• Applying For Scholarships

Financial Need Scholarship Essay Examples (2023)

Jennifer Finetti Oct 2, 2022

Financial Need Scholarship Essay Examples (2023)

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Many scholarships are awarded based on financial need. In order to win these scholarships, you must explain the nature of your financial need. In the guide below, we’ll explain how to write these types of essays to increase your chances of winning. Check out these scholarship essay examples for financial need scholarships.

How to write financial need scholarship essays

Here are some tips for writing financial need scholarship essays:

  • Maintain a positive tone throughout the essay . You do not want to come across as self-pitying. Focus on ways you learned and grew from past experiences – how they made you stronger.
  • Do not diminish other people’s suffering. This is a competition, but that doesn’t mean you should belittle your competitors. In fact, it would be better to say “I know there are many worthy candidates for this scholarship, but…” than to say “I have suffered far more than…” Show respect in everything you write.
  • Frame your essay around a specific event. You may add other details if you have space to, but use one experience as the thesis for your essay.
  • Avoid controversial statements and opinions. When discussing events from your past, do not belittle someone else or talk negatively about a group of people. You never know who will be reading your essay.
  • Tell your story with honesty. Do not fabricate any details to make yourself sound needy. Your past and present circumstances will speak for themselves.
  • Don’t try to sound philosophical. Some students will do this because they think it makes them seem smarter, but it rarely has that effect. Focus on proofreading and writing solid content. That is enough intelligence on its own.
  • Discuss your career goals, if possible. You may not have room for this if the essay is short. If you do have room though, discussing your career goals will indicate a plan for the future. Review boards reward determination.

You know why you need financial aid. Tap into the key elements of your circumstances and use them to craft the perfect essay.

Many scholarships are awarded based on financial need. In order to win these scholarships, you must explain the nature of your financial need. In the guide below, we’ve provided examples of scholarship essays for financial need scholarships, along with some tips to help you write your own essay.

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Example 1: “Provide a statement of financial need”

Some scholarships will simply ask for a statement of financial need. There are no parameters to follow. You’re left to write whatever you want. Typically, a statement of financial need is two or three small paragraphs. This will come out to roughly 150-200 words, but it could be slightly longer. Think of this as a cover letter for your scholarship application, highlighting the key elements of your financial need. Don’t build up to the thesis. Get directly to the point.

I am the first person in my family to graduate high school, and thus the first to attend college. Both of my parents dropped out of school when they were teenagers. Because of their limited education, they have always worked in entry-level positions, earning barely enough to put food on the table. My first job I got was at the age of 12 delivering papers, and I have worked hard ever since to relieve pressure from my family. I enrolled in Mississippi’s HELP program during my senior year, which covers tuition and fees at select colleges in the state. I also have a Federal Pell Grant to cover my housing. However, I still need funding for books, supplies, and transportation to campus as needed. I am an engineering student, and our classes come with high fees. My parents cannot contribute to my college expenses, and I cannot work much while I’m in school. This scholarship would help me avoid costly student loans that could take years to repay.  

Example 2: “Describe your financial need in 100 words”

This essay is even shorter than the financial need statement. It may be one of several short answer questions you need to fill out. Working with 100 words is tricky. That only leaves room for about 7-10 sentences, depending on length. Make compelling statements using the fewest words possible.

Also note that grammar errors and misspellings will be much more noticeable in this short essay. Carefully proofread your writing before submitting the scholarship application.

I got pregnant and dropped out of high school when I was 15. By the age of 20, I had two more children, and we all shared a one-bedroom apartment. I worked three jobs to pay the bills, but I never earned much. When my oldest started high school, I did the same. I got my GED at 29 and enrolled in nursing school. My financial status has improved now with a GED, but I’m still a single mom with three kids. I want to become a registered nurse to give my children a stable future. I appreciate your consideration.

Word Count: 100

Example 3: “Explain your financial need in 500 or more words”

This scholarship essay prompt is the opposite of the one above. You have much more room to discuss your circumstances. Talk about your family life, your income, and other restraints that contribute to your financial aid . Try not to throw too much in the essay though. You want the information to flow together seamlessly. Edit carefully, and give the readers a full view of your situation.

My name is Brandon Noviello. I am a sophomore on track to earn my Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. I need financial aid because I do not have a family to contribute to my education. I was in foster care for two years before I aged out of the system, and now I am pursuing a degree completely on my own. I was raised by a wonderful woman who didn’t always have a wonderful life. My mother got pregnant after a sexual assault, but she was determined to raise a smart, successful man. She went through an accelerated program to graduate high school before I was born. She devoted the rest of her life to supporting me, both financially and emotionally. My mother’s family cut ties with her the moment she became pregnant. Life wasn’t easy for us, but I never wanted for anything. She always found a way to keep me fed, dressed, and in school. Unfortunately, she lost a long-term battle with depression when I was 16, and I was put into the foster system until I reached adulthood. I did not have a positive experience with foster care, but I admit, I had no desire to. My mother’s passing weighed heavily on my mind, and I felt an overwhelming sense of anger, regret, and frustration. There was one gleam of hope in my experience though. I had a great social worker. I fought her decisions every step of the way, and she still managed to find a family to get me through high school. My social worker was the only person I invited to my graduation ceremony.  She helped me realize how much one person’s efforts can make a difference in the lives of others. I was only one of countless children she had helped over the years. I researched how to become a social worker so I could help other children like me. My plan is to work with the Department of Human Services in the foster care and adoption division after I graduate. In order to make my dreams a reality, I need financial aid. I am working as a server to pay for food, utilities, and basic necessities, but I do not earn enough to pay for college as well. I go to school during the day and work at night. Furthermore, I have a maximum Pell Grant to cover most of my tuition, but I still need help with other expenses. I did not do well in high school as a result of my mom’s passing, but I have done well in college. I have a 3.25 cumulative GPA, and I have never made less than an A in a degree-related course. As such, I am committed to being successful despite my circumstances, and I want to help young people find that motivation within themselves. I look forward to working with children and teens in the foster system, so I can be the hope that someone else was for me.

Word Count: 498

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Jennifer Finetti

Jennifer Finetti

As a parent who recently helped her own kids embark on their college journeys, Jennifer approaches the transition from high school to college from a unique perspective. She truly enjoys engaging with students – helping them to build the confidence, knowledge, and insight needed to pursue their educational and career goals, while also empowering them with the strategies and skills needed to access scholarships and financial aid that can help limit college costs. She understands the importance of ensuring access to the edtech tools and resources that can make this process easier and more equitable - this drive to support underserved populations is what drew her to ScholarshipOwl. Jennifer has coached students from around the world, as well as in-person with local students in her own community. Her areas of focus include career exploration, major selection, college search and selection, college application assistance, financial aid and scholarship consultation, essay review and feedback, and more. She works with students who are at the top of their class, as well as those who are struggling. She firmly believes that all students, regardless of their circumstances, can succeed if they stay focused and work hard in school. Jennifer earned her MA in Counseling Psychology from National University, and her BA in Psychology from University of California, Santa Cruz.

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How to write a financial need statement for your scholarship application (with examples!)

So you’re applying for a scholarship that asks you about your financial need. What do you say? How honest or specific should you be? What is TMI? In this article, we break down how to pen an awesome financial need scholarship essay or statement.

What to include in a financial need scholarship essay

Template to structure your financial need scholarship essay, introduction: your basic profile, body: your financial situation and hardships, conclusion: how you would benefit from this scholarship, was this financial need essay for a college financial aid application , now, reuse that same essay to apply for more scholarships, additional resources to help you write your financial need scholarship essay.

Writing a financial need scholarship essay

Many scholarships and college financial aid awards are “need-based,” given to students whose financial situation requires additional support. That’s why one of the most common college scholarship essays is a statement of financial need. This might be very explicit (“Explain your financial need”), somewhat explicit (“Describe your financial situation”), or quite open-ended (“Explain why you need this scholarship”).

In all cases, scholarship providers want to get a sense of your family’s financial picture: what your family income is, if you personally contribute to it (do you have a job?), and how much additional money you need to attend your target college (your “financial gap”).

If the essay prompt is a bit more open-ended (“Explain how this scholarship would help you”), your essay should probably be a combination of a financial need statement and a career goals / academic goals essay.  That’s because you want to show how the award will help you financially and in your academic or career goals.

Usually this statement of financial need is a pretty short scholarship essay (150-300 words), so unlike a college essay or personal statement where you have ample word count to tell anecdotes, you’ll likely need to get right to the point. 

Be sure to include: 

  • If you are an underrepresented group at college, for instance, part of an ethnic minority or the first in your family to go to college
  • Any relevant family circumstances, like if your parents are immigrants or refugees, as well as your parents’ occupation and how many children/family members they support financially
  • How you are currently paying for college, including what you personally are doing to contribute financially (like working student jobs)
  • What financial challenges/difficulties your family is facing, for instance, if a parent recently lost their job
  • How you would benefit from the scholarship–including your academic and career goals (if word count allows)

Also remember to write in an optimistic tone. Writing about your financial situation or hardships might not be the most positive thing to share. But you can turn it around with an optimistic tone by writing about how these challenges have taught you resiliency and grit.

Student writing a financial need scholarship essay

Give a short introduction to who you are, highlighting any family characteristics that might make you part of an underrepresented group at college. 

“I am a first-generation American and the first in my family to go to college. My family moved from El Salvador to New York when I was seven years old, to escape the violence there.”

Example 2: 

“I am from a working-class family in Minnesota. My family never had a lot, but we pooled our efforts together to make ends meet. My parents both worked full-time (my father as a mechanic, my mother as a receptionist at the local gym), while my siblings and I all worked weekend jobs to contribute to the family income.”

Dive into the details. How are you currently planning to pay for college? The idea here is to show that you and your family have made a good-faith effort to earn enough money to pay your tuition, but that it has simply not been enough. 

Make sure you describe your parents’ occupation, any savings (like a 529 College Savings Account), and any student jobs. You might also discuss any sudden changes in fortune (e.g. parent fell ill or lost their job) that have ruined your original financial plans. 

Example 

As immigrants with limited English, my parents have had to accept low-paying jobs. My father is an Uber driver, and my mother is a housekeeper. They earn just enough to pay our rent and put food on the table, so I’ve always known they could not help me pay for college.  So I’ve been proactive about earning and saving my own money. Since age 11, I’ve worked odd jobs (like mowing my neighbors’ lawns). At age 16, I started working at the mall after school and on weekends. Through all these jobs, I’ve saved about $3000. But even with my financial aid grants, I need to pay $8000 more per year to go to college. 

Bring it home by wrapping up your story.  Explain how you plan to use the financial aid if you’re awarded this scholarship. How will you benefit from this award? What will you put the money toward, and how will it help you achieve your academic and/or career goals?

Scholarship review boards want to know that their money will be put to good use, supporting a student who has clear plans for the future, and the motivation and determination to make those plans a reality. This is like a shortened, one-paragraph version of the “Why do you deserve this scholarship?” essay . 

Winning $5000 would help me close the financial gap and take less in student loans. This is particularly important for me because I plan to study social work and eventually work in a role to support my community. However, since these jobs are not well paid, repaying significant student loans would be difficult. Your scholarship would allow me to continue down this path, to eventually support my community, without incurring debt I can’t afford.
My plan is to study human biology at UC San Diego, where I have been admitted, and eventually pursue a career as a Nurse-Practitioner. I know that being pre-med will be a real academic challenge, and this scholarship would help me focus on those tough classes, rather than worrying about how to pay for them. The $2000 award would be equivalent to about 150 hours of working at a student job. That’s 150 hours I can instead focus on studying, graduating, and achieving my goals. 

Sometimes this financial need statement isn’t for an external scholarship. Instead, it’s for your college financial aid office.

In that case, you’re usually writing this statement for one of two reasons:

  • You’re writing an appeal letter , to request additional financial aid, after your original financial aid offer wasn’t enough. In this case, you’ll want to make sure you’re being extra specific about your finances.
  • You’re applying for a specific endowed scholarship that considers financial need. In this case, your financial need essay can be quite similar to what we’ve outlined above.

Now that you’ve written a killer financial need scholarship essay, you have one of the most common scholarship essays ready on hand, to submit to other scholarships too.

You can sign up for a free Going Merry account today to get a personalized list of hundreds of scholarships matched to your profile. You can even save essays (like this one!) to reuse in more than one application.  

Writing a financial need scholarship essay

You might also be interested in these other blog posts related to essay writing:

  • What’s the right scholarship essay format and structure?
  • How to write a winning scholarship essay about your academic goals
  • How to write an awesome essay about your career goals
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Scholarship Essay Examples

With college tuition costs rising each year, many students apply for merit scholarships to help make college more affordable. However, merit scholarships can be competitive—and that’s where our scholarship essay examples come in. By reading our scholarship essay examples, you can learn what it takes to write an award-winning essay. 

