a math theorem. I always give each class my best effort and try my hardest on every assignment. My teachers have noticed this as well, and I have received school Lancer Awards and Student of the Month recognitions as a result. It is a major goal of mine to continue to aspire towards a high level of achievement regarding future educational and occupational endeavors; I plan on continuing this level of dedication throughout my educational career and implementing the skills I have learned and will learn into my college experience and beyond.

This fall, I will begin attending the University of California Los Angeles as an English major. I chose this major because I am fascinated by written language, especially its ability to convey powerful messages and emotions. I also enjoy delving into the works of other authors to analyze specific components of their writing to discover the meaning behind their words. In particular, I cannot wait to begin in-depth literary criticism and learn new stylistic techniques to add more depth to my writing. Furthermore, I recently went to UCLA’s Bruin Day, an event for incoming freshmen, where I was exposed to many different extracurriculars, some of which really piqued my interest. I plan on joining the Writing Success Program, where I can help students receive free writing help, and Mock Trial, where I can debate issues with peers in front of a real judge. The latter, combined with a strong writing background from my undergraduate English studies will be extremely beneficial because I plan to apply to law school after my undergraduate degree. As of now, my career goal is to become a civil rights lawyer, to stand up for those who are discriminated against and protect minority groups to proliferate equality.

As a lawyer, I wish to utilize legislation to ameliorate the plight of the millions of Americans who feel prejudice and help them receive equity in the workplace, society, and so on. Though this seems a daunting task, I feel that my work ethic and past experience will give me the jumpstart I need to establish myself as a successful lawyer and give a voice to those who are often unheard in today’s legal system. I have been a Girl Scout for over a decade and continually participate in community service for the homeless, elderly, veterans, and more. My most recent project was the Gold Award, which I conducted in the Fullerton School District. I facilitated over ten workshops where junior high students taught elementary pupils STEM principles such as density and aerodynamics via creative activities like building aluminum boats and paper airplanes. I also work at Kumon, a tutoring center, where I teach students to advance their academic success. I love my job, and helping students from local schools reach their potential fills me with much pride.

Both being a Girl Scout and working at Kumon have inspired me to help those in need, contributing significantly to my desire to become a lawyer and aid others. My extracurriculars have allowed me to gain a new perspective on both learning and teaching, and have solidified my will to help the less fortunate. In college, I hope to continue to gain knowledge and further develop my leadership skills, amassing qualities that will help me assist others. I plan to join multiple community service clubs, such as UCLA’s local outreach programs that directly aid residents of Los Angeles. I want to help my fellow pupils as well, and plan on volunteering at peer tutoring and peer editing programs on campus. After college, during my career, I want to use legal tactics to assist the underdog and take a chance on those who are often overlooked for opportunities. I wish to represent those that are scared to seek out help or cannot afford it. Rather than battling conflict with additional conflict, I want to implement peaceful but strong, efficient tactics that will help make my state, country, and eventually the world more welcoming to people of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. These goals are close to my heart and therefore I will be as diligent as I am passionate about them. My perseverance and love for learning and community service drive my ambition in both education and life as a whole, and the drive to make the world a better place is one that I will carry with me for my entire life.

This student emphasizes two values in this essay: hard work and community service. These are values that go together nicely, and definitely make sense with this student’s end goal of becoming a civil rights lawyer! That said, some changes could be made to the way the student presents their values that would make their personal statement more convincing and engaging.

Structurally, instead of using a past-future trajectory, this student starts by explaining their academic achievements, then explains their career goals, then explains their history of community service, then explains their future desires for community service. This structure loses the reader. Instead, the student should have started with either the past or the future. 

This could look like 1) identifying their career goals, 2) explaining that hard work and a commitment to community service are necessary to get there, and 3) explaining that they aren’t worried because of their past commitment to hard work and community service. Or it could look like 1) providing examples of their hard work and community service in the past, then 2) explaining how those values will help them achieve their career goals.

Additionally, like with our other example, this student shows a heavy investment in statistics and spouting off accomplishments. This can be unappealing. Unfortunately, even when the student recognizes that they are doing this, writing “beyond the numbers, I have a deep drive to learn which motivates me to do well academically. I truly enjoy learning new things, whether it be a new essay style or a math theorem,” they continue on to cite their achievements, writing “My teachers have noticed this as well, and I have received school Lancer Awards and Student of the Month recognitions as a result.” They say they are going beyond the numbers, but they don’t go beyond the awards. They don’t look inward. One way to fix this would be to make community service the theme around which the essay operates, supplementing with statistics in ways that advance the image of the student as dedicated to community service.

Finally, this student would be more successful if they varied their sentence structure. While a small-scale autobiography can be good, if organized, every sentence should not begin with ‘I.’ The essay still needs to be engaging or the review committee might stop reading.

Feedback is ultimately any writer’s best source of improvement! To get your personal statement edited for free, use our Peer Review Essay Tool . With this tool, other students can tell you if your scholarship essay is effective and help you improve your essay so that you can have the best chances of gaining those extra funds!

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How to Write a College Essay About Yourself

David Sep 30, 2020

How to Write a College Essay About Yourself

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The scholarship you’re applying to requires that you write an essay about yourself. Easy peasy, how hard could it be? After all, you’ve been living with yourself for the last 17+ years! You know yourself better than anybody. You open your computer to start typing but your mind goes blank. Everything that you know about yourself suddenly seems unworthy of a $5,000 scholarship. 

What in the world can you write about that will spark enough interest in the scholarship committee? Before you start panicking, check out our step-by-step guide on how to write a college essay about yourself.

Step 1: Brainstorm 

The first way to tackle any scholarship essay prompt is to start with some thinking. We highly suggest that you take time before starting to write to brainstorm the essay prompt. This will not only get your creativity flowing, but your essay will be more organized and cohesive.  

Brainstorm Ideas 

To start brainstorming, sit down in a quiet space with a pen and paper. Think about your background, your family life, your family’s financial state, your academic history, your childhood, your education, sports you play, and anything else about yourself that makes you who you are. If you’re stuck, strike up a conversation with your parents or friends about yourself to get you rolling. Jot notes about yourself down on the paper.

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Now, it’s time to take the facts you’ve written about yourself and dig deeper. The goal of your scholarship essay is to tell a story about yourself that will convince the scholarship committee that you deserve to win. How can you turn facts about yourself into a compelling story?  What information can you provide about yourself that will broadcast your character? 

It helps to think about who your audience is. To do this, get to know the scholarship organization better! Visit their website and read their ‘about’ section. What do they stand for? What kind of students do they award? 

Your audience might be interested in how much you studied to get your 3.8 GPA. Your GPA and test scores may have helped get you into college, but they might not be enough to win you scholarship money. Thousands of students have near to perfect GPAs, and writing about it can be a bit dry.  

Your audience wants to read about the challenges you’ve faced along the way or meaningful experiences you’ve had. Did you have to watch a younger sibling every day after school because your parents were at work? Have you experienced mental health challenges or learning disabilities that have made studying hard for you? How did you decide that you wanted to study business in college? This is what we mean when we say to dig deep. Go past the surface level.  Talk about the experiences you have had that have gotten you to where you are today. 

Step 2: What to Include in an Essay About Yourself 

A scholarship essay about yourself is obviously very broad. You can take your essay in many directions. Remember, you want to provide information about yourself that makes your essay worth reading. Including facts about yourself in your essay is fine. But, you better be seasoning those facts with a lot of flavors. 

Here are some ideas to include in your essay. 

Topics You Can Address in Your Essay

There are plenty of ways you can talk about yourself in your essay. Remember, your essay must focus on yourself and your personal experiences in life. You can choose one or two of the following topics as the basis of your essay.

  • Experiences that have inspired your degree choice.
  • Challenges you’ve faced that have impacted your life and education.
  • Unique hobbies you have or the sports you play. 
  • How you’ve changed over the years. 
  • Your experiences in school. 
  • Professional goals you have for the future. 
  • Your achievements.
  • Special relationships that have inspired you. If you choose this topic, remember the essay still needs to focus on you.

The topic you choose to write about should be one that you can connect back to your education or career goals. If it didn’t impact your education or career in some way, it’s likely not relevant for the scholarship.  

Remember, you need to talk about the why and the how. For example, why are you pursuing a degree in law? Why did you choose this degree path? How will a law degree help you in your future? How have past experiences led you to dream of becoming a lawyer? 

Step 3: Sketch an Outline

Now that you have an idea of what you’ll write about it, it’s time to get organized. Creating an outline is your final step before starting to write. Choose one or two of the topics we suggested and start breaking down what you’ll write about in each paragraph. Your essay should consist of an introduction, 3-5 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. 

Check out our tips on what you should and shouldn’t include in your essay: 

  • Impress from the start of your essay.
  • Place yourself in the reader’s shoes. Do you show enough of your personality in your essay? Do you convince the reader that you deserve to win? 
  • Do your research and learn about the organization. Try and connect yourself to their initiatives. Do you have a hobby or goal that matches the organization? What can you bring to the organization?  
  • Only include relevant information. If something seems unnecessary or out of place, it probably is.
  • Write in the first person, this is about you after all.
  • Give specific examples. Don’t say you struggled during freshman year, instead, show what that struggle looked like.
  • Show off your strengths and achievements. 
  • Make your essay interesting! If it doesn’t captivate your audience from the start, it’s not good enough.
  • Proofread and edit your essay. Those little spelling mistakes can cost you the scholarship. They are distracting and they don’t do a good job at convincing the reader that you’re professional. Everybody makes mistakes but it’s on you to check your work before submitting.
  • Use the correct format .
  • Write about academic weaknesses in your transcripts. This is your chance to take responsibility for the ‘D’ you received during freshman year algebra. You might write about your struggles with algebra and how you were motivated to improve by getting a tutor. Definitely do not play the victim card by blaming a teacher! 
  • Making mistakes is human! Write about what you learned from your mistakes and how they have made you stronger.
  • Be authentic- write how you speak (of course, with correct grammar). Trying to impress with big words from the thesaurus isn’t as impressive as you think. 
  • Follow the essay instructions! You can write the best essay but if you don’t follow instructions, you risk being disqualified.  
  • Lie- Making up stories to win over the scholarship judges isn’t going to win over anybody! Lies scream inauthenticity. Trust us, it’s obvious when students lie and scholarship judges aren’t impressed.
  • Brag- If you think that bragging about your 4.0 GPA is going to win you scholarship money, you’re wrong. Show off your confidence in a way that doesn’t come across as overbearing and arrogant.
  • Use the essay as an opportunity to divulge your deepest darkest family secrets. This is not the place to cry your heart out or disclose personal information.
  • Be vague about your professional goals. What sounds better, awarding a student with clearly defined goals or a student who doesn’t know what they want to do in life?
  • Repeat the same information over and over again. You will have your readers yawning! 
  • Use cliches. Cliches are overused! Be bold and different. 

Step 4: How to Start an Essay About Yourself 

As with all scholarship essays, your essay about yourself should captivate readers from the very beginning. Start your essay with a creative introduction that will make the readers want to continue reading your essay. You may choose to start with a personal story or experience. 

Avoid using cliches such as “from a young age” or “for as long as I can remember.” Also, avoid using quotes. These are other peoples’ words, not your own.

At the end of your introduction paragraph, you should have a thesis statement that makes it clear to the reader why you are applying for the scholarship. They should be able to taste your enthusiasm and understand your motivation for applying. 

How to Start an Essay About Yourself Example

When it comes to my passion for teaching others, you might say I wasn’t given much of a choice in life. As the older sister of four, it was my responsibility to lead the way and teach my two younger brothers and sister. At least, I assumed that responsibility. I helped them with everything from school projects to packing for camp in the summer. It’s no surprise to me that years later, I have chosen to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Education at the University of Texas in the fall. With this scholarship, I will be able to pursue my degree in education and return to my hometown to teach in a local elementary school after graduating. 

Step 5: What to Include in Your Body Paragraphs  

Your body paragraphs are the meat of your scholarship essay. This is where the scholarship readers really get to know you. Your body paragraphs should each contain an argument with supporting details and examples. 

Your job in these paragraphs is to bring your personality out as much as possible. You also want to connect your arguments with your educational and career goals, and of course, to the scholarship you’re applying for. Make sure you relay to the reader how the scholarship will help you fulfill your goals.

How to Write a College Essay About Yourself Body Paragraphs Example

My role as a teacher to my little brothers and sister was only the start of it. As soon as I was of appropriate age, I started babysitting my neighbors on the weekends to earn extra money. Sure, that meant sacrificing my weekend nights with friends, but I was able to save up quite a lot of money from my Friday night and Saturday night gigs. For me, it was never only about the money. I loved spending time with the little kids. I would come up with fun activities to do with them, like “restaurant night,” where we would create menus and whip up ice cream sundaes in the kitchen. 

By high school, it was clear to me that I wanted to be a teacher. I took several classes in high school that confirmed this dream of mine. I particularly enjoyed my early childhood education class where I learned theories in childhood development, classroom management techniques, and about developing curriculum. I even started to write up my own curriculum and made my younger siblings be in “school,” with me as their teacher. I don’t think they were too happy about all those extra hours of school… 

Over the last year, I completed an internship as a teacher’s assistant. Every Tuesday and Thursday I spent half the day working with a 3rd-grade teacher at the local elementary school. I learned so much from this experience, like how to manage behavior problems and how to encourage shy students to participate in lessons. I can’t wait to come back to my hometown and work as a teacher after college.

Step 6: How to End an Essay About Yourself  

By the time you get to writing your concluding paragraph, you may feel an urge to finish up your essay quickly. But, your concluding paragraph is also important in making that final last impression. Don’t rush through it. 

Your concluding paragraph should wrap up your essay while giving an overview of the main points of your essay.  You should do the following in your concluding sentence: 

  • Restate your thesis in other words. 
  • Give an overview of the arguments you made in your body paragraphs. 
  • End your concluding paragraph with a big thought related to your future.

How to End an Essay About Yourself Example

You might say that my upbringing made me who I am today, but I think it’s a lot more than that. I wouldn’t have the confidence I have today in myself and in my future goals if it weren’t for my studies and jobs throughout high school. I am so excited to start my degree at the University of Texas and keep developing the tools and skills I need to become the best teacher I can be.

Step 7: The full Example of How to Write a College Essay About Yourself

Now that you have learned how to write a solid introduction, conclusion, and body paragraphs, it’s time to put it all together. Here is the full example: 

Final Thoughts 

The “Tell Us About Yourself” scholarship essay prompt might feel frustrating. It can feel intimidating but it’s really not so bad once you know how to tackle it. 

Use these tips and you’ll be good to go. Time to start writing!

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David Tabachnikov is the CEO of ScholarshipOwl. Formerly at Waze and Google, David is an experienced CTO/R&D manager with over 10 years of experience of leading tech teams. David fervently believes that students should have greater access to education, and is passionate about using technology to help them achieve that goal.

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5 Ways to Make Your Scholarship Essay Stand Out

When writing a scholarship essay, follow these tips to win the most money for college.

Make Your Scholarship Essay Stand Out

Writing a scholarship essay isn't like writing an essay for a high school class, experts warn.

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Students hoping to earn scholarships, a form of financial aid that does not need to be repaid, often must compete with hundreds of other applicants and sometimes for a very limited number of awards.

