Scholarship Essay – A Guide with Examples

11.03.23 Application Time to read: 5min

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Scholarships give students from all around the world a chance at high-quality education despite their financial limitations. Many students dream of securing such opportunities to lessen the burden of college expenses. However, winning a scholarship takes a lot of work, especially the application. A standout college essay can be a determining factor in the selection process. This article will discuss the ins and outs of writing a quality scholarship essay and provide insights into crafting an impressive narrative.

Scholarship Essay – In a Nutshell

  • A scholarship essay is a piece of writing that discusses a student’s values and qualities in the context of a particular essay question.
  • The essay is a vital part of a scholarship application, like a letter of recommendation and transcripts.
  • A quality essay should demonstrate the values of the organization offering it.

Definition – Scholarship essay

A scholarship is a form of student financial aid where students do not have to repay the funds granted to them. Scholarships are usually awarded based on varying factors like financial limitations, disability, academic merit, or talents.

Also, students must also complete a comprehensive application process. The process requires students to submit their academic documents, transcripts, letter of recommendation, and a scholarship essay.

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Scholarship scams

Paying for a college education is quite expensive and it usually leaves students with a lot of debt. For this reason, many students seek scholarships. Unfortunately, there are scholarship scams that you ought to be wary of.

Below are some red flags that a scholarship scam may include:

  • They require you to lock down your scholarship opportunity by paying a fee.
  • They claim that scholarship data is exclusive to their organization.
  • They request bank and credit information as part of the application requirements.

It is worth noting that some legitimate organizations do charge a small fee for access to comprehensive lists of scholarships and tailoring scholarship lists.

You can find free scholarship opportunities via the internet, referrals, community networks, and from recommendations from school counsellors.

Scholarship essay – Apply for different types

  • Some large organizations have gained a reputation for their scholarship opportunities. For this reason, students compete severely for their scholarships. So, you can maximize your success opportunities by applying for various types of scholarships.
  • You should know that charity organizations are not the only companies that offer scholarships. You can apply for corporate and institutional scholarships.
  • The key is seeking advice from local organizations, school financial assistance offices, and school counsellors for advice on scholarships you can apply for. Starting your applications as early as junior year will also put you at an advantage.

Choosing the right scholarships

  • One of the key factors you should consider when choosing a scholarship is the scholarship’s mission and scholarship essay topic. It would help to ensure that these elements match your interests, skills, and your background.
  • Applying to a scholarship whose mission and topic are meaningful to you is easier because your scholarship essay will be authentic and captivating.
  • Something else you may benefit from is not shying away from applying for financial aid in small amounts. Applying for local scholarships tailored to your background, interests, experiences, and community may also come in handy.

Below are some good sources for local scholarships:

  • Civic/Municipal organizations
  • Religions institutions
  • Community networks like YMCA
  • Corporations
  • Academic institutions
  • Your city, town, county, or school district
  • Local, national, or international unions
  • Financial institutions

Scholarship essay – Tracking with a spreadsheet

Researching for scholarships is a hectic process. It may require more than a computer or a notepad. For instance, a scholarship tracker spreadsheet may come in handy. It will help you track:

  • Scholarship amounts
  • Application deadlines
  • Application criteria
  • Necessary application materials
  • Scholarship essay prompts

Match your scholarship essay to the organization

One of the keys to writing a good scholarship essay is matching it to the organization granting the scholarship. Ensure you address the scholarship essay prompt and remain within the specified word count. Also, make certain that your scholarship essay demonstrates the organization’s values and mission.

Investigate each organization

Before applying for a scholarship or writing a scholarship essay, one of the first things you should do is learn as much as possible about the organization. The organization’s mission and goals for awarding the scholarship may come in handy.

It will help you choose the right topic and most relevant story for your scholarship essay. However, your scholarship essay should not lose authenticity and a personal touch.

Personalize the scholarship essay

Scholarship committees respond better to authentic and fascinating stories. So, writing a scholarship essay about a focused and relevant personal story may help.

Therefore, your scholarship essay should meet the following requirements:

  • Respond to the essay prompt
  • Feature an authentic personal question
  • Demonstrate the organization’s qualities and your personal experiences

Below are some don’ts for your scholarship essay:

  • Exceed the word count limit
  • Be a list of your strengths and achievements
  • Have a negative tone
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Example of a scholarship essay

Example of a scholarship essay


It should include a student’s values, qualities, and unique experiences, follow the prompt and be tailored to the company’s mission and goals.

A scholarship is a form of student financial aid where students do not have to repay the funds granted to them.

A scholarship essay is a piece of writing composed by students seeking financial aid. It must meet the requirements set by the scholarship organization.

It allows students to share their values, qualities, and experiences that make them unique. It is a mandatory requirement for winning scholarships.