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Published July 17, 2020

What is a Scholarship Essay?

Consider this situation: You application to study at the school of your dreams has just been approved. While you are excited, you begin having anxieties and fears. How will I pay for tuition? I am in over my head? These questions are just some of the many that students worried about affording tuition have. Well, the purpose of this guide is to help ease these anxieties. Through the guide, it is demonstrated that it is indeed possible to go to your dream college and obtain funding to finance your studies.

A scholarship essay is among the tools that students eager to join an educational institution need. At its score, a scholarship essay offers students the opportunities to tell their story. For example, in a typical essay, the student outlines why they believe that they are more deserving to be awarded the scholarship. It is also common for students to use the scholarship essays to describe the impact that receiving the scholarship will have on their lives.

Given the importance of scholarship essays, it follows that students must possess the skills needed to write exceptional essays. As they pen these essays, they should understand that their very future depends on how well they tell their stories. While scholarship essays are complex and broad, formatting is certainly one of their most important components. How a student formats could make or break their scholarship application. 

Why does Formatting Matter? 

Why should I care about the format of my scholarship essay? This is indeed a fair question. Formatting is essential for various reasons. Some of these reasons are explored below.

Make the Committee’s Time Easier

Committees that are tasked with awarding scholarships need to review hundreds and even thousands of applications. This task can be indeed arduous and daunting. You can help to ease the burden that the committee reviewing your essay shoulders. By formatting properly, you make it easier for the committee to identify and understand the main points that you communicate in your essay. For example, grouping related ideas into paragraphs allows the committee to better understand the story that you tell. 

Help your Essay Stand Out

As noted above, scholarship review committees receive too many applications. It is highly likely that they will not even get to your application. To minimize this risk, you should format your scholarship essay properly. In addition to sparing the committee the trouble of reading a poorly written essay, formatting also helps to inject some professionalism into your essay. Essentially, formatting will place your in a position of competitiveness and make your essay easier to read and more appealing. 

Scholarship Essay Format

It is important to understand that the specific format of an essay should follow the instructions that a particular institution has issued. However, students should note that most institutions require essays to follow a similar format. The universality of the format is important for various reasons. Firstly, it makes it easier for students to prepare to write compelling essays. Secondly, a similar format for all institutions eases the process of reviewing the thousands of applications that schools receive. Besides, without a universal format, the usefulness of guides like this would be severely limited. 

While it is best for students to write and format their essays themselves, there are online services that offer help with these tasks. For example, there are websites that allow students to upload their essays for formatting. These websites are remarkably useful. However, it is best for students to cultivate and develop the skills needed to format scholarship essays properly. It is hoped that this guide will help the students to hone these skills. 

Given that essays can be long and complex, it is difficult to create a guide that is exhaustive in its exploration of the many points that students should remember. However, this guide attempts to shed light on the most important elements of formatting. In the sections that follow, some of these elements and the rules that students need to remember are highlighted. 

  1. Title: the title is undoubtedly one of the most important components of any essay. For an essay that has an impact, it is best for students to have a title in mind before they even set out to write the essay. While it should be informative, the title should also offer a reflection of your spirit. You should use it as the first opportunity to acquire the attention and respect of the scholarship committee. 
  2. Spacing: Do you want to avoid your scholarship essay appearing cluttered or busy? Formatting allows you to achieve this. Writing standards require that you should double space your essay. This spacing will allow your essay to seem neater and properly written. 
  3. Font: Such word processing applications like Microsoft Words have dozens of different fonts from which to select. The wide variety can leave you feeling confused and overwhelmed. To ease your anxieties, it is suggested that you should opt for the Times New Roman font. This font will add some sophistication as well as formality to your scholarship essay. 
  4. Structure: How to structure their essays is another issue that students struggle with. Ideally, your scholarship essay should begin with an introduction that sets the stage for the rest of the essay. You can use the essay to introduce yourself and give the scholarship committee an idea of the main points that you will address. Body paragraphs and the concluding paragraph should also form part of your scholarship essay. 
  5. Margins: Margins do not receive the amounts of attention that they deserve. They are essential as they play a crucial role in shaping the appearance and layout of your scholarship essay. It is advised that you should have one-inch margins at the top, bottom, and sides of your essay. These margin sizes are the default in Microsoft Word. 

Top Scholarship Essay Format Tips 

In addition to the points addressed above, there are numerous other tips that students can incorporate into their scholarship essays. Some of these are listed below:

  1. Before you begin writing the essay, conduct a careful overview of the instructions and ensure that you understand them fully. How well you understand the instructions will significantly influence the quality of your writing.
  2. Start by writing an outline in which you identify the main ideas that you will explore at length in your essay. An outline will also help you to organize your ideas.
  3. Refrain from providing unclear details. For each major point you cover in the scholarship essay, be sure to elaborate
  4. Do not use overly complex or technical language. The best essays are those that are written in simple and easy to understand language.
  5. Upon completing the essay, review it one or two times before you submit. It is also advisable to invite another person to read the essay and ask them to give particular attention to the format, content, and whether you have fulfilled the instructions.

In closing, applying for scholarships can be a nerve-wracking experience. Even the best prepared students experience anxiety and begin to have doubts about their readiness. However, it is possible to write with confidence. This guide has highlighted some of the points that students need to remember if they are to deliver impactful scholarship essays. Following the insights shared in the guide will take you one step closer to the school of your dreams. 

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