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Published July 20, 2020

Tips for Excellent Scholarship Essays 

Submitting scholarship essays is among the most important elements of the scholarship application process. In fact, how well you write your essay heavily influences the success of your application. The goal of this guide is to shed light on how to write exceptional scholarship essays. It is hoped that through this guide, you will feel better prepared and equipped to set your writing apart from those of others. 

There are a number of tips that have proven highly effective in helping students write excellent scholarship essays. Listed below are some of the tips that could guide you in your next scholarship essay. 

Careful Topic Selection

In many instances, students are provided with a variety of topics on which to write. For example, while one scholarship may require you to talk about your struggles, another many offer you the opportunity to write about your vision for your future. It is advised that you select the topic carefully.

Opt for topics with which you are intimately familiar and offer you the best platform to present yourself in the best light possible. Stay clear of topics that could be controversial or about which you have little understanding or knowledge. 

Highlight of Goals

As you write your scholarship essay, remember to give special attention to your goals. Describe the goals that you wish to accomplish in the near future and in the longer term. If possible, try to relate these goals to your academic and professional ambitions.

Essentially, use the scholarship essay as an opportunity to show that you are future-oriented and committed to fulfilling your goals. Scholarship committees tend to look kindly upon applicants who demonstrate a sense of direction and forward-thinking. 

Relate Experiences to Organizational Mission

Perhaps the most important tip that you should remember is the importance of drawing parallels between your personal experiences and the mission of the organization issuing the scholarship. Tell this organization that your experiences are aligned with its mission.

Assure the selection committee that from your personal experiences, you have derived vital lessons that you intend to bring to your scholarship journey. Moreover, drawing links between personal experiences and organizational mission suggests that you are an introspective individual. 

Set yourself Apart 

Your scholarship essay will do you little good when it is similar to other essays. Find ways to set yours apart. For example, you could talk about how you developed a novel solution to address a unique challenge that you encountered.

Essentially, give the scholarship committee compelling reasons to keep reading your essay. Show the committee that your experiences, skills, and competencies place you in a position from which you can make a difference. 

Talk about your Passions 

While writing the scholarship essay, you will do well to understand that no selection committee likes dull applicants. The scholarship essay should serve as a reflection of your passions and interests. Educate the committee on your passions and the impact that they have had on your life.

Demonstrate that you are a deeply rich and passionate individual with a burning desire to make meaningful contributions to your community and country. Basically, place yourself at the center of your scholarship essay. 

Scholarship Essay Examples

How to write scholarship essays can be best understood through examples. In the sections that follow, three examples are provided. The goal of these examples is to highlight the best practices that you need to incorporate into your scholarship essay. Additionally, the examples are designed to shed light on common mistakes and how you can avoid them. 

Tell us about yourself 

My name is Miller Schumer. At present, I am a high school student scheduled to graduate later this year. When I join college, I intend to pursue a degree in astronomy. My interest in astronomy has been driven primarily by a desperate desire to learn about the universe. I feel that it is upon my generation to build on the progress made by those who have explored the worlds beyond ours. I believe that astronomy will offer me limitless opportunities to expand my horizons and to bring humanity closer to understanding where and how we live.

As part of my efforts to develop my passions, I have developed a number of interests that have brought me tremendous joy and fulfillment. My main interest is reading about other worlds. I believe that this interest continues to fuel my desire to become a practitioner in the field of astronomy. I have read hundreds of books and watched dozens of documentaries that address various elements of our universe. I am convinced that when awarded the scholarship, I will be in an advantaged position from which I can expand my mind and build my interests further. 

It is with immense enthusiasm that I submit my application for the scholarship. My excitement rests on my expectation that through the scholarship, I will successfully accomplish the dream that I have nurtured for a number of years now. Additionally, being awarded the scholarship will serve as testament to the value of hardwork, dedication, and steadfastness. I believe that the scholarship will also provide me with the energy that I need to remain focused on my aspirations and goals.

In writing “tells us about yourself” scholarship essays, there are some important do’s and don’ts that you should have in mid. Some of these are outlined below:


  1. Keep it personal. Use the essay to talk about yourself. It is one of the few places where you are actually encouraged to make everything about yourself.
  2. Show why the details matter. Even as you present personal details, do not forget to demonstrate why the selection committee should care about the details. For example, help the committee understand why you are interested in pursuing a particular field.