Free financial aid plays a significant role in helping students in the U.S. pay for college. According to the 2019 How America Pays for College report from Sallie Mae, 31% of college costs in 2018-2019 were paid for with money that does not need to be repaid; three-fifths of that were scholarships and two-fifths were grants.

To get the most of this highly desirable aid, students can take advantage of a few expert-recommended strategies to make their application stand out. Below are a few tips for writing scholarship essays that pack a punch.

Get Personal and Be Specific

The key to a successful scholarship essay is making it personal, experts say, and including impactful details. An essay that feels genuine and offers insights into who the applicant is on a deeper level will stand out in a crowd of academic essays that may be boring for readers who review hundreds and sometimes thousands of applications.

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Scholarships awarded by the Pride Foundation, for example, require an application that involves multiple essays in which students are asked to describe themselves, what they plan to study and the kinds of work they hope to do. The social justice-focused philanthropic foundation aims to support the LGBTQ community in the Northwest region and awards more than 60 scholarships for any accredited postsecondary school or program, according to its website.

College scholarships had an average award amount of about $5,000 to $8,000 last year, says Katelen Kellogg, the foundation's communications and outreach manager. She says the scholarships are for LGBTQ or strongly LGBTQ-allied students who are residents of the Pacific Northwest.

Kellogg, who helps read essays from applicants each year, says the scholarship essays that stand out to her include "details that paint the picture of their lives." She says the most successful essays are "less about something you do and more about who you are as a person."

Eden Shore, a volunteer manager at the Pride Foundation who also has experience reading hundreds of scholarship essays, says the writing process should be meaningful for students – and that comes across in the essay.

"Your essay can be an opportunity for you to make sense of something yourself," Shore says. "Illustrate you can thoughtfully reflect."

Tell a Story

A standout essay hooks the reader from the first sentence, says Monica Matthews, author of the scholarship guide, "How to Win College Scholarships."

Think about the structure of the essay, and how the reader can be drawn in by it, experts say. The story should feel real and true to the student's life.

"Students need to begin with a hook and share personal and tangible details about their life," Matthews wrote in an email. "Simply stating that they have helped others, for example, does not let the judges see the kind of person that they really are. Writing about specific experiences with real-life situations using interesting details makes compelling and memorable essays."

Tailor the Scholarship Essay to the Prompt

In some cases, it may be acceptable and even smart to repurpose an essay the student has already written and use it for another application. But experts say students should exercise caution.

"Many times, students try to re-purpose essays from the admissions process for scholarship essays, and the result ends up being so-so," Colleen Paparella Ganjian, an independent educational consultant and founder of DC College Counseling in Virginia, wrote in an email.

Instead, essays should be on topic and specific to the unique question being asked and the organization to which students are applying.

A typical scholarship essay topic will likely ask students about their career goals and their plan to achieve those goals, Matthews says. Other essay prompts might ask students what they've done to make their community a better place or to describe a personal achievement and how they overcame challenges to reach it.

Don't Tailor Yourself to the Reader

Students often feel they need to project a certain image or side of themselves in scholarship applications and essays. This isn't always necessary.

"The only person an applicant has to be is themselves," Shore says of applicants to the Pride Foundation Scholarship.

The trap of tailoring themselves can be particularly tempting for students who are nontraditional or have an international background, says Mandee Heller Adler, founder and president of International College Counselors based in Florida.

"Don't shy away from talking about your culture, traditions, and experiences. If you're an international applicant , a minority, or non-traditional student, don't try to 'Americanize' or 'mainstream' your application," Heller Adler wrote in an email. "Scholarship committees like diversity, and the goal is to stand out and not appear to be like all the other applicants. Don't be afraid to expand on details about your culture that are meaningful to you and essential to understanding who you are."

Follow Directions

The greatest frustration in reading scholarship application essays, Shore says, is when students fail to follow directions. This means taking note of any formatting specifications, length restrictions and answering the question posed.

"Make sure you're answering the question that has been asked and stay within the word limit you're given," Shore says. "Longer doesn't necessarily mean better. If students are bored by the essay they write, the reader will be too."

Trying to fund your education? Get tips and more in the U.S. News Paying for College center.

12 Ways to Win a Scholarship

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How to Write an Amazing Personal Statement (Includes Examples!)

how to start an essay about yourself for a scholarship

The personal statement. It’s one of the most important parts of the entire college application process. This essay is the perfect opportunity to show admissions officers who you are and what makes you stand out from the crowd. But writing a good personal statement isn’t exactly easy. That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate guide on how to nail your personal statement, complete with example essays . Each essay was reviewed and commented upon by admissions expert Bill Jack. Let’s dive in!

Related: How to write an essay about yourself  

What is a personal statement? 

A personal statement is a special type of essay that’s required when you’re applying to colleges and scholarship programs. In this essay, you’re expected to share something about who you are and what you bring to the table. Think of it as a chance to reveal a side of yourself not found in the rest of your application. Personal statements are typically around 400 – 600 words in length. 

What can I write about? 

Pretty much anything, as long as it’s about you . While this is liberating in the sense that your writing options are nearly unlimited, it’s also overwhelming for the same reason. The good news is that you’ll probably be responding to a specific prompt. Chances are you’re applying to a school that uses the Common App , which means you’ll have seven prompts to choose from . Reviewing these prompts can help generate some ideas, but so can asking yourself meaningful questions. 

Below you’ll find a list of questions to ask yourself during the brainstorming process. For each of the following questions, spend a few minutes jotting down whatever comes to mind. 

  • What experiences have shaped who you are? 
  • What’s special or unique about you or your life story? 
  • Who or what has inspired you the most? 
  • What accomplishments are you most proud of? 
  • What are your goals for the future? How have you arrived at those goals? 
  • If your life was a movie, what would be the most interesting scene? 
  • What have been some of the biggest challenges in your life? How did you respond and what did you learn? 

The purpose of these questions is to prompt you to think about your life at a deeper level. Hopefully by reflecting on them, you’ll find an essay topic that is impactful and meaningful. In the next section, we’ll offer some advice on actually writing your essay. 

Also see:  How to write a 500 word essay

How do I write my personal statement? 

Once you’ve found a topic, it’s time to start writing! Every personal statement is different, so there’s not really one formula that works for every student. That being said, the following tips should get you started in the right direction:  

1. Freewrite, then rewrite 

The blank page tends to get more intimidating the longer you stare at it, so it’s best to go ahead and jump right in! Don’t worry about making the first draft absolutely perfect. Instead, just get your ideas on the page and don’t spend too much time thinking about the finer details. Think of this initial writing session as a “brain dump”. Take 15-30 minutes to quickly empty all your thoughts onto the page without worrying about things like grammar, spelling, or sentence structure. You can even use bullet points if that helps. Once you have your ideas on the page, then you can go back and shape them exactly how you want. 

2. Establish your theme 

Now that you’ve got some basic ideas down on the page, it’s time to lock in on a theme. Your theme is a specific angle that reflects the central message of your essay. It can be summarized in a sentence or even a word. For example, let’s say you’re writing about how you had to establish a whole new group of friends when you moved to a new city. The theme for this type of essay would probably be something like “adaptation”. Having a theme will help you stay focused throughout your essay. Since you only have a limited number of words, you can’t afford to go off on tangents that don’t relate to your theme. 

3. Tell a story

A lot of great essays rely on a specific scene or story. Find the personal anecdote relevant to your theme and transfer it to the page. The best way to do this is by using descriptive language. Consult the five senses as you’re setting the scene. What did you see, hear, taste, touch, or smell? How were you feeling emotionally? Using descriptive language can really help your essay come to life. According to UPchieve , a nonprofit that supports low income students, focusing on a particular moment as a “ revised version of a memoir ” is one way to keep readers engaged. 

Related: College essay primer: show, don’t tell  

4. Focus on your opening paragraph

Your opening paragraph should grab your reader’s attention and set the tone for the rest of your essay. In most cases, this is the best place to include your anecdote (if you have one). By leading with your personal story, you can hook your audience from the get-go. After telling your story, you can explain why it’s important to who you are. 

Related:  How to start a scholarship essay (with examples)

5. Use an authentic voice 

Your personal statement reflects who you are, so you should use a tone that represents you. That means you shouldn’t try to sound like someone else, and you shouldn’t use fancy words just to show off. This isn’t an academic paper, so you don’t have to adopt a super formal tone. Instead, write in a way that allows room for your personality to breathe. 

6. Edit, edit, edit…

Once you’re done writing, give yourself some time away from the essay. Try to allow a few days to pass before looking at the essay again with fresh eyes. This way, you’re more likely to pick up on spelling and grammatical errors. You may even get some new ideas and rethink the way you wrote some things. Once you’re satisfied, let someone else edit your essay. We recommend asking a teacher, parent, or sibling for their thoughts before submitting. 

Examples of personal statements 

Sometimes viewing someone else’s work is the best way to generate inspiration and get the creative juices flowing. The following essays are written in response to four different Common App prompts: 

Prompt 1: “Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.”

When I was eight years old, I wanted a GameCube very badly. For weeks I hounded my dad to buy me one and finally he agreed. But there was a catch. He’d only get me a GameCube if I promised to start reading. Every day I played video games, I would have to pick up a book and read for at least one hour. At that point in my life, reading was just something I had to suffer through for school assignments. To read for pleasure seemed ludicrous. Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about this proposed agreement. But I figured anything was worth it to get my hands on that shiny new video game console, so I bit the bullet and shook my dad’s hand. Little did I know that I had just made a life-changing deal. 

At first, the required hour of reading was a chore — something I had to do so I could play Mario Kart. But it quickly turned into something more than that. To my complete and utter surprise, I discovered that I actually enjoyed reading. One hour turned into two, two turned into three, and after a while I was spending more time reading than I was playing video games. I found myself captivated by the written word, and I read everything I could get my hands on. Lord of the Rings , Percy Jackson , Goosebumps — you name it. I was falling in love with literature, while my GameCube was accumulating dust in the TV stand. 

Soon enough, reading led to writing. I was beginning to come up with my own stories, so I put pen to paper and let my imagination run wild. It started out small. My first effort was a rudimentary picture book about a friendly raccoon who went to the moon. But things progressed. My stories became more intricate, my characters more complex. I wrote a series of science fiction novellas. I tried my hand at poetry. I was amazed at the worlds I could create with the tip of my pen. I had dreams of becoming an author. 

Then somewhere along the way my family got a subscription to Netflix, and that completely changed the way I thought about storytelling. My nose had been buried in books up until then, so I hadn’t really seen a lot of movies. That quickly changed. It seemed like every other day a pair of new DVDs would arrive in the mail (this was the early days of Netflix). Dark Knight, The Truman Show, Inception, Memento — all these great films were coming in and out of the house. And I couldn’t get enough of them. Movies brought stories to life in a way that books could not. I was head over heels for visual storytelling. 

Suddenly I wasn’t writing novels and short stories anymore. I was writing scripts for movies. Now I wanted to transfer my ideas to the big screen, rather than the pages of a book. But I was still doing the same thing I had always done. I was writing, just in a different format. To help with this process, I read the screenplays of my favorite films and paid attention to the way they were crafted. I kept watching more and more movies. And I hadn’t forgotten about my first love, either. I still cherished books and looked to them for inspiration. By the end of my junior year of high school, I had completed two scripts for short films. 

So why am I telling you all this? Because I want to turn my love of storytelling into a career. I’m not totally sure how to do that yet, but I know I have options. Whether it’s film production, creative writing, or even journalism, I want to find a major that suits my ambitions. Writing has taken me a long way, and I know it can take me even further. As I step into this next chapter of my life, I couldn’t be more excited to see how my craft develops. In the meantime, I should probably get rid of that dusty old GameCube. 

Feedback from admissions professional Bill Jack

Essays don’t always have to reveal details about the student’s intended career path, but one thing I like about this essay is that it gives the reader a sense of the why. Why do they want to pursue storytelling. It also shows the reader that they are open to how they pursue their interest. Being open to exploration is such a vital part of college, so it’s also showing the reader that they likely will be open to new things in college. And, it’s always fun to learn a little bit more about the student’s family, especially if the reader can learn about how the students interacts with their family. 

Prompt 2: “The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?”

I remember my first impression of Irvine: weird. It was foggy, stock-full of greenery and eucalyptus trees, and reminded me of my 5th grade trip to a “science camp” which was located in the San Bernardino mountains. Besides Irvine, that was one of the few places in Southern California where you’d find so many non-palm trees. 

Of course, perhaps my initial impression of Irvine was biased, motivated by a desire to stay in my hometown and a fear of the unknown. While that was true to an extent, Irvine was certainly still a little peculiar. The city itself was based on a “master plan” of sorts, with the location of each of its schools, parks, shops, and arguably its trees having been logically “picked” before the foundation was poured. Even the homes all looked roughly the same, with their beige, stucco walls almost serving as a hallmark of the city itself.

Thus, this perfectly structured, perfectly safe city seemed like a paradise of sorts to many outsiders, my parents included. I was a little more hesitant to welcome this. As I saw it, this was a phony city – believing that its uniformity stood for a lack of personality. My hometown, although not as flawlessly safe nor clean as Irvine, was where most of my dearest memories had occurred. From the many sleepovers at Cindie’s house, to trying to avoid my school’s own version of the “infamous” cheese touch, to the many laughs shared with friends and family, I shed a tear at the prospect of leaving my home.

Moving into the foreign city, remnants of the hostility I held towards Irvine remained. Still dwelling in my memories of the past, I was initially unable to see Irvine as a “home.” So, as I walked into my first-ever Irvine class, being greeted by many kind, yet unfamiliar faces around me, I was unable to recognize that some of those new faces would later become some of my dearest friends. Such negative feelings about the city were further reinforced by newer, harder classes, and more complicated homework. Sitting in the discomfort of this unfamiliar environment, it started to seem that “change” was something not only inevitable, but insurmountable.

As the years went on, however, this idea seemed to fade. I got used to my classes and bike racing through Irvine neighborhoods with my friends, watching the trees that once seemed just a “weird” green blob soon transform into one of my favorite parts of the city. While I kept my old, beloved memories stored, I made space for new ones. From carefully making our way over the narrow creek path next to our school, to the laughs we shared during chemistry class, my new memories made with friends seemed to transform a city I once disliked into one I would miss. 

Through this transformation, I have come to recognize that change, although sometimes intimidating at first, can open the door to great times and meaningful connections. Although Irvine may have once seemed like a strange, “phony” place that I couldn’t wait to be rid of, the memories and laughs I had grown to share there were very real. As I move onto this next part of my life, I hope I can use this knowledge that I have gained from my time in Irvine to make the most of what’s to come. Even if the change may be frightening at first, I have learned to embrace what’s on the other side, whether green or not.

One huge plus to writing an essay that focuses on a place is that you might have it read by someone who has been there. Yet, what’s really helpful about this essay is that even if someone hasn’t been there, a picture is painted about what the place is like.  Admission officers have the hard task of really understanding what the student sees, so the use of adjectives and imagery can really help.  It’s also really clever to see that the green that’s mentioned at the beginning is mentioned at the end.  It’s a nice way to bookend the essay and tie it all together.

Prompt 6: “Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?”

I like getting lost. Not literally, of course, but figuratively. Whether it be in the story of a love song by Taylor Swift, or in the memories brought back by listening to my favorite childhood video game’s background music, I’ve always appreciated music’s ability to transport me to another place, another time, another feeling. 

