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5 Tips for Rocking that College Scholarship Essay

For the scholarship essay, many students are unsure of what to write and how to begin.

5 Tips for Rocking that College Scholarship Essay - Find winning scholarship essay tips here!

Today I have a guest post from a student who just GETS IT when it comes to applying for scholarships and writing the scholarship essay.

Cameron Rupert is a freshman in college who was his high school valedictorian. He has his own blog and is using it to inspire other students and make an impact on the world around him. His blog is called Call Me Cam and is becoming an amazing resource for students. Be sure to check out Cam’s blog here and use these scholarship essay examples to write a stronger essay.

Welcome, Cam, and thanks for sharing your scholarship essay tips with my blog readers!

5 Tips for Rocking that Scholarship Essay

1. Start with an intriguing hook that draws the reader in. The reader(s) of your essay need to be captivated from the beginning so they are encouraged to keep reading. Like it or not, they have every right to trash your essay and entire application if they are not hooked from the beginning. So, if you’re going to put work into your essay, make sure it’s enticing to your audience! Here’s a way to do so in this scholarship essay sample:

  • Do not start your essay off by simply rewording the question. For example, if the essay question is “What is your favorite small business?”, do not start off your essay with “My favorite small business is _____________.” That’s boring. Instead, add some interesting details about the business first that readers may not know or describe your favorite item that the business sells. No matter what the topic is about, begin your essay in a way that captures the reader’s attention. As you progress through your essay, make sure you keep that attention! (Learn more about beginning an essay with a hook here)

2. Use sophisticated words. You want your essay to sound professional since you are giving the readers a glimpse into your skills. Show those readers how intelligent you are! That does not mean that you need to know twenty-letter words to integrate into your essay. That is where you need to use your resources (i.e. thesaurus). Rather than use basic, everyday words like good, walk, and a lot, elevate them to more powerful words like outstanding, venture, and plethora. By using such words throughout your essay, you are able to transmit a sense of sophistication and intelligence through your work. In turn, the impressed readers will take note and remember your essay.

3. Keep it concise and focused. This tip is key. If you ramble on about something completely unrelated to the topic, your application could be disqualified or trashed. You want to be sure to directly answer the topic to the best of your ability in the number of words you’ve been given. Most scholarships usually give a specific range or minimum/maximum amount of words–be sure to find this number or range out before you begin! You do not want to be disqualified for something so simple!
That said, be sure to strictly follow the word range or number. It can be difficult to keep your essay short, especially if you are passionate about a topic and have a lot to say.

Here are some ways to keep the scholarship essay concise and focused:

  • PLAN: Make a game plan for your essay before you write it out, mapping out the main points. Doing so will keep you from going off-topic and allow to say what you want to and get out!
  • CHECK: After you’ve written a few sentences, check the word count to see how far you have to go. It’s way better to adjust your essay as you write rather than write the entire essay and then realize you are over by one hundred words! (Trust me, it could happen.)
  • AVOID: Avoid repetition. If you already mentioned something, do not spend valuable time or space discussing it again later in the essay. The readers will get bored and/or annoyed. The only reasons for pulling a previous topic back into the essay are for emphasis or concluding. This is something very difficult to avoid since it can be very difficult to catch yourself repeating. I’ve struggled with this one a lot when writing.
  • REVISIT: After each of your main points, be sure to revisit the topic sentence. If the prompt is about your favorite business, after you spend time describing the great food, be sure to close out the main idea by saying that is a reason why it is your favorite small business. Make sure to change up the phrasing to avoid repetition! Doing so will help you stay focused and remind the readers what the whole essay is about.

4. Finish off with an elevated conclusion. The conclusion is the one sentence that the readers will be left with, so make sure it leaves them in awe of your power. You want to connect to the captivating hook (see tip #1), but also want to summarize everything you’ve talked about in the body of your essay. In other words, you want to say to the readers: “Here’s the main takeaway(s) from my essay and here is why it matters to you and me.” To elevate the conclusion beyond simply rewording the topic sentence, think about why everything you have said matters to readers and why it is important to you. How has the small business (staying with the sample topic) impacted yourself and others in your community? Overall, in your conclusion, you want to explain the significance of your topic while incorporating the most important points.

Be sure to read:  10 Epic Tips Straight from a College Scholarship Judge

5. Proofread…and proofread again. Once you’ve finished writing your stellar essay, proofread it to catch the tiny spelling or grammatical errors! DO NOT simply write the essay and submit it! Peruse the essay to catch errors and have someone else read it, just to be safe!
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