Get Inspired to Write that Scholarship Essay
Here are five tips to help you successfully get your ideas across in an essay.
Blank pages are intimidating. Rejection is a bummer. Standing out is harder than it looks.
These are examples of typical concerns that prevent students from writing scholarship essays. Sound familiar? Has the fear of essay writing caused you to ditch the idea of applying for certain scholarships?
Don’t ditch ’em. Just write them. It’s in your best interest to do so, and you have nothing to lose by tossing your hat into the ring. (Who doesn't want to try to get extra money for college?) Plus, the writing process may turn out to be easier than you expect.
Here are some tips and words of wisdom to help you get started on your scholarship essay.
Embrace the rough draft.
Blurt out some words. Arrange them into sentences until they form something resembling an essay. It doesn’t have to be perfect – it’s called a rough draft for a reason. The sooner you can get your thoughts down on paper (or onto a screen), the sooner that looming blank page will be gone — and the sooner you can work on turning your draft into a winning piece.
Hone your message.
Now that you have a good idea of what point you’re trying to get across, or what kind of story you’re trying to tell, it's time to tidy up your message. Add emphasis or clarifying details where necessary. Rearrange sections if the order feels confusing. Remove anything that sounds unnecessary or repetitive.
Speak from the heart.
“Always speak from the heart and showcase your unique self, not only within this essay submission but at every opportunity in life,” says Brandon Gibbs, Full Sail’s Assistant Director of Campus Admissions. “The best path to success is one that comes organically out of who you are as a person. Highlight this throughout your essay and get down on paper exactly who you are and what you have to offer to the industry and the world.”
Yes, trying to stand out sounds difficult, but remember that you have something no one else can offer: your unique perspective and experiences. Portray yourself as a winner by speaking personally, honestly, and from the heart.
Find a proofreader.
Having a second set of eyes helps not only to catch simple spelling and grammar mistakes, but also to make sure your submission reads smoothly and makes sense overall. Ask a friend to read through your essay and invite them to make suggestions or ask questions if anything seems unclear.
In addition, using a service like Grammarly can be beneficial to ensure your writing is polished. Generative AI tools like ChatGPT are another option to explore to enhance your essay. These tools can help you improve areas you may be struggling with during the writing process, but avoid overusing them. Your essay should sound authentic and like it came from you.
Stay within the essay guidelines.
Before you submit, check the scholarship essay guidelines one last time. Make sure you've stayed within the suggested word count and that you've covered each question and/or talking point. Have you met all the requirements? Does it sound like it came from you?
Perfect – now Toss it into the ring.
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