Scholarships are an excellent opportunity for students to lessen their college tuition costs. Most merit scholarships require a brief application, usually including one or more essays. Below, we’ve rounded up our best scholarship essay examples.

Reading winning scholarship essay examples, especially scholarship essay examples about yourself, can help you begin the scholarship essay process. By reviewing essay examples, you can learn how to craft a strong essay. You’ll also get a better sense of what scholarship committees look for when they review applications.

In this guide to Scholarship Essay Examples, you’ll find tips on how to write the best scholarship essay, as well as:

  • Various scholarship essay examples about yourself
  • A strong scholarship essay sample about why I deserve the scholarship
  • Scholarship essay examples about financial need, and more!

We’ve included scholarship essay examples specific to schools, including UC Berkeley, as well as specific programs, like the SHPE scholarship. We’ll also discuss the different types of scholarships you’ll find on your scholarship search. 

Now, before we jump into our essay examples, let’s learn more about getting scholarship money for college.

What is a scholarship essay?

A scholarship essay is an essay you’ll include in your merit scholarship applications. In many ways, your scholarship essays might resemble your college essays. So, the scholarship essay format should seem familiar. 

The best scholarship essays will highlight who you are and why you deserve money for college. Scholarship essay prompts will ask you to include various information, from details about your background to explanations of why you deserve a scholarship.

Crafting a compelling, well-written essay can help you win substantial financial awards to help cover your college tuition costs. However, not all scholarship essays are the same. Later on, we’ll review different winning scholarship essay examples to show you what kind of essays you’ll write in your application process.

Types of Scholarships

There are many different types of scholarships available to students. You can find a variety of scholarship opportunities on scholarships websites. The earlier you start your scholarship search, the more scholarships you’ll find. 

While some scholarship applications accept applicants of all backgrounds and abilities, some have very specific eligibility guidelines. So, you may not be eligible for every scholarship. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re eligible, you can find eligibility information on most scholarships websites. 

Here are a few different scholarship types you may come across in your scholarship search:

  • Academic scholarships
  • Merit scholarships
  • Essay competitions
  • Community service scholarships
  • Military scholarships

Scholarship essay prompts will differ across programs. As you’ll see in our winning scholarship essay examples, the prompts can vary in word count and complexity. We’ll provide you with descriptive essay examples to help you get an idea of what to expect.

Merit-Based Scholarships

Most scholarships we’ll highlight in this article are merit-based scholarships . A merit-based scholarship is money awarded by a college or community organization based on your academic achievements. 

In contrast, a need-based scholarship is awarded based on a student’s financial need. If you are applying for financial aid, be sure to check out our scholarship essay examples about financial need. You’ll find both merit- and need-based scholarships on your scholarship search.     

To qualify for a merit-based scholarship, you generally must meet specific criteria. Scholarship committees look at your grades, academic achievements, extracurriculars, and even test scores. Need-based scholarships can have similar requirements, but they’re primarily concerned with your family’s financial status.

There are many merit-based scholarships available to help students afford college, including:

  • National merit scholarships
  • Gates Scholarship
  • Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship
  • Robertson Scholarship

Check out our guides on these popular merit-based scholarships for more details. There, you’ll find tips on how to write a winning essay. Our descriptive essay examples can also help prepare you to apply to these programs After all, while prompts vary, the scholarship essay format remains fairly standard. 

Finding scholarships

In this guide, we’ll highlight some scholarships you may be eligible for. However, make sure to check out the rest of our resources to help you approach the scholarship search. 

Some scholarships we’ll discuss include:

  • QuestBridge scholarship : helps low-income students attend elite colleges
  • Park scholarships : for students attending NC State University
  • SHPE scholarship : offers financial assistance for Hispanic students interested in STEM degrees. 

Scholarship essay examples about financial need will help you prepare for your scholarship applications. For instance, if you apply for the SHPE scholarship, you’ll include a lot of details about your background. 

You can also use scholarship search portals or scholarships websites to find other scholarships you may be eligible for. 

How do you write a scholarship essay?

While scholarship essay prompts may differ, you’ll usually stick to the same general scholarship essay format. 

One resource that can help you write the best scholarship essays and find money for college is Sallie Mae. Sallie Mae is a private lender offering undergraduate, graduate, and professional student loans. They also grant scholarships and provide aspiring college students with a scholarship search portal on their scholarships websites. Here’s what they have to say about having a winning scholarship essay format.

Organization

When writing a scholarship essay, it’s best to start with a scholarship essay format that organizes your thoughts. This will allow you to follow a plan that clearly and concisely gets your points across. You should begin your essay with a solid introduction. Then, introduce your supporting arguments and add an appropriate conclusion. 

A good scholarship essay clearly states why you deserve to win money for college with evidence to back up your argument. You’ll see how to do this in our scholarship essay sample about why I deserve the scholarship. The best scholarship essays will be original and honest. It should be written in an inspirational and positive tone, highlighting your strengths and capabilities. 

When you feel like you have put your best foot forward, you should ask others for their feedback. This can be from a teacher, counselor, or one of our advisors here at CollegeAdvisor! Proofread your final essay and make sure you’ve caught any spelling and grammatical errors before submitting your application.

Up next, we’ll get into our descriptive essay examples and the different scholarship essay prompts they responded to. 

By looking at scholarship essay examples, you can learn what exactly makes a good essay. So, let’s look at some descriptive essay examples written by students looking to secure money for college. 

First, we will walk you through scholarship essay examples about yourself. Then, we’ll look at a scholarship essay sample about why I deserve the scholarship. Lastly, we will provide you with scholarship essay examples about financial need. Remember to keep these scholarship essay examples in mind when writing essays of your own!

Scholarship Essay Examples About Yourself

Let’s take a closer look at some scholarship essay examples about yourself.

Scholarship essay prompts vary quite a bit, so make sure you understand what the prompt really asks of you. That way, you can answer the question or address the prompt in its entirety.

Some scholarship essay prompts may ask how the scholarship will make a difference for you. They may also ask about any contributions you have made to your community. 

Ready to look at some winning scholarship essay examples? Check out these scholarship essay examples below.

The first of our scholarship essays is for Phi Sigma Rho. Here’s the prompt: 

How do you promote Phi Sigma Rho and STEM on your campus or in your community? (300 words Max)

Phi sigma rho scholarship essay.

In my campus and community, I strive to promote Phi Sigma Rho and STEM by promoting Phi Rho’s values and sharing my experiences and passion for Phi Rho.

My involvement in the Women in Engineering Program (WEP) and Society of Women Engineers (SWE) has allowed me the opportunity to promote Phi Rho and STEM. These activities have given me insight into how to successfully create a network that will support and encourage women in engineering to continue their careers. 

Within WEP, I served as a sophomore orientation leader (Envoy), mentoring first-year women and assisting with program logistics. As an envoy, I was able to promote Phi Rho ideals of friendship and encouragement. I was also able to informally recruit for Phi Rho by sharing my experiences and passion for the sorority.

Within SWE, I was the Internal Relations Chair my freshmen year and am the Director of Member Engagement this year. Both roles are related to member engagement, allowing me to promote friendship within engineering. Member engagement is important for creating a community among female engineers. Similar to my envoy position, my leadership within SWE has allowed me to share my love for Phi Rho.

Additionally, my volunteer experience with Engineering Ambassadors (EA), a STEM outreach group, has allowed me to promote STEM in the community. In EA, I give presentations on engineering, speak on panels, and lead hands-on activities for K-12 students. EA has taught me strategies to promote STEM to children and teenagers.

Because of Phi Sigma Rho, I have the confidence to inspire and encourage the next generation of female engineers. I hold the values of scholarship, friendship, and encouragement in the highest regard and strive to embody those in every leadership position and volunteer role. Through SWE, WEP, and EA, I have promoted Phi Sigma Rho, its values, and STEM as a whole in both my campus and community.

This is, in many ways, a scholarship essay sample about why I deserve the scholarship. The writer clearly highlights how they’ve engaged with Phi Sigma Rho and how their values align with those of the organization. The writer also provides specific examples of their leadership positions, skills, and accolades. 

The next two of our scholarship essay examples about yourself are for the SHPE scholarship. Here they are: 

SHPE Scholarship essay example #1

Essay prompt:.

Summarize your life experiences and any challenges that have impacted your path to higher education. (250 Words) 

Essay Example:

I vividly remember the first day of First Grade because I didn’t know the Pledge of Allegiance like the rest of my classmates. Growing up in a Hispanic household, I had never learned what the pledge was. This was the beginning of several years of disconnect. 

From receiving weird looks when I told classmates my family opened Christmas gifts at midnight, to my parents’ confusion when I didn’t want them to speak Spanish in public, both sides of my life never understood the other. As a result, I always felt out of place in school, like I was behind in some way because I didn’t share the same upbringing as my classmates. In contrast, academics felt like a level playing field, something we were all learning together in the same way.

While I couldn’t tell you who won the super bowl, I could do mathematics or read just as well, if not better, than my classmates. Socially, I always felt out of place, but academically I was always comfortable, and as a result, I tried to excel in that area of my life. That desire to succeed created the relentless work ethic I have today and the appreciation I have for education.

Despite the lack of emphasis from my parents on schoolwork, I developed this sense of responsibility and persistence to pursue an education. Although my family’s Hispanic culture made my life difficult when I was younger, it made me a more resilient person.

More scholarship essay examples

Shpe scholarship essay example #2.

Discuss your educational and career aspirations as well as your ability to complete and achieve these goals. (250 words)

Using a degree in engineering, I hope to work on improving sustainability and efficiency in the aerospace industry by creating cheaper, safer, and more environmentally-conscious options.

Recently, Pratt and Whitney designed an engine that is 16% more efficient and will release 3600 less metric tons per airplane per year. Excitingly, it also greatly reduces the noise footprint of an airplane. Innovations like these will allow the aerospace industry to evolve and improve while reducing negative environmental impact. I hope to work at the forefront of this innovation, pushing the boundaries of improved engine performance and efficiency. 

Last semester, I started working in the Experimental and Computational Convection Laboratory on campus to learn more about turbines. Some current projects in the lab involve new turbine cooling techniques and additive manufactured heat exchangers. Throughout the course of my undergraduate career, I hope to learn more about the barriers facing improved engine and turbine efficiency. Following undergraduate, I plan to attend graduate school to gain a deeper knowledge of these topics. Following graduate school, I may go into industry working on turbines and jet engines. Due to beginning research early, I believe graduate school is an attainable educational goal.

The potential ability to make a difference in the environmental impact of the aerospace industry is exciting. To accomplish this, I know studying Mechanical Engineering will give me the skills necessary to fulfill my career goals.

Both of these scholarship essay examples use specific details to highlight the writer’s strengths, experiences, and accolades. In reading these winning scholarship essay examples, we get a sense of who the writer is both as a person and as a student. 

Scholarship Essay Sample about “Why I deserve the scholarship”

Another scholarship essay prompt you may come across is “why I deserve this scholarship.” A good scholarship essay clearly highlights why you deserve to win the scholarship and provides evidence to support your argument. 

Below, you’ll find scholarship essay samples about why I deserve the scholarship. You can use these as a guide to help you tackle your own scholarship essays. 

Here’s the first of our scholarship essay examples, which was used for the Park Scholarship: 

The Park Scholarship is an investment in the potential of young people. It prepares scholars to make lifelong contributions to communities, states, nations, and the world. Tell us a story that illustrates your potential to make these lifelong contributions. (What have you done that should compel us to invest in you?) (Max. 3,990 characters including spaces.)

Park scholarship essay example.

Coming from a Venezuelan family, I have always been able to connect with total strangers through Spanish. Whether I’m eating at a restaurant or volunteering, I am constantly stumbling upon other Spanish speakers. The ability to converse in their language allows me to bond with them in a way I couldn’t in English, something I do not take for granted. 

Because of my experience, I believe that learning a foreign language is an incredibly important skill. Being able to speak in a second language allows a person to understand another community and reach out to people within that community. Additionally, speaking a second language assists in appreciating other cultures. This appreciation is important for fostering open-mindedness, something America as a whole struggles with today. 

In my school district, foreign language classes are not offered until late middle school. Once in high school, many students drop the class. In addition, those who stay in the class often find that the classes provide little more than a basic understanding of the language and then become discouraged in their learning. On a larger scale, this issue affects America as a whole. Second language programs often come second in terms of funding and planning and are not encouraged as rigorously as other academic courses. As a result, many Americans are ignorant to the benefits of bilingualism and are unable to understand the viewpoint of those who are multilingual.

After my freshman year of high school, my frustration with my community’s lack of priority for second language learning culminated in my desire to take some sort of action to promote foreign language education. In my sophomore year, a classmate and I created and ran an introductory Spanish program, Spanish in the Spring, at my local library for young children in the district. I spent hours at home creating lesson plans, activities, themes, and advertisements for the program. I placed heavy emphasis on cultural aspects and the importance of the Spanish language in America and the world as a whole.

