How to Write a Scholarship Essay

how to write a scholarship essay

A scholarship essay is the most important part of your application. Only very few scholarship programs rely solely on your transcripts or GPA. There is a popular misconception that no one reads your essays, and that is wrong. The only way to demonstrate who you are and what drives you is through your essay. And as you can predict, an excellent scholarship essay will give you an edge over other applicants. Also, having about four well-written pieces before starting your applications will save you time. Your pre-written essays may not always match the topic, but with a little tweak, you can adjust it to suit the requirements.

Writing a scholarship essay can be a herculean task, as there are many things at stake when it goes south. You will want to impress with your brilliance and meet the objectives of the institute. Read on to find out the necessary steps on how to write a scholarship essay that will make you stand out and persuade the readers. The essence of this article is to equip you with the right materials and knowledge. But if along the line you need more help, be sure to contact our writers. At Grade Amplifier, we offer the best essay writing service in the USA.

Before Writing a Scholarship Essay

Plan in Advance 

A scholarship essay is not something you can pull off successfully if you wait until the last minute. Planning will give you enough time to work on your piece. To do this, you can create a calendar with all the requirements for the desired scholarship. There should be a deadline for completing each of them. Make sure the deadline on your calendar doesn’t match with that of the school. Give yourself a few days before the original deadline to complete the tasks.

Read the Prompt Thoroughly 

To make sure you understand the instructions before writing, you need to read the prompt carefully. Many organizations and schools that offer scholarship opportunities provide prompts or essay questions for the applicants.

Some common scholarship essay prompts are:

  1. How will this scholarship help you?
  2. Tell us about yourself
  3. Describe a book or movie that inspired you, and why?
  4. How have you contributed to your community?
  5. What are your academic and career goals?
  6. Describe how you have demonstrated leadership abilities in the past
  7. Why do you deserve this scholarship?
  8. Where do you see your career five years from now?
  9. Why did you choose this field of study?
  10. What unique contribution can you make in this field?

These prompts serve as a catalyst for you to talk about yourself. Regardless of the essay question, always demonstrate your interests, background, and experiences that match with the institute’s objectives. You could research the institute or have a look at their website to learn more about their goals. There will be more explanation on this in the next section.

Research and Create a List of Keywords 

The essence of researching the organization is to give you an insight into their goals. Institutes and schools support applicants that fit their mission and objectives. After you’ve learnt about them, make a list of relevant information that will help you stand out. If there are repetitive words from the company on their website or mission statement, write them down. These words describe what the institute stands for, and be sure to include them in your essay. Note that you don’t have to choose repetitive words only. Most times