Alas, I cannot sing, nor have I practiced an instrument since my middle school piano class days. So, perhaps Kurt Vonnegut was right. As he puts it, “Virtually every writer I know would rather be a musician.” While I cannot speak for others, I have certainly not debunked his theory. Writing allows many, including myself, to attempt to mimic the transformative power of music – even if our singing voices aren’t exactly “pleasant.” Just as you can get lost in music, you can do so in a story. Whether it is in George Orwell’s totalitarian Oceania, or Little Women’s Orchard House, the stories outlined in novels can provide an amazing look into the lives and worlds of others, and an escape from the worries and problems of those in your own.

While I am certainly not claiming to have the storytelling abilities of the Orwells or Alcotts before me, I’ve had fun trying to recreate such transformative feelings for others. When I was nine, I attempted to write a story about a little girl who had gotten lost in the woods, only managing to get a couple pages through. As I got older, whenever I was assigned a creative writing assignment in school, I wrote about the same pig, Phil. He was always angry: in my 8th grade science class, Phil was mad at some humans who had harbored his friend captive, and in my 9th grade English class, at a couple who robbed him. 

Thus, when I heard about a writing club being opened at my school in 11th grade, I knew I had to join. I wanted to discern whether writing was just a hobby I picked up now and then, or a true passion. If it was a passion, I wanted to learn as much as possible about how I could improve. Although my high school’s writing club certainly wasn’t going to transform me into Shakespeare, I knew I could learn a lot from it – and I did. The club challenged me to do many things, from writing on the spot, to writing poetry, to even writing about myself, something that’s hopefully coming in handy right now. 

From then on, I started to expand into different types of writing, storing short ideas, skits, and more in appropriately-labeled Google Drive folders. At around the same time, I became interested in classic literature, which largely stemmed from a project in English class. We had been required to choose and read a classic on our own, then present it to the class in an interesting way. While my book was certainly interesting and unique in its own right, nearly everyone else’s novels seemed more captivating to me. So, I took it upon myself to read as many classics as I could the following summer.

One of the books I read during the summer, funnily enough, was Animal Farm, which starred angry pigs, reminiscent of Phil. I had also started going over different ideas in my head, thinking about how I could translate them into words using the new skills I learned. While the writing club helped reaffirm my interest in writing and allowed me to develop new skills, my newfound affinity for classics gave me inspiration to write. Now, I am actually considering writing as part of my future. In this endeavor, I hope that Phil, and the music I inevitably listen to as I write, will accompany me every step of the way.

Admission officers might read 70 (or more!) essays in one day. It’s not uncommon for them to start to blend together and sound similar. This essay might not make you laugh out loud. But, it might make the reader chuckle while reading it thanks to the subtle humor and levity. Being able to incorporate a little humor into your essay (if it is natural for you to do… do not force it), can really be a great way to shed additional light into who you are. Remember, the essay isn’t merely about proving that you can write, but it should also reveal a little bit about your personality.

Prompt 5: “Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.”

I learned a lot of things during the summer I worked at Tropical Smoothie. I discovered the value of hard work. I figured out how to save money. I even mastered the art of the Mango Magic smoothie (the secret is lots of sugar). But most importantly, I learned the power of perspective. And I have Deja to thank for that. 

Deja was my shift supervisor, and one of Tropical Smoothie’s best employees. She was punctual, friendly, and always willing to lend a helping hand. She knew the store from top to bottom, and could handle pretty much any situation thrown her way. She made everyone around her better. On top of all that, she was four months pregnant! I was always impressed by Deja’s work ethic, but I gained an entirely new level of respect for her one day.

It was a Friday night, and Deja and I were working the closing shift together. It was very busy, and Deja and I were the only ones on shift. We managed to get by, but we were exhausted by the end of the evening. After wiping down the counters and mopping the floors, we closed up shop and went our separate ways. I was eager to get home. 

I walked a couple blocks to where I had parked my car. Well, it wasn’t my car actually. It was my dad’s ‘98 Chevy pickup truck, and it was in rough shape. It had no heat or A/C, the leather seats were cracked beyond repair, and the driver’s side door was jammed shut. I sighed as I got in through the passenger side and scooted over to the driver’s seat. The whole reason I was working at Tropical Smoothie was to save up enough money to buy my own car. I was hoping to have something more respectable to drive during my senior year of high school. 

I cranked the old thing up and started on my way home. But soon enough, I spotted Deja walking on the side of the road. There was no sidewalk here, the light was low, and she was dangerously close to the passing cars. I pulled over and offered her a ride. She got in and explained that she was on her way home. Apparently she didn’t have a car and had been walking to work every day. I couldn’t believe it. Here I was complaining about my set of wheels, while Deja didn’t have any to begin with.

We got to talking, and she confessed that she had been having a tough time. You would never know from the way she was so cheerful at work, but Deja had a lot on her plate. She was taking care of her mother, her boyfriend had just lost his job, and she was worried about making ends meet. And of course, she was expecting a baby in five months. On top of all that, she had been walking nearly a mile to and from work every day. The whole thing was a real eye opener, and made me reconsider some things in my own life. 

For one, I didn’t mind driving my dad’s truck anymore. It was banged up, sure, but it was a lot better than nothing. My mindset had changed. I appreciated the truck now. I began to think about other things differently, too. I started making mental notes of all the things in my life I was thankful for — my family, my friends, my health. I became grateful for what I had, instead of obsessing over the things I didn’t. 

I also gained more awareness of the world outside my own little bubble. My encounter with Deja had shown me first-hand that everyone is dealing with their own problems, some worse than others. So I started paying more attention to my friends, family members, and coworkers. I started listening more and asking how I could help. I also gave Deja a ride home for the rest of the summer. 

These are all small things, of course, but I think they make a difference. I realized I’m at my best when I’m not fixated on my own life, but when I’m considerate of the lives around me. I want to keep this in mind as I continue to grow and develop as a person. I want to continue to search for ways to support the people around me. And most importantly, I want to keep things in perspective.

Too often we can be focused on our own problems that we fail to realize that everyone has their own things going on in their lives, too.  This essay showcases how it’s important to put things in perspective, a skill that certainly will prove invaluable in college… and not just in the classroom.  Another reason I like this essay is because it provides deeper insight into the student’s life.  Sure, you might have mentioned in your activities list that you have a job.  But as this essay does, you can show why you have the job in the first place, what your responsibilities are, and more.

A few last tips

We hope these essay examples gave you a bit of inspiration of what to include in your own. However, before you go, we’d like to send you off with a few (personal statement) writing tips to help you make your essays as lovely as the memories and anecdotes they’re based off of. Without further ado, here are some of our best tips for writing your personal statements:

1. Open strong

College admissions officers read many, many essays (think 50+) a day, which can sometimes cause them to start blending together and sounding alike. One way to avoid your essay from simply fading into the background is to start strong. This means opening your essay with something memorable, whether an interesting personal anecdote, a descriptive setting, or anything else that you think would catch a reader’s attention (so long as it’s not inappropriate). Not only might this help college admissions officers better remember your essay, but it will also make them curious about what the rest of your essay will entail.

2. Be authentic

Perhaps most important when it comes to writing personal statement essays is to maintain your authenticity. Ultimately, your essays should reflect your unique stories and quirks that make you who you are, and should help college admissions officers determine whether you’d truly be a good fit for their school or not. So, don’t stress trying to figure out what colleges are looking for. Be yourself, and let the colleges come to you!

3. Strong writing

This one may seem a little obvious, but strong writing will certainly appeal to colleges. Not only will it make your essay more compelling, but it may show colleges that you’re ready for college-level essay writing (that you’ll likely have to do a lot of). Just remember that good writing is not limited to grammar. Using captivating detail and descriptions are a huge part of making your essay seem more like a story than a lecture.

4. Proofread

Last but not least, remember to proofread! Make sure your essay contains no errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. When you’re done proofreading your essay yourself, we would also recommend that you ask a teacher, parent, or other grammatically savvy person to proofread your essay as well.

Final thoughts 

With those in hand, we hope you now have a better sense of how to write your personal statement. While your grades and test scores are important when it comes to college admissions, it’s really your essays that can “make” or “break” your application. 

Although this may make it seem like a daunting task, writing an amazing personal statement essay is all about effort. Thus, so long as you start early, follow the advice listed above, and dedicate your time and effort to it, it’s entirely possible to write an essay that perfectly encapsulates you. Good luck, and happy writing!

Also see:  Scholarships360’s free scholarships search tool

Key Takeaways

  • It may take some people longer than others to know what they want to write about, but remember that everyone, including you, has something unique to write about!
  • Personal statements should be personal, which means you should avoid being too general and really strive to show off what makes you “you”
  • Time and effort are two of the most important things you can put into your personal statement to ensure that it is the best representation of yourself
  • Don’t forget to ask people who know you to read your work before you submit; they should be able to tell you better than anyone if you are truly shining through!

Frequently asked questions about writing personal statements 

How do you write a powerful personal statement, what makes an amazing personal statement, how do you start an amazing personal statement, scholarships360 recommended.

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How to Write a Scholarship Essay

  • Post date January 20, 2021

how to start an essay about yourself for a scholarship

Set Yourself Up for Success

When you’re competing against thousands of scholarship applicants, your personal statement for a scholarship can make or break your chances of winning. While filling out your application is pretty straightforward, your essay is what will make you stand out.

The problem is, without knowing where to start, most students will head over to Google and search for things like:

  • scholarship essay examples
  • sample scholarship essays
  • personal statement for scholarship examples
  • scholarship essay examples financial need
  • scholarship letter sample
  • scholarship letter examples

With thousands of students using the same examples as references, your essays will start to look and sound alike, making it harder to make an impression. However, with a properly constructed and thoughtful essay, you can separate yourself from the student body of college hopefuls, giving you a great chance at securing the resources necessary for higher education.

That said, you’re probably wondering how to write a scholarship essay that’s capable of winning awards and accolades? We’re here to help you apply by sharing our must-know scholarship essay tips that will ensure you the best shot at winning.

The Question

The key to how to write a scholarship essay that’s going to stand out falls to the questions you address. When going through scholarship essay questions, you might come across a bunch of different questions specific to what the scholarship committee is looking for from their future winner. However, the underlying question for almost every scholarship essay is the same, regardless of how it’s worded. Most essays will ask, “Why do you deserve to win?” or some iteration of that using different wording. They might ask to “describe your extracurricular passions” or “describe a time when you had to take on a leadership role,” but believe it or not, all these seemingly different questions are looking to hear why you deserve the scholarship money.

How you choose to answer is up to you, but you must address this underlying question and tie it back to your answer to the overarching essay question. On another note, if you haven’t already figured this out, the answer should never be “because I need money.”

6 Steps to Writing an Award-Winning Scholarship Essay

First and foremost, before we provide our tips on how to write a scholarship essay, you need to know the purpose of the scholarships you are applying to and use this as your guide when writing a scholarship essay. Keep in mind that when writing about why you deserve to win, the answer you choose, along with examples that you use, should show how you fulfill the scholarship’s mission. Knowing this, here are our six steps to writing an award winning scholarship essay:

Step 1 — The Right Topic & Approach

Generally, you will come across two types of essay questions: the first will ask you to write about a specific topic, and the second will give you a broad topic to write about. With the first type, you need to create your own topic, and in the latter, you don’t need to think about a topic as it is provided for you. However, you will need to develop an appropriate approach to answer both types of questions.

Finding a Topic

When you’re presented with a broad essay question, you can choose your own topic. As such, you’ll need to generate ideas and start brainstorming. Begin by thinking about significant events in your life, people who have influenced you, learning experiences from your time at school, goals, and future ambitions, where you hope you’ll be in the next five or ten years etc. Don’t get too critical while you’re brainstorming; just let your creativity flow. Once you’ve created a list of topics, start to eliminate the ones that don’t help you answer why you deserve to win and narrow down your topics to the one you feel will best suit the question.

Developing a Unique Approach

Whether you had to come up with your own topic or one was provided to you, you will need to figure out how you will approach it. For any given topic, there are probably a hundred ways you could tackle the subject. You’re going to have to narrow down your topic by choosing to share a small part of the larger story that best answers the question.

Once you’ve narrowed down your topic, it’s time to consider what approach will convince the scholarship committee that you deserve to win the money above other applicants. Keep in mind, simply retelling the story won’t tell the reader how this experience reveals the qualities they are looking for. Get creative and dig deeper by asking yourself: How has this experience changed your life? Why did you do what you did? What is the lesson that came out of this experience? What aspect of this topic is most important to making my point? From there, you need to decide on the focus of your essay since you will be speaking to a small sliver of time.

Finding the right approach is just as important as finding the right topic. This is especially true if you answer a question that provides a specific topic. With every scholarship applicant writing about the same topic, you need to be sure that your approach persuasively shows the judges why you deserve to win more than anyone else.

Step 2 — Be Original

Now that you know what you’re going to write about and how you’re going to approach your topic, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to convey your message. Keep in mind that scholarship committees will read hundreds, if not thousands, of essays that will often be on the same or a similar topic. This is why it is essential to make sure your writing is original and engaging.

To do this, you’ll need to share a moment in your life that will help you convey your point. By doing this, you’re reducing your chances of having an essay that sounds like everyone else’s since your experiences are unique to you. Essays that share a unique moment from your life tend to be a lot more interesting and leave a lasting impression while giving the scholarship committee a better picture of who you are.

You don’t have to look far to find originality. Everyone has experiences that are unique to us. Even the most common experiences can be made original, depending on how you illustrate and tell the story, so don’t write off a topic just because it sounds ordinary. Take the time to think about how you can write about it in a way that is different from others, and you may surprise yourself at how original it could be.

Step 3 — Go with Your Flow

We all know the most challenging part of writing is getting started. Don’t overthink it; just start writing what is going through your head. The first few sentences aren’t going to be the best, but get your thoughts onto paper and worry about the rest later. You can always go back and revise it to sound better, but it’s easier to do once you have all your thoughts down.

While everyone has their own writing style, the most important thing to focus on when writing is winning over a scholarship committee. You need to think about who will read your essay, so you might want to do additional research. Your goal is to write an essay that appeals to your audience. This should guide not only your selection of topics but also your word choice, language, and tone.

The key is to be yourself. While you want to present yourself in a way that attracts the attention of the scholarship committee, you don’t want to portray yourself as someone you are not. It’s fine to present selected highlights from your life that fit with the award, but it’s not ethical to exaggerate or even outright lie about an experience to win an award. Don’t go crazy trying to mold yourself into a person you think the scholarship committee wants to read about.

Be true to yourself and write about what has happened to you personally or how you have been affected by something directly in your life. Given that most essays will have a character or word limit, keep your essay tight and focused. Lastly, don’t forget to make your point!

Step 4 — Stand Out From Start to Finish

Everyone knows that the hardest part of an essay is the introduction and conclusion. While this may be true, it’s also the two most important parts of your essay. Your introduction gives the reader their first impression of you, while the conclusion should leave a lasting impact. Spend extra time on your introduction and conclusion to ensure these two parts deliver the message you want.

The goal of your introduction is to captivate the reader’s attention. Considering posing a new question — questions often grab the reader’s attention because it will make them stop to think about how they would answer the question and are curious to see how you will answer or present a solution to the question in your essay.

As you introduce the topic, don’t forget the power of description. If you can create a vivid image for the reader, they’ll be more inclined to continue reading. Paint a picture for the reader with senses and words so they can envision themselves there.

