Scholarship Essay Writing Advice

Scholarship Essay Writing Tips

Treat scholarship essays as an opportunity to introduce yourself and explain why you deserve a scholarship, rather than as if writing an essay is a chore.  Remember that most scholarships are extremely competitive - you will not get a second chance to elaborate about your accomplishments or to provide further explanation about your motivation.  The essay is your one chance to sell yourself - take full advantage of it.  The following tips are designed to help you make the most of writing essays:

Avoid mistakes on your scholarship essays.  Spellcheck, proofread and whenever possible ask someone else to critique your essay before submission.

Analyze the question or essay topic:

  • Write the question down.
  • How many parts does it have?
  • Is there a suggestion of structure or order in the question?
  • Will you have to research before you can answer the question, or is the question based on an analysis of you and your opinions or experience?
  • Why do you think the judges posed this question?  What do you think they hope to learn about you from your essay?

Research and Analyze the Donor Organization and determine what the scholarship is about:

  • Who founded the scholarship?
  • What special characteristics or interests do the donor(s) possess or care about?
  • Who are the judges?
  • What special points of view do the judges possess?

Create Goals and Develop a Theme:

  • Outline the points that you want to convey in your essay.
  • Develop a theme and make sure your essay relates to the theme your select.


  • Review and then rewrite your essay, making sure you convey your goals and stick to your theme.
  • Elaborate by way of examples whenever possible.  For instance, don't just make a simple - statement "I am a caring person".  Instead, try something like "I volunteer at the local Manna food pantry three days a week, and visit my great-grandmother at the Shady Acres Rese Home every Sunday.  I love playing cards with Grandma Rose's friends, especially  when they share stories about their youth and the changes they have witnessed over the years.  During the holidays my family makes treats and delivers them to Grandma Rose and her friends.  Some of the residents don't have visitors and they are so appreciative, but my family and I feel wonderful when we leave - like we have really make a difference."

Descriptions like this really give the judges a view of how caring you are.  In turn, they begin to care about you and want to help you out - perhaps with some scholarship money!

Scholarship Scams

If you have to pay money to get money, it's probably a scam.

Every year, several hundred thousand students and parents are defrauded by scholarship scams.  The victims of these scams lose more than $100 million annually.  Scam operations often imitate legitimate government agencies, grant-giving foundations, education lenders and scholarship matching services, using official-sounding names containing words like "National", "Federal", "Foundation" or "Administration".

In general, be wary of scholarships with an application fee, scholarship matching services who guarantee success, advance-fee loan scams and sales pitches disguised as financial aid "seminars".