How To Write An Attractive Essay That Wins You a Scholarship

How To Write An Attractive Essay That Wins You a Scholarship

Are you planning to study abroad? It will cost a lot of money, so many of you must have tried to find some financial support to pay for your international education. Scholarships are the best form of financial aid as they offer students free money that does not need to be repaid. However, the competition for a scholarship is very high. There are often hundreds of people trying to get a scholarship. What can make you stand out from the other applicants? Get good grades? Not necessarily. 


There are two main types of scholarship that we have written about in a previous article—merit-based and background-basedEither way, research says that  very few scholarships are based solely on an application form and transcript. Chances are that you're going to need to write an essay, and it is often the most important part of your application. From an essay, the committee can get a better sense of the applicants. Thus, the essay should be well thought-out and make you stand out from others. So, here are few tips on how to write a great essay: 


1. Plan in advance


University of Arkansas at Little Rock suggests that you to plan at least 1-2 months in advance. Completing the scholarship application shouldn't be an overnight process. You will need a lot of time to produce a well-thought-out essay. Brainstorming is usually the first step of the essay writing process (see articles by Maryville University and by Diana Gonzalez at California State University – Sacramento). Brainstorming means that instead of just starting to write the essay, you should first write down all ideas that you have that are relevant to the scholarship application. 


Then share these ideas with your teachers and mentors and senior students from your region who have gone abroad to study. Clark University suggested that you select a person whose opinion and constructive criticism you will respect and accept. They can suggest which fits best with the scholarship. Then write a first draft and get feedback from someone who will be impartial, honest, and capable of offering suggestions for improvement. Most likely, your first draft will need a lot of revisions. Revise the draft and get feedback on the second version. You should go over at least 5 drafts before you submit the scholarship application. That is why you need least 1-2 months of preparation to come up with a strong scholarship application. Dr. Delowar’s experience getting a scholarship to study robotics in Japan highlights the importance of planning in advance.


2. Tell a story about how you are unique and special


As stated by the University of San Diego, because hundreds of people are apply to each scholarship, your essay must make you stand out from everyone else. If your essay is similar to the essays of other applicants,  the selection committee will not even look at you. Your essay should highlight your unique qualities. How are you different from hundreds of other applicants? Why should the selection committee give you the scholarship and not to other similarly qualified applications? Instead of listing all your achievements, tell a compelling story about why you are special and unique and thus deserve the scholarship more than all other applicants. 


Have you ever started reading a book or watching a movie and were so engrossed that you had to finish it before you did something else? If you write an essay that the selection committee members find captivating in a similar manner, chances are that you have one that scholarship. Don’t write a bland essay that is boring to read. Write an essay that captures the reader’s attention.


3. Know your audience:


A scholarship resource center at the University of California recommended that you spend some time researching the organization giving the scholarship so that you can have a sense of what they hope to gain by giving away their money. What is their mission and purpose? Make sure that your narrative fits this. For example, the Foreign Fullbright Scholarship program for international students has the mission of fostering mutual understanding between the United States and partner nations, and to share knowledge across communities. Thus, it requires applicants to have a commitment to return to their home country and to foster better relationships between the US and your home country. So make sure you clearly state how giving you the scholarship would advance the organization’s mission, and how your future career plans fit with the organization’s mission. 


4. Organize your essay


Shasta Charter Academy states that in order to write a compelling essay, you must organize your thoughts in a logical manner. By taking what’s already in your head and putting it on paper, you can see connections and links between ideas more clearly. This will serve as a foundation for your essay. Marryville University states that one of the best ways to start organizing your essay is to create an outline. It will serve as an essential tool to help you avoid structural mistakes and repetition, and help you cover all your ideas without rambling. This will also allow you to see the connection between different points and will help your writing become more organized. 


5. Pay attention to the directions.

University of Denver suggested that students read the direction because types of essay can vary widely. Make a checklist of everything you need to do and make sure you follow all the directions. You do not want to go to all the effort to complete the application, only to disqualify yourself by not paying close attention to directions. For example, if the application asks for a one-page document then only provide a one- page document. If an official transcript is required, do not include a photocopy of your transcript. Make sure to follow all rules carefully. 

6. Proofread and ask for help!


Finally, once you have finished your essay, don’t forget to proofread it very carefully to make sure there are absolutely no grammar and spelling errors. Ask someone who’s English is very good to also proofread your essayWhen others read your essay, they will find errors that you missed. They can also help make the essay clearer to someone who is not familiar with the topic. 


Completing multiple scholarship applications, especially the essays, can feel overwhelming. Take a break when you're tired, but don't give up. Brace yourself up to achieve your dream! 


Psst! There is also another way you can try to get a master degree for free by working as an assistant, how? Take a look at our previous articles on “You Can Get a Master’s Degree for Free!”


Here are a number of additional sources providing tips for how to write compelling scholarship essays:



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