How to Write an Essay for Scholarship - Top Tips

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How to Write an Essay for Scholarship - Top Tips
Table of Contents
  1. How to Write an Essay for Scholarship - Top Tips
  2. Familiarize yourself with the prompts to stick to
  3. Pick a topic that you do enjoy
  4. Do the research
  5. Brainstorm and plan
  6. Appeal to ethos, pathos, and logos
  7. Be honest and sincere
  8. Common Essay Topics for College Application
  9. Conclusion
  10. Scholarship Essay Example 1
  11. Topic - Higher Education:  It’s Effect on My Own Life and the Lives of Others
  12. Scholarship Essay Example 2 (Student Personal Statement)
  13. Scholarship Essay Example 3 (Field of Study)
  14. Scholarship Essay Example 4 (Application)

Being an A-student, earning high grades, and passing tests are not enough to win a college scholarship. Scholarship essays are designed to select gifted and extraordinary students. To make a guide on scholarship essay design a lot of analysis was conducted. The stories of the students that made a long-lasting impression can help with identifying top tips for the next generations.

The first tip to writing a scholarship essay is identifying its purpose right. Depending on what scholarship you want, research its background, previous winners, and their later achievements. That way you will be able to write a sentence that represents the whole aim of this scholarship existence.  

Familiarize yourself with the prompts to stick to

A lot of preparations are required to write a powerful essay. All educational establishments publish a detailed list of requirements and sample essay topics. The first thing you want to do is get the essay prompt list from the previous year. Besides, get the published collection of effective essays and look through them. Remember, thousands of students are applying for scholarships annually, your application should stand out. 

A good idea is to start practicing the essay about yourself. Collect the important events of your life, achievements, and falls that shaped your personality. It is one of the most popular and valued prompts in every educational establishment. It also has several related topics that are intertwined with it. For example, the prompt on the greatest achievement in your life, the person who impressed you most, or conflict of interests you experienced. So, writing a comprehensive description of your personality will serve as a framework for other prompts. 

Pick a topic that you do enjoy

When it comes to practice, try to cover as many topics as possible. When you are writing the scholarship essay and have a choice to pick one topic, you should opt for the one you enjoy most. Remember, depending on your skills of writing essays, a scholarship will be granted to you. So, look into the things you feel passionate about and learn to express your passion with words. If the life-changing story happened to you but you are not able to express it right, the committee will just move on. Learn to show your frustration, happiness, or anxiety with words, so when the target audience gets to read it they also feel it.

Do the research

Research is a tool that you should learn to use well now. Being a college student you will have to use the research very often. When it comes to scholarship essay tips, researching is the basic one. Start with the college/university history, and famous people who got the scholarship.

Brainstorm and plan

It happens that you feel stuck and no thoughts are coming to your mind. In that case, you need to introduce a different planning strategy. Try to take a piece of paper, and write down everything that comes to your mind. That way you will take down the mental obstacle, and let your thoughts flow. Remember that what you want is a well-structured text, so brainstorm the ideas and write a plan.

Appeal to ethos, pathos, and logos

Your scholarship application text is a lot like a persuasive essay. The persuasive arguments are structured according to their category. These categories can be identified with the help of ethos, pathos, and logos. 

  • Ethos is when your argument refers to the words or ideas of some credible sources in the field. It can be a scientist or scholar, as well as a political figure. The main point is that this figure has credibility and is considered a reliable source. 
  • Pathos refers to the emotional side. In the essay about yourself, the pathos part is when you describe not the event that happened but your reaction to it.
  • Logos appear when you persuade your reader using facts. It can be any statistical data, research findings, or similar references. 

Be honest and sincere

Every human being is unique and the essay written by every student should be the same. If you want to stand out, stick to the rule that honesty is always a good policy. Prepare the plot, pay attention to structuring your story. Know for sure what you are going to write in the introduction and conclusion. Remember to read and proofread everything you wrote to eliminate mistakes. 

