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Scholarship Essay Cheat Sheet for Students
This scholarship essay cheat sheet for students will quickly let them know if they have done everything they can to write a winning essay!
[Updated for 2021]
For my current high school junior, I am finding out that what worked for his older brothers does not work for him. He has his own way of doing things and that’s fine, as long as those scholarship essays get written to be submitted before the due dates!
I recently created a short scholarship essay cheat sheet that I placed on his desk and asked him to review before, during, and after each essay that he writes.
Having this cheat sheet allows him to take charge of his essays, with my winning suggestions front and center, but without having to remind him of what scholarship judges like and don’t like.
From my years of experience in helping parents and their students in the college scholarship process, I have learned that nagging does not work!
Use this list for your own student because we are all in this together and feel free to contact me anytime with your scholarship questions. ~ Monica Matthews
To download and print, click this button:
Scholarship Essay Cheat Sheet details:
Start with a Hook – Begin the essay with a hook, or something that draws the reader in and inspires them to WANT to read the rest of the essay. The hook could be a surprising fact, an interesting quote, an eye-opening statistic, or something personal and unusual that grabs the reader’s attention.
Scholarship judges have hundreds and even thousands of essays to read, start yours off with a BANG and impress them right from the beginning!
Tell a True Story – Everyone loves to read true stories and college scholarship judges are no different. Writing the required essay into story form with interesting and personal details is a great way to get the judges’ attention from the beginning and keep it until the end.
One scholarship judge that I interviewed shared, “The ones I pay attention to are AUTHENTIC. The quality of the work reflects original thoughts; they avoid broad generalizations and make their point by telling a specific story to demonstrate their point.”
You may also like to read: 10 Epic Tips Straight from a College Scholarship Judge
Fully Answer the Question – When writing scholarship essays, always make sure the question asked is fully answered. This may seem like a simple college scholarship tip, but it is one that is all too often ignored by many scholarship seeking students. As the essay is being written, students can keep referring back to the original question and make sure they are not getting off the subject.
Heed Word Count – College scholarship applications that come with essay requirements usually have word limits. These limits keep students from rambling on and on, they save time in the judging process, and they show if a student is following directions by sticking to the required number of words.
Proofread and Share – Material that is read several times by the writer becomes very familiar. Our brains begin to fill in missing details because we know what is supposed to be there, but may not catch that it actually isn’t. Students should ALWAYS have at least two pairs of trusted eyes review their work.
Monica Matthews is the author of How to Win College Scholarships. She helped her own son win over $100,000 in college scholarships and now shares her expertise with other parents and their students. She truly has “been there, done that” in regards to helping parents and students navigate the scholarship process.
Her method of helping students in finding college scholarships, writing unique and compelling scholarship essays, creating amazing scholarship application packets and more, have taught desperate parents to help their own students win thousands of scholarship dollars.
Monica’s scholarship tips have been featured on many prominent websites and she has been dubbed the “Go-To” expert on college scholarships.