Writing a scholarship essay: 8 tips to secure financial aid

Applying for scholarships is an important part of your college career. Scholarships not only reduce your overall debt as a result of attending a community college, trade school, or university – they also highlight your abilities as a student. They are a great resume item as well as a financial buffer.

Securing scholarships is a process that involves writing an effective essay.

Scholarship Essay Writing Tips

  • Read all of the instructions that come in the application packet or are posted online. If you’re unsure about a requirement, always research the scholarship website or ask for clarification. Don’t proceed until you know what the expectations are.
  • Organize your thoughts in outline form. Before you start writing, it is important that you make a plan for what you will write. This will guarantee the effectiveness of your essay.
  • Make a statement. Using your outline, make sure that your essay has a point. And make sure that supporting paragraphs all support your main point.
  • Use clear language. Trying to inflate an essay with “big” words will work against you. You are not trying to impress with your vocabulary – you are trying to make an overall statement that is impressive. Trying too hard will only take away from that message.
  • Review the essay question and your essay to make sure they match. After completing your essay, it is important that you double check to make sure that it answers the question you’ve been given and gives the right statement in response to the requirements set by the scholarship board.
  • Edit your essay. Always edit and proof your essay. Never turn in a first draft (or even a second).
  • Have someone else edit and proof your essay. Find a peer or colleague with strong communication and writing skills and ask them to review your work. Take constructive criticism as a positive step forward!
  • Keep a copy. Always make an extra copy and note the date that you sent your work to the scholarship review board. You’ll want to retain a copy for your records – as well as for the off-chance you need to resubmit.

Apply Often

Another important tip when it comes to applying for scholarships is to do so often. The more applications you submit, the more likely it will be that you score a great scholarship – or even a few of them. It never hurts to apply – and will always help if you get more!