Contemplate the topic of the contest. If includes a certain prompt, such as a question(s) you need to answer, then consider how it's affected you in your life. For example - if the prompt is to write about a good deed that has changed you, flip through old photo albums, scrapbooks, and anything related to your past that could help you think of a good deed you once did that impacted your life. Avoid cliches and try to come up with something that's unique to you and doesn't apply to many people. Also, avoid controversial topics that may affect how judges view your essay.
Expand your vocabulary. When writing an essay that isn't fact-based, incorporating words to entail things from your life is key. Judges, published authors, and anyone very involved in the writing field will most likely pay more attention to entries that display that the author has a very broad vocabulary.
Write your essay. Remember to use the majority of your detail on the most significant aspects of your essay. Don't describe a barely-relevant character in heavy detail, for example. If you're just mentioning them to help the reader understand something, then the reader won't care about anything else about the character. However, let's say you're writing an essay on a bullying experience. Describing the bully in heavy detail will help the reader visualize the bully much better for the remainder of the essay.
Make sure you're using the right tone. You want your voice to come through in the essay without sacrificing professionalism, which can be difficult. Watch out for slang words and casual expressions, as well as common cliches (as mentioned above).
Proofread, proofread, proofread! There's nothing more that judges hate than flawed grammar. Writing your heart out means nothing if you don't know how to structure a sentence properly or don't know grammatical rules. Many people prefer having others read their essay for them so a second set of eyes can point out mistakes that the author accidentally breezed by.
Submit your essay. If you've truly written to the best of your ability, take pride in the effort you put into it and hope for the best!
With more than $1 million in essay scholarships in the Fastweb database, suddenly learning to put your thoughts on paper is more important than ever.
The personal essay may be the hardest part of your scholarship application. But if done well, it will give you the edge over your competition. It’s where the “real you” can shine through.
If you find it difficult to write, try talking into a tape recorder. After you’re done, you can transcribe the recording and edit the result. This can be the genesis of a good essay. Most people speak at a rate of 200 words per minute, but write or type at a rate of only 30 words per minute. So the act of writing can get in the way of your creativity, interrupting the flow of thought. You will also be more expressive when you talk, yielding a more personal and interesting essay.
Make your essay a hit with these tips from scholarship providers:
- Think before you write. Brainstorm to generate some good ideas and then create an outline to help you get going.
- Be original. The judges may be asked to review hundreds of essays. It’s your job to make your essay stand out from the rest. So be creative in your answers.
- Show, don’t tell. Use stories, examples and anecdotes to individualize your essay and demonstrate the point you want to make. By using specifics, you’ll avoid vagueness and generalities and make a stronger impression.
- Develop a theme. Don’t simply list all your achievements. Decide on a theme you want to convey that sums up the impression you want to make. Write about experiences that develop that theme.
- Know your audience. Personal essays are not “one size fits all.” Write a new essay for each application—one that fits the interests and requirements of that scholarship organization. You’re asking to be selected as the representative for that group. The essay is your chance to show how you are the ideal representative.
- Submit an essay that is neat and readable. Make sure your essay is neatly typed, and that there is a lot of white space on the page. Double-space the essay, and provide adequate margins (1"-1 1/2") on all sides.
- Make sure your essay is well written. Proofread carefully, check spelling and grammar and share your essay with friends or teachers. Another pair of eyes can catch errors you might miss.
Need Money to Pay for College?
Every semester, Fastweb helps thousands of students pay for school by matching them to scholarships, grants, and internships, for which they actually qualify. You'll find high value scholarships like VIP Voice's $5,000 Scholarship, and easy to enter scholarships like Niche $2,000 No Essay Scholarship, and internships with companies like Apple, Google, Dreamworks, and even NASA!
Join today to get matched to scholarships or internships for you!