How to write winning scholarship essays

parent and studentRecently we’ve discussed many aspects of financial aid including grants, student loans and applying for scholarships. Today we will dive deeper into this topic and give you advice from an English teacher/college parent on writing a winning scholarship essay. See below for a guide on writing the best scholarship essay.

How to Write Scholarship Essays

I have encouraged both of my children to apply for as many scholarships as possible. I’ve also made it clear that if they want to win, they’ll have to put more than an ounce of effort into the application process. As a High School English teacher I have seen more than my share of VERY bad application essays over the years. Here’s how I’ve coached my kids on the proper plan of attack for the application.

  1. Read the essay question in its entirety before launching an all-out pen attack.
  2. Write a rough draft.
  3. Revisit the question to be sure it has been answered with substance and not just emotional or vague statements.
  4. Rewrite another draft and have it proofread for typos and grammar.

Sounds like the ideal plan doesn’t it? However, there are other variables that might come into play.

For instance, my son insists he has no time to write different essays for each scholarship he has copied off the internet or received from the counseling center. In fact he said the other night, “Why can’t I just use the same essay over and over again and just tweak it to fit the essay question from a particular application?” Hmm! My son just might be a politician upon graduation. “You can’t,” I explain, “because each and every essay section on each and every scholarship will not lend itself to be tweaked! Students need to take each scholarship application personally, as if this opportunity was specifically designed for them.”

from Rick, a Michigan high school English teacher


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