The purpose of your conclusion is to thoughtfully bring your essay to an end. The conclusion is the second most powerful statement in your essay because this is what the scholarship committee will remember. With the hopes that the scholarship committee has thoroughly read your essay, avoid summarizing your essay in the conclusion. While it’s okay to include one sentence rehashing what you’ve already said, you want to do more than just restate your point. You have one final opportunity to make a lasting impression, so add a parting thought. This can be one last observation or idea that ties into the main point you’re trying to make. The worst thing you could do is tack on a meaningless conclusion filled with fluff, so be sure every sentence has a purpose. Lastly, never start your paragraph with “in conclusion,” and never end your essay with the words “The End.”

Step 5 — Get Some Extra Eyes On It

Despite how well you think you write, you’re not infallible, so it’s important to get someone else to proofread and edit your work. Whether it’s friends, roommates, family members, teachers, or advisors, ask someone other than yourself to look over your work. One of the key benefits of having someone else read your work is that they will find errors that eluded you, and they will be able to identify spots in your essay that seem unclear from an outsider’s perspective.

Make sure your reviewers know what to look for. Ask them if your ideas are clear, if you have answered the question appropriately, and if your essay is interesting. While you may disagree with some of their feedback and suggestions, take them seriously, and consider what they are telling you. The more input you get from others, the more times you’ll find yourself revising it to be better.

Your main goal is to produce an essay with clear points and supporting examples that logically flow together to prove your overall point. You also want to make sure that your essay has no spelling and grammar errors. The best way to do this is to have someone else read your work. If you don’t have someone you can ask or are limited due to time, then do it yourself. But, do it ever so carefully.

Step 6 — Repurpose Your Essays!

Keep in mind you’ll be applying to more than one scholarship, and since most scholarship committees usually ask very broad questions, you should repurpose your essays. Doing this could save you a tremendous amount of time. If you choose to reuse your essay, make sure you go through all the steps of figuring out who your audience is and what the topic is. If your existing essay can effectively answer another topic, be sure to tailor it for every scholarship application. However, be mindful of when a repurposed essay doesn’t fit the question. It’s better to take your time to write an appropriate essay than to submit one that doesn’t make sense for a specific scholarship.

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The Ultimate Guide To Writing a Winning Scholarship Essay

Stand out from the rest.

Students sitting together and helping each other with how to write scholarship essays

With the cost of higher education skyrocketing in the last few decades, it’s no surprise that many students seek out scholarships to help cover tuition. As a result, it’s a very competitive endeavor, which is why students need to find ways to stand out. We’ve put together this resource to help write a scholarship essay that will get the application committee’s attention.

How To Find Scholarships

Many students know that they want to apply for scholarships but don’t know where to find them. Honestly, this can be the most difficult and intimidating part of the process for students! Here are some suggestions for where to start. 

Ask a Guidance Counselor

One of the best resources for high school students is their guidance counselor. They are prepared to help students make academic and career plans and should be aware of scholarship opportunities to align with your needs and goals. 

Talk to the College or University

Already have a college or university picked out? Reach out to the school’s financial aid department. In addition to the many scholarships you can find online, they may offer information about funding offered directly through the school. 

Submit a FAFSA Application

Even if a student isn’t planning to accept student loans, they should definitely consider completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Not only will the resulting report inform them of any financial assistance for which they qualify, but many scholarship committees require applicants to submit a FAFSA. 

Search Scholarship Websites

There are many scholarship websites where students can find awards and applications. Sites such as Scholarships.com and Scholarship 360 allow you to use filters to narrow down your search results based on your needs and interests. 

We’ve also put together the following guides:

  • How To Get a Full-Ride Scholarship
  • Best Merit-Based Scholarships  
  • Excellent Scholarships for High School Seniors
  • Great Scholarships for Black Students
  • Scholarships for Women
  • Best Scholarship Opportunities for Future Teachers

Do an Internet Search

Head to a search engine, social media platform, or sites like Reddit to look for scholarships. You can even create posts inviting other users to share suggestions.

Ask an Employer

Some workplaces offer tuition benefits or other financial assistance for higher education. If a student is employed, it’s an option to reach out to someone in the HR department to see if they offer any programs or scholarships. 

The Dos and Don’ts of Writing a Scholarship Essay

Do: know the rules.

The most important thing anyone can do before writing a scholarship essay is this: Read all of the rules and guidelines and then reread them! Students can even ask someone else to read them too, to make sure they fully understand what they need to do. Failing to follow the rules is one of the main reasons why students are unsuccessful in getting scholarships. 

Do: Set Aside Plenty of Time

Start working on scholarship essays right away. Do not wait until a week (or day!) before the deadline. This gives students time to write several drafts of the essay if needed. Also, you never know when a technology-related issue might strike, so having a little extra time can save you from disaster. 

Do: Research the Scholarship Provider

Dig deep when applying for a scholarship. Find out who is funding the award and spend some time researching the provider. Do they have a vision or mission statement? Do they support any specific causes or types of students? Is there any way that applicants can make themselves more attractive candidates for the specific audience? Students should use this information to their advantage! 

Do: Brainstorm

Students should take some time to think about what they’ve learned about the scholarship essay guidelines and the provider. Then, brainstorm about what they want to say and share and why. Here are some questions to ask as they pertain to education and career goals:

  • Who are you? Think of yourself but also your background.
  • What makes you who you are?
  • What have you done?
  • What do you want to do?
  • How are you going to get there?
  • Why do you need a scholarship?
  • How will it make a difference?
  • Are you a first-generation college student?
  • Do you have any unique qualities or needs?
  • What makes you proud?
  • What lessons have you learned?

These are heavy questions, but finding the answers to at least some of them will help provide the substance needed to write a truly effective scholarship essay. 

Do: Find Ways To Stand Out

Many, many students are applying for scholarships. They have to find a way to stand out from the rest. Students should think of the things they learned when they researched the scholarship provider. Are there any ways they can appeal to that audience? If so, focus on those areas. 

Do: Be Honest

Do not lie on a scholarship application. Let’s say that again: Do not lie on a scholarship application. Students should remind themselves that they are worthy on their own. If an applicant is discovered to be dishonest, it can really hurt them in the long run. 

Do: Stay on Topic

When reading the guidelines for the scholarship and doing brainstorming, be sure to keep the topic of the essay in mind. Everything students share and communicate should be related to the topic. 

Do: Be Professional

Students should use their very best skills when writing a scholarship essay. They should not use slang, casual language, unconventional fonts, emojis, or texting abbreviations. 

Do: Proofread and Edit Multiple Times

It’s a good idea to prepare to write this essay at least three times. First, there’s a rough draft that should be carefully proofread. Students can ask a teacher or other professional to also look at their paper. Then students should repeat this process once or twice more until they’re happy with the results. They shouldn’t just write it and submit it all at once! 

Don’t: Brag

While students want to highlight their strengths and accomplishments, they should not brag. They also don’t want to put down other candidates or people to make themselves look good. Tell a story without embellishments. 

Don’t: Reuse a Scholarship Essay

Students put a lot of effort into writing scholarship essays, but please don’t reuse them! 

Scholarship Essay Sample Outline

Ready to get started? Having a solid outline provides a road map for the journey. Here are some suggestions for making it easier to write a scholarship essay! 

Introduction

Students should explain who they are and try to make it engaging. Hook readers by sharing a few details that will be elaborated on in the body of the essay. 

Educational and Career Goals

Students should share what they want to study and hope to gain by getting an education, as well as how it will prepare them for their future career. They should be passionate! 

Who Are You?

Student should briefly explain their background, which can include details about family, personal values, and how they got to where they are today. 

Why Are You a Good Candidate for the Scholarship?

This is where students need to really think about what they learned about the scholarship provider. What are they looking for in a candidate? Students should do their best to not only shine as a good student and leader, but also find solid ways to connect with the scholarship provider’s mission. After including some teasers or breadcrumbs in the introduction to hook the reader, this is a good place to share the rest of the story. 

To wrap up a scholarship essay, students should reiterate their commitment to their education and career. Restate how the story shared demonstrates a readiness for college and how winning the scholarship can help the applicant follow their dreams. Best of luck!

Do you have tips on how to write a scholarship essay? Share them below! Plus, check out  The Ultimate Guide to College Scholarships!

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We've put together these guidelines on how to write a scholarship essay to help your submission stand out from the rest.

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how to start an essay about yourself for a scholarship

How to Write a Scholarship Essay: Crafting a Standout Narrative

how to start an essay about yourself for a scholarship

With scholarship opportunities on the rise, it's surprising to learn that a significant percentage of applicants often overlook a crucial element: the scholarship essay. Many candidates focus solely on grades and achievements, unaware that a well-crafted essay can be the game-changer in securing financial aid.

In this article, our essay writing service experts will explore the often underestimated power of the scholarship essay, offering a comprehensive guide that covers everything from defining the essence of a compelling essay to providing practical tips, tricks, and real-world examples. Join us on this journey as we unlock the secrets to transform your essay into a compelling testimony of your unique journey and aspirations, ensuring it not only stands out but leaves a lasting impression on selection committees.

What Is a Scholarship Essay?

A scholarship essay is more than an academic piece—it serves as your personal gateway to funding opportunities, shaping the trajectory of your educational journey. It's an opportunity to weave your narrative, articulating dreams and aspirations that captivate and convince scholarship committees. Picture it as your own masterpiece, where vibrant strokes illustrate who you are, where you've traversed, and the path you aim to tread.

Instead of merely presenting a laundry list of achievements, infuse vitality into your essay by narrating a pivotal moment that ignited your passion. Lead the reader through your experiences, forging a personal connection with your journey. Keep in mind that a scholarship essay isn't just about highlighting accomplishments; it's about unveiling the person behind those achievements. It's the distinction between perusing a resume and immersing oneself in a compelling story that leaves an indelible mark.

Let's buckle up as our scholarship essay writing service explores the art of crafting essays that go beyond grades and accolades.

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Scholarship Essay Format

When it comes to the scholarship essay writing process, paying meticulous attention to specific formatting requirements is crucial. Here's a breakdown of essential elements to consider:

1. Word Count and Page Limit:

Before you start writing, carefully review the scholarship guidelines for page and word limit. Adhering to these limits demonstrates your ability to follow instructions and ensures that your essay is concise and focused.

2. Font and Font Size:

Use a readable font that is commonly accepted, such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. Ensure that the font size is within the specified range. Typically, a 12-point font is standard, but check the guidelines to confirm.

3. Margins and Spacing:

Maintain consistent margins on all sides of the document, usually one inch. Follow the specified spacing guidelines, whether it's double-spacing or a different requirement. Consistent spacing enhances readability and gives your essay a polished appearance.

4. Title or Heading:

Check if the scholarship application requires a title or heading. If not specified, you can opt for a straightforward title centered at the top of the page, using a larger font size than the body of the essay. Alternatively, you may choose to omit a title and start directly with your essay.

5. File Format and Submission Instructions:

Confirm the preferred file format for submission, whether it's a PDF, Word document, or another format. Adhering to the specified file format ensures that your essay is easily accessible and viewable by the scholarship committee.

6. Headers and Footers:

If required, include a header with your name, page number, and any other specified information. Be consistent in formatting these details throughout the document. Headers and footers add a professional touch to your essay.

7. Citations and References:

If you need to include citations or references, follow a standard citation style (such as APA format example , MLA, or Chicago) as per the scholarship guidelines. Ensure that your citations are accurate and formatted correctly.

8. Language and Tone:

While not directly related to formatting, it's crucial to maintain a professional and respectful tone. Tailor your language to suit the formality expected by the scholarship committee. Avoid slang or overly casual language unless explicitly allowed or encouraged.

9. File Naming Conventions:

If you are submitting your essay electronically, adhere to any specific file naming conventions outlined in the scholarship guidelines. This ensures that your document is easily identifiable and organized within the application system.

10. Proofreading and Formatting Check:

Before submission, thoroughly proofread your scholarship essay format to catch any errors, typos, or inconsistencies. Ensure that your essay looks polished and adheres to all specified formatting requirements.

How to Write a Scholarship Essay Step-By-Step

Here is a detailed and example-rich breakdown of how to approach and execute each section of the scholarship essay from our dissertation service experts. Remember, the key is to weave a narrative that is not only unique to you but also aligns seamlessly with the scholarship's values and expectations.

how to write scholarship

  • Introduction

To better understand how to start a scholarship essay, consider beginning with a vivid scene or a personal anecdote that relates to your journey. For example, if you're applying for a scholarship in environmental science, start with a moment of realization about the impact of climate change during a particular experience. Additionally, refer to our article on strategies for writing an essay hook for valuable tips.

  • Thesis Statement

Craft a powerful thesis that not only outlines your career goals but also hints at the unique perspective you bring. For instance, 'Through my journey in community service, I have discovered a passion for social entrepreneurship, and this scholarship will be the catalyst for implementing sustainable solutions.'

  • Body Paragraphs

Example of Achievements : Provide specific examples of your achievements within the same essay. Instead of stating, 'I was the captain of the debate team,' share a defining moment like, 'Leading the debate team to victory in the regional competition not only honed my public speaking skills but also instilled in me the importance of collaboration and effective communication.'

Experiences and Impact : Elaborate on the impact of your experiences. For instance, 'My volunteer work at the local animal shelter not only taught me compassion but also sparked an interest in animal welfare. This experience, coupled with my academic achievements, drives my pursuit of a degree in veterinary medicine.'

  • Express Your Goals and Aspirations

Specificity in Goals : Instead of a generic statement, be specific. For example, 'I aspire to bridge the gap between technology and healthcare by specializing in medical informatics. This scholarship will enable me to pioneer innovations that enhance patient care and streamline medical processes.'

Link to Scholarship Values : Showcase a connection between your goals and the scholarship values. If the scholarship emphasizes community impact, explain how your ambitions align: 'My goal of establishing sustainable community health programs aligns seamlessly with the scholarship's commitment to fostering positive change.'

  • Address Any Challenges

Share a personal challenge and highlight your resilience. 'Overcoming financial hardships, I learned the value of resourcefulness. This scholarship represents more than financial aid; it symbolizes the triumph of perseverance and the pursuit of academic excellence against all odds.'

Revisit your thesis and express optimism about the future. 'As I embark on this academic journey, fueled by my experiences and aspirations, I am confident that the skills and insights gained will not only contribute to my personal growth but also bring positive change to the communities I aim to serve.'

  • Proofreading and Editing

Seek specific feedback from peers, asking questions like, 'Does the opening anecdote draw you in?' or 'Are my goals and aspirations clear throughout the essay?' Addressing these specifics enhances the quality of your essay. If your scholarship essay ideas revolve around history, consider utilizing the assistance of our history essay writer .

  • Formatting Guidelines

Pay meticulous attention to formatting details. If the scholarship application specifies a font size or page limit, adhere to it. This showcases your ability to follow instructions, an essential skill in academic and professional settings.

  • Personalization

Adjust your essay to align with the values of each scholarship provider. If a scholarship emphasizes leadership, emphasize leadership experiences and their impact on your goals. This customization demonstrates your commitment to the specific scholarship's mission.

Scholarship Essay Examples

Below are scholarship essay examples that follow the outlined format and incorporate elements of a compelling narrative. Meanwhile, if you're feeling stuck with your own narrative, hit that ' write a paper for me ' button. Let's bring your unique story to life.