My purpose for this program was to introduce children at a young age to learning a foreign language, so their desire to learn would continue throughout their life. Through the program, I was also able to share my belief of the importance of learning a second language with the children, as well as their parents. After the final day of the program, I was thrilled when one parent mentioned their desire to learn a foreign language program themself. I felt that if I made an impact on one person or family, the entire program was worthwhile. 

Unfortunately, this past spring I was unable to continue the Spanish in the Spring program due to library scheduling restraints. However, I hopefully plan to offer the program again this spring with some changes that will improve and expand the experience. One of these changes will include the immersion of parents into the experience to encourage foreign language education as a family activity.

While this program was only offered once, the impact was immeasurable, for the children, for the cause of foreign language education, and for me.

This is another scholarship essay sample about why I deserve the scholarship. In it, the writer clearly and directly answers the prompt—that is, they highlight their potential to make a lifelong impact on members of their community. 

Ready for another scholarship essay example? Here’s the next one: 

How will a ScholarSHPE impact your life and education? (200 Words)

Shpe scholarship essay example.

Receiving a ScholarSHPE will give me the gift of time and opportunities. My parents are unable to support me financially throughout college due to large amounts of accrued debt. A ScholarSHPE will reduce my financial stress and allow me to improve my overall health as a result. It will also prevent the need to work several hours a week at a part-time job to pay for tuition, books, and living expenses, which will limit what I can do academically and outside of class. A ScholarSHPE will allow me to spend more time on research pursuits, engineering extracurriculars, volunteer work, and school work, instead of long hours at a part-time job. 

This essay sample is fairly straightforward. In it, the writer follows a clear scholarship essay format, explicitly answering the prompt. 

UC Berkeley Scholarships essay examples

Let’s look at some school-specific merit scholarship essay examples. 

At the University of California – Berkeley , students can apply for a variety of merit scholarships. These scholarships can help offset the cost of UC Berkeley tuition. 

Below, we’ve included various scholarship essay examples for the UC Berkeley scholarships. These UC Berkeley scholarships can help students cover their college tuition costs. This can make the UC Berkeley tuition less of a barrier for students hoping to attend. 

You’ll find a variety of UC Berkeley scholarships that can help you afford UC Berkeley tuition. Available UC Berkeley scholarships include: 

  • Berkeley Undergraduate Scholarship
  • Fiat Lux Scholarship
  • Middle Class Scholarship
  • Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship

These are just a few ways to cover the cost of UC Berkeley tuition. UC Berkeley students also receive more than $10 million per year in outside scholarships to cover college tuition costs. If you are interested in exploring non-UC Berkeley scholarships, check out this list of outside scholarship resources . 

To help you get started, check out our winning UC Berkeley scholarship essay examples. The authors of these scholarship essay examples about financial need all won money to help cover their UC Berkeley tuition.

UC Berkeley scholarship essay examples

I am grateful to realize how fortunate I am today. All the loved ones around me and their acts of kindness have given me such a great life. I also realize the sacrifices that those around me have had to give up in order for me to succeed. It is because of this that I have realized what “paying it forward” truly means. I have been given the opportunity to make an impact in my community and I have fully taken advantage of this opportunity. I have been a volunteer for the Buddyball Sports Organization, which is a non-profit sports organization dedicated to providing the opportunity for children with developmental disabilities to play sports.

Growing up, watching and playing sports has been one of my greatest pleasures of life, so teaching these less fortunate kids has been something I have enjoyed doing every single weekend. On top of this, I am also both a volunteer at the South Orangetown Ambulance Corps and the Nyack Hospital. With the desire to pursue a career in the medical field, volunteering at these places has given me a great idea of what my career could look like in the near future. While all of these volunteer activities have had a significant impact on me, little did I know that this summer would truly make a lasting difference in my life. 

This past summer, my family decided to go on a vacation to India to visit my relatives. This was the first time in my life that I was going to India and this was only because my grandmother came down with Parkinson’s disease and was extremely sick. Little did I know at that time that my visit to India would be a life-changing experience. Never could have I imagined such a filthy village. Everywhere I looked, there was garbage and to make matters worse, no one seemed to do anything to try to ameliorate the repugnant image of my home country.

While I realized on my flight home that I was not going to be able to make a difference and help my community back in India, there was nothing stopping me from doing so right here in Rockland County, New York. When I was told that I would have the opportunity to help organize and direct “Make a Difference Rockland,” I joyfully accepted! Make a Difference Rockland is a free public meet and greet for all local non-profits and other government agencies in an attempt to promote different community service opportunities within the public. By gathering all the local non-profit organizations and giving them a chance to present themselves, people learn more about all of the local community service opportunities that are available to them. This way, the community will be able to recruit volunteers and will not have to suffer through calamitous conditions.

As one of the people in charge of organizing, it was my responsibility to adequately contact, invite and help prepare for hundreds of people. Once I gathered their contact information, I had to ask each one of these places if they would be interested in joining the fair. If interested, I had to also prepare a table for them to present themselves at the fair. The feeling of bringing all of these community service groups together brought me a feeling of happiness that I will never forget. 

The best scholarship essays will teach the reader about who the writer is, what they care about, and why they deserve a scholarship. The essay above does just that—it highlights the writer’s background and describes how they give back to their community. 

Next, let’s dig into a few more scholarship essay examples. 

If you’re interested in more descriptive essay examples, keep reading. 

Reading a ton of winning scholarship essay examples is a great way to pick up on what makes them winners. Over time, you’ll start to notice how the details, tone, and flow all work together to tell a story.

Below, you’ll find a few more scholarship essay examples. Our first one is from the NC Parks Scholarship. Here’s the prompt:

What do you do to serve your community? Why do you do the service that you do? What impact have you made? What challenges or insights have your service contributions given you? (Max. 3,990 characters including spaces.) 

Community-focused scholarship essay example #1.

“What are the boys like in high school?” “Is it easy to get a boyfriend?” Sighing, the other frustrated leaders and I look at each other as we read the questions posed by the younger girls. Every year at Girls’ Night Out (GNO), a program that introduces and prepares eighth-grade girls for high school, the girls question the leaders about relationships and dating ad nauseum, irritating other leaders to the point of ignoring the questions. 

Giving each question a careful and deliberate answer is often difficult, but instead of disregarding the issue, I try to offer my most sincere and honest advice. Originally, when I began as a group leader in the program I would give the same response, “You shouldn’t worry about boys. Instead, enjoy your friends, and do things you enjoy.” While that advice is true, it is often not the answer that will satisfy the girls. Through many years in the program, I have learned that advice is not “one size fits all”; it must be individualized to the person’s needs. Now, when faced with a question about dating, I respond with more questions before giving “words of wisdom”.

Many times I am able to understand the perspective of the middle school student, allowing me to give advice accordingly. Supplying proper advice about sensitive topics is one of the most impactful parts of GNO. As a role model and positive influence for the girls, I largely impact their ideas and perception of the environment when entering high school. In addition to teaching the students valuable lessons, volunteering at GNO has taught me that various perspectives may present themselves identically. To better understand those around me, it is important that I look beyond the surface for the other person’s viewpoint.

Beyond understanding other viewpoints from GNO, I have learned from other service that understanding a person’s situation is essential for providing exceptional assistance. Through Key Club, I volunteer many times a year at the local food pantry. As a volunteer, I help the recipients “shop” at the small grocery store using a point system. The process takes up a lot of time because shoppers do not always know what they want. Originally I  thought this was a poor design. I believed it would be much more efficient to just hand out the food rather than giving out points and shopping with the food pantry recipients.

Upon expressing my opinion to one of the adult food pantry staff, he explained to me that the grocery store aspect of the store taught the recipients life skills. Additionally, by giving them autonomy over what food they “bought”, they retained a sort of independence, an important skill to have if they find themselves above the income level required to use the food pantry.

The next time I volunteered I took note of the skills presented. Budgeting of points, deciding whether or not they needed something, determining the quality of the fruit, and decision-making of choosing extra food or toiletries, were all skills that those above the poverty line have ingrained. For those who have been using food pantries and other assistance for prolonged periods of time, these skills are not so natural. As a result, teaching the people means after they no longer need the services of the food pantry, they have valuable skills necessary for their independence.

From this experience, I learned an important lesson: helping people is not just giving them what they need at the moment, but understanding what they will need in the future and providing that as well. After realizing this, I emphasize the abilities that the food pantry teaches whenever I dedicate my time. By doing that, I am positively affecting the development of those skills. 

When reflecting on the various ways I have served my community, one thing stands out to me: I always understand another viewpoint or gain a new perspective afterwards. For me, the ability to look at something from different angles is an unparalleled talent, and one of the most important skills a person can have.

Describe your volunteer or community experience with SHPE or other organizations and any internships you have held.  (250 Words)

Community-focused scholarship essay example #2.

In SHPE, I have been involved in planning the Penn State College of Engineering STEP-UP (Student Transition Engineering Program at University Park) Program as a chair. The STEP-UP program helps students from Penn State branch campuses smoothly transition to the University Park campus through a 3-day program in the spring. The program introduces them to engineering resources, other engineering students, and provides professional development. Due to COVID-19, this year it was held virtually. 

Within the Society of Women Engineers and the Women in Engineering Program, I have volunteered at different STEM events in the community for elementary school students. I am also currently serving as an Envoy (a mentorship and logistical position) for the Women in Engineering Program Orientation. Additionally, I participate in many of SWE’s service events, such as donating and collecting donations, cleaning up areas on and around campus, and visiting nursing homes.

On campus, I am also involved with Engineering Ambassadors (EA), a group that does STEM outreach around Pennsylvania from the elementary school to high school level. EA goes virtually or in person to schools, does engineering presentations and activities, and answers questions.

Prior to COVID-19, I had secured an internship with Pratt and Whitney, however, they had to cancel their internship program. As a result, I was fortunate enough to obtain a Process Quality Engineering internship at Brentwood Industries for summer 2020.

Both of these scholarship essay examples highlight how the writers have given back to their communities. These winning scholarship essay examples highlight the writers’ strengths. In doing so, they highlight why these writers deserve help with college tuition costs. 

Reflecting on scholarship essay format

As important as the content of your essay is, your scholarship essay format is equally important. As you write, be sure to adhere to the scholarship essay format guidelines provided to you. 

However, there are some things all of the best scholarship essays have in common. Here are some general tips, tricks, and outlines to help you in your own writing process.

Three scholarship essay writing tips:

  • Word counts are hard to adhere to, but the other applicants must adhere to them, too. Make sure every word counts. 
  • When you write a solid essay, you can repurpose some of your key points, including specific anecdotes and details, in other scholarship applications.
  • Writing a good essay helps you solidify who you are and what you want. This sets you up for success in the scholarship application process and beyond. 

Three essential elements to include in your essay:

  • State your goals. Scholarship committees are investing in your future and your potential. To take a chance on you, they need to know your plan and what you want to do with your award. 
  • Establish an implicit or explicit link between your goals and the scholarship you are applying for. Describe to the committee how the specific scholarship will help you attain your goals. Give them a tangible reason as to why you deserve their investment. 
  • Share your story. Use personal details about your experiences that highlight your identity and objectives. How have you pursued your goals and prepared for your future? How will the scholarship help you going forward? Get personal and be honest.

Storytelling in your essay

Some of the best scholarship essays utilize good storytelling strategies. You should share the details of your personal story in a narrative, using a logical order. Remember, telling personal details about yourself and your goals does not mean simply restating your resume!

By the end of the essay, the scholarship committee should have an in-depth sense of why you applied. You should reveal:

  • When and how you arrived at your future goals
  • Your motivations to accomplish these objectives
  • What traits or skills you have developed along the way
  • The meaningful experiences that drive you to your goals
  • Any personal challenges you have faced and how you have overcome them
  • What has shaped you and your worldview

These details humanize you and show your complexity as a person and an applicant. It’s helpful to use anecdotes and personal experiences to give life to facts and details about yourself. Sharing real-life experiences will help make your essay more interesting and more fun to read.

Creating your scholarship essay format

Once you have thought about what you want to say, start thinking about your scholarship essay format. You may start by making a list of what your reader may be interested in:

  • How you spend your time
  • Your accomplishments
  • What your passions are, etc.

Start by brainstorming everything you may want to include in your essay. Then, think about whether the stories you include support your arguments. Ask yourself, “What did I learn?” or “How did this get me closer to my goals?”. These reflections help the reader connect to your purpose for writing. 

Make sure to organize your thoughts in a narrative order. However, there isn’t just one way to write an essay. So, don’t limit yourself to one version of your story. You may find yourself writing multiple drafts before you get to your final scholarship essay format.

Editing and proofreading your essay

When you think you have finished, be sure to proofread and edit to ensure it’s ready to be submitted. Check that you’ve adhered to all the scholarship essay format guidelines (like the word count). 

Reviewing also includes getting input from others! An outside reader’s opinion can help you confirm your essay effectively communicates your ideas.

