Tips for writing your scholarship essay

Before you start writing: form a strategy:



Possible Review Committee

Previous recipients

Other students

Other faculty

2) What is the Purpose of the Scholarship Essay?

To convince the reader(s) to give you $$$ so the essay has a thesis:

You should award this scholarship $$ to me because…(not merely a list of how/why you meet the criteria).  Everything in the essay should support this thesis statement.

3) Who is the intended audience?



Committee Members

Professionals in a particular field

4) What is the appropriate tone/style?

Imagine your essay as your voice and as your style of clothing/dress. How would you sound/look/dress if it was an in-person conversation between you and the readers?

Formal-Professional/ Academic administration – Suit and tie

Semi-Formal-student/academic – Slacks/Skirt/Dress Pants

Casual-friend – Jeans and t-shirt

5) Form an outline

Structure tells a story in a linear, logical manner.This may or not be a linear responses to the prompt. Demonstrate a creative way to meet the criteria.

6) Avoid Pitfalls:

Basic Grammar / Spelling errors, etc.

Not following directions.


Doesn’t respond to prompt or format

Doesn’t meet basic criteria or address personal shortfalls: GPA, course requirement, etc.


Arrogant: Bragging            Confident

Insecure: Begging             Humble

Rude: Offensive                Mindful

Selfish: ME ME ME           Inclusive

7) Get a second/third pair of eyes for editing.

Brief your reader(s) on the goal of essay

Provide reader(s) with specific criteria requirements

Share specific concerns about draft with reader(s)

Write a letter that you are proud of and remember to be human – your readers will appreciate it.

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