  1. Refrain from providing overly personal or irrelevant details. Such details cheapen your essay and erode your chances of success.
  2. Do not write an overly long essay. If there is a word count limit, be sure to stay at or below this limit. 

Describe your vision for the future

Essays that require you to talk about your vision for the future are another common type of writing that accompanies scholarship applications. Given below is an example of this essay. 

My name is Jane Keaton. I believe that I am an embodiment of hope and promise. From a very young age, I had a vision for a future where we all get along. I believe that with dedication and commitment, it is possible for humanity to achieve lasting peace and to establish friendships among all communities. My vision for the future is the primary motivation for my decision to pursue a bachelor’s program in peace studies. 

In my limited time on this planet, I have had the privilege of witnessing the remarkable resilience and beauty of the human spirit. I understand that there are communities which have been able to rebuild their lives following devastating disasters. In my vision of tomorrow, I predict that we will come closer to ensuring that no community has to endure conflict again. I understand that my vision sounds naïve, impractical and unreasonable. However, given my confidence in the capacity of the human spirit, I remain convinced that it is indeed possible to create the type of world that I envision. 

While I am positive and look forward to a future without some of the problems we face today, I recognize the natural limits on my capabilities to deliver change. This is why I intend to work with others in my quest to push for reforms. Already, I have successfully joined forces with colleagues who share my vision. As I continue to reach out and collaborate, I expect that eventually, I will manage to make some difference, however small, to how our world runs. 


  1. Ensure that the essay is descriptive. Provide as much details as possible to help the selection committee to visualize your vision. 
  2. Be positive. One of the mistakes that many students make is adopting a tone that is overly negative. While you may mention one or two items that are negative, on the whole, your essay should generate excitement and enthusiasm. Leave the selection committee feeling hopeful and with its spirit elevated.
  3. Make your essay relevant. As you describe how you visualize the future, try to relate your vision to some current event. For example, you could show how your vision addresses such problems as world hunger or armed conflict. Basically, use the essay to demonstrate your positive outlook. 


  1. Avoid needless details. When you feel that certain details do not add to the richness or relevance of your essay, strike them out. The most effective essays are those that are concise and relevant.
  2. Do not forget to remain realistic. While it is true that you should describe a world that is immensely positive, remember to stay realistic and practical. In particular, recognize the limits of your capacity to change the world. Focus your attention on the few practical solutions that you can provide to bring the world closer to your vision. 

Overcoming Tragedy

Essays that require scholarship applicants to talk about the challenges that they have encountered and how they solved these challenges are also fairly common. The purpose of these essays is to offer students a chance to show that they are resilient and able to engage in critical thinking and problem-solving. Given below is an example of this type of essay.

My name is James Brown. I am a 17-year-old African American. As a member of the black community, I fully understand struggle and hardship. Growing up, I witnessed many forms of suffering and injustice. From police brutality to poverty and deprivation, my community continues to bear the brunt of various forms of discrimination and inequality. While I know that there is little I can do to address these issues, I also recognize that I have some power to change the course of my life and that of my people.

I have taken some steps to help address some of the challenges that my community grapples with. For example, recently, I joined forces with some of my classmates to create a petition calling for criminal justice reform. We presented the petition to our legislative representative and we continue to push for action. I believe that my activism will yield change. While this change may not occur today, I am convinced that eventually freedom for my people will arrive.

I know that I am part of a larger group of individuals who have experienced hardship. Every day, across the world, thousands of individuals and hundreds of communities are subjected to various forms of injustice and needless suffering. The fact that I have been able to overcome personal struggles means that others who continue to languish can also find liberation and freedom. My journey has renewed my faith in mankind and challenged me to recognize that we are not bound to our reality. We can take action an reclaim our lives. 


  1. Stay passionate. Strong language will help to convey your passions.
  2. It is best to relate your struggles to some larger social, economic or political issue. 


  1. Do not be so reckless and insensitive as to offend others.

In closing, scholarship essays remain among the best opportunities to share with others about yourself. While writing your scholarship essay, keep in mind the tips shared above. The tips will certainly transform your essay into an impactful piece of writing. 

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