Common Essay Topics for College Application 

  1. Describe an activity, issue, or idea about which you are passionate and explain why it means so much to you. 
  2. Review a book that has special significance for you. It should not be a book that you read for school, but rather something you read on your own. In your review, please explain what attracted you to the book and why you would recommend it to a friend. 
  3. Describe examples of your leadership experience, in or out of school, in which you significantly influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time.
  4. Describe a challenge you've faced, how you met it, and its effect on you.
  5. Describe an event and the significance it has had in your life.
  6. What are your academic/professional goals?
  7. A person, event or circumstance that has influenced you, and how it impacted your life. This may include a rewarding or unforgettable experience. (This may be the most used essay topic.)
  8. Why are you interested in the college to which you are applying? Why do you want to come here?
  9. Local, national or international issues and why it is important to you.
  10. Describe your favorite teacher, or class, and explain why.
  11. How would you describe yourself as a human being?
  12. Do you believe there's a generation gap? Describe the differences between your generation and others.
  13. What does a college education mean to you? What do you plan to do with your college degree?
  14. How would your friends characterize you? Look at yourself from the outside.
  15. Choose a prominent person (living, deceased, or fictional) that you would like to interview and explain why.
  16. What is a major achievement in your life? Who and what assisted you in achieving your aim?


You can read dozens of tips but practicing and improving academic writing skills is the best solution. If you see that time does not allow a good-quality learning process, try addressing professionals to help you do the homework and your scholarship essay. Stressing over academic writing is not worth it when lots of professional teams are out there ready to help. 


Scholarship Essay Example 1

Topic - Higher Education:  It’s Effect on My Own Life and the Lives of Others

Higher education will have a great influence on my own life because it will give me the education and the skills I need to become successful. Ann Landers once said that “it is not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.” I think of higher education in a similar way. It is not what higher education does for students that will make us successful, but what the pursuit of higher education teaches us.

By obtaining a higher education, I will have the ability and opportunity to influence my society by becoming a teacher. My drama coach has influenced my life far beyond teaching me acting skills. She has taught me how to come alongside a younger student to encourage and mentor them, helping them to understand that they are valued highly exactly as they are.  Entering my 9th grade year, I felt alone and that I had no friends.   Because my drama coach had mentored the students who were seniors at that time to accept all students as unique individuals who bring gifts of many types, I finally felt accepted and empowered to be the person I was supposed to be.  Each year of high school I continued to gain skills in acting, but even more importantly learned the art of mentoring other students and loving them just as they were.  Now as a senior in high school, I realize this process has brought me to a place where I, too, want to empower high school students to share the gifts and skills they have for the enjoyment of others through theater.  I also look forward to the opportunity to model and coach high school students to encourage one another in the way that I was encouraged.

As a teacher, my role will include being a coach, motivator, mentor, and friend. As a coach, I will instruct and direct the students toward enlightenment. I will also motivate the students to work hard, encourage them to continue to stay in school, and empower the students to be successful.  When mentoring the students, I will set an example on how to live and act. My role will also be to befriend the students and help them become the best they can be.

I look forward to the academic wisdom I will gain attending the University of Central Oklahoma as well as the life skills I can learn from the experience of completing my college education.  I believe that experiencing college life will teach me far more than just the skills necessary to receive a certificate to teach.  It will teach me even greater perseverance and the value of not giving up so that I may influence and empower the leaders of tomorrow. 


Scholarship Essay Example 2 (Student Personal Statement)

I have found my mentor, and I’d like to tell you who it is and how this has come about. I have not yet met him face-to-face, but he has already taught me how to begin this essay with his words. Professor Anthony D. Nuttall, writing in his book Openings, tells us, “…All good openings are somehow naturally rooted, more or less remote, of an original creative act: in media res, as against ‘In the beginning’.” Nuttall describes the importance of an opening by demonstrating the difference between the actual opening lines and the first sense of action, which will become the plot. 