Using our tips sets you on the right track. Still, having a good sample essay at hand is vital for success. So, to make the writing process for your scholarship essay even more smooth and amazing, enter the dissertation service to look at the following samples:

Scholarship Essay Prompts

Scholarship essay prompts are more than questions; they are gateways to showcasing your unique story and aspirations. Here are some distinctive and thought-provoking prompts to spark your creativity:

  • The Unwritten Chapter : Describe a pivotal moment in your life that feels like the beginning of an unwritten chapter. How has this moment shaped your goals and inspired your pursuit of a scholarship?
  • The Legacy of Words : If you could have a conversation with any historical figure, author, or fictional character, who would it be? How would this conversation influence your academic and career aspirations?
  • The Dream Project : Imagine receiving unlimited funding for a project that addresses a global challenge. What would your project be, and how would it impact the world?
  • The Personal Lexicon : If you had to choose five words that define your journey, what would they be, and why? How do these words encapsulate your aspirations and experiences?
  • The Alternative Universe : Transport yourself to an alternate universe where you pursue a completely different field of study. How has this imaginary journey influenced your perspective on your current academic path?
  • The Cultural Odyssey : Reflect on an aspect of your cultural background that has significantly shaped your identity. How does this influence your academic and career goals, and how will it contribute to a diverse academic community?
  • The Innovation Blueprint : If you were given the chance to revolutionize an industry through innovation, which field would you choose, and what groundbreaking idea would you bring to the table?
  • The Unexpected Mentor : Describe an unexpected mentor or role model in your life. How have their guidance and insights influenced your personal and academic growth?
  • The Traveler's Tale : Imagine embarking on a journey to three different countries. Share how each country's culture, values, or experiences would contribute to your personal and academic development.
  • The Legacy of Service: Discuss a community service project you initiated or participated in. How has this experience shaped your understanding of social responsibility and influenced your educational aspirations?

6 Scholarship Essay Tips

Here are a few more tips from our service to allow you to create a winning scholarship essay:

essay tips

  • Uncover Your Unique Angle : Identify what makes your story distinct while writing scholarship essays. Whether it's an unusual experience, a personal passion, or an innovative approach to problem-solving, emphasize the elements that set you apart from other applicants.
  • Create a Compelling Hook : Engage the reader immediately by starting with a compelling hook. This could be a thought-provoking question, a surprising fact, or a powerful quote that sets the tone for your narrative.
  • Quantify Your Impact : When discussing achievements, quantify your impact whenever possible. Instead of merely stating leadership roles, highlight specific results or improvements achieved under your guidance.
  • Highlight Transformative Moments : Share moments of personal growth or transformation. These could be challenges you've overcome, realizations that shaped your perspective, or experiences that fueled your passion for your chosen field.
  • Demonstrate Proactive Solutions : Showcase instances where you took the initiative or implemented solutions. Whether it's a community project, academic challenge, or personal goal, emphasize your proactive approach and problem-solving skills.
  • Balance Confidence with Humility : Project confidence in your abilities as a college student without overshadowing humility. Acknowledge areas for growth, expressing a willingness to learn and a commitment to continuous improvement.

Creating scholarship essays can be challenging, particularly when time and skills are limited. Yet, a compelling essay plays a crucial role in securing the desired scholarship. If you're short on time or uncertain about your abilities, explore the option of seeking help from professional essay writers. Submit a ' help me with my homework ' request to receive a high-quality scholarship essay or even a Pride and Prejudice short summary , enhancing your chances of success!

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6 Awesome Scholarship Essays That Worked

When it comes to paying for college, scholarships are the best form of financial aid, since they offer students free money that never needs to be repaid. But let’s face it: completing scholarship applications, especially the essays, can feel overwhelming. The scholarship essay is arguably the most important part of the application and should be well-thought-out. In this article, we’ll walk  through five scholarship essay examples and explain why they worked, so that you can write your own winning scholarship essays .

Here are 6 winning scholarship essay examples that worked:

Why this scholarship essay example worked:, how could this essay have been better , want more resources on writing your scholarship essay, get started with your scholarship essay.

The essay is your chance to let your personality and life experiences shine through, giving you the opportunity to stand out from other applicants.

The best way to get an idea of what scholarship committees are looking for is to look over scholarship essay examples from past winners. Take some time to analyze the writing style, think about the strong points, and consider how you can improve. Below, we’ll show you just how you might dissect a scholarship essay.

Searching for scholarship essay examples

1. Going Merry Scholarship Success Story by Gabby DeMott

What’s a winning scholarship essay look like? Check out this Going Merry success story with Gabby DeMott.

ESSAY PROMPT: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

“There were only a few minutes to go and our eyes were glued to the screen. On the edge of our seats, clutching whoever happened to be next to us, we watched as the referee blew his whistle and the German players took their free kick. The ball was hit with precision and skill; it flew up over the Swedish players, past their goalie, and was caught safely in the back of the opposing team’s net. We all jumped up and screamed, a mixture of German and English, of excitement and relief, of pride and anticipation.

We stood, enraptured, for the last several minutes of the game as Germany kept its 2-1 lead over Sweden. The horde of us, Germans and Americans alike, hugged and cheered and made our way out onto the balcony, where we chanted “Deutschland! Deutschland! Deutschland!” for the whole village, the whole country, the whole world to hear. Never have I felt so accepted while being an outsider, so proud of a country that isn’t even mine, so part of something I didn’t really belong to.

My German friends didn’t care that we were from different countries; they didn’t care that we would only be staying for three weeks. They accepted us into their homes and their daily lives, their traditions and their celebrations. In watching that World Cup game, it didn’t matter that we were from different places; we were all cheering for the same team. The acceptance I felt in Germany extended beyond that living room. I came to the country on a three week exchange with ten other students from my school.

We each stayed with host families and attended the Wildermuth Gymnasium, which was surprisingly accommodating to a gaggle of loud American teenagers. The teachers were friendly and welcoming, the students treated us like ordinary peers, and even the people I interacted with in public were understanding.

Before coming to Germany I feared judgment based on my level of the language (which is nowhere near as good as the German students’ English) and American politics. It was intimidating to be in a country with limited knowledge of the language and the customs, even though everyone was welcoming. People did ask myself and the other students about the US’s political climate, but no one blamed us for it. They recognized that we were outsiders, that the place we came from had flaws, and they accepted us anyway.

Since that trip, I’ve found myself trying to provide that acceptance to people in my own country. For example, I work at a canoe livery and we receive a lot of visitors with limited English. Some of my coworkers will avoid such customers because they don’t want to take the time to explain things, to exercise patience with someone who may not understand them. If people had done this to me in Germany, my time there would have been much less enjoyable; in fact, I would have been offended.

So now when someone walks up to me at the livery and asks a question in English that isn’t perfect, I smile and welcome them. I take my time to make sure they understand, that they can have a good time, and that they feel accepted. It’s a small action, but I know firsthand that it can make a big impact, at my place of work and in the world. “

  • It shares a personal story of realization. Gabby’s essay throws us right in the middle of the action in her story, from her perspective. She paints a clear picture of where she is, how she feels, and what her goals were in that moment. She then goes on to explain the unity of the German and American students to introduce other people in the essay. LESSON TO TAKE : When including additional people in an essay, introduce them early on so you can continue telling your story in an organic way.
  • She reflects on her previous fears and explains how she’s moved past those to grow. In the fifth paragraph, Gabby shares how she feared judgment due to her level of the German language and American politics. As Gabby became more familiar with the host families and her German friends, she realizes they accepted her, and she relaxes. LESSON TO TAKE: Sharing a story in sequential order can help illustrate personal growth and how your character changed for the better.
  • She answers the prompt and demonstrates how she’ll put her newfound knowledge in action. Once Gabby realized her German friends and host family accepted her, regardless of her fears, that sparked a realization for her when she returned home to America. Gabby concludes her essay by explaining how she’s providing that same acceptance she received in another country to acquaintances and people in her country, to be patient, help them enjoy themselves, and to welcome them.  LESSON TO TAKE : Consider concluding your essay with a wrap-up of what you learned, and how you plan to apply that lesson in your life.

2. Who is a “Good” Doctor? by Joseph Lee

Below is a winning essay from Joseph Lee, Rush Medical College for the Giva Scholarship.

ESSAY PROMPT: Who is (or what makes) a good doctor?

“Had you asked me the same question one year ago, my answer would have been vastly different to the one I will give today. In the summer of 2012, with my first year of medical school completed, I embarked upon my last official summer vacation with two things in mind: a basketball tournament in Dallas and one in Atlanta. My closest friends and I had been playing in tournaments for the past 10 summers, and it was a sacred bond forged together in the name of competition. However, two weeks before our first tournament, I became instantly and overwhelmingly short of breath. Having been born to Korean immigrant parents, I was raised to utilize the hospital in emergency cases only, and I knew this was such a case. A few scans later, doctors discovered numerous pulmonary emboli (PE), caused by a subclavian deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and just like that, I was lying in a bed of a major hospital for a life threatening condition.

Fast forward a few months, and I am lying in a similar bed to treat the underlying cause of the subclavian DVT: a first rib removal. There is little that can adequately prepare someone physically, emotionally or spiritually to undergo surgery; and my thoughts continued to race in the days following. In addition to the expected physical pain, isolation, fear and frustration were a few of the emotions I experienced in the four day ordeal. The procedure went according to plan thanks to a skilled surgeon and his team, but the attributes that made the doctor “good” went far beyond his ability to operate.

“Wow. I’m glad you are feeling better” and “I can’t believe you went through that” are common reactions people have when they see the scars on my upper chest. Quite frankly, the past nine months have been difficult, literally full of blood, sweat and tears. But through it all, I have been able to maintain my positivity and gratitude knowing that I have gained the invaluable experience of being a patient and discovering the vulnerability and trust that patients give their doctors. Patients indulge information to doctors that they may have never told anyone in their life and in doing so, place a great deal of trust and responsibility in the hands of a doctor. Many patients will not understand the mechanism of disease behind their condition and anticipate that the doctor will explain to them and their family why it is that they are feeling the way they are and ultimately heal them. And that is precisely what my surgeon understood: the privilege of being able to care for patients and the intimacy of the doctor-patient relationship. And as I awoke to the care of my worried parents, the first thing they wanted to discuss was the details of the procedure that was methodically and patiently explained to them by my “good” doctor.

In study after study, patients have reported dissatisfaction with their medical care, not because of lack of knowledge or health outcome, but because their doctors did not show enough warmth in the encounter or listen to the patient’s questions and concerns. There are few times where a patient and their loved ones are more vulnerable and in need of compassion than when dealing with a hospitalization. And for some doctors, a patient may be another item on a checklist, but that patient is someone’s mother or father, son or daughter, sister or brother. My “good” doctor understood this and would often say “If you were my son…” when discussing treatment options, reflecting on the type of care he would want for his family and treating me similarly. Such ideals are rooted in love and compassion for patients, not as clients in the health care system, but as fellow human beings striving to make something of themselves and the world around them (I).

Unfortunately, the ordeal of living with a chronic illness or undergoing a major operation extends beyond the confines of the hospital. Whether it is creditors harassing patients for medical bills, prescriptions that need to be refilled, or lifestyle modifications that need to be made, the health care experience doesn’t end when a patient walks out of the hospital doors. It often takes merely a minute, as in the case of the “good” doctor who told me that as a student I could apply to get the procedure financially covered by the hospital. Such foresight in anticipating financial concerns and directing me on the next steps to be taken provided relief in the surmounting stress.

Lastly, the “good” doctor understands that as our patients are human, so are we. This means we will make mistakes, some of which can result in life-threatening consequences. With that said, the “good” doctor practices humility and honesty, apologizing and sharing as much information with patients as possible. Although no one strives to make mistakes, they will happen, and how one reacts to them is a distinguishing feature of the “good” doctor (II).

Of all the qualities I tried to explain in what makes a “good” doctor, there was no emphasis on skill and knowledge. And while being able to fulfill the duties of making the correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment plans is expected, the intangibles of love, compassion, foresight and honesty is what makes a doctor, “good”. I learned such lessons in the purest manner possible, by being a patient myself, and will use them to guide me in all future patient encounters, as I strive to be a “good” doctor.”

  • It tells a captivating story. This essay immediately pulls the reader in, immersing the audience right in the story. . We want to know how Joseph’s definition of a good doctor changed and why it did so. Hooking your reader from the first sentence of your essay or even the first paragraph is a surefire way to keep your reader engaged in the story you’re telling. The story itself is also told really well, with good pacing and just enough detail to elicit empathy without causing boredom. (He could have easily given too much scientific/medical detail!)  LESSON TO TAKE : When telling an anecdote, consider how much detail is the right amount, to make it engaging.
  • It’s a list, without you realizing it’s a list. After the first 2 paragraphs (which are mostly story-telling), the rest of the essay is effectively a list of ways that doctors are “good”: they recognize the intimacy and trust involved in the doctor-patient relationship (paragraphs 3-4), they anticipate future sources of patient stress (paragraph 5), and they exercise humility (paragraph 6). Joseph could have easily structured the essay simply by saying “There are 3 main things that make a doctor good” and then explaining each idea. However, that would have been much more boring! Instead, he expertly hides the list format, by couching it in an engaging story. LESSON TO TAKE: Not all list-type essays need to feel like lists.
  • It’s personal and believable. Joseph takes a negative personal experience, shows what he learned from it and how it caused him to grow as a person. Sometimes essays about singular, defining moments or experiences can seem blown out of proportion and thus not credible. This one feels right: a big ordeal in his life that has therefore shifted his perspective.  LESSON TO TAKE : Consider which personal stories to tell, and make sure the “size” of the story feels right.

3. Life Happens Scholarship by Emily Trader

Here is an example of a moving scholarship essay on the topic of family loss by Emily Trader for the Life Happens award.

ESSAY PROMPT: How has the death of a parent or guardian impacted your life financially and emotionally? Be sure to describe how the loss of your parent/guardian impacted your college plans, and explain how the lack of adequate (or any) life insurance coverage has impacted your family’s financial situation.

“When I was seventeen years old, my father lost his battle with kidney failure and cardiovascular disease. As long as I shall live, I do not believe that I will ever forget the first moment I saw my father’s once vibrant face in that cold and unforgiving casket. I won’t forget his lifeless and defeated hands, or how his pale lips would never utter another joke or speak to his grandchildren. Even though the day of his funeral was undoubtedly the worst day of my life, I wish I could relive it just to be with him one more time. Since that moment, I have felt as if all of my grief and longing resides underneath my skin with nothing to relieve the pressure. On September 8th, 2016, I lost my voice of reason, my confidant, my cheerleader, and my best friend.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had lost so much more. Upon my father’s passing, he left us with funeral and medical expenses that his insurance would not cover. Because he did not have any form of life insurance, the financial burden of his death was now the responsibility of my mother and me. Even though my mother works night shifts as a neonatal nurse and her commute is nearly two hours, she was forced to pick up extra shifts to support my family. Though I already had a job and I worked about ten hours a week, I now work anywhere from twenty-five to thirty-five hours a week, and I am also a full-time high honor student. Even though the death of my father forced me to realize the importance of cherishing time with my family, I do not see them very often because of our busy schedules. I also sacrificed my social life and the joy that every senior in high school should experience. Instead of football games and homecoming, I had to deal with mourning and the possibility that I would not attend college because of my family’s financial troubles.

