In the scholarship application process, essays give applicants the opportunity to showcase their strengths, abilities, and personalities in a compelling manner. A well-written essay can be the most persuasive part of a scholarship application, which is why much time and care should be put into its preparation.
Essays are often required for scholarship applications. Therefore, it is wise to have five to seven pre-written, edited essays before beginning to apply for scholarships. This will not only help speed up the application process, but will also allow you greater time and preparation to apply for more scholarships. Your pre-written essays may not exactly match the required essay topics; however, you can use what you have already written and adjust it to the topic required by the scholarship application.
Some Possible Essay Topics:
- General topics.
- Tell us about yourself.
- What traits do you have that will enhance your education and future employment?
- Who or what inspires you?
- Tell us about a book or article you have read that has inspired you.
- Why do you need this scholarship?
- Why does education matter to your community?
- Describe something you have done in the past year that has made a difference in your community.
- What would you like to do to change the world for the better?
- Do you consider yourself to be a leader? Why or why not?
- Describe the solutions you would propose to improve or resolve a current issue, such as health care, the economy, discrimination, or a current topic of your choice.
Besides the more general topics, scholarship applications may also ask essay questions regarding your field of study, personal achievements, background and influences, future goals, financial need, and other topics. In order to test your problem-solving abilities and check your knowledge of current issues, applications sometimes ask questions regarding current events and social issues. Most of these questions are designed for you to demonstrate your motivation, vision, and creativity. The questions will also give you the opportunity to communicate the qualities and abilities you most want to showcase.
More Examples of Essay Questions:
Field of Study
- How will your study of _______ contribute to your immediate or long-term career plans?
- Why do you want to be a _______?
Current Events and Social Issues
- What do you consider to be the most pressing societal problem we face today? Why?
- If you had the authority to change your community in a positive way, what specific changes would you make?
- Describe how you have demonstrated leadership ability in your school, work, or community.
- Discuss a special attribute or accomplishment that sets you apart.
Background and Influences
- Pick an experience from your own life and explain how it has influenced your development.
- Who has had the biggest influence in your life and why?
Future Plans and Goals
- Briefly describe your long- and short-term goals.
- Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
- From a financial standpoint, what impact would this scholarship have on your education?
- State any special personal or family circumstances affecting your need for financial assistance.
While you cannot predict every essay question, knowing some of the most common ones can give you an advantage on applications. Start brainstorming now and you can prepare to write essays that will persuade scholarship committees of your deserving qualities.
See the articles "Scholarship Master Application" and "How to Strengthen a Scholarship Essay" for more information on the preparation and writing of scholarship essays.
For more information about scholarships, see the following:
Finding Financial Aid on LDSjobs.org
Emphasizing Strengths in Scholarship Essays
Letters of Recommendation
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Scholarship essays vary dramatically in subject. However, most of them require a recounting of personal experience. These tips will be more helpful for writing personal essays, like for the National Merit Scholarship, than for writing academic essays.
The most important aspect of your scholarship essay is the subject matter. You should expect to devote about 1-2 weeks simply to brainstorming ideas. To begin brainstorming subject ideas consider the following points. From brainstorming, you may find a subject you had not considered at first.
- What are your major accomplishments, and why do you consider them accomplishments? Do not limit yourself to accomplishments you have been formally recognized for since the most interesting essays often are based on accomplishments that may have been trite at the time but become crucial when placed in the context of your life. This is especially true if the scholarship committee receives a list of your credentials anyway.
- Does any attribute, quality, or skill distinguish you from everyone else? How did you develop this attribute?
- Consider your favorite books, movies, works of art, etc. Have these influenced your life in a meaningful way? Why are they your favorites?
- What was the most difficult time in your life, and why? How did your perspective on life change as a result of the difficulty?
- Have you ever struggled mightily for something and succeeded? What made you successful?
- Have you ever struggled mightily for something and failed? How did you respond?
- Of everything in the world, what would you most like to be doing right now? Where would you most like to be? Who, of everyone living and dead, would you most like to be with? These questions should help you realize what you love most.
- Have you experienced a moment of epiphany, as if your eyes were opened to something you were previously blind to?
- What is your strongest, most unwavering personality trait? Do you maintain strong beliefs or adhere to a philosophy? How would your friends characterize you? What would they write about if they were writing your scholarship essay for you?
- What have you done outside of the classroom that demonstrates qualities sought after by universities? Of these, which means the most to you?
- What are your most important extracurricular or community activities? What made you join these activities? What made you continue to contribute to them?
- What are your dreams of the future? When you look back on your life in thirty years, what would it take for you to consider your life successful? What people, things, and accomplishments do you need? How does this particular scholarship fit into your plans for the future?
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It is often hard for applicants to come up with the genius essay topic for scholarship essay. Here are some examples of the popular scholarship essay topics to give you an idea:
- The Person Who Influenced My Views
- The Goals I Will Achieve in 10 Years
- What I Do Best, My Biggest Success
- My Dreams
- My Inspiration
- The Destiny in My Hands
- The Doors I Have Opened
- The Tea