Attending college is an important step, paying for it is another one. There are scholarship dollars out there for those who take the initiative to search them out. Once you find out where the scholarships are, it is important that you prepare a quality scholarship application package, paying special attention to writing your essay.
The majority of scholarship applications require an essay, usually with specific topics to be addressed. The scholarship essay is your opportunity to shine, to share information, to paint a picture for the Scholarship Committee of your goals, dreams, and aspirations. In order for your application to be a cut above the rest, here are a few guidelines to follow:
- Writing a good essay takes time. Be sure you meet the eligibility requirements, such as, grade point average, program of study, ethnic background, etc., before you begin to work on the scholarship application/essay.
- Start early. Give yourself enough time to do a thorough job in preparing the essay. This may involve thinking about any community service, work experience, and extra curricular activities in which you have been involved.
- Read all the instructions before you begin the application process, paying attention to details, such as color of ink; last name first on the application, etc. You may want to photocopy a blank application first and use it as a draft before working on the original.
- Make sure you answer the questions completely. This may be the only opportunity you have to let the Scholarship Committee get to know you.
- Respond to the questions in a clear and concise manner (this does not mean dull and boring). Use action words to help the reader get a mental picture of who you are and what is important to you. Put yourself in the essay readers' shoes-does your essay merit awarding you a scholarship?
- Spell check, spell check, spell check! Correct spelling and acceptable grammar can make or break an essay.
- Have someone objective (instructor, counselor or advisor, friend, etc.) proofread your essay for content and language usage. Ask your proofreader to look for points, such as Have all questions been answered? What adjustments could be made to sharpen the essay? Are the grammar, punctuation, and spelling correct?
- Presentation is important. Your essay should be presented in a neat and attract format that is easy for the Scholarship Committee to review.
- Be honest. Attempts may be made to verify the information you have given.
- Keep your essay on a positive note. If life has given you a bowl of lemons, explain how you turned it into lemonade or how you plan to, if given the scholarship.
If you use these tips, you may have a good chance that the Scholarship Committee will "show you the money!"