If my father had a life insurance policy, we would not have to work ourselves to the bone and sacrifice our physical and emotional well-being to keep up with expenses. I would not have to worry so intensely about the future of my education on top of the crippling grief that I have felt over the last five months. If this devastating experience has taught me anything, it is this: financial planning for these situations is absolutely invaluable. I will not soon forget the stress and despair that I have experienced, and I now realize that to have a life insurance policy is to throw your surviving family members a crucial lifeline. Though no one can ever prepare you for the trauma of losing a parent, life insurance allows you to grieve without the constant stress of financial burden, and for that reason, it is an absolutely essential precaution.

I love and miss you so much, Dad. Thank God I will see you again.”

  • She answers the prompt . It would be easy to write an essay that just spoke to her grief, or to what her father was like and how much he meant to her. But the essay prompt asks applicants to reflect on how the loss has affected the student emotionally and financially. Emily does a great job of this, by connecting the financial parts (she and her mother needing to pick up extra hours of work), with the emotional (due to the work schedule, the family not being able to spend as much time together). She also addresses how this might affect her college plans. LESSON TO TAKE : 
  • She provides (beautiful) detail. The first paragraph immediately pulls the reader in because of the detailed description she provides (“ his lifeless and defeated hands”, “pale lips” ). Similarly, the specificity of how her family is shouldering the financial burden (e.g. her working 25-to-35-hour weeks) make it feel more real rather than generic.  LESSON TO TAKE : Use details and descriptions to make something feel more emotional and tangible.
  • She knows her audience . This scholarship is funded by Life Happens, an organization formed by seven leading insurance providers, in order to educate the public about important insurance planning topics. Clearly Emily researched the provider and understood that an essay that spoke to the importance of insurance planning would be well-received by the essay readers. LESSON TO TAKE : Research the scholarship provider and adjust your content to fit the organization’s or company’s mission statement (or business model).

4. Going Merry Scholarship Success Story by Jesus Adrian Arroyo-Ramirez

Jesús Adrian Arroyo-Ramirez wrote a winning scholarship essay (and video!) that he submitted on Going Merry . He earned an outstanding $40,000 through the Golden Door Scholarship.

ESSAY PROMPT: What differentiates you from the hundreds of DACA students who apply to our scholarship? Use one of those opportunities to tell us something else we cannot see just by looking at your grades, test scores, and transcripts.

“I always knew I was different than my friends in some way. Growing up, I struggled to speak English while everyone else had little to no problems. I needed extra help in school while my friends coasted by with ease. My friends would hop on planes and travel all around the world while I had to stay at home. At the age of 13 all of my friends started driving while I still couldn’t.

I built up the courage and asked my mother why I did not have access to the simple liberties everyone else did. My name Is Jesus Adrian Arroyo-Ramirez, and I was illegally brought to this country when I was just six years old. At the time I had no clue that I was breaking any laws, and I did not realize the fact that my life was going to change forever. Growing up with a different citizenship situation than my peers was and still is the biggest challenge I have to face in my life.

Looking back there is not a single thing that I would change. Knowing that I had to work harder than everyone else lead me to be the person that I am today. I took that fire inside of me, pushed myself, graduated first in my class with a cumulative 4.0 GPA, became a Kansas Scholar, and graduated High School with a semester’s worth of college credit. In November of 2016, everything began to look up for me. I received a work permit and a social security card all thanks to the DACA program. I was finally able to get my license, get a job, and most importantly attend college.

I plan to continue my success in the classroom and do everything to the best of my ability as I know that under my current circumstances it can all be ripped away from me at any moment. Growing up with my situation has taught me to not take advantage of a single opportunity. There has been continued support around me past and current and I know there are people out there rooting for my success. I will strive to be the first generation in my family to graduate from an American University and I will set a stepping stone for my future family so they will not have to struggle as I did. My citizenship is not a setback, it is a mere obstacle that I will always learn to work around if it means giving my future children a better life, just like my mother did for me.”

  • He shares how hardships made him who he is today. Right off the bat, Jesus sets the tone for his essay by sharing how he struggled to speak English and that he was not given the same opportunities as his peers. He shares his mother’s explanation on why he lived a different life, along with his honesty in the challenges of growing up with a different citizenship situation than the teens around him. LESSON TO TAKE : Share personal details (as you feel comfortable), and consider including a defining memory or conversation hat contributes to your story. This can help paint a picture of your beginnings or your inspirations.
  • He includes emotional details. Although Jesus grew up with hardships, he persevered and mentions he wouldn’t change anything. It may have taken a little longer than his peers to get his license, but he also excelled in school, pushed himself to graduate first in class, and take college courses on top of all that. LESSON TO TAKE : Tell your story with details, feelings, thoughts and emotions to explain where you came from and where you are now.
  • He plans for the future . Jesus shared his personal story with us, and then explains how he plans to continue his success without letting anything get in the way of his path. He goes on to say his citizenship is not a setback, and that he works to provide a better life for himself and for his future children. LESSON TO TAKE : Include your plan at the end of the essay. Consider how you’ve grown and how you will bring these lessons learned with you to help your future.

5. Why College Is Important to Me by Nicole Kuznetsov

Here’s an example of a simple yet creative and heartfelt essay on the popular prompt, Why is college important to you?

ESSAY PROMPT: Why do you want to go to college? Why is it important to you?

“As a child, my life had structure. Coloring books had lines, letters took on very specific shapes, and a system of rules governed everything from board games to the classroom. I found comfort in the fact that my future had an easy-to-follow template: elementary, middle, and high school, college, job, family retirement, “happily ever after” ending. When I graduated from elementary school I was told I completed 25% of my education. During my middle school graduation, I was told I was halfway there and I know I’ll be told I’m 75% done when I throw my cap in the air this June. College was always factored into the percentage and the overall formula for life. And I never questioned its importance. I always figured it is important because it is necessary.

Going to college makes sense. From helping my parents land stable jobs after coming to America to giving my brother the chance to gain work experience at some of the top financial firms, college educations have shown their worth in my family. Yet I didn’t think about what actually goes on inside the magical universities until I entered high school. Applying to the Academy for Math, Science, and Engineering was the first time I had actively made a decision in my education. With the encouragement of my parents and favorite science teacher who recognized that I would excel in the challenging environment of like-minded students, I applied. Four years later, I can confidently say they were right.

My class of twenty-six has shown me the benefits of a collaborative rather than a competitive environment, especially the impact that camaraderie with my peers has on our collective learning experience. Each student has an inspiring level of passion and motivation that made me excited to learn, work on projects, and participate in discussions both in and out of the classroom. I used my education to gain skills and open doors for myself such as an internship at my local hospital. I gained confidence in my abilities to communicate with individuals from strangers my age to practicing professionals. I was thinking longer and harder than I ever had before to solve individual problems and large-scale challenges. In all honesty, I was having fun.

Looking back on my years at the Academy I realize how big of an impact the school made on how I view education. I wasn’t coming to school to mark another day off my calendar and inch closer to finishing the next 25%. I came to school to learn and question and push myself. Now, as a senior, I’m excited. I’m thankful for the sample that my high school gave me of what learning is supposed to be like and thankful that it left me wanting more. I’m entering college in August with a new understanding of its importance. It is important because it is what I want for my future.”

  • It finds structure through chronology . This essay is basically structured like a chronological timeline: As a child, I believed this. Then I applied to this high school (my first active academic decision). Then the high school changed me. Now I’m a senior and I believe this. Not all stories are best told in time order, but the simplest stories often are. And simple stories provide structure, which scholarship committees love. LESSON TO TAKE: Consider structuring your essay like a timeline, emphasizing the milestones along the way that have led you to where you are today. 
  • It is simply told . While the essay is descriptive, it doesn’t try to get fancy with overly flowery language or unnecessarily long SAT words. And that’s the strength of it. For instance, this passage [“ College was always factored into the percentage and the overall formula for life. And I never questioned its importance. I always figured it is important because it is necessary” ] explains her child’s logic in a really clear and well-written way. 
  • It’s got (mostly) great topic sentences . We here at Going Merry love a good topic sentence– that is, a sentence at the beginning (or end) of a paragraph that summarizes the rest of the paragraph. It helps “signpost” the most important parts of your essay. Here, three of the four paragraphs (1, 2, and 4) have strong and concise topic sentences. “As a child, my life had structure” sets up the rest of the paragraph to explain what these structures and unquestioned rules were. “Going to college makes sense” sets up why college made sense to her parents. 

6. Financial Literacy for Hispanic Women by Rosaisha Ozoria

The inaugural Founder’s Scholarship supported by the New York Women’s Bond Club in honor of Michaela Walsh goes to two New York City public high school students who won an essay competition writing about their hopes for the future of women and girls worldwide . Winners of this scholarship won a trip to accompany Women’s World Banking to Amman, Jordan for their biennial gathering of WWB network members.

PROMPT: Write about your hopes for the future of women and girls worldwide.

WINNING ESSAY:

“Twice a week I head down to volunteer at the Los Sures Social Services office, situated next to the local senior citizen home, to help at the food pantry. We distribute food to people in my neighborhood. Many are familiar faces. Many are middle-aged Hispanic women with children dangling from their hips like grass skirts. These women are there as a result of their culture and lack of financial knowledge. In our Spanish culture, patriarchy prevents women from preparing for themselves as much as they should. This leads to Hispanic women having little or no money management skills. Financial illiteracy is a major issue in my neighborhood, and that is why I hope to give Hispanic women a chance for a better future through financial education.

While I was volunteering I met a woman who happened to live in the same building as my aunt. Unemployed with two young children, and a husband earning minimum wage at a fast food restaurant, she struggled to get by every day. I thought to myself – many in my community are just like her. Then I realized I could do something to help. How? I can start a financial literacy program, which teaches Hispanic women to earn and manage money. Once a woman becomes financially literate, she is capable of making good personal and professional decisions, empowering her to improve her family’s financial well-being. Moreover, such a program will help Hispanic women become competitive employees, even in a slow recovering economy such as the one we are experiencing now.

Participating in the 2013 Women’s World Banking Global Meeting in Amman, Jordan gives me access to invaluable resources that will help me achieve this goal. I hope to find mentors from a roomful of inspiring, experienced leaders who will offer me their guidance. Also, meeting accomplished women from other countries means access to new ideas and unique perspectives. And if I am lucky, I may even come across individuals who can provide financial support to jumpstart my financial literacy program for Hispanic women. Lastly, I will tell my idea to everyone I meet in Jordan, a baby step to help Hispanic women rise from poverty.

The world continues to change rapidly, especially with globalization. It is about time that Hispanic women strive for gender equality. Thus, it is essential that Hispanic women increase their roles and knowledge in finance. The women in my neighborhood shall no longer be left out. I will task myself to help these women become better, stronger and most importantly, take control of their lives. I want to be involved so that they can save themselves from any unforeseen financial crisis. This is a tremendous goal, but for me, it is an opportunity to make a difference – in my neighborhood and for my Spanish community.”

  • There is clear structure . Right off the bat, the introduction summarizes what the reader can expect to find in the body of the essay. In particular, the closing line of the first paragraph (“ Financial illiteracy is a major issue in my neighborhood, and that is why I hope to give Hispanic women a chance for a better future through financial education”) works as an effective topic sentence, tying together the anecdote and the reason she’s interested in networking with the scholarship provider, Women’s World Banking. The last 2 paragraphs also serve clear, independent purposes: the penultimate one establishes what she would do with the scholarship (the trip to Amman), and the final paragraph explains why her particular interest is important for the larger Hispanic community. LESSON TO TAKE: Clear structure helps the reader follow your point better (especially if they’re skimming, which scholarship essay readers almost definitely are!) So include a summarizing topic sentence at the beginning or end of your first paragraph, and make sure each subsequent paragraph serves a purpose that moves forward your argument or story. 
  • The author’s passion shines. Rosaisha, the scholarship winner, is clearly passionate about serving her Hispanic community of women.  And rather than simply saying that, she shows us how she cares by using personal examples from her volunteer work. LESSON TO TAKE : Show, don’t tell. Use specific personal examples, and don’t be afraid to show your emotions.
  • She stays positive.   Even though Rosaisha discusses what might be considered a  difficult and personal topic, she keeps the tone light and inspirational. She expresses hope and her desire to make a change in the world, answering the essay in a positive tone.  It’s important to make sure your essay is not too depressing to read. (Essays about personal trauma are a bad idea.) This is a scholarship provider, not a therapist! 

While this was a winning essay, we note that it did have two points of weakness: 

  • The second paragraph lacks a bit of structure. Her point ends up feeling a bit generic, and it’s unclear what she is thinking versus planning or actually doing . For instance, she realized she could start a financial literacy program. Did she then do so? It’s unclear. 
  • The last paragraph is again a bit general. Often scholarship committees want to see what concrete steps will be taken, using the scholarship award. Here she speaks in lofty terms about what goals she hopes to accomplish, without explaining ways she might accomplish this goal. 

For more information on writing a killer scholarship essay, check out our list of helpful tips .

Also check out these related blog posts: 

  • 6 tips for writing scholarship essays about academic goals
  • How to write the best personal statement, with examples
  • How to write an awesome essay about your career goals

Scholarship essay examples that worked

You can start writing your winning scholarship essay today and submit it to thousands of scholarship applications, all in one place. Sign up for Going Merry today to put your pro scholarship essay writing skills to practice. Going Merry is your one-stop scholarship shop to search and apply for scholarships to get you on the right foot for funding your future.

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How to Write About Yourself in a College Essay | Examples

Published on September 21, 2021 by Kirsten Courault . Revised on May 31, 2023.

An insightful college admissions essay requires deep self-reflection, authenticity, and a balance between confidence and vulnerability. Your essay shouldn’t just be a resume of your experiences; colleges are looking for a story that demonstrates your most important values and qualities.

To write about your achievements and qualities without sounding arrogant, use specific stories to illustrate them. You can also write about challenges you’ve faced or mistakes you’ve made to show vulnerability and personal growth.

Table of contents

Start with self-reflection, how to write about challenges and mistakes, how to write about your achievements and qualities, how to write about a cliché experience, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about college application essays.

Before you start writing, spend some time reflecting to identify your values and qualities. You should do a comprehensive brainstorming session, but here are a few questions to get you started:

  • What are three words your friends or family would use to describe you, and why would they choose them?
  • Whom do you admire most and why?
  • What are the top five things you are thankful for?
  • What has inspired your hobbies or future goals?
  • What are you most proud of? Ashamed of?

As you self-reflect, consider how your values and goals reflect your prospective university’s program and culture, and brainstorm stories that demonstrate the fit between the two.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

Writing about difficult experiences can be an effective way to show authenticity and create an emotional connection to the reader, but choose carefully which details to share, and aim to demonstrate how the experience helped you learn and grow.

Be vulnerable

It’s not necessary to have a tragic story or a huge confession. But you should openly share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences to evoke an emotional response from the reader. Even a cliché or mundane topic can be made interesting with honest reflection. This honesty is a preface to self-reflection and insight in the essay’s conclusion.

Don’t overshare

With difficult topics, you shouldn’t focus too much on negative aspects. Instead, use your challenging circumstances as a brief introduction to how you responded positively.

Share what you have learned

It’s okay to include your failure or mistakes in your essay if you include a lesson learned. After telling a descriptive, honest story, you should explain what you learned and how you applied it to your life.

