The First Steps in Writing a Scholarship Essay

The First Steps in Writing a Scholarship Essay
Scholarship money is a great thing for students, but it only comes after completion of the infamous "essay." The scholarship essay is a particularly important part of many awards, and while there is no formula for crafting the most amazing essay every single time, there are some steps that students need to take to write the most effective essay possible. This is true for students in all schools - public, private, homeschool, high school, and college - so attention to this writing is critical.
First, it is important to remember that two things are being evaluated in the scholarship essay. The style with which students write, their grammar and sentence constructions, their ability to punctuate their work, etc. is the first element. The second element is the honest expression of ideas, thought, and opinion. It is critical that students take the time to review their writing for these things. Students should have several different people review their essay before it is submitted in order to catch any grammatical mistakes. These can be easily overlooked in the writing process because students are tempted to focus more on the content than their grammar, and problems can result.

Second, students should keep in mind that the person who is reviewing their scholarship essays would rather have honest opinions and supporting reasons than to have a "say nothing" essay in which the writer takes no position at all on the topic. The reviewer may disagree with the students' opinions, but a clearly stated position on the topic, with specific and detailed arguments, will win out over a middle-of-the-road approach every time. Students should not be afraid of taking a stance, and then supporting their conclusions with reasons.

Third, students should freely include applicable events or situations from their own lives when they write the scholarship essay. Similar to the last step, a reviewer of students' essays may or may not be able to relate to the students' experiences, but the reviewer will not be able to argue against those experiences. Personal stories, shared honestly, will have a personal effect on the student. How these things shape the students is a matter of opinion for them, not fact, and therefore personal experiences make excellent supporting proof for the opinions and thoughts that students are expressing.

And finally, depending on the scholarship opportunity, students may be given a random topic or allowed to select their own for the scholarship essay. In cases where they can select their own topic, students will want to look for situations or topics about which they have considerable passion or interest. Those will always lend to more interesting reading for the reviewer because the students will have more to say on those topics, and they won't have to work so hard on the content. In situations where students are given the topic on which they must write, it's helpful if they ask two or three different adults what the question makes them think of in order to see possible approaches to the question. Then, remembering to be honest and add personal reflections of their own, students will likely see a broad range of ways in which they can begin their response.

The scholarship essay does not have to be difficult, just honest and carefully checked. Following these first steps faithfully will afford students the most success with their scholarship essays.

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