If you are thinking of studying abroad, but still figuring out how to finance your studies then a scholarship is an option you should explore. One of the requirements that students need to fulfil in order to qualify for a scholarship is to write an outstanding scholarship essay. A scholarship essay is a way to communicate with the scholarship committee and let them know about yourself beyond academic and professional achievements. So, it all depends on how well you communicate using words for the committee to assess if you are a good fit for the scholarship.
This blog aims to provide students with a few tips to enhance the quality of your essay so that it helps you stand out from the crowd.
Format of Scholarship Essay
A standard format for scholarship essays exists to guide applicants on what to include in their writing. The format can vary depending on the specific requirements of the organisation. However, some common elements are typically included in such essays. Here’s a suggested format you can follow:
Begin the essay with an attention-catching opening sentence or anecdote and introduce the main theme of your essay. Include the purpose for applying for the scholarship and studying abroad clearly.
Background and Motivation
In this part of the essay, provide background information about yourself and include what factors influenced your decision to study abroad. You can relate it to your academic achievements, extracurricular activities and any other relevant experience. Also, highlight why studying abroad is important to you and the motivation behind applying for this particular scholarship.
Goal and Aspirations
Now, clearly state your academic as well as personal goals for studying abroad. Write about how this opportunity supports your long-term goals and how it will advance your understanding of culture, personal development, and professional chances.
If you are applying for a scholarship that is based on financial need, include an explanation of your financial situation and how the scholarship would help you by relieving some of your financial load so you can pursue your studies abroad without worrying about the cost of tuition.
Now comes the part where you will summarise the main points of your essay and retell your commitment and enthusiasm to studying abroad. End the essay with a strong closing statement that leaves a lasting impression on the committee officer.
Ensure that your essay is tailored according to the specific scholarship requirements and word limit. Last but not least, always proofread your essay for clarity, coherence and grammar before you click on that “submit” button.
Tips to Write a Convincing Scholarship Essay
Now that you know the general format of a scholarship essay, it is time to tell you about some tips that can help raise your chances of getting the scholarship.
Focus on the Essay Prompt
Carefully read through the essay prompt and any instructions. Make sure you understand what is being asked and the criteria for selection. If it’s not already provided, determine the key attributes or qualities the scholarship committee is likely looking for in strong candidates based on the scholarship’s mission or values.
Understand the Scholarship and Its Purpose
To write an impactful scholarship essay, you first need to understand the scholarship and its purpose. Do some research on the organisation offering the scholarship. See what they stand for and who they aim to help. This will help you determine how to best demonstrate why you deserve the scholarship.
Begin the Essay with a Bang
Committee officers read 30-40 essays daily so it is really important to catch their attention with an interesting quote or short anecdote that illustrates your drive and determination. Remember, to make a lasting impression you need to stand out from the crowd which means you need to break the ice at the very beginning. Catch their attention by using one of these strategies for beginning your introductory paragraphs:
- Background information
- Figurative language
- Brief description of terms
- Historical information
- Rhetorical question
- Short narration
Your scholarship essay is about you, so take time to delve into what makes you, YOU. Remember, you want to show the committee that you are the student they are looking for. If you are talking about a time you were an intern. For example, tell them about all the skills you developed, how the opportunity helped shape you as a person today and how it helped you with choosing the course you are applying for. Really give the committee officer a sense of who you are.
Avoid Generic Statements at all Costs
Whoever you are, you have a unique and compelling story worth being told. So, don’t say things like, “I want to immerse myself in new cultures” or “ I have always been interested in Arabic”. Tell the story about the refugee family that moved down the block, how you love Korean cinema or how your friendship with an exchange student in middle school inspired you.
Describe Your Future Goals
Share your vision for how you will use your education and experiences to help your community. Discuss how this scholarship would enable you to achieve these goals through financial support for your studies or training. Explain the impact you hope to have in your chosen field.
Review and edit
Do not settle for your first draft, congratulate yourself on completing it but never submit your first draft. Other students spend hours or even days reviewing, editing and perfecting their drafts and you should do that too. Carefully proofread your essay for any errors or typos before submitting it. Get feedback from others and incorporate their suggestions. Make sure the final draft effectively conveys your message in a genuine, compelling way within the stated word count. With the right preparation and revision, you can craft an essay that gives you a strong chance of winning the scholarship!
Read it aloud
The best way to identify any awkward phrases or unclear sentences is to read your essay aloud. Listen for any sentences that sound clumsy or ideas that seem out of place. Reading aloud is one of the best ways to find areas that could use improvement. Make notes of sections that could be reworded or reorganised.
Double-check that you are staying within the word count limits, as going under or over the count could reflect poorly. Remove unnecessary words and tighten sentences to avoid seeming wordy. Check that your essay flows in a logical order and that key points are emphasised.
So there you have it, some tried-and-true tips to make your scholarship essay really stand out and impact the judges. Remember, be authentic and let your voice shine through. Share your story and what really makes you, you. Highlight your passion and how you plan to make a difference in the world. Follow the guidelines carefully but don’t be afraid to be creative in how you structure your essay. And finally, get feedback from others and incorporate it into your writing. If you put in the work, stay determined, and believe in yourself, you’ll be well on your way to winning that scholarship. Now get writing and good luck! You’ve got this.