Below are some common scholarship essay questions. You can use these as a great starting point for a pesonal statement. Some of these essay questions are used in the Maricopa Scholarship Database.
- What life experiences have shaped who you are today and what challenges have you overcome in achieving your education (i.e. financial, personal, medical, etc.)?
- Explain why you need financial assistance.
- Describe your academic and career goals and your plans to achieve them and discuss any of your extracurricular/volunteer activities (both on and off campus) that you may perform.
- Describe an event in which you took a leadership role and what you learned about yourself.
This is a sample essay to help guide you when you are writing essays for scholarships. Keep in mind that all scholarship applications are different, so you may have to design your essay to meet those specific requirements.
(State an overview of what you are going to talk about in the essay. If the essay is about you, give a brief description of your experiences, goals, aspirations, family background, etc. Touch on why you want the scholarship.)
For as long as I could remember, I have wanted to be a veterinarian. I have been responsible for the care and feeding of pets ever since I was in the second grade. In high school, I participated in the 4-H club as well as the Junior Humane society. To reach my goals, I realize that I must pursue an eight year college education which will begin with the Fall 2010 semester. I am very excited about my future and feel that with the opportunity your scholarship will provide, I can help many animals.
Paragraph II & III
(Go into more detail on one of the topics listed in paragraph I. For example, elaborate on your previous experiences, family and financial situation, volunteer work, employment, academic career, future goals, college plans, etc.)
My love for animals has been encouraged by my family and friends. I have had the opportunity to volunteer with the local animal shelter and provide basic care to the stray animals. With the help of my biology teacher, I was able to start a 4-H club on campus. Many of the other students on campus developed an interest in the animals and now our club has 100 members. My family also has many animals for which I provide care, including basic needs as well as first aid. I find that I enjoy that aspect of pet ownership best. Unfortunately, my family cannot afford to pay for my entire education, so I hope to use my skills and love of animals to help me pay for college.
(Conclude your essay with a wrap-up of why you should be considered for the scholarship; how do your goals match those of the organization, etc.)
Your organization stands for what I believe in. Like your organization, I hope to help animals for the rest of my life. To reach my goals, I need as much help as possible. I already have the moral support of my family and friends, but that is not quite enough to make my dream come true. I hope that your organization can help me reach this dream by awarding me your scholarship.
By Veronica Hunt
When you make the next step in your education and start applying for scholarships and colleges, you understand that paper writing skills are even more important than you thought. Admission committee will pay special attention to your scholarship essay since it demonstrates your individuality more than any diploma. Thus, they have already seen thousands of those papers before and they are quite bored to read something like “I want to become a doctor because I want to help people” once again.
How do you make your scholarship essay special and the entire writing process less stressful? Well, try relying on these tools and pieces of advice we have gathered for you. Hopefully, they will come in handy!
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Scholarship essay samples
Before you start writing your scholarship essay, look through some other papers composed by students. A great resource of professional essay samples is the website called Student Share. Just use the search bar to enter your request and enjoy sample papers done by successful students. You can download one paper per day for free, or share your own writings and get an unlimited access to the paper base. Use these samples to get inspired and realize how good the paper should look like, but do not plagiarize or steal ideas – this will not make your essay the way it should be. You have to show your personality and uniqueness, not your rewriting skills!
Next, look through some online guidelines, “do’s and don’t's” and pay special attention to the hints given. For instance, Harvard College Writing Center provides students with a number of useful writing guides and resources to let you handle the writing process easier and become more confident in yourself. Harvard Writing Center offers a great range of tips and hints on how to understand the paper requirements, how to structure a paper, and how to make your thesis statement clear and strong. Be sure to keep these tips and pieces of advice in mind and they will help you stick to the academic standards and general writing rules.
You have to look through some formatting guides and pay attention to the specifications your institution gave you about the paper format. Sometimes, committee members are really scrupulous and sometimes they may not even read scholarship essays formatted incorrectly.
It is natural for students not to keep in mind all details and rules of formatting. However, you can try using Purdue Online Writing Lab, a resource for students and academic community members that provide instructional material on how to format a paper in MLA, APA, Harvard, Chicago or Turabian style correctly.
General scholarship writing rules
Every institution has application standards, but you should also get a clear idea of general scholarship writing rules. These are necessary since a college you are applying to can describe some special requirements only because it is considered that you already know a bunch of general rules and you have to combine them with the particular ones. That is why you should benefit from guidelines published online. Try Bates College Tips to make your essay stand out.
Avoid common expressions and try to be unique
Well, it may sound strange, but most admission committees do check scholarship essays for plagiarism. You are expected to present your unique personality and that is why the committee wants to make sure that this is really so. In fact, even if you didn’t copy the content elsewhere – don’t leave it to chance. Some common expressions and widely-used phrases in your paper may fall short. Check your text online using PlagTracker to make sure that no nasty surprises happen.
Other useful tips
- Make sure to read the instruction attentively. Do you understand what is written there? Not really? Then read it again and do not start writing before you get the idea. If you have any doubts – contact the university administration and ask for clarifications. Don’t be shy. At least, it is your path to your bright future!
- Create an outline before you start. This will help you keep your thoughts and ideas organized and you will not forget to include everything you want.
- Write in a clear, concise, simple and straightforward manner. There is no need to use complex and long sentences since you risk making mistakes and puzzling your audience.
- Try being original. Think about some personal stories and episodes that made you set your sights on choosing this particular academic career. Tell the stories, but don’t go over the top with jokes and informal language.
Don’t let a scholarship essay discourage you! Every student has to go through it, so brace yourself up, arm yourself with these tools and pieces of advice, and good luck!