While it’s good to sell your strengths, you also don’t want to come across as arrogant. Instead of just stating your extracurricular activities, achievements, or personal qualities, aim to discreetly incorporate them into your story.

Brag indirectly

Mention your extracurricular activities or awards in passing, not outright, to avoid sounding like you’re bragging from a resume.

Use stories to prove your qualities

Even if you don’t have any impressive academic achievements or extracurriculars, you can still demonstrate your academic or personal character. But you should use personal examples to provide proof. In other words, show evidence of your character instead of just telling.

Many high school students write about common topics such as sports, volunteer work, or their family. Your essay topic doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, but do try to include unexpected personal details and your authentic voice to make your essay stand out .

To find an original angle, try these techniques:

  • Focus on a specific moment, and describe the scene using your five senses.
  • Mention objects that have special significance to you.
  • Instead of following a common story arc, include a surprising twist or insight.

Your unique voice can shed new perspective on a common human experience while also revealing your personality. When read out loud, the essay should sound like you are talking.

If you want to know more about academic writing , effective communication , or parts of speech , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

Academic writing

  • Writing process
  • Transition words
  • Passive voice
  • Paraphrasing

 Communication

  • How to end an email
  • Ms, mrs, miss
  • How to start an email
  • I hope this email finds you well
  • Hope you are doing well

 Parts of speech

  • Personal pronouns
  • Conjunctions

First, spend time reflecting on your core values and character . You can start with these questions:

However, you should do a comprehensive brainstorming session to fully understand your values. Also consider how your values and goals match your prospective university’s program and culture. Then, brainstorm stories that illustrate the fit between the two.

When writing about yourself , including difficult experiences or failures can be a great way to show vulnerability and authenticity, but be careful not to overshare, and focus on showing how you matured from the experience.

Through specific stories, you can weave your achievements and qualities into your essay so that it doesn’t seem like you’re bragging from a resume.

Include specific, personal details and use your authentic voice to shed a new perspective on a common human experience.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Courault, K. (2023, May 31). How to Write About Yourself in a College Essay | Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 20, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/college-essay/write-about-yourself/

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By submitting my email address. i certify that i am 13 years of age or older, agree to recieve marketing email messages from the princeton review, and agree to terms of use., writing a winning college scholarship essay.

If you need more money to pay for college, chances are you will be applying for several college scholarships . A great scholarship essay helps the scholarship provider understand the real person behind the application and can be the key to winning the award (assuming you meet the other scholarship criteria).

Student writing scholarship essay

Scholarship Essays vs. College Essays

Scholarship essays are very similar to your college application essays in terms of strategy. Many scholarship hopefuls will share the same grades, test scores, and ambitions: the essay is your chance to shine (and grow that dream college fund!).

How to Write a Scholarship Essay

When you’re drafting your scholarship essay, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

1. Start the essay writing process early.

Leave yourself plenty of time to produce a well thought-out entry. Take the time to brainstorm your ideas, create an outline, and edit your entry as you would for any essay writing assignment for your English class.

Read More: How to Craft an Unforgettable College Essay

2. Understand the scholarship provider’s overall mission and purpose.

Each scholarship provider is looking for students who meet certain criteria. Consider writing about an experience or interest that highlights your strong ties to the organization’s mission. Genuine passion and enthusiasm for your topic will show through in your essay writing.

3. Follow the scholarship essay instructions.

Make sure to follow all of the necessary steps and review them before submitting your scholarship essay. Trust us, some of the brightest students have missed out on the chance to earn scholarships dollars all because they neglected to follow instructions. You don’t want to fall into that category!

4. Steer clear from essay topics that focus on negativity or pessimism.

Scholarship committees would rather see how you overcame hardships and succeeded despite the obstacles in your path (or what you learned from the times you failed).

Read More: 200 Colleges That Pay You Back

5. Don’t be afraid to get personal.

Share something about who you are. This is your chance to elaborate on elsewhere on your application you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do so. Telling your story makes an essay genuine and ultimately more memorable to the scholarship committee.

6. Seek out writing advice and feedback.

Asking teachers, counselors, family members, or trustworthy friends for feedback on your essay will result in a better final product.

7. Yes, spelling and grammar matter.

Scholarship committees do notice grammar mistakes . Eveny tiny errors can distract a reader from your overall message. Before you submit your application make sure you take the time to proofread your essay from beginning to end.

8. Don’t give up!

When you’re tired, take a break, but don’t throw in the towel! Our online essay writing tutors are here for you anytime you get discouraged. We can help with everything from brainstorming and outlining to revising the final draft.

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How to write a scholarship essay

This is your time to shine!

When you apply for a scholarship, you have to submit an essay for it! Many students face one issue when they come across this step, and that is how to write a scholarship essay! Don't worry; this is an issue we will help you solve by teaching you everything you need to know about how to write a scholarship essay, from how to start a scholarship essay to how to end one! So, let's dive right into it! 

What is a Scholarship Essay?

Before we tell you about how to write a scholarship essay, you need to understand what it is! In a scholarship essay, you explain and persuade the committee members as to why you deserve financial aid. This essay is submitted with the scholarship application, and it is your one opportunity to demonstrate that you are the best candidate for the scholarship.

How to write a Scholarship Essay?

Let's discuss how to write a scholarship essay! Here are a few things to keep in mind on how to write a scholarship essay. One simple tip on how to write a scholarship essay is just to make sure that your essay provides insight into your vision and experience, which ultimately defines you and your passion for your study subject. Here are a few points to note when you write an essay on a scholarship.

1. Have an engaging start

Have questions about how to start an essay? Try including a quote or phrase related to your planned course that you may later introduce in the essay. Giving an idea about your interest in the subject will persuade the committee. Showing a broader understanding of your subject can assist in persuading the judges to provide you with the financial aid you need. 

2. Know your target audience.

When you start to write your essay for a scholarship, you need to know your target audience, in this case, the scholarship committee; you need to understand their requirements and expectations. Find out their ideal prospect and make sure you fit into that vision. Make a list of key points you want to include in your essay. You don't have to give up your vision; modify your essay to fit their parameters.

3. Read the scholarship essay prompts thoroughly.

When you think about how to start a scholarship essay, the biggest tip is to read the essay prompts thoroughly. You must comply with the appropriate essay prompt structure and word count. Also, double-check that you are simply replying to all prompt sections.

4. Research about the scholarship provider

Read about the corporation or organisation in charge of the scholarship programme. You will find their mission and requirements on their website; this is one of the best tips on how to write a scholarship essay. This can help you customise your essay according to their needs. Many scholarship sponsors also showcase former scholarship winners on their websites, often with the winning essay. Examine what the scholarship provider says about prior winners to determine which of your qualities to emphasise in your essay.

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5. Authenticity is your power

One of the best tips on how to write a scholarship essay is that your life and experiences are essential and significant! You are not required to fabricate or invent details to appear more deserving of the scholarship money. Your authenticity is your power; use it for your gain. It is recommended to show and not tell, as it is evident for the readers to spot such things. Instead of just explaining everything, try constructing a vivid image for the reader. Don't just claim you're stressed out because you're juggling employment and high school; make a mental image and provide clear, credible instances. 

Gain a competitive edge by delving into the intricacies of scholarship opportunities in sought-after destinations such as Australia, Ireland, and the US. Your journey to academic excellence begins with the wisdom shared in our insightful blogs on student scholarships in Australia , scholarships in Ireland and if you want to apply in US then there is a blog on top scholarships in the USA for international students.

6. Seek out writing advice

To make your essay stand out, it's important to seek out writing advice and guidance from reliable sources when you are lost on how to write a scholarship essay. Your academic advisor can provide valuable insights into the writing process, such as how to write a scholarship essay, how to start a scholarship essay, and how to make your argument compelling. There are plenty of online resources that can help you improve your writing skills, such as grammar and style guides, online writing courses, and writing communities where you can get feedback on your work.

7. Look out for grammatical errors.

Make sure you proofread your essay and look for grammatical errors. You can scan your essay through various grammar-checking websites before submitting your essay.

how to write a scholarship essay

Scholarship Essay Format

One of the key aspects of how to write a scholarship essay is to write a compelling argument to stand out from the competition and convince the selection committee that you are the best candidate for the award. However, it is equally important to pay attention to the essay format. We will discuss the important things to remember and include in a scholarship essay format.

1. Fonts to Use for Scholarship Essay

One tip on how to write a scholarship essay is to stick to a consistent professional style. This includes 1-inch page margins, a 12-point font size double-spaced, and a "standard" script like Times New Roman in classic black. Don't experiment with fonts or colours here. You want the content of your essay to stand out, not your unconventional formatting.

2. Scholarship Essay Title

The essay submission format determines this. You can copy and paste the body of your essay without a title if there is a text box entry. If you attach an essay as a Word or PDF document, you can include a title, although this is usually unnecessary unless there are specific scholarship essay format rules. Also, there is no need to add the essay question or prompt at the top of your essay.

3. Scholarship Essay Structure

The structure of the essay is a very crucial element. The structure of the essay helps you make a blueprint and guides you in deciding which points have to be included under which section. This is a format that is generally used when you think about how to write a scholarship essay. 

Introduction

When you think about how to start a scholarship essay, it needs to draw the attention of the reader with a catchy beginning line relating to the question. Introduce your significant points, which you will discuss later in your essay. Include a strong point that proves your determination and drive to attend college.

Extend your critical points in the essay for a scholarship here. Support your claims with proof, examples, and facts. This is the section where you can tell the committee how you got to where you are now, what inspired your hobbies, interests, or desire to attend college, and how the essay for a scholarship will help you reach your academic and personal goals. Remember to utilise specifics instead of broad remarks.

Describe how earning this award might help you achieve your goals and have a broader community impact, if any. Explain how critical this scholarship is to you, not only financially but also in terms of helping you reach your goals, and this is how to end a scholarship essay. You can know more through our blog on how to write personal statements . 

We have compiled some of the best scholarship essay examples which you can go through before starting your essay.

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Scholarship Essay Examples

However, many overlook that receiving many minor scholarship applications can be life-changing. The essays below can help you move from planning and living your college and achieving professional goals.

1. This essay example is from the New York University College of Arts and Science essay.

"Although I agree that I will never be able to support myself only via ice skating, the education and talents I have obtained have opened endless avenues. Ice skating has given me the work ethic, resilience and inspiration to grow as a teacher and English speaker. It has helped my academic performance by instilling in me the importance of rhythm, health, and routine. "

2. This essay example is an excerpt from the North Coast Section Foundation Scholarship-winning essay.

"My parents pushed me to respect school when I was five years old because they were born in Vietnam and had limited access to education. Because of this disadvantage, I learnt to take everything seriously and to give everything I had to fulfil projects like founding my school's Badminton Club in my fresher year and the Red Cross Club this year. The more I got involved, the more I grew as a leader and as a person. As a leader, I acted the same way I did with my younger cousins and siblings."

Top 5 Scholarships and Scholarship Essays

The essay for a scholarship is written in order to give a small demonstration to the scholarship committee as to why you deserve the scholarship and what makes you the best among other students. You can highlight some of the challenges and how you coped up and overcame them, which shows your problem-solving ability. Here are the top 5 scholarships:

1. Kang Foundation and Legal Scholarship

2. New York University Scholarship

3. North Coast Section Foundation Scholarship

4. Fund for Education Abroad Scholarship 1

5. Questbridge Scholarship

Scholarship Essay Prompts

Are you struggling to come up with ideas on how to write a scholarship essay? There are plenty of standard essay prompts and topics out there to guide you. These prompts will help you get started on your essay for a scholarship and give it a definite structure. Let's explore some useful prompts that you can use to write an outstanding essay.

1. My family members.

2. My part-time job efforts in high school.

3. The doors I have opened.

4. My dreams and inspiration.

5. Learning for the best - how (person) changed my life.

6. The person who is influenced by views.

7. Goals I will achieve in 10 years.

8. What differentiates you from the hundreds of students who apply for our scholarships?

9. How has the death of a parent or guardian impacted your life financially and emotionally?

Scholarship Essay Tips

It is crucial to make your essay for a scholarship stand out from the hundreds of other applicants while working on it. A well-written and formatted essay can not only grab the attention of the scholarship committee but also make a strong impression, increasing the likelihood of obtaining the scholarship. Here are some tips to follow to make your essay engaging and memorable

  • Choose a topic you are passionate about.
  • Follow a narrative structure.
  • Re-read the essay prompt and identify the key themes. 
  • Outline your essay before writing.
  • Make sure your outline does justice to your essay prompt.
  • Add your real-life experiences and highlight your problem-solving abilities.
  • Talk about your accomplishments without bragging too much.
  • Make sure your essay has a flow.
  • Have someone with strong writing skills proofread your essay.
  • Be concise and specific, and avoid generalising.
  • Empower your sentences with punctuation.
  • Do a little research about the university and the scholarship they are providing before starting your essay. 
  • Be professional, but write the essay in your voice. 
  • Avoid including inspirational quotes in your essay.

Do's and Don'ts of Writing a Scholarship Essay

When you think about how to write a scholarship essay, it may seem like a daunting task, but keeping the necessary guidelines in mind will make the process smoother. Here are some do's and don'ts that you should follow when you write an essay for a scholarship.

the dos and don'ts of writing a scholarship essay

  • Before writing your essay for a scholarship, read and understand the prompt carefully. You need to know the requirements and what the college is looking for, so tailor your essay accordingly.
  • Your essay for a scholarship should showcase your achievements and why you deserve the scholarship out of all the other applicants. Mention your achievements, skills and experiences that prove your suitability for the scholarship.
  • Be authentic and personal in your writing; your essay for a scholarship should be a reflection of who you are as a person. Your goal should be to create a lasting impression on the scholarship committee after reading your essay.
  • Do edit and proofread your essay with care before submitting it. Check for grammar mistakes, coherence and flow of content. Your essay should be polished and professional.

Don'ts

  • Never plagiarise in your essay, as this will definitely get your application rejected. Use your authentic words and ideas, and cite any sources properly if you need to use them in your essay.
  • Avoid drama and emotions in the content of your essay. Even though you wish to add a personal touch to the essay with your qualities and experiences, you don't want to come across as insincere or overly emotional. 
  • Submit your essay before the deadline, as missing it could potentially disqualify you from consideration.
  • Your essay should be relevant to the scholarship you are applying for. Do not write an essay that is unrelated and does not answer the prompt. This may lead to disqualification, too.

We hope this guide helped you find new ways to write your scholarship essay. The amber scholarship is a scholarship provided by amber; we hope you try your luck with it! This is your chance to show the scholarship committee what you have to deserve the scholarship. Also, read about our blog on what should be written in personal statement . You can also check our detailed blog on how to write thesis statement

Frequently Asked Questions

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3 Scholarship Essay Examples about Yourself [2024]

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it,” states a famous saying by Paulo Coelho. Now you probably want a scholarship, don’t you? If not the whole universe, at least the Internet helps you achieve this goal, by providing these three amazing scholarship essay examples by Custom-writing.org to gain a better understanding of how your paper should look like.

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Though your main idea (“Please, give me this scholarship”) is clear from the very beginning, you need to find the best way to express it in your paper. There are three main approaches to scholarship applications for college students:

Below you’ll find a “tell me about yourself” scholarship essay example, as well as ones focused on career goals and financial needs. Feel free to choose any of these approaches, but beware of the potential pitfalls of each of them.

