Basic tips for writing good scholarship essays

Explore tips that help students write better essays for scholarship applications.

Free money is a great way to pay for post-secondary education. Each year, a number of high school students apply and receive numerous financial awards to attend college or some form of higher education. Many scholarships are available for students to help pay for the costs of post-secondary education like college and trade or technical schools.

Many scholarship applications require an applicant or student to write an essay. A strong essay could be the difference between a student receiving a scholarship and not receiving a scholarship. In writing good essays for scholarships, the following articles “Five Tips for Writing Winning Essays” by, and “Essays” by FinAid gives some tips on writing good essays for scholarships.

Depending on the type of scholarship and the subject matter, scholarship applications provide different topics for students to write their essay. One aspect of writing essays for scholarships is for students to explain or discuss events in their life or share their life experience. To share this life experience, students can describe the classes they take in school and the extra-curricular activities they are involved with (in school or in the community) to give them an opportunity to share the experience they gained. In sharing a life experience, students can showcase what they learned from their classes and other activities like sports, music, theatre, art, science, business, computers, technology, community service or service learning and Michigan 4-H Youth Development through Michigan State University Extension.

To help the process of writing essays, students can begin to journal or write about their experiences from in-school and out-of-school activities. Through these activities here are some questions a student can answer to journal their experience for future scholarship applications and essays:

  • What have I learned as a result of taking this class?
  • What have I learned as a result of participating in this activity?
  • How could I apply this knowledge to other situations in life?
  • What experience have I gained as a result of this class, or project or activity?
  • How did this class, activity or event assist me in my future?
  • How have these experiences shaped my goals for the future?
  • What types of skills or character traits were developed as a result of this class, activity or event?

As a student keeps a journal of their overall school experience, it is a good idea for them to take a look at certain scholarship applications so they can understand the type of questions they will answer and help them focus their writing. For some students, receiving scholarships and financial aid can relieve the financial burden of needing loans, and become the difference of attending a post-secondary institution or not attending a post-secondary institution.

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