The majority of scholarship applications require students to prepare an essay or statement that outlines their eligibility. Preparing these letters takes a certain amount of skill, as each student is striving to make their application look unique. Students should think carefully about how they craft these statements, as they are intended to help selection committees get a better sense of who the applicants really are.
Start your application early.
Many students do not give themselves enough time to start their applications and find themselves rushing to finish before the deadline. The end result is often a poorly-constructed and weakly-written application. Starting your applications early will give you time to clearly think and articulate your position. Be sure to schedule extra time for editing, especially if someone else will be looking over your paper.
Read through the scholarship application thoroughly.
Remember that you are not simply listing your accomplishments and goals, but rather responding to a specific set of criteria. Are you being weighed based on academic merit? If so, your application should highlight scholastic achievements and academic performance. Is the applicant being evaluated based on community involvement? Consider outlining you volunteer experience in school, at home, in church or other areas. Student should take time to think about what specific experiences and abilities demonstrate their eligibility.
Start your process by writing an outline.
Selection committees will often read through hundreds of applications before making a decision. Using simple and concise language that clearly lays out how you meet-and exceed- the criteria will make it easier for the committee members to understand why you are a perfect fit for the scholarship. An outline, using bullet points with main statements, can make it easier for you to structure a powerful and effective application.
Showcase your strengths, but be realistic about your weaknesses.
Many scholarships seem to look for the perfect, well-rounded candidate- such a student doesn’t exist! Rather, selection committees are looking to learn both about your achievements, and the attitude that got you there. Identifying challenges or adversity you have faced in achieving goals can be a highly effective way of demonstrating both ability and attitude, but be careful not to overdo it. Discussion should be framed around your strengths, as they relate to the eligibility criteria- after all, why would you want to highlight your weaknesses?