Tips for scholarship essays

You may notice some similarities between the scholarship essay examples about yourself we’ve provided. That’s because the authors of the best scholarship essays all use similar strategies to make their essays great. 

Here are 5 tips from U.S. News to help you make all of your scholarship essays stand out:

Tips for writing stand-out scholarship essays

1. get personal and be specific.

The best scholarship essays will share an authentic story with impactful details. The key is to be yourself and not shy away from personal details. The more the committee gets to know about you, the more likely they are to invest in your future. You want your essay to offer a genuine, in-depth look into who you are as a person.

2. Tell a story

Your essay should be more than a collection of facts—it should tell a story. That means having a solid introduction that grabs the reader’s attention from the very start. Then, you should include a logical flow of experiences or details. By the end of your essay, you want your reader to have learned something valuable about you.  

3. Tailor the scholarship essay to the prompt

Some of your scholarship essay prompts may be similar across different scholarship applications. However, it’s important that your essay is specific to each prompt and answers the question entirely. While you can repurpose an essay you’ve already written as inspiration or a starting point, be extra attentive when doing so.

4. Don’t tailor yourself to the reader

Many students fall into the trap of telling a story they think scholarship foundation committees want to hear. Instead, stay true to yourself as you craft your scholarship application essays. Don’t tell your reader what you think they want to hear—just tell them who you are. 

5. Follow directions

This final tip may arguably be the most important. Above all else, students should follow instructions. This means adhering to the scholarship essay format guidelines and word count. It also means answering the essay prompt in its entirety. Application readers can be easily frustrated by a student’s failure to follow directions. This could reflect poorly on you and your essay in the long run. 

Use these tips to guide you as you approach the scholarship essay format. 

Scholarship Essay Examples – Final Thoughts

We hope our roundup of scholarship essay examples has shown you how to approach your scholarship applications. With rising college costs, scholarships should be a part of your college financial planning process. Take the time to do your own scholarship search based on your specific interests. You can find plenty of scholarships to apply to on scholarships websites and college financial aid pages. There are many different scholarships websites to help you with your search. 

Save this guide

Feel free to save this guide and review our scholarship essay examples about yourself and about financial need. You can always look back on our scholarship essay sample about why I deserve the scholarship when writing your own essay. 

Start with an outline that organizes your thoughts. Then, make sure your essay is clear and concise. Be original and honest, and include personal details and anecdotes when appropriate. State why you deserve to win the scholarship. Then, support your claim in a way that makes a scholarship committee invested in your future. 

We’re here to help

Don’t forget to proofread your essay and ask others for their feedback. When in doubt, reach out to our advisors at CollegeAdvisor. Our team is always here to help support you find and apply for scholarships!

This article was written by Bailey Bennet. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.

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How to Write a Scholarship Essay (with Examples)

September 27, 2023

How to write a scholarship essay examples

While applying to college, many students are faced with an additional, daunting task: how to write a scholarship essay. Financial need, already a sensitive subject, can become a stressful factor in the process alongside other existential unknowns. Luckily, scholarship essays will not require you to go tiptoeing around the taboo topic of money. Furthermore, most scholarship essay prompts more or less resemble standard supplemental essay questions. The trick then is to make your scholarship essay stand out. The following article and scholarship essay example will offer up pointers for anyone striving to win a college scholarship.

Organizing Scholarship Essays by Prompt

You may feel like melting into a lump of despair when facing a browser full of tabbed scholarships. The best way to avoid getting overwhelmed is to organize and analyze a list of prompts. Why? Because your first goal is not simply to figure out how to write a scholarship essay. Rather, you’ll want to know how to save time while writing complex and relevant scholarship essays.

As you look over the various prompts, you’ll notice that some sound fairly open-ended, while others ask for something quite specific. In response, you should annotate each prompt with thematic keywords. This will help you figure out when you can use the same essay for several prompts.

Your annotated list may look something like the following…

Sample Scholarship Essay Prompts

1) “Explain something that made a big impact in your life.”

  • Keywords: event , personal development, growth, background

2) “We’re committed to diversifying education abroad by providing funding to students who are typically under-represented in study abroad. Please describe how you and/or your plans for study abroad could be viewed as under-represented.”

  • Keywords: minority, diversity, identity, study abroad

3) “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.”

  • Keywords: background, identity, interest, talent

Sample Scholarship Essay Prompts, Continued

4) “Please explain a personal hardship or catastrophic life event that you have experienced. How did you manage to overcome this obstacle? What did you learn and how did you grow from it?”

  • Keywords: event, personal development, growth, challenge, background

5) Describe a change you would like to make in the world. Tell us about how you would plan to make that change, and what obstacles you might encounter along the way.

  • Keywords: world development, challenge, future

6) “Tell us three things that are important to you. How did you arrive at this list? Will these things be important to you in ten years? Why?”

  • Keywords: background, values, interest, development, identity, future

Scholarship Essay Prompts ( Continued)

7) “What does it mean to you to be part of a minority community? What challenges has it brought and how have you overcome them? What are the benefits?”

  • Keywords: minority, community, challenge, growth

8) “Please explain how your experience volunteering and participating in community service has shaped your perspective on humanity. Elaborate on how these experiences have influenced your future ambitions and career choice.”

  • Keywords: community service, humanity, community, background, future, values, career

9) “Discuss in your essay any challenges or obstacles you have dealt with and overcome in life and how this will help you succeed in college and beyond. Describe how volunteer, community service or extra-curricular activities have shaped who you are today and what it has taught you. May also include future educational plans and career goals.”

  • Keywords: challenge, future, community service, interests, value, personal growth, career

How to Write a Scholarship Essay through Prompt Analysis

Let’s compare some prompts by keywords. You’ll notice that some prompts have a lot of overlap, such as prompts 1 and 4. Both have event, personal development, growth, and background as keywords . Prompt 4 includes the additional keyword challenge . This prompt explicitly asks you to explain how you have “overcome” a “personal hardship or catastrophic life event.” While prompt 1 is not so specific, it would be easy, even natural, to include this narrative arc in your response. This means depicting how you faced the thing that “made a big impact in your life.” In other words, these two essay prompts, though worded differently, allow you to tell the same story.

Other prompts provide potential overlap. In this case, it’s up to you to find and interpret these moments. You may consider the values, strengths, interests, and experiences you wish to relate. For example, prompts 7, 8, and 9 all mention community through different approaches. While prompt 7 focuses on one’s past involvement in a minority community, prompts 8 and 9 are more future-facing, and don’t mention minorities.

Scholarship Essay Examples (Continued)

Here, your best strategy involves answering prompts 8 and 9 together in a single scholarship essay. To do so, the essay would need to detail “a challenge or obstacle you have dealt with” (9) which has thus “shaped your perspective on humanity” (8). This narrative arc will thus inform your “future” educational and career plans (8 and 9). Note that prompt 9 allows you to mention extra-curriculars. However, I wouldn’t recommend it, since this would make your essay less relevant to prompt 8. After your essay is written, adapt it to align with prompt 7. Consider condensing the part about the future into one final sentence and focusing more on minority aspects of your community.

How to Scholarship Essay Avoid Burnout

The above tactic will allow you to avoid burnout by strategizing your essay approach ahead of time. In turn, you’ll be able to maximize your efforts from the get-go. You’ll also likely find that your essays become more complex and nuanced when you consider several prompts at once.

The next step involves editing. Refer back to the prompt, once you have a draft written. Ask yourself, did I answer the question fully? Do I need to edit this essay further to emphasize a particular point? Do I need to cut the essay down to fit a new word count? Contrarily do I need to bulk it up? If so, are there other essays in my portfolio from which I can borrow material? Strategic editing will allow you to respond to a large number of essays during peak essay-writing season.

Finally, you’ll notice that most essays require a word count between 250 to 600 words. It’s often easier to write a longer essay first. This will allow you to go into greater detail without censoring your ideas. You may find yourself including dialogue, scenery, emotions, and all sorts of other specifics that make an essay personal. As you whittle down this essay to comply with a similar prompt, you’ll want to identify which pieces of the essay do the most work to get your message across. Don’t simply condense everything by eliminating details, for details are often the most memorable aspects of an essay. More on this next.

How to Write a Scholarship Essay Using the Three Fs

The three Fs can be applied to any college essay, though they are particularily useful in scholarship essays. Why? Because the three Fs will enable you to impress readers and beat out other applicants. Ultimately, they’ll help you win financial support. Think of the three Fs as a checklist to go over, once you’ve completed an essay draft. Ask yourself, is my essay fabulous? Flawless? Fearless?

How to Write a Scholarship Essay (Continued)

If your essay is fabulous , it glitters with personality. It is detailed, unique, and does its best to highlight your impressive journey. If your essay lacks a little fab, ask yourself, how can I make this essay more enjoyable and memorable to read? If your essay is flawless , it lacks all spelling, syntactic and grammatical errors. It answers every aspect of the essay prompt, and leaves no room for vagueness or misunderstandings. To avoid flaws, give your essay to several people to proofread. Finally, if your essay is fearless , it is not afraid to get a little vulnerable. This may sound contradictory to the first F. On the contrary, this fearlessness refers to the confidence to tell your own story. A fearless story isn’t afraid to go deep, add complexity, or get emotional. It is unafraid to show why its author deserves a financial boost.

Scholarship Essay Example

Now that we’ve established how to approach the scholarship essay, let’s dive into a scholarship essay example. The scholarship essay below stems from a prompt we saw above: Describe a change you would like to make in the world. Tell us about how you would plan to make that change, and what obstacles you might encounter along the way (500 words).

My generation is growing up in a time of increased global turmoil. We’ve witnessed Brexit, the Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, a series of refugee crises, and the invasion of Ukraine. It’s easy to liken this moment to Europe in the 1930s, which saw a spike in fascism and propaganda (their version of fake news). Only now, my generation must also contend with the hottest summers on record, raging forest fires, and the beginning of the 6 th extinction. It’s no wonder we deal with it all through increased skepticism and existential dread.

While I don’t have a simple solution, I believe most problems stem from ignorance. Xenophobia and racism, offshoots of ignorance, can be overcome by exposing isolated groups of people to greater diversity. This begins in the classroom. While dictators are hard to dispose of, education provides critical thinking skills, which allow citizens to make informed decisions when electing officials. Finally, developing a willingness to learn at an early age creates an instinct to continue learning throughout life. We desperately need intellectual flexibility if we are going to adapt to the planet’s needs as a world population and put a stop to industry-led fossil fuel burning.

Scholarship Essay Example (Continued)

The change I’d like to make is free, enhanced education for everyone, at every level, from elementary school to post-doctorate research institutes. To do so, I suggest defunding national militaries and channeling this spending into schools. Imagine if 80% of the 877 billion dollars the U.S. military spends annually went into learning. Combating fascism and climate change would look more feasible. And yet, no leader would agree to making their country more vulnerable by relinquishing arms and armies. Change must come from the people.

As the planet continues to heats up, and conflict over land increases, we must work together. The first step towards increased education is communicating this need for education: through journalism, on social media, in the streets. Next, I suggest lobbying politicians for incremental change. Finally, I believe a global grassroots movement to implement future-focused education, led by activists, educators, and philanthropists, would make this theoretical idea a tangible reality.

Last year, my mother, who never received a college education, decided to offer free gardening courses in our backyard. I quickly joined in. While teaching a handful of neighbors how to provide year-round food for pollinators may seem trivial, I’ve already seen positive repercussions. One conservative neighbor has set up an organization that collects and redistributes leftover produce from the markets to refugees. Another neighbor is now teaching middle schoolers how to cook and compost. These efforts have brought unusual strangers together and given visibility to our movement, #futurefocusededucation. I’ve seen it firsthand. The more we educate, the sooner we can combine our knowledge to create solutions.

Scholarship Essay Example Dissected

This scholarship essay succeeds at answering all parts of the prompt. It includes the change the author wants to make, and inevitable obstacles she’d face at the governmental and international level. These obstacles may sound insurmountable. Yet the essay shows that individuals are not powerless to enact change when they work together towards a common goal. The author provides various thoughtful steps we might take in order to prioritize education and peaceful collaboration.

Finally, the author portrays herself as someone personally invested in the political, humanitarian, and environmental state of the world. She proves that she’s already begun to make the changes she wants to see at the microscopic level. Overall, readers of this scholarship essay can see that this student is invested in bettering the world. This student would make for a proactive participant in her academic environment.

What’s Next?

Now that you have some inkling of how to write a scholarship essay and have reviewed of our scholarship essay examples, you may want to delve into more aid-related articles on the College Transitions Dataverse. You can read up on Need-Based Financial Aid Grants , and learn about Selective Colleges with Generous Scholarships . Furthermore, you may want to create your own Scholarship Timeline , in order to stay on top of the various deadlines. Good luck!

