College Scholarship Essays - 5 Brainstorm Prompts

College Scholarship Essays - 5 Brainstorm Prompts
Need a good topic for your college scholarship essays? Need ideas from your life to write about? Check here for 5 quick prompts to kick start the gray matter and get your ideas flowing.
With that in mind, let's consider ideas for your essays. If you haven't seen a scholarship application, you should look at some. Some scholarships give you no guidance. Others like the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, request essays that focus on and explore political issues facing the world today. And still more provide a prompt that you must answer or use as your topic.

To start, you need to have the applications in hand. The idea generators will be great for making a list of ideas, but knowing what you need to write about will help as you start writing down the possibilities. Look at your applications, and see what they want in the essay.

Does it give you a question to answer?

Do you have a specific length or word count?

Does the application ask for a personal experience?

Knowing what you need to write about will help clarify your ideas. Also, you can do this in a group with friends or family helping you come up with ideas.

Getting started: Write down answers for each of the questions. Try to make it long, several lines for each prompt. Many of the ideas won't be useful, but may spur other ideas or provide just one small detail for your essay. You never know what will become a great experience until you start writing.

Take some time to go through the list, and think through how you can present an experience or facet of your life. Jot down a short phrase on your list so you can remember what the idea means to you or how it could fit in that college scholarship essay. Don't spend too much time on each one. Keep moving, and keep the ideas flowing as much as possible.

Essay Prompts:

Using one of the essay prompts from your applications, make a short list of ideas that you might want to include in the essay, such as describing an experience you had last summer, or your interest in a particular subject. Repeat for each essay prompt on the applications you have.
Pick two (or three) major experiences for each of the last four years. Why did you think of these? What did you learn? How have you grown? What would you do differently?
What do you hope for in your future? Where would you like to be in 20 years? How will you get there from where you are now?
Name five to ten of your passions, what you love about life. Scuba diving? Karate? Ballet? Oil Painting? Why did you pick the ones you did?
Write down ten important things you have learned in the past few years (not how to tie your shoes, typically) and why these are significant to you.

I can go on, but this list will kick things off. If you have additional prompt ideas, add them to the list and answer them as well. To write a good college scholarship essay, you want to have some memorable attributes, and to reflect the ideals the scholarship supports.
The process above can take as short or as long as you want. Just a suggestion, keep it to one or two evenings. You can sit down alone or with a small group and start writing answers. Make it fun and help others by suggesting ideas. Once you have a list, you can move on to writing the essay and sending in the applications.

Other Suggestions

Make sure you take the time to proofread your essay, and have others help with this essential function as well. You can kill even a sparkling essay with just one or two mistakes in spelling, grammar, word use or style. Get some help reviewing your whole application.

And save the idea list you just made. You may want it for the next application or even next year when you start applying again. Most important, apply to all the scholarships you qualify for, and win as much money for college as you can with that college scholarship essay. You may as well - if you don't win it, who will?

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