For many high school students, writing college essays is the source of stress and intimidation that comes from the scholarship application process. Among thousands of other qualified applicants all seeking to supplement their financial aid through free money, one response to an abstract question or topic renders students worthy of receiving the ultimate prize of higher education. There are many ways to prepare an essay for college scholarships without tearing your hair out each time you are challenged with a long format question. Strategy is the key to efficient and impactful college essay writing.
First, research the scholarship foundation extensively. Don’t rely on information covered on the scholarship application to explain why the scholarship exists. Get to the purpose behind the scholarship including why it was created, who the founding donors were and the backgrounds of the executive board. Performing research gives you confidence in how to address your audience. If all the donors and board members of the scholarship are staunch women’s rights advocates, for example, it might be help to emphasize how you plan to make a difference in the lives of women seeking to advance socially or economically through your future goals. The goal of research isn’t to tell the judges exactly what you think they want to hear but to find a sincere connection and relate to them using the uniqueness and sincerity of your personal experience.
Read the essay topic thoroughly. There is a reason the scholarship foundation chose the question or topic on your application. Given your research of the organization and purpose of the scholarship, think on what information you can reveal that helps them gain the information about you they need. Read the question several times and give yourself a few days of pondering the topic before beginning. This will help you avoid starting off too quickly in the wrong direction and creating a generic essay.
Lead your essay with an excellent introduction. Brainstorming, research and reflecting on the essay topic are great foundations to a college scholarship essay introduction. Think abstract in concept, but always use proper grammar and spelling. Now is the time to merge critical thinking with creativity to entice readers into your essay. Your introduction will probably require several rewrites. Be sincere throughout and avoid clichéd statements or phrases to begin your essay.
Support your introduction with several paragraphs or pages of detail expanding on the topic. Make sure your paragraphs flow together in logical order by starting with an outline of your message. The outline should include the subjects you plan to cover to answer the essay question. Writing a sentence for each paragraph summarizing the contents of the paragraph is a helpful way to determine whether the flow of information makes sense. When you arrive at your conclusion, be sure you have addressed any questions posed during your introduction and draw the essay to a natural close. It isn’t always necessary to simply restate the question or introduction in a conclusion, but to offer a final support of the points covered in your essay.
In addition to the page number, include your name, address and telephone number in the footer if you have multiple pages unless otherwise indicated in the application instructions.