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Kaylen Baker

With a BA in Literary Studies from Middlebury College, an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University, and a Master’s in Translation from Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis, Kaylen has been working with students on their writing for over five years. Previously, Kaylen taught a fiction course for high school students as part of Columbia Artists/Teachers, and served as an English Language Assistant for the French National Department of Education. Kaylen is an experienced writer/translator whose work has been featured in Los Angeles Review, Hybrid, San Francisco Bay Guardian, France Today, and Honolulu Weekly, among others.

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How to Start a Scholarship Essay (With Examples)

scholarship essay for financial need

Will Geiger is the co-founder of Scholarships360 and has a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. He is a former Senior Assistant Director of Admissions at Kenyon College where he personally reviewed 10,000 admissions applications and essays. Will also managed the Kenyon College merit scholarship program and served on the financial aid appeals committee. He has also worked as an Associate Director of College Counseling at a high school in New Haven, Connecticut. Will earned his master’s in education from the University of Pennsylvania and received his undergraduate degree in history from Wake Forest University.

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scholarship essay for financial need

Bill Jack has over a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. Since 2008, he has worked at Colby College, Wesleyan University, University of Maine at Farmington, and Bates College.

scholarship essay for financial need

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

How to Start a Scholarship Essay (With Examples)

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. However, with so much competition, it is important for your scholarship essay to stand out. That’s why it’s important for you to start a scholarship essay off right!

There are some very simple things that you can do to ensure that your essay is engaging from the very first sentence. In fact, beginning your essay with an exciting opening is one of the most important things you can do, because it will immediately distinguish your essay from the others. 

Keep on reading to learn more about how you can nail the very first sentence and start your essay off right!

Engage the reader with the first sentence

No matter what type of essay you are writing, you will want to ensure that the very first line grabs the attention of the reader. One of the biggest mistakes that students make when starting their essay is simply restating the prompt. This is bland and boring. 

Now, you might be wondering, “how do I engage the reader with the very first line of my essay?”. The good news is that there are several ways that you can do this that are very simple to do. 

Related:  How to answer scholarship essay questions about your career goals

Begin with dialogue

First, you could begin your essay with conversation. This can be an interesting and unexpected way to start your scholarship essay. Maybe someone asked you an unexpected question? Perhaps you were having an interesting conversation with a friend or family member? Either way, dialogue can be a powerful tool to start your essay.

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Put the reader in your shoes.

Alternatively, you can choose to start your essay by placing the reader right in your shoes and show them something from your life. Appeal to the senses and show the reader what you see, hear, smell, or taste. These specific details will help your essay come to life and make it even more memorable. 

Also recommended: What’s the best scholarship essay format?

Scholarship essay introduction example

Next,  we’ll look at a specific example of how you can open up your essay. Let’s say you are applying for the Questbridge scholarship program . One of the essays that you will be asked is:

We are interested in learning more about you and the context in which you have grown up, formed your aspirations, and accomplished your academic successes. Please describe the factors and challenges that have most influenced you. How are they shaping your future aspirations?

You might be tempted to rephrase the question and start your essay with something like:

“I have grown up in a rural context and this has formed my aspirations and allowed me to accomplish academic success…”

This is generic and will not engage your reader at all. 

Instead, what if you started off your essay with something like this:

“I look outside my bedroom window and see Henry, my favorite chicken, pecking at something in the dirt.” 

Makes a big difference, right? As a reader, you are probably wondering: why does this person have chickens outside their bedroom window? Why did they name this particular chicken Henry?

See also: Here are our top writing & essay scholarships for students!

Keep the ending of your essay in mind as you write the opening

While crafting your opening, be open to ideas about how to close your essay. There is no need to stress about the ending now, but being mindful of effective ways to end an essay is always a good idea. Say you are opening your scholarship essay with Henry the chicken. Is there a way for Henry to make an impactful appearance at the end of the essay to close things out in a way that perfectly wraps everything up? The key is for the essay ending to be meaningful and memorable for the reader. 

Don’t miss: Our free scholarship search tool

If you can’t think of a “wow” scholarship essay beginning, keep writing!

Sometimes, we know what we want to say, point by point, but we are not ready to be creative when it comes to opening an essay. In that case, keep writing! There is always the option of going back and crafting an engaging opening after your essay is written. Simply write your main idea where the first paragraph would be to guide you as you write. After, go back when your creative juices are flowing, and craft the amazing opening (and closing) that your scholarship essay deserves!

Final thoughts

As shown, there are many questions that we as readers will have after reading an engaging essay opening such as the one just shared; We want to learn more about the student who is writing this essay. After all, as a writer trying to stand out in a pile of essays, that is our main goal. 

We hope that you have a better understanding of how to start a scholarship essay so you can maximize your chances of winning scholarships!

Additional resources

Scholarships360 is the go-to for all things college admissions and scholarships! Wondering how to write a 250 word essay and how to write a 500 word essay ? Curious how to write an essay about yourself ? Wow, do we have the resources to help! Additionally, check out our free scholarship search tool to help you finance your college education. Best of luck to you and your future endeavors! 

Key Takeaways

  • The first sentence of the essay is what makes the reader want to continue reading 
  • Engage the reader by appealing to the senses
  • Create a sense of wonder in your essay, making the reader want to learn more about you
  • Keep the ending of the essay in mind as you craft the beginning

Frequently asked questions about how to start a scholarship essay

What is an essay hook, how long should my scholarship essay be.

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​How to Write a Scholarship Essay (With Examples)

​How to Write a Scholarship Essay (With Examples)

  • 6-minute read
  • 22nd August 2022

Writing a scholarship essay can seem like a daunting task. For many students , higher education isn’t possible without financial aid, and scholarships are especially valuable because the money awarded doesn’t have to be paid back.

Even though the stakes are high, there are a few manageable steps you can take to ensure you write a great essay to submit with your scholarship applications. We have a few top tips to help you get started, along with writing examples to demonstrate some key points. Check out our guide below to learn more.

A scholarship essay is a great opportunity to present yourself and your accomplishments in an impactful way. It is, therefore, essential to be aware of each scholarship deadline so you can allow sufficient time for the writing process, which typically includes the following:

·   Read the essay prompt and brainstorm ideas.

·   Create an outline covering the key points you want to address.

·   Write a draft and seek feedback from trusted teachers, family, or friends.

·   Make any necessary revisions and proofread before submitting your final draft.

Scholarship review committees will be able to tell if you rushed through your essay, so give yourself the best chance of winning an award by staying organized and on schedule!

Who and What?

Researching the scholarship provider and diligently reviewing the essay prompts can help you write an essay that makes you stand out as a top candidate.

1. Who are you writing to?

Learn more about the organization offering the scholarship and why the scholarship fund was created.

For instance, a scholarship may honor its organization’s founder, and the founder’s qualities (e.g., integrity, good citizenship, and leadership) might be the same values guiding the scholarship program as a way to continue the founder’s legacy.

If you identify with any of the same qualities, you can incorporate those keywords into your essay to demonstrate your shared values. Remember to remain authentic, though!

2. What are you writing about?

You must read the essay prompt carefully to identify precisely what you need to accomplish with your essay.

Some prompts ask about your career goals and how you plan to achieve them or your achievements and the challenges you overcame to reach them.

You’ll write about common topics across multiple scholarship applications – some may even be similar to your college admission essay – so you can repurpose your essays as long as you’re diligent about tailoring each one to its prompt.

Your application will likely require other items such as transcripts and test scores, but the essay is your chance to offer something entirely unique. Write about key experiences that highlight who you are and what you’ve accomplished, or you could mention something you’re passionate about.

Remember to follow any specific instructions regarding length and formatting, and be sure to answer all questions listed in the prompt. It can hurt your chances if you’re unable to show the committee that you’re detail-oriented and can follow directions.

Structuring Your Essay

Your essay should follow a standard format that includes a clear beginning, middle, and end. Typically, you should:

·   Establish your main idea in the introduction.

·   Include a separate body paragraph for each key point that supports your main idea.

·   Draw it all together and revisit your main idea in the conclusion.

Scholarship committees read thousands of essays each year. And often, there are hundreds of applicants for an award that can only go to a select few candidates. Writing a powerful introduction and conclusion gives you a chance to make a lasting impression.

1. Introduction

Write an introduction that hooks the reader and encourages them to stay engaged till the end of your essay. Don’t be afraid to add personal, tangible details and an anecdote .

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For example, if you’re writing about your career goals, demonstrate why you’ve chosen that career:

It was the biggest game of the season, and the stands were packed despite the bitter cold. My heart was beating louder than all of the cheers, and I was filled with the anticipation that one more run into the end zone would give us the championship. Everything went silent during that run when the tackle shattered both my leg and my dreams.

My world has always revolved around being an athlete – until one day it couldn’t. I spent many frustrating months rehabilitating, but I got through it because of my dedicated physical therapist, who helped me recover both physically and mentally after a devastating loss. And it was that profound experience that led me to pursue a career in the exercise sciences.

2. Conclusion

The conclusion is the last thing your reader will see, so it’s another opportunity for you to make your essay memorable.

Rather than summarizing with a general statement such as “this is why you should award me a scholarship,” perhaps explain what the financial assistance will help you achieve:

My parents never had the opportunity to go to college, and neither did their parents. I watched them work hard every day just to make ends meet, and I often questioned whether I could achieve anything more. Nevertheless, I spent four years working as hard as I saw my parents work, and I beat the odds by getting accepted to college. A scholarship could be invaluable for me, as it would allow me to attend and be successful without having to worry about finances.

Persuasive Writing

While you don’t want your scholarship essay to be overly informal, you’re certainly allowed to add some creativity and personal details to help persuade your readers.

One of the best ways to do so is by writing with the modes of persuasion ; that is, ethos, pathos, and logos.

Demonstrate your credibility. Use your real-life experiences and interesting details to establish, for example, how you’ve contributed to your community:

I saw how much bullying was impacting so many students at my school, so I founded my high school’s first anti-bullying club and organized campaigns to bring attention to the harm that people can cause one another.

Evoke an emotional response. The “show, don’t tell ” writing technique, which involves using descriptive words when discussing actions and emotions, can be especially useful here:

During one of our first awareness assemblies, the theater was completely silent as I read aloud anonymous stories from students about the scars bullying had left on their lives. Tears were stinging in my eyes as I described the struggles my classmates were facing, but I persevered to give a voice to those who didn’t have one.

Convey your point with reason and facts. Use statistics to demonstrate what you’ve accomplished:

In the first year alone, our club improved students’ feelings of safety and acceptance at our school by 53%.

Proofreading and Editing

Don’t forget the importance of proofreading your essay, as spelling and grammar mistakes can leave a bad impression on your reader. Our expert editors can help ensure your writing is clear, concise, and error-free. Give yourself a better chance at impressing scholarship committees by submitting a free trial document today!

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Home / Blog

How To Write a Scholarship Essay

February 15, 2019 

scholarship essay for financial need

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Paying for college is a top concern for many students in America today. Even just a generation ago, a student’s primary concern was more about getting into the college they preferred, instead of about being able to afford college at all. Now, young students are trying their best to budget and save up in order to afford a college education, and are planning ahead for how they will pay off their student loans.

As important as FAFSA is for most students , there are other options available to help students pay for their college education: mainly scholarships and grants. The best thing about these options? They don’t require repayment plans.

Debt.org notes on scholarships for students: “Each year, an estimated $46 billion in grants and scholarship money is awarded by the U.S. Department of Education and the nation’s colleges and universities. In addition, about $3.3 billion in gift aid is awarded by private sources, including individuals, foundations, corporations, churches, nonprofit groups, civic societies, veterans groups, professional groups, service clubs, unions, chambers of commerce, associations and many other organizations.”

But how can you take advantage of this $49.3 billion dollar (and growing) pool of grants and scholarships? Scholarships require either proof of academic excellence or that students meet a financial threshold, as well as completion of an application and, usually, a scholarship essay. Just as some colleges and universities require an entrance essay to apply, many scholarships also require an essay along with the application.

Writing an essay for school is one thing, but writing an essay to help you pay for college is another. Financial stability is on the line when it comes to scholarship applications, so writing a winning essay is key to impressing those granting the scholarships you’re applying for. Here are some tips to help you better prepare for your scholarship application and essay.

What Is a Scholarship Essay?

Scholarships are a form of student financial aid that do not require repayment, as long as you meet the terms of the award and use it as directed. They are often gifted based on merit, either through academic excellence, financial need (also known as “need-based” aid), or by meeting specific requirements set by the organization awarding the scholarship; such as specific scholarships or grants for women .

Aid may come from federal scholarship funds, state or local scholarship funds, or private organizations, such as churches, nonprofit groups, and more. Additionally, almost every scholarship will require an accompanying essay along with the application.

The scholarship essay varies depending on the requests of the organization granting the essay. It may require a specific word count, or be based on a prompt. Whatever the requirements are, it is essential to follow the guidelines presented in order to qualify for the scholarship. Preparing your essay is like writing a resume for financial aid, and depending on which scholarship you’re applying for, the competition may be anywhere from minimal to fierce. It’s important to write an essay that can stand out amongst the crowd of applicants.