  • 🙋‍♂️ Example #1 (Yourself)
  • 💸 Example #2 (Your Financial Need)
  • 🎯 Example #3 (Your Career Goals)
  • 🔗 References

🙋‍♂️ Scholarship Essay Example Focusing on Yourself

Below is a scholarship essay sample that focuses on personal interests and aspirations .

Scholarship Essay Example #1

My Mom says that I decided to become a doctor when I was only five years old. Of course, I do not remember when and why this idea came to me. But as the years were passing by, my intention to become a doctor became firmer.

I had two beautiful examples before my eyes – my grandfather and my Biology teacher, who inspired me to choose nursing as a profession. My grandfather is a great doctor who saved hundreds of lives. Even today, when he is already retired, his former patients come to see him and ask him for a piece of advice. He devoted his entire life to serving people, and his effort was not in vain. Looking at his glowing eyes when the grandfather is telling me how he saved soldiers during the Second World War, I understand that there is no other profession more rewarding and inspiring than nursing.

Whereas my grandfather showed me the spiritual side of this noblest profession, my Biology teacher, Mrs. Stevens, cultivated my love for knowledge and my interest in the latest innovations in the field.

Comment : The essay is persuasive because the applicant provides specific details and shares his/her true feelings and emotions.

💸 Scholarship Essay Sample Focusing on Your Financial Need

Here is a scholarship essay sample that discusses the applicant’s financial needs, using the appropriate tone.

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Scholarship Essay Example #2

Friedrich Nietzsche said that what does not kill us makes us stronger. I learned this simple principle in my early childhood when my parents gave me all the love in the world, but could not afford any pocket money. By overcoming our financial hardships, I learned the key life values, and I hardened my willpower. I know how to save and manage money, and I will become a good economist.

Regardless of our family’s income, the expenses on my younger sister’s treatment took the most significant part of our budget. Susie has a rare genetic disease, and my parents had to consult the best doctors and buy expensive medicine to improve her condition. I started working early and know the true price of every penny. Yet, my parents gave me much more than a ticket to the cinema or a birthday party with tens of friends – they gave me a real understanding of what is valuable in life.

Comment: The applicant chooses the right tone, revealing his/her maturity and an active life position. Instead of complaining about hardships, s/he tells how s/he overcame them and how this hardened her will.

🎯 Scholarship Essay Example Focusing on Your Career Goals

Here is an example of a scholarship essay that discusses the applicant’s plans.

Scholarship Essay Example #3

Just like a chess player, I prefer to have a long-term strategy as my plan. That’s why I have chosen law as my future profession when I was in middle school. I concentrated my effort on learning the related subjects, and I became rather knowledgeable in the field. And now, when I work on this personal statement, I already start making plans for my further professional development.

I understand that it is impossible to become a good lawyer overnight. Moreover, even a diploma does not guarantee truly valuable professional skills and knowledge. Professionalism in any field requires a substantial investment of time and effort. Due to the ever-changing laws with their numerous amendments, this field is especially demanding. Continuous self-education and communication with more experienced colleagues are critical for becoming a good lawyer…

Comment: The applicant mentions his/her current achievements, but is realistic about the need for further self-education and self-improvement.

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Now, as you have these three wonderful examples of scholarship essays, you won’t have difficulties generating ideas for your own papers. Choose the most appropriate option, avoid the common pitfalls, and write a truly convincing scholarship essay sample!

✏️ Scholarship Essay FAQ

To write a good application for a scholarship, make sure that your essay proves your strong motivation. Include relevant details about your education, acquired skills, practical experience (perhaps you already have work history). For a college, it’s vital that they see a responsible and motivated candidate.

To begin an application, you do not necessarily need to be creative. It’s OK to introduce yourself, write about your education and work experience (if applicable). Then, say something along the lines: “I am strongly motivated to get the scholarship because…”

In that type of essay, your aim is to introduce and kind of sell yourself. Thus, write about relevant details of your educational and work background. Talk about the skills you’ve acquired. Highlight your strong motivation for further development (within the program you apply for).

It is a paper that deals with your motivation to get some kind of assistance/scholarship. It explains the reasons, typically some life circumstances, that make you unable to pay for the educational program (for example). In that essay, you write about yourself and why you deserve assistance.

🔗References

  • Writing a Winning College Scholarship Essay | The Princeton Review
  • 5 Ways to Make Your Scholarship Essay Stand Out | US News
  • How to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay | Top Universities
  • Finding and Applying for Scholarships | Federal Student Aid
  • Scholarship Universe | Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, University of Arizona
  • Scholarships – | The University of Alabama
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Home — Application Essay — Scholarship — How a Scholarship Will Benefit Me

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How a Scholarship Will Benefit Me

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Published: Feb 15, 2024

Words: 664 | Pages: 1 | 4 min read

With ambitious goals and limited financial resources, receiving a scholarship would have a profoundly positive impact on my academic journey, personal growth, and future career prospects. The financial support provided by a scholarship would alleviate the burden of educational expenses, allowing me to focus more on my studies and fully immerse myself in the college experience.

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Firstly, a scholarship would enable me to pursue my academic passions without being constrained by financial limitations. As a dedicated student, I am always striving for intellectual growth and seeking opportunities to expand my knowledge. However, the cost of textbooks, course materials, and laboratory fees can be overwhelming. With the assistance of a scholarship, I would have the financial means to invest in these resources, ensuring that I have the tools necessary to excel in my coursework. Moreover, it would allow me to participate in extracurricular activities and take on internships or research positions, further enhancing my educational experience and setting me apart from my peers.

Furthermore, a scholarship would provide me with the opportunity to immerse myself in the college community and take advantage of all the enriching experiences available. Participating in clubs, organizations, and student-led initiatives is an integral part of the college experience. However, these activities often come with additional costs such as membership fees and event tickets. A scholarship would alleviate this financial strain, enabling me to embrace these opportunities fully. By actively engaging in the college community, I would be able to develop leadership skills, cultivate a strong network of peers and mentors, and expand my horizons beyond the classroom.

Beyond the immediate financial benefits, a scholarship would also have a long-lasting impact on my future career prospects. As I envision myself entering the professional world, I am aware of the intense competition and demanding requirements that await me. A scholarship would not only strengthen my resume but also demonstrate my dedication, work ethic, and ability to excel in a challenging academic environment. It would serve as a testament to my perseverance and commitment to my education, proving to potential employers that I am a driven and capable individual. Additionally, the financial stability provided by a scholarship would allow me to pursue internships or research opportunities, further enhancing my skills and making me a more competitive candidate in the job market.

Moreover, a scholarship would alleviate the financial burden that often comes with the pursuit of higher education. As a college student, I am constantly faced with the challenge of balancing part-time employment with my academic responsibilities. Juggling work and studies can be extremely stressful and detrimental to both my mental well-being and academic performance. A scholarship would provide me with the opportunity to dedicate more time and energy to my studies, without compromising my financial stability. By removing the constant worry about making ends meet, I would be able to fully focus on my coursework and make the most of the educational opportunities available to me.

Lastly, receiving a scholarship would not only benefit me personally but also have a positive ripple effect on my family. As the first in my family to pursue higher education, the financial burden weighs heavily on my parents. Although they have always been supportive and encouraging, I am aware of the sacrifices they have made to ensure my educational success. A scholarship would provide them with a sense of relief and pride, knowing that their hard work and dedication have paid off. It would also alleviate their financial strain, allowing them to redirect their resources towards other essential needs and invest in their own future.

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In conclusion, a scholarship would be a transformative opportunity that would significantly impact my academic journey, personal growth, and future career prospects. Beyond the immediate financial benefits, it would allow me to fully immerse myself in the college experience, pursue my passions without constraints, and create a strong foundation for my future. I am committed to making the most of every opportunity that comes my way, and a scholarship would serve as a catalyst for my success.

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how to start an essay about yourself for a scholarship

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  1. Scholarship Essay Tips

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  1. How to Start a Scholarship Essay (With Examples)

    Reviewed by Bill Jack Edited by Maria Geiger Updated: January 30th, 2024 As an admissions officer, I reviewed thousands of essays for students seeking admission and scholarships. The essay is one of the most important parts of the scholarship application process-a strong essay can go a long way.

  2. About Yourself Scholarship Essay Examples (2023)

    9 min read About Yourself Scholarship Essay Examples (2023) Jennifer Finetti Sep 28, 2022 Get our best scholarship practices, insights & tips delivered to your inbox A popular scholarship essay prompt is "Tell us about yourself." This question is relatively open-ended, which may make it difficult to answer at first glance.

  3. 12 Ways to Start a Scholarship Essay

    1 Include the 3 key elements of an introduction. Download Article Get your readers' attention, give an overview, and list a thesis statement. Start the intro with an attention-grabbing first sentence to draw your readers in. Then, write a few sentences that summarize what your essay will cover.

  4. How to Write a Personal Statement for a Scholarship + Examples

    That said, it is of the utmost importance that you find a focus. First, think about both your goals and your values. Types of goals include: Career goals. Goals for personal growth. The type of friend you want to be. The change you want to make in the world. Values could include: Authenticity.

  5. How to Write a Scholarship Essay

    Knowledge Base College essay How to Write a Scholarship Essay | Template & Example How to Write a Scholarship Essay | Template & Example Published on October 11, 2021 by Kirsten Courault . Revised on May 31, 2023. A good scholarship essay demonstrates the scholarship organization's values while directly addressing the prompt.

  6. How to Write a College Essay About Yourself

    Step 1: Brainstorm The first way to tackle any scholarship essay prompt is to start with some thinking. We highly suggest that you take time before starting to write to brainstorm the essay prompt. This will not only get your creativity flowing, but your essay will be more organized and cohesive. Brainstorm Ideas

  7. How to Write an Essay About Yourself: Writing for Scholarship Success

    1. Create a List of Questions 2. Brainstorm and Outline 3. Be Vulnerable 4. Use Personal Examples 5. Write in the First Person 6. Don't Be Afraid to Show Off…But Stay on Topic! 7. Show Personality 8. Know Your Audience 9. Proofread and Edit! Let's start with some examples of personal essay prompts: Tell me about yourself.

  8. How to Write a Scholarship Essay: Complete Guide + Examples

    First, we'll get into questions like: Where do I find scholarships? What are colleges and organizations looking for in a scholarship essay? How do I write a creative scholarship essay that stands out? Can I re-use scholarship essays as college essays (i.e. personal statement or supplemental essays)—and, if so, how?

  9. How To Write A Winning Scholarship Essay

    8 Tips to Write a Scholarship Essay. 1. Start Early. The sooner you start exploring scholarship opportunities, the more time you'll have to get organized. It's a common myth that you have to ...

  10. 5 Ways to Make Your Scholarship Essay Stand Out

    Tell a Story. A standout essay hooks the reader from the first sentence, says Monica Matthews, author of the scholarship guide, "How to Win College Scholarships." Think about the structure of the ...

  11. How to Write an Amazing Personal Statement (Includes Examples!)

    4. Focus on your opening paragraph. Your opening paragraph should grab your reader's attention and set the tone for the rest of your essay. In most cases, this is the best place to include your anecdote (if you have one). By leading with your personal story, you can hook your audience from the get-go.

  12. Write a Successful Scholarship Essay with these 6 Tips

    Step 1 — The Right Topic & Approach. Generally, you will come across two types of essay questions: the first will ask you to write about a specific topic, and the second will give you a broad topic to write about. With the first type, you need to create your own topic, and in the latter, you don't need to think about a topic as it is ...

  13. How To Write a Winning Scholarship Essay: The Ultimate Guide

    It's a good idea to prepare to write this essay at least three times. First, there's a rough draft that should be carefully proofread. Students can ask a teacher or other professional to also look at their paper. Then students should repeat this process once or twice more until they're happy with the results.

  14. How to Write a Scholarship Essay: Crafting a Standout Narrative

    How to Write a Scholarship Essay: Crafting a Standout Narrative Written by John S. November 17, 2023 10 min read Share the article With scholarship opportunities on the rise, it's surprising to learn that a significant percentage of applicants often overlook a crucial element: the scholarship essay.

  15. Scholarship Essay Examples That Actually Worked: Sample Essays

    The scholarship essay is arguably the most important part of the application and should be well-thought-out. ... Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. ... Get Started With Your Scholarship Essay. You can start writing your winning scholarship ...

  16. How to Write About Yourself in a College Essay

    Start with self-reflection Before you start writing, spend some time reflecting to identify your values and qualities. You should do a comprehensive brainstorming session, but here are a few questions to get you started: What are three words your friends or family would use to describe you, and why would they choose them?

  17. Writing a Winning College Scholarship Essay

    When you're drafting your scholarship essay, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind: 1. Start the essay writing process early. Leave yourself plenty of time to produce a well thought-out entry. Take the time to brainstorm your ideas, create an outline, and edit your entry as you would for any essay writing assignment for your English class.

  18. How To Write A Scholarship Essay With Examples In 2023

    3. Read the scholarship essay prompts thoroughly. When you think about how to start a scholarship essay, the biggest tip is to read the essay prompts thoroughly. You must comply with the appropriate essay prompt structure and word count. Also, double-check that you are simply replying to all prompt sections. 4.

  19. 3 Scholarship Essay Examples about Yourself [2024]

    Mention only relevant and significant details of your biography and life views. Below is a scholarship essay sample that focuses on personal interests and aspirations. Scholarship Essay Example #1 Example: My Mom says that I decided to become a doctor when I was only five years old. Of course, I do not remember when and why this idea came to me.

  20. How to write a winning scholarship essay

    3. Fill your scholarship essay with keywords/synonyms of keywords used in the scholarship statement. Using the keywords from the scholarship statement throughout your essay will demonstrate your commitment to addressing the question being asked. For instance, I made a special effort to ensure references to 'leadership'; 'innovation' and ...

  21. 5 Tips to Writing a Convincing Scholarship Essay

    When starting down this path, it is important to keep your cool, write your essay well before the deadline, and follow these five suggestions for the layout of your essay: 1. Introduce Yourself. Be sure to mention your name and for which scholarship you are writing your essay. Some organizations you apply to will offer multiple opportunities ...

  22. How a Scholarship Will Benefit Me [Admission Essay Example]

    A scholarship would provide them with a sense of relief and pride, knowing that their hard work and dedication have paid off. It would also alleviate their financial strain, allowing them to redirect their resources towards other essential needs and invest in their own future. Keep in mind: This is only a sample.

  23. Moore Aloha on Instagram: "⭐️FEBRUARY ESSAY PROMPT⭐️ Have you ever

    416 likes, 5 comments - moorealoha on February 11, 2024: "⭐️FEBRUARY ESSAY PROMPT⭐️ Have you ever looked in the mirror and picked yourself apart? ..." Moore Aloha on Instagram: "⭐️FEBRUARY ESSAY PROMPT⭐️ Have you ever looked in the mirror and picked yourself apart?

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    26 likes, 14 comments - thewayback2ourselves on February 21, 2024: " Hello, beautiful souls. This post is for every writer who stumbles upon my words. ..."

  25. Jada Foote ‍

    624 likes, 0 comments - scholarworld on December 8, 2023: "This scholarship could make a huge difference by covering your FULL-TUITION ! Check the website..." Jada Foote👩🏾‍💻 | Educational Influencer on Instagram: "This scholarship could make a huge difference by covering your FULL-TUITION !