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How to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay For College

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Writing a winning scholarship essay can mean the difference between receiving an award check and an email thanking you for your application. So how do you write a memorable essay that stands out? Here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Plan Ahead. It’s a good idea to check out all the available scholarships well before their date of submission. By starting early on your essays, you’ll get a chance to do your research and formulate a plan. It’s easy to procrastinate, but starting early can make a difference between a good and a great essay.
  1. Read the Instructions Carefully and Follow the Directions. Seems simple right? You’ll be surprised how many applications are turned away simply because an applicant didn’t follow the instructions. This applies to the format and also the questions themselves. Don’t give the scholarship committee any reason to disqualify your application.  
  1. Eliminate Errors, Misspellings, Punctuation Problems, etc. You get the idea, right? Check your essay, then check it again, and again and again. Have someone else read it. Nothing kills a great essay faster than poor grammar, typos, extra spaces, or incomplete sentences.
  1. Personalize Your Essay. Highlight what makes you unique. This is the time to show your personality and let the scholarship committee get to know you, but remember to focus on the scholarship topic. You want to portray an authentic view into your life and go beyond what is covered in the application. Do you have trouble coming up with answers to what makes you unique? Ask your family, friends, instructors; they might reveal some interesting answers and inspire you to remember those important and life-changing moments you forgot about.
  1. Do Your Research. Once the scholarships are announced, do some research on the companies, organizations, or individuals involved. This information will give you an inside view into their culture, mission, and important causes. When you are writing your essay, this gives you an advantage because you can tailor your essay to include language and themes that relate to the scholarship committee. If you are passionate about the same topics, you have common ground that could make you stand out.