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College Planning Blog

Top 10 Tips for Writing Scholarship Essays

by Jennifer Taylor on November 15, 2017 in College Essays

As the task of applying to colleges winds down, the focus often shifts to seeking out college scholarships. You’ve done your best submitting college application essays, but now, what’s the best approach to writing college scholarship essays?


The good news is much of what students’ practiced in writing their first round of college application essays can be applied to scholarship essays. Let’s refresh our memories on what’s important.


  1. Thoughtfully consider all of what the prompt is asking.
  2. Brainstorm your topic for answering the prompt.
  3. Answer all aspects of the essay prompt.
  4. Never ever write beyond the word limit.
  5. Your essay should demonstrate your strengths, values and virtues.
  6. Craft an attention-getting introduction backed up by a compelling story.
  7. Anecdotes—short, descriptive accounts of particular incidents or events—often make for good introductions. Make sure your last sentence in your introduction serves as your thesis. You’ll also want to weave into the second paragraph the scholarship to which you are applying, the college degree you are seeking, and perhaps your professional goals.
  8. Each of your body paragraphs should speak to the overall theme of your essay. They should speak to specific questions within the prompt. Each body paragraph should have a topic sentence that emphasizes the main point of that paragraph. Finally, the body paragraphs should point to your qualifications for the scholarship.
  9. Your conclusion should tie together all the body paragraphs and connect back to the introduction. It should also reiterate your interest in receiving the scholarship and how receiving the scholarship would help you reach your stated specific goals.
  10. Always proofread your essay for spelling, grammar, facts, wordiness and word length.

Jennifer Taylor is the Essay and Editorial Director at Partners For Achievement. Read more about Taylor and the rest of the Partners For Achievement team.




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