The “original creative act” to which he refers applies as well to young scholars. I recognize now that I am in the process of becoming the scholar I will always be becoming. This process currently involves research that is the basis for my senior honors thesis: investigating two British poets’ incorporation of classical Greek and Roman mythology into their poetry. I have begun studying Geoffrey Chaucer and Alfred Lord Tennyson, both of whom make active use of myth in their works. The philosophy of intertextuality, a specific interest of Professor Nuttall’s, is apparent in his research on the influence of Roman and Greek classics on British poets, the very topic I have chosen for my honors thesis. While I am learning from reading Professor Nuttall’s books, specifically his A Common Sky: Philosophy and the Literary Imagination, the opportunity to work with him would inspire me to pursue further research in this field and enrich my understanding of literature and its critical theories.  

My interest in British poets and their use of classical literature evolves from a paper I presented at the 20xx Novus Et Antiquus Conference. I had the privilege of being selected as one of five undergraduates to attend this faculty conference, where I presented my work on classical mythology’s influence on the medieval author Geoffrey Chaucer’s poems The Knight’s Tale and The Parliament of Fowls. There Chaucer uses the Roman gods and goddesses to orchestrate the fates of the two female characters. Through the intervention of these deities, Chaucer shows compassion for women and grants mercy to both females. My experience as a college junior presenting a paper at a faculty conference proved gratifying on another level as well: I was pleased to receive guidance from the professors, and also to be complimented on my pronunciation of Middle English quotations. 

I came to Chaucer only after reading Chrétien de Troyes’ Lancelot. In this Arthurian romance, Chrétien represents Lancelot as conflicted - the kind of chivalrous knight whom one expects to find only in myth, yet, in violation of the code of honor, desirous of his lord’s queen. I began thinking of the tales of the Arthurian knights as more than legendary - as potentially credible historical accounts. I wrote a paper on Gawain’s rhetoric as a means to elicit specific responses in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Gawain’s rhetorical strategies and their manipulations ultimately led him to a deeper personal recognition and self-acceptance. This early exercise alerted me to strategies of language in the Middle Ages.  

A post-graduate education at Oxford based on personal tutorials and independent research is precisely the type of program I now need to pursue. Through several independent study courses in my undergraduate curriculum, I have become even more self-motivated and have been gratified to discover that discussion between teacher and student has helped me develop my best work.

Professor Nuttall is a Fellow of Oxford’s New College, the ideal place to continue my studies in medieval literature because it was built at the height of the medieval period, the era on which I plan to focus in my graduate study. I was pleased to discover that New College is also one of only four colleges that participate in the Oxford Access Scheme, a program that reaches out to inner-city students and encourages them to seek a higher education. This program provides all students with an equal opportunity to apply to a university as prestigious as Oxford. In participating in this program, New College seeks qualified students who may not have the socio-economic ability or confidence to apply to and attend Oxford. I would like to become involved in this program because I have worked with students in similar situations from the Boys and Girls Club near my hometown, and have found supporting these students to be very rewarding. 

My reasons for applying for a Rhodes Scholarship to work with Professor Nuttall have roots in a study I undertook in 20xx. While reading Shakespeare’s The Tempest, I found a single line in which the allegorical unicorn becomes a link between the medieval era and the Renaissance. I became interested in the villain Sebastian’s professed disbelief in the unicorn, that imaginary animal symbolic of Jesus Christ in medieval bestiaries. My research on the historical symbolism of the unicorn in medieval literature led me to conclude that in rejecting the unicorn, Sebastian implies that he also rejects Christianity. An interesting aspect of The Tempest that I have not yet pursued is the masque, in which the Roman goddesses Iris, Ceres, and Juno descend upon the island in preparation for Miranda and Ferdinand’s wedding. My earlier interest in Shakespeare’s use of the allegorical unicorn will create a focus for study when combined with the masque of the Roman goddesses in The Tempest. Shakespeare’s integration of Christianity and classical mythology is yet another area I would like to explore with Professor Nuttall, for not only has he published on philosophy; he has also written Two Concepts of Allegory: A Study of Shakespeare’s The Tempest and the Logic of Allegorical Expression. 

The adventure of Sir Gawain - which leads him to a deeper understanding of self - is not unlike the journey I have undertaken, a journey I hope will lead me to Oxford University, its Bodleian Library, and study with Anthony Nuttall and other mentors. Oxford will provide me the opportunity to learn directly from authorities in my field who will help guide me in my quest to become a scholar. Like Gawain, I am striving to realize my potential through my own adventure. 