Grant vs Scholarship

Although the terms “grant” and “scholarship” often refer to a similar idea — student financial aid that doesn’t require repayment — they are two fundamentally different awards. The key difference lies in how they are awarded, and where the funds are originating from.

Grants , such as Pell Grants, are typically awarded by the federal government and are generally awarded based on need rather than merit. There may be minimum requirements that recipients are required to live up to, such as family financial status limits, but these are often less specific than scholarship requirements are. Additionally, colleges and state agencies may also award grants based on need.

Scholarships on the other hand are often awarded based on merit. They may require that students meet (and sustain) a specific GPA in school, or that students with athletic excellence join the college’s sports team. Most scholarships will have rules that recipients are required to follow in order to continue to qualify for that scholarship. Many scholarships are funded by colleges, private organizations or donors, and some state or local programs.

Both grants and scholarships may require an accompanying essay with the application, although there are some rare cases of scholarships and grants that don’t require essays and are easier to obtain. Be cautious of fraudulent scholarships or online scams associated with “easy to obtain scholarships”, as they are becoming increasingly common online.

Steps for Writing a Scholarship Essay

Just as when applying to colleges, scholarship applications may require that you to send in your grades, academic achievements, test scores, and ambitions for the future. As such,  scholarship essays offer you the chance to speak to these accomplishments and ambitions. Here you can shine and win over the organization granting the scholarship.

Once you’ve found a scholarship that you qualify for or that interests you, it’s important to read over the instructions thoroughly to understand what is expected of you. Then, follow these steps to write the perfect application essay for the scholarship of your choosing:

The prompts can be anywhere from basic — “What was a challenging experience you faced in high school and how did you overcome it?” — to more complex or specific — “How has coffee helped you study for your SAT or ACT test?”

The prompt should help you start to formulate ideas on how you want to construct your essay. Be sure to fully understand what is expected of you by reading the instructions, and do your best to not stray from the topic being covered. Some essays may have a word or page count, while others may only request you answer the prompt.

Brainstorming is an important step to ensure your idea fits with the prompt and properly expresses what you are trying to communicate through your essay. You also want to make sure that you express what is meaningful and relevant about yourself that can help your essay stand out from all the others.

One of the best ways to start constructing and organizing an essay is to create a comprehensive outline. They serve as an essential tool to help you avoid structural mistakes, repetition, and to help you cover all your bases and ideas without rambling.

Your outline should read like a barebones argument for why you deserve this scholarship and how your idea relates to the prompt given. Once you start writing the essay in full, you can fill in more of the details needed to explain your point, or to describe yourself and your situation.

Scholarship Essay Formatting

Additionally, outlines can help you properly format your scholarship essay. Here are some essential tips for your scholarship essay format:

  • Introduction that ends with a thesis or idea
  • Explanation that supports and proves your thesis
  • Conclusion that reiterates your argument and thesis
  • 12 point font
  • Times New Roman, Arial, Courier, Helvetica, or Georgia font (whatever is standard on your preferred writing system, nothing too stylized)
  • Double spaced
  • 1 inch to 1 ½ inch margins
  • If there is no required word or page count, as a general rule, aim for ¾ to 1 full page in length.
  • Be sure to include your name and the name of the scholarship you are applying for near the top of the page (either as a header or simply above the optional title).

Once you’ve brainstormed and outlined your article, you can officially start writing the piece. Be sure to follow your outline and cover all of the key ideas that you came up with while brainstorming. Be concise, avoid rambling, and ensure your point is clearly stated. Also ensure you’ve formatted your essay correctly and stay true to the word or page count, if applicable.

Take a Break

Once you’ve completed your first draft, you should take a break from writing. Go outside and take a walk, or spend some time cleaning — anything to help you get your mind off the essay so that you can return later with fresh eyes. If you find it hard not to think about the essay, wait a day (or even a few days) before coming back to reread it.

In general, spending time away from your work can help you clear your mind. When you do come back, you may be more likely to notice mistakes or see gaps which require elaboration. For any essay you write, this is always a helpful tip.

As you return to your essay, go through and nitpick your work. Use your fresh mind to rewrite sections or include more (or less) context, as needed. Ask yourself if the core idea that you came up with during your brainstorm is still apparent in the article. Are you communicating your ideas clearly?

Additionally, keep an eye out for grammatical mistakes, such as missing or too many commas, misspellings, or other typos. If you notice repetitive words, utilize a thesaurus to find acceptable replacements. Once you’ve gone through your essay, you can submit it as is, or you can follow the optional next step.

Peer Review

For many people, it can be hard for them to revise their own work because they hold biases about their writing or are unaware of personal mistakes. Asking another person to review your work may help you refine your essay even more. Additionally, having another person read over your essay can help you determine the clarity of your point: do they understand the flow of your piece, or are they confused by any information? Does the context you provide make sense to the overall idea, or does the reader still have questions?

If you have a friend, relative, mentor, or peer that has editing experience — or that is simply a voracious reader — ask them if they can take a moment to look over your piece and make comments or suggestions. You may be surprised at what they find that you missed!

Scholarship Essay Tips

Your scholarship essay is going to be your primary (and sometimes sole) form of communication with the organization granting the scholarship. That’s why it’s so important to communicate directly and clearly through your essay in order to attract their attention and garner their support. Here are some additional tips to help you better communicate your intentions through your scholarship essay:

How To Start a Scholarship Essay

First impressions matter, and your introductory paragraph will serve as your first impression to the scholarship organization. Refer back to your brainstorm to help identify your message and consider how to attract the attention of the reader through your introductory paragraph. For some people, it may also help to construct or outline the body of the essay before you construct the introduction, so as to better understand how to concisely get your message across.

Once you’ve properly outlined the entirety of your essay, you can start writing. In your introductory paragraph you’ll want to state in clear and succinct language who you are, why you are interested in college and this scholarship (or your hopeful direction), and what the reader will find in your essay.

Be Personal

Another important point to keep in mind while you’re writing is that this essay isn’t a book report (unless otherwise stated in the prompt); this essay is about you. Don’t write impersonally, but take a personal tone: use “I, me, myself” or other personal pronouns and avoid general statements unless they relate to your situation.

Through your writing you should also be revealing some of your motivations pertaining to why you’re going to school and why you’re seeking out this scholarship. Discuss how you will become an effective student in the coming years, and how you’ll make good use of the money you may be awarded. You may have more freedom to write about yourself in detail for some scholarship prompts, and less of the same freedom for others. Use your discretion.

Stay Focused

When you originally brainstormed your essay topic, you should have been able to narrow down your topic to just a few key points that you could communicate and cover in detail. As you fully flesh out your essay, you should ensure that you stay focused on these core ideas. Try not to ramble or get side tracked. Every sentence in your essay should be related in some way to one of your core ideas. If it’s not, delete it or rewrite the sentence so that it does relate.

Be Succinct

It’s important to keep in mind that your essay most likely won’t be more than a page, double spaced. Since you don’t have a lot of room for fluff or non-essential information, it’s important to stay focused, to the point, and brief.

Additionally, the organization that is awarding the scholarship is most likely going to be reading hundreds (sometimes thousands) of scholarship applications and essays. Everyone will most likely be working off the same prompt, so you’ll want to ensure that your essay stands out, gets straight to the point, and doesn’t waste any of the reader’s time.

Follow Instructions

Finally, the most important tip is to simply read and reread the instructions multiple times to ensure you understand the prompt, what is expected of you, and all of the other essential guidelines pertaining to your essay.

While you should be sure to do this before you start writing, you should also do this after you’ve written the piece. Simply double check your work against the requirements set by the scholarship organization, and make sure you’re following the instructions to the letter. Essays that don’t follow instructions will most likely be thrown out first, and you don’t want your hard work to go to waste simply because you forgot something in the instructions.

Scholarship Essays for Online Students

If you’ve decided to pursue your education through an online bachelor’s degree or master’s degree program , it can be even more important to communicate effectively through your scholarship essay. It is entirely possible that you will never meet your collegiate benefactors or professors in person, and will only communicate with them via your writing online.

Luckily, there are some unique scholarships out there that are aimed just for online or “distance learning” students. Keep in mind, even some of the smaller scholarships (such as those for $50-$500) can still help you pay for books, online texts or subscriptions, or other essential learning materials.

Writing an imaginative and thoughtful scholarship essay can help you pay for online schooling for either a bachelors or masters degree program. It can also get you started on the right foot to have a solid financial aid foundation to pursue your college dreams.

Whether you’re writing one scholarship essay or many, these tips will help you make a solid first impression, and hopefully will win over whichever scholarship organization you’re targeting.

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How to Express Financial Need in Scholarship Essays

Kimberley McGee

How to Write a Scholarship Letter

The scholarship essay is a portrait of you and your unique situation. All of your positive attributes should shine in your scholarship essay that expresses your need for financial aid.

An emotionally moving letter that speaks to a financial aid officer features a personalized story in a positive way. Familiarize yourself with the writing process and construct a few sample scholarship essays based on a financial need to create a touching and successful essay.

The work you put into completing your financial aid letter can lead to a lucrative and life-changing college career.

How to Frame a Personal Story

Frame your story in a positive light. To do this, you may need to dig deep into difficult situations. Turn any adversity you have experienced into an opportunity.

Don’t be afraid to state your accomplishments. Discuss how you overcame obstacles or found ways to turn difficulties into victories. Edit out any negative language that brings the tone down or puts your reaction to a situation in a bad light.

Begin with a brief introduction and finish with a confident flourish. The main body of your concise letter should contain why you deserve to earn the financial aid.

Sample Scholarship Essays Based on Financial Need

Look online and you will find a slew of scholarship essay examples of financial need. While these can be helpful, they shouldn’t be copied verbatim.

Use a sample scholarship application letter for financial need as a template. Infuse it with your personal story. Be honest and insightful about why you need financial aid to attend a higher education institution.

Statement of Financial Need Example

A statement of financial need example will typically be shorter than an essay. The scholarship committee is looking for short and sweet essays. To create a moving statement, keep your sentences short and get to the most poignant part of your story quickly. Keep the statement of financial aid to less than 200 words with paragraphs of no more than thee or four sentences.

On the bright side, this concise statement of your financial need situation can serve double duty. If done correctly, then you should be able to use the statement of financial need as a cover letter for other, lengthier and more intensive scholarship application packets. It should express all of your best attributes, concisely define your goals and move the reader to understand you and your financial needs.

Write and Rewrite a Sample Letter

Admissions officials at colleges are flooded with scholarship requests. Use your specific situation to your advantage. Considering that most scholarships are based on the student’s financial need, your explanation of why you need assistance to pursue your goals can help you stand out.

Briefly describe your financial need for this scholarship sample before you give it to someone else to read over. By creating sample scholarship essays based on a financial need for each scholarship you are applying for, you take the pressure off of yourself.

It may take a few samples, or rough drafts, before you hit the correct tone you are looking for to get the attention of the financial institution offering the aid.

Before Sending in a Scholarship Essay

You’ve done all the hard work, explored ways to introduce your situation in a positive and unique light and feel good about the structure of your scholarship letter. Now comes the polish. Pass the letter on to a trusted teacher or someone with a background in grammar and editing.

Make sure every comma, period and hyphen are perfectly in place. Let as many people see it who you feel can offer beneficial feedback. Don’t rush the process in finalizing a crisp, concise and correct scholarship letter. This will ensure you put your best financial foot forward in your quest to pay for a quality education at the school of your choice.

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How to End a Scholarship Letter

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  • Communications Network: Framing Stories for Change
  • Psychology Today: Create a Narrative to Better Yourself
  • Scholarships: Top 10 Tips for Writing Effective Scholarship Essays

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.

Financial Need Essay: Examples & Writing Guide

Unfortunately, not everyone striving for education can afford it. Some courses are so expensive that even well-to-do citizens need financial assistance. They can write a scholarship application letter or refuse the undertaking. In such a case, students are supposed to submit a financial need essay.

Our specialists will write a custom essay specially for you!

Funding authorities cannot assist each student. That is why you need to assure them in your statement of financial need that you deserve the scholarship more than anyone else. This article by Custom-Writing experts provides you with a clear structure. Besides, you will see an accurate statement of financial need essay sample.

In a financial need essay, you should: introduce yourself, explain how you're now paying for college, justify your need, explain your potential benefits, and make a closing statement.

  • ✅ What to Include
  • 🚫 Mistakes to Avoid
  • 👀 Essay Sample

🔗 References

✅ statement of financial need: what to include.

This type of writing is a statement of a student’s life circumstances . But there is a limited number of aspects that you need to include. Otherwise, the committee will reject your request for financial aid as it will not look persuasive enough. Follow the next five steps to write a scholarship-winning essay. If you will still be unsure of how to write this kind of paper, explore the example in the next section.

  • Introduce yourself. Your readers learn about you for the first time. It is polite to tell them who you are . Stress that you are the first person in your family who will attend a college. If you pertain to an ethnic group that may be underrepresented at the college, mention it.
  • Explain how you’re now paying for college. Are you working to pay for your studies? Does this work take the time you could spend learning?
  • Justify your financial need. Explain why you need assistance and the difficulties you meet in paying for your studies.
  • Describe how you would benefit from the scholarship. Will you have to drop out if you are not given the scholarship? What will happen when you receive it? Explain that you will be able to study more if there is no need to work after classes.
  • Make a closing statement . Do not beg and avoid being too emotional. Your essay should sound professional. Thank your readers for taking the time to consider your request.

Here, you can read about other secrets of scholarship essay writing .

🚫 Financial Need Essay: Mistakes to Avoid

There are several big mistakes that students can make in their scholarship essays.

👀 Statement of Financial Need: Essay Sample

We hope that this short, but comprehensive guide will get your essay going! Good luck and be sure to check out our blog for more writing tips.

Just in 1 hour! We will write you a plagiarism-free paper in hardly more than 1 hour

✏️ Financial Need Essay FAQ

There is no universal way to justify why you need money. Every situation is unique. Every person might have their life circumstances. Typically, students apply for scholarships because they can’t work full-time yet. Thus, they cannot afford the desired program.

Two key strategies to ask for scholarship money are those below.

1. Write an impressive motivation letter mentioning your tight budget,

2. Write an application letter describing your tough life circumstances (especially if you have incomplete family, etc.).

For additional details, check examples of such papers online and in books.

Applying for a scholarship implies proving why you deserve this assistance. Demonstrate your strong motivation, your real passion for learning, describe your educational background. If you want to be chosen for the program, take a look at examples and templates available online. You need to highlight your strengths and motivation .

It’s probably a bad idea to begin with the statement of financial need itself. Instead, demonstrate your strong motivation and even passion first. Briefly describe your background and highlight relevant educational and work experience. Acknowledge that financial assistance would help you to develop further.

  • Writing a Winning College Scholarship Essay | The Princeton Review
  • 5 Ways to Make Your Scholarship Essay Stand Out – U.S. News
  • How to Write a Scholarship Essay – Maryville University Online
  • How Aid Is Calculated | Federal Student Aid
  • Definition of need | Student Financial Aid | University of Missouri
  • How need is determined | Student Financial Aid (UWashington)
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Thank you for the financial need essay writing tips you have posted. They are very helpful! I’ll return to this blog for more useful guidelines for writing papers!

Ha, fully posting! How to ask for money? Yeah, it is a great idea to write a financial need essay in a humorous manner.

How To Write A Scholarship Essay With Examples In 2024

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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.

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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

How to start an essay for a scholarship for masters, why is an essay for a scholarship for masters an important part of the application process, are essays for a scholarship and college essays the same, can you write an essay for a scholarship in a 2nd and 3rd person perspective, what are some important aspects to keep in mind when writing an essay for a scholarship for a masters.

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Describe Your Financial Need for this Scholarship Essay Sample

Briefly describe your financial need for this scholarship.

I am in need of financial assistance in order to attend college because I am a low-income student. I am the 1st child to attend the college. Although my parents gave me many supports, I received a limited financial assistance due to low family income. To reduce family burden, I took out student loans to pay for my tuitions. Meanwhile, I am working 19 hours per week on campus to support myself. However, with the increasing tuitions this year, I am facing more challenges on financial need. As a senior in Petroleum Engineering, I wish to spend more time on my major courses because these courses are cores of my major and crucial in my future career. Unfortunately, financial burden may lessen my time on mastering the courses. Therefore, I would greatly appreciate a helping hand so that I can successfully obtain my engineering degree.

Awarding this scholarship will make great contribution to my study in Louisiana State University. This scholarship would allow me to work less and focus more on my studies. Meanwhile, this scholarship will support me to do more on community service and explore my potential in assisting the needs of people. Furthermore, receiving this scholarship will give me more opportunities to attend the conference and expose to newly developed technology. Additionally, awarding this scholarship would further motivate me to pursue academic excellence

Original Source: Essay Forum

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No Financial Aid Package Yet? Look to Last-Minute Scholarships

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Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

Major FAFSA issues have left millions of students waiting on financial aid packages, unsure if they’ll be able to afford college next year. There’s not much you can do to speed up aid offers, but you can increase your odds of affording college by applying to scholarships .

It’s not too late to start your scholarship hunt. With this year’s FAFSA errors and delays , many scholarship providers have extended application deadlines.

“Families can’t control the government side and what's happening within institutions … but they do have control of researching for scholarships that would help them offset higher ed costs,” says James Lewis, president of the National Society of High School Scholars.

Students win roughly $7.4 billion in private scholarships and fellowships each year, according to the National Scholarship Providers Association. However, 39% of students don’t use any scholarships, according to a 2023 report by the private student loan lender Sallie Mae, potentially leaving free money on the table that could lower their college costs.

Here are some expert-approved tips to win last-minute scholarship money and lower your college costs, even if your financial aid offers remain in limbo.

Cast a wide net

Cover the most ground in your scholarship hunt by:

Searching the Labor Department’s Scholarship Finder , which allows you to sort through more than 9,500 scholarships, fellowships, grants and other aid opportunities. 

Asking your target schools about scholarships available to their students. 

Looking for scholarships offered in your community, in addition to the bigger, well-known scholarships. 

Asking your high school guidance counselor to point you in the right direction. 

Ideally, you should apply to enough scholarships to get in the running for three times the total amount of aid you’ll need for school, suggests Christopher Gray, founder of the free Sallie Mae-owned scholarship search tool Scholly. Gray says he won more than $1 million in scholarships to pay for his own undergraduate degree. So, if you need $50,000 to pay for school, apply to $150,000 worth of scholarships, and you may win enough of them to get close to your $50,000 goal.

Look for niche scholarships

Some scholarships are extremely specific and can be easier to win if you fit the qualifying criteria. Consider what makes you unique: volunteer work, athletics, jobs, academic interests, religion, family military status and more.

“If there's individual merit that a student has, or passions or things that distinguish them, if they use Google and put ‘scholarships’ plus that term that describes their uniqueness, they'd be surprised how many scholarships are available, and that they can be applied to right now,” Lewis says.

Scholarships that require a lot of work — like a long list of required essays — can also be easier to win, Gray says, because fewer students want to do labor-intensive applications.

Get organized

Staying organized can help you maximize your scholarship award potential. You can use a scholarship tracker or build your own spreadsheet to keep track of deadlines and application requirements.

Treat scholarship applications like college applications, Lewis suggests. Ask someone to proofread your essays, and reach out to teachers or other adults in your life for recommendation letters.

Create an application work schedule. Maybe that involves dedicating a weekend or two to scholarship applications or setting aside a few hours each night to work on them. Start submitting applications as soon as possible because it may take weeks or months before you get a final award decision.

Tell a story

In the era of artificial intelligence, it’s more important than ever to be authentic when you’re writing your scholarship application essays.

And don’t just rehash your resume — focus on one impactful moment and tell that story, Gray says.

Lewis adds: “We all have stories to share about some of the things that we've struggled with and things that we want to overcome and accomplish.”

Write efficiently

Many scholarships include the same or similar essay prompts like asking about your community service or where you see yourself in five years. When possible, tailor your existing essays slightly for each application, rather than starting from scratch each time, Gray advises. This can help you save time and submit the most applications possible.

As a guideline, keep your essays at around 500 words or less, even if the maximum word count is higher, Gray says: “These essay readers are reading a lot of essays, so you really have to make sure that you can get a point across and be able to tell a story and convey your message in a way that's concise.”

Wait to report scholarship awards

Many schools have a “packaging policy,” which outlines how external scholarship awards will impact other financial aid you may receive. In some cases, schools may replace each dollar that it has given you with every scholarship dollar you bring in. This can negate your hard work applying to and winning scholarships.

Contact your college’s financial aid office to understand how exactly the school treats external scholarship awards.

Gray advises students to wait to report external scholarship awards to their college until after they've committed to the school and finalized their financial aid offer. That can minimize the odds that the school will reduce their original financial aid package as a result of scholarship money, he says.

Don’t forget the FAFSA

No matter how much scholarship money you bring in, it’s still essential to submit the FAFSA if you haven’t already. The form unlocks federal financial aid, including federal student loans, grants and work-study programs. Some external scholarship applications require you to submit the FAFSA, too.

The FAFSA will also put you in the running for the need-based Pell Grant , an award of up to $7,395 per year that you don’t repay. Eligibility isn’t tied to income alone, so you could qualify even if you don’t think you will.

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A FAFSA Fiasco Has Students Still Asking: Which College Can They Afford?

The new application for federal tuition aid was meant to be simpler. High school seniors say it has been anything but, and some are still unsure of their plans after graduation.

Kenneth Seinshin, wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, poses for a portrait in front of college pennants in his high school counselor’s office.

By Colbi Edmonds and Bernard Mokam

Colbi Edmonds and Bernard Mokam interviewed dozens of students, counselors and experts for this article.

By this time of year, college-bound high school seniors are usually celebrating their choices, researching dorms and even thinking of their majors. This year, that’s not necessarily the case.

Because of a disastrous rollout of the new application for federal tuition aid, many still don’t know how much tuition they would be paying and so have not decided where they can afford to go.

The Education Department’s redesigned form for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, was supposed to make applying for tuition aid easier and more accessible. But faced with a bureaucratic mess caused by technical meltdowns and severe delays in processing information and receiving aid packages, students say the new system has been anything but clear or streamlined.

The first signs of trouble began in December with the form’s release and have cascaded since, creating uncertainties for students — with graduation right around the corner.

“It’s been a nightmare from point A to point B,” said Reyna Atkinson, a 17-year-old from Michigan, who ultimately committed to Michigan State University after months of waiting.

FAFSA is a free, standardized application for federal aid for college tuition that millions rely on. Students fill out one form, with details on their background and household income, to request tuition information for the schools they list.

Before the overhaul, applicants typically received their financial aid packages within 72 hours of submission. But this year, the Education Department has to reprocess more than half a million applications , and students have been waiting for two, three months — and counting.

Students typically must commit to a college by May 1. Some colleges have extended their decision days until May 15 or early June because of the FAFSA problems.

Even so, several students interviewed by The New York Times said they were making decisions without getting a full picture of tuition costs, a move financial aid experts discourage. Others said they couldn’t commit without knowing how much their chosen college would cost.

Kenneth Seinshin, a 17-year-old from New York City who hopes to be the first in his family to go to college, started filling out his application the first week it came out. But it took months to troubleshoot the glitches he encountered; he finally submitted in March.

So far, he has received only one aid package, for Union College in New York, and he has yet to make a decision. “The whole process just really stressed me out,” Kenneth said.

Clover Schwalm, an 18-year-old from Michigan, was in a similar situation. As a disabled and transgender student, she wanted a school with an accessible and inclusive environment. She still hasn’t received all of her packages, including from schools of higher priority like Savannah College of Art and Design, but committed to Arizona State.

She said she has “reservations” about moving to Arizona, but was comforted by the fact that it doesn’t have a ban on transgender care for adults. “It’s not the best, but I also recognize that there are states that could be less safe,” she said.

Simply completing the application has been a frustrating task for many. Some have not been able to save their changes or make corrections, while others could not submit their form at all.

So far this year, there has been a noticeable dip in the number of students who have completed the form, compared with last year. Among high schoolers graduating this year, 35.6 percent had completed financial aid applications through April 26, compared with 48.2 percent in the same period for the previous class, data analysis by the National College Attainment Network shows.

“The data on FAFSA completion takes a bad story and makes it even worse,” said Bill DeBaun, a senior director at NCAN, which tracks FAFSA applications.

Reyna, the Michigan student, submitted her FAFSA form in January, but it wasn’t processed until late March. She was accepted to several schools, but the FAFSA system wouldn’t let her add them to her application, so she gave up on trying to get financial aid from them.

Ava James, 17, from California, faced different, but still frustrating, hurdles. When she tried to add her mother’s first name, Janice Cheryl, the system could not process the double name. She eventually figured it out, but then the system prematurely submitted the form without her signature. It took her six weeks to fix it.

Another wrinkle has been the form’s convoluted language.

Vanessa Farris, a counselor for the Ayers Foundation Trust in McMinnville, Tenn., said several of her students tripped over one particular question:

“Are the student’s parents unwilling to provide their information, but the student doesn’t have an unusual circumstance, such as those listed in question 7, that prevents them from contacting the parents or obtaining their information?”

“Such a little thing, but it has a cost,” Ms. Farris said. Several students provided wrong answers, and they were not able to amend their mistake for months.

The debacle affects some more than others. Agnes Cesare, a college counselor at U.C.L.A. Community School, said she was worried about its effects on students from low-income families or racial minority groups — the ones the new form was meant to help.

Ms. Cesare said that because of the arduous process, some students at her school had decided to pursue an associate degree and save up for a bachelor’s later. But she worries that once they are out of high school, they may not get the help they need to transfer to a four-year school.

“It feels like the roadblocks are insurmountable” for those students, Ms. Cesare said.

The process has been especially difficult for students with undocumented parents. The new system asks parents for their Social Security numbers, which undocumented people don’t have.

That was the case for Elizabeth Templos-Galindo, a 17-year-old in Tennessee, and her parents. They called the Education Department for assistance but were put on hold for five hours before learning of other forms of identification her parents could submit.

Education Department officials have acknowledged the glitches, and on a recent call with reporters, the deputy secretary of education, Cindy Marten, said they had been “working tirelessly to resolve those issues.” Officials added that students were now able to make corrections to their forms and that updated financial records were being sent to schools. Last month, the department announced that the leader of the Federal Student Aid office, Richard Cordray, would step down.

While FAFSA is used by every school in the country, a small group of institutions — a lot of them private and elite schools with a larger endowment and more students from wealthier backgrounds — also uses the College Scholarship Service Profile, a financial aid application administered by the College Board.

The CSS profile costs $25 per application, and schools that use it provide aid estimates using a different formula. Because that form didn’t have a bevy of glitches, students received estimates more quickly from CSS-affiliated schools than ones that use FAFSA.

Owen Keller, 18, from Maine, can speak to that. He filled out both FAFSA and CSS forms in December, and received tuition details from CSS-affiliated schools like Bowdoin College well before his first FAFSA package arrived in late April. Owen decided on Bowdoin even before receiving all of his packages.

The FAFSA blunder has made some reconsider their plans.

Yajaira Vargas, 18, from Reno, Nev., wants to study political science and become an immigration lawyer. She got into her top choice, the University of Nevada, Reno, but wasn’t able to apply for aid until May.

Now, she is considering not going to college immediately and taking a gap year. “But I don’t want to do that,” she said.

Universities are also feeling the stress of the FAFSA disaster, said Christopher Murr, assistant vice president for financial aid and scholarships at Texas State University.

“I know the U.S. Department of Education is doing their best at this point,” Dr. Murr said, “but it seems every couple of days there’s a new wrinkle, a new challenge that we have to adapt to.”

Experts are worried things may get worse this summer, when this debacle could collide with the “summer melt”: a period when students who took all the necessary steps to go to college, including putting down a deposit, decide not to enroll by fall semester.

Because of that, Mr. DeBaun said June 30 was seen as a crucial milestone, when the school year ends and high school students will no longer get access to counseling.

“Will we be able to connect students with the assistance they need to finish the process out?” he asked.

Alan Blinder contributed reporting.

Colbi Edmonds writes about the environment, education and infrastructure. More about Colbi Edmonds

scholarship essay for financial need

The Impact of Professional Scholarship Essay Writing Services on Academic Success

I t’s hard to overestimate the usefulness of writing services for someone who needs a good essay for a scholarship application. At the same time, there are some concerns about the probable negative impact of writing services on academic success. Let’s consider both the potential negative and positive impact of a scholarship essay writing service to decide what’s stronger.

One of the most widespread concerns about the impact of essay writing services is the ethical side of use. Evidently, it is improper if people will provide someone’s work as their own. Even though such concern cannot be called groundless, it’s a matter of choice. Writing service is a tool, and it’s only the customer's choice how to use it. A person can buy a knife to cut fruits and vegetables or to take someone's life. This is not about the tool but about the ethics and decisions of the particular person who uses the tool.  

Another concern is related to the dependency. When people overuse writing services and outsource their own tasks to other experts, it rather decreases their own skills that ought to be developed with the assignments. It’s once again about human conscience and ethics. In this context, it can be useful to compare writing services with coffee. Sometimes, this drink can be very useful to help you wake up or not fall asleep for longer. However, with excessive use, it can be harmful to health and be addictive. And, if you are regularly using coffee to wake yourself up or to stay awake, you probably have to reconsider your time management.

One more concern is about the money. Writing services obviously don’t provide their help for free. Hence, the frequent use of it can cause a financial burden for people who use such services. Thinking this way, one can assume that any type of purchase can cause a financial burden. Most writing services insist on price transparency and the absence of any hidden additional increase in the price. One can see the price before placing an order and deciding whether this money will harm the budget.

As you can see, although the concerns about writing services aren’t baseless, they’re more about the weakness of human nature than about the negative impact of writing services themselves. People who can act unethically will find their way with or without writing services. And if a person has trouble managing money it will be evident from the different aspects of life, not only the use of writing services. You can be careful using writing services, but not more careful than with anything else in life. 

Except for the concerns considered above, writing services can also positively impact academic success when used properly. A person who needs to write a scholarship essay often faces the problem of procrastination and blank page syndrome. In such a case, help from a writing service can be incredibly useful to overcome the problems. A person can use the paper from the writing service as an example to follow or, in contrast, decide that everything must be written differently. Most importantly, one will start working on the scholarship essay instead of waiting for inspiration or being lost in anxiety. 

  • The positive impact on mental health comes from the previous advantage. Applying for the scholarship is a stressful process. A person is concerned about all the papers that must be gathered and forms to be filled out in the proper way, about the future if the scholarship will be obtained, and about the development of the events if not. Writing services that provide personalized examples of scholarship essays can help reduce stress and anxiety and, hence, have at least a small positive impact on mental health. 
  • Expert guidance can be crucial for a person who needs a scholarship. Yes, you can find free examples of scholarship essays on the web, but you might not be sure which is most suitable for your particular case. Writing services have professionals who often write scholarship essays and know their specifics. In addition, a personalized example is the most useful one to understand what and how you can write to succeed. 
  • Time management is the last but not the least point in this list. Writing services have short deadlines of just a few hours, which allows a person to get a ready example on the same day it was ordered. This saves time that a person might spend reading and understanding the nuances of the scholarship essay. Instead of that, one can take this time for other no less essential papers or activities related to getting a scholarship.

Final words

As one can see, scholarship essay writing services can potentially negatively and positively impact academic success. Such services can be a powerful tool to save time, avoid stress, and get a well-written personalized example of a scholarship essay. However, as well as in the case of any tool, it must be used wisely and ethically. 

The Impact of Professional Scholarship Essay Writing Services on Academic Success

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  4. 16 Scholarship Essay Examples to Help you Win Scholarship

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  1. Financial Need Scholarship Essay Examples (2023)

    Example 2: "Describe your financial need in 100 words". This essay is even shorter than the financial need statement. It may be one of several short answer questions you need to fill out. Working with 100 words is tricky. That only leaves room for about 7-10 sentences, depending on length.

  2. How to write a financial need scholarship essay (with examples!)

    What to include in a financial need scholarship essay. Usually this statement of financial need is a pretty short scholarship essay (150-300 words), so unlike a college essay or personal statement where you have ample word count to tell anecdotes, you'll likely need to get right to the point.

  3. How to Write a Statement of Financial Need

    Generally, the statement of financial need will go beyond what is captured by the FAFSA or CSS profile. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide to show you how to write a statement of financial need. Apply to these scholarships due soon. $10,000 "No Essay" Scholarship. 1 award worth $10,000.

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    Winning a big scholarship can be life-changing, particularly for those with financial need. BUT people often forget that winning lots of small scholarship applications can be life-changing too. The scholarship essay examples (and our strategy) below can take you from planning your college plans and career goals to living them.

  5. 16 Scholarship Essay Examples to Help You Win Scholarship

    Addressing Academic Excellence and Financial Need: The essay successfully addresses both academic excellence and financial need, which are two crucial aspects considered by scholarship committees. Commitment to Making an Impact: The essay goes beyond the applicant's personal goals and emphasizes their dedication to making a positive impact in ...

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    A good scholarship essay demonstrates the scholarship organization's values while directly addressing the prompt. ... Scholarships are a type of student financial aid that don't require repayment. They are awarded based on various factors, including academic merit, financial need, intended major, personal background, or activities and ...

  7. 9 Scholarship Essay Examples

    Scholarship essay examples about financial need, and more! We've included scholarship essay examples specific to schools, including UC Berkeley, as well as specific programs, like the SHPE scholarship. We'll also discuss the different types of scholarships you'll find on your scholarship search. Now, before we jump into our essay examples ...

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    What to insert in a financial need scholarship essay. Usually this statement of financial need is a pretty short scholarship endeavor (150-300 words), so compared a college essay button personal statement where you have ample word counters for tell accounts, you'll likelihood need go obtain right to that point.. May safely to include:

  9. How to Write a Scholarship Essay (with Examples)

    While applying to college, many students are faced with an additional, daunting task: how to write a scholarship essay. Financial need, already a sensitive subject, can become a stressful factor in the process alongside other existential unknowns. Luckily, scholarship essays will not require you to go tiptoeing around the taboo topic of money.

  10. Writing the Scholarship Essay

    Financial Need. Many scholarship providers have a charitable goal: They want to provide money for students who are going to have trouble paying for college. In addition to asking for information about your financial situation, these committees may want a more detailed and personal account of your financial need. Samples:

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

    The first sentence of the essay is what makes the reader want to continue reading. Engage the reader by appealing to the senses. Create a sense of wonder in your essay, making the reader want to learn more about you. Keep the ending of the essay in mind as you craft the beginning.

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    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 ...

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    Structuring Your Essay. Your essay should follow a standard format that includes a clear beginning, middle, and end. Typically, you should: · Establish your main idea in the introduction. · Include a separate body paragraph for each key point that supports your main idea. · Draw it all together and revisit your main idea in the conclusion.

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    1 inch to 1 ½ inch margins. If there is no required word or page count, as a general rule, aim for ¾ to 1 full page in length. Be sure to include your name and the name of the scholarship you are applying for near the top of the page (either as a header or simply above the optional title).

  15. How to Express Financial Need in Scholarship Essays

    The scholarship essay is a portrait of you and your unique situation. All of your positive attributes should shine in your scholarship essay that expresses your need for financial aid. An emotionally moving letter that speaks to a financial aid officer features a personalized story in a positive way. Familiarize yourself with the writing ...

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    6. Write with a positive tone: Although it can be challenging to discuss financial struggles, it is essential to maintain a positive tone throughout the essay. This will show the scholarship ...

  17. Financial Need Essay: Examples & Writing Guide

    1. Write an impressive motivation letter mentioning your tight budget, 2. Write an application letter describing your tough life circumstances (especially if you have incomplete family, etc.). For additional details, check examples of such papers online and in books.

  18. How To Write A Scholarship Essay With Examples In 2024

    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.

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    For example, elaborate on your previous experiences, family and financial situation, volunteer work, employment, academic career, future goals, college plans, etc.) My love for animals has been encouraged by my family and friends. I have had the opportunity to volunteer with the local animal shelter and provide basic care to the stray animals.

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    Format of Scholarship Essay. Before we get into how to write a scholarship essay, here's what it should look like. The format of a scholarship essay, unless stated otherwise by your university, is given below: Font Size: 12. Font Style: Times New Roman. Margin: Top, bottom and side margins, one inch each.

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  24. PDF Scholarship Essay for Financial Need

    Scholarship Essay for Financial Need. My name is Brandon Noviello. I am currently a sophomore, and I am on track to earn my Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in two years. I'm in need of financial aid because I do not have a family to contribute to my education. I was in foster care for two years before I aged out of the system, and now I am ...

  25. How To Find Scholarships For College In 2024| Earnest

    There are lots of scholarships out there that don't have a GPA or essay requirement. If you're using a search tool like Going Merry, you can filter for no-essay, no-GPA scholarships and apply. Connect With Your (Current Or Future) Financial Aid Office. You don't need to be a current student to ask the financial aid office for scholarship ...

  26. No Financial Aid Package Yet? Look to Last-Minute Scholarships

    The form unlocks federal financial aid, including federal student loans, grants and work-study programs. Some external scholarship applications require you to submit the FAFSA, too. The FAFSA will ...

  27. A FAFSA Fiasco Has Students Still Asking: Which College Can They Afford

    Yajaira Vargas, 18, from Reno, Nev., wants to study political science and become an immigration lawyer. She got into her top choice, the University of Nevada, Reno, but wasn't able to apply for ...

  28. Scholarship

    Scholarship. A young man (in bowtie) receives a scholarship at a ceremony. A scholarship is a form of financial aid awarded to students for further education. Generally, scholarships are awarded based on a set of criteria such as academic merit, diversity and inclusion, athletic skill, and financial need, research experience or specific ...

  29. The Impact of Professional Scholarship Essay Writing Services on ...

    A person who needs to write a scholarship essay often faces the problem of procrastination and blank page syndrome. In such a case, help from a writing service can be incredibly useful to overcome ...

  30. Find Aid You Need

    Federal Grants may be awarded based on financial need, as demonstrated on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and do not need to be repaid. Additional federal grants may be awarded based on intent to teach in a school that serves low-income families or students whose parent or guardian was a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and ...