The Ultimate Scholarship Essay Guide (Continued)
Make It Personal
Your scholarship essay is your chance to prove to the reviewers that you are worthy of their award. If you present them with a cookie cutter essay that anyone could turn in, they’re not going to know who you are or why your story matters. Make your essay about something personal – something that you are truly passionate about. Put your heart into everything you write, even if you think it sounds a little cheesy. You want the scholarship committee to feel like they can connect with you on a personal level, and your writing should reflect that.
Tell the Truth
When it comes to writing a powerful scholarship essay, you might feel the need to embellish your experiences a bit to make the essay more compelling. Even the smallest of lies can get you into trouble if you are not careful. Many scholarships require an in-person interview as part of the application process, which means you may have to defend what you said in the essay to a committee of people. If you lied in the essay, it will become apparent in person.
Even if you don’t have to go through an interview, the scholarship committee may still see through your lies on paper. Rather than trying to pull the wool over their eyes, you should try to find something compelling in the truth. This will make an even bigger impact.
Add a Surprising Twist
If it’s possible, try throwing a twist in your essay that catches the reader off guard. This is what will make your essay truly memorable. For example, when I was applying for scholarships a few years ago, I had to write an essay about someone who made a big impact on my life and success in school. I chose a classic: my mom. She raised me to believe I could be anything I wanted to be, and that pushed me to succeed. Long story short, I didn’t win the scholarship.
The person who actually won that scholarship was a friend of mine who wrote about her father. The twist was that her father left her family when she was very young, so she never knew who he was. She took a stance that because of his neglect, she was forced to grow up and realize that she already has all the strength she needs to succeed. That was enough to put her essay at the top of the list.
Try to put a spin on your essay that stays on topic but still catches the scholarship committee’s attention. You’ll be on your way to winning awards in no time.