Scholarship Essay Example 3 (Field of Study)

For more people, the future is uncertain; the direction their life will take is not spelled out for them. Each person is responsible for the choices she will make that will determine the course of her life. One of the choices that has an incredible impact on her life is what she will choose for her career.

This can be a difficult decision to make, as it will affect almost every aspect of a person’s life to some degree. Most people are also not fortunate enough to receive a startling revelation directing them on the right course for their lives. Instead, the most powerful way that a person is able to determine her direction is not through an earthshaking revelation but through the quiet confidence that this is what she is called to do and to be.

In the same way, I have never received any startling revelations that I should pursue a career in journalism, but as I look back on my life, I am able to see that there were many little steps along the way that have led me to this choice. I have often heard my parents tell the story of how, on my first day of kindergarten, I came home crying because I had not been taught how to read. I have always loved to read and from that has developed a great respect and fascination for the written word.

Joseph Pulitzer stated the purpose of a journalist should be to “Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it, and above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.” His words serve as a reminder for me of the many different dimensions of writing. Journalism encompasses both creativity and technicality. It is a way of expressing individuality and of communicating with others.

Many of my personal qualities convince me that a career in journalism is my calling. I find that I am a person who responds well to challenges. Perhaps it is because of my competitive nature that challenges motivate me. And I discover that my biggest competitor is usually myself. I think this is why I enjoy trying to combine both the creative and technical aspects of writing. Each time I begin to write, I am presented with a fresh challenge.

Every day that I live, I realize more the impact other people have on me and the impact I have on them. Writing is a very personal way of reaching out to people I may never meet, but who I am still connected to because of our identities as human beings. Journalism allows the opportunity for the sharing of information, thoughts, feelings and ideas between people from all walks of lives. It enables people to see things through another’s eyes and gain new perspectives on the world around them.

It is because of the many dimensions of journalism that I desire to pursue a career in this field. I feel that as a journalist, I will be able to use the talents that I already have, as well as learn new ones. I believe it is a chance for me to be an instrument to bring people together.  


Scholarship Essay Example 4 (Application)

QUESTION: What is the most challenging aspect of attending College for you? What have you done to overcome that challenge?

After I graduated high school, I became certain that if I wanted to pursue a higher education I needed to be persistent and determined to achieve my career aspirations. However, I would not be at this level in my education without my mom's support. Without having my father's emotional and economical assistance, she has learned how to provide me with a decent quality of life. She works as a hairstylist in my hometown, but she knows the money she earns is not enough to pay for my medical career. As a result, I search for scholarships and job opportunities that could contribute to the achievement of my college education and help pay for basic needs in our home. I also believe that being an immigrant made my decision to attend college more challenging. I immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico when I was sixteen years old. Luckily I spoke English, but my mom and I did not really understand how the school system worked.

Therefore, when senior year of high school arrived I did not really understand the process of attending college. I did not know that I had to talk to a school advisor about attaining a college education or find scholarships to pay for school. I had no knowledge of the types of tests that I had to take like the SATs, ACTs, or even college assessment exams. However, after researching this information online and meeting with college advisors, my mom and I have learned all of these strategies that help students accomplish a higher education. One of the first things that I have done in order to overcome the challenge of being a low-income student has been looking for a job. As I mentioned before my mom works as a hairstylist, but in order for her to maintain our house and pay the bills, she also cleaned houses for elderly people in our community.

Since she worked so much in both jobs, I thought that my mom was overwhelming herself, so I decided to help her run the cleaning business in June 2008. In order to help my mom focus on her hair-styling business, I later took over the cleaning business in November 2008, and still manage it today. Currently, I clean houses for various families and usually work between three to ten hours per week, which is a flexible schedule that allows me to be a full-time college student. In addition, I help cover my family’s basic expenses by babysitting and tutoring other college students in math or chemistry. While I am constantly trying to find more work and searching for scholarships that will help me pay for my education, I remain grateful to find opportunities like the one your foundation is providing to students. It makes me feel that I am not alone on the journey of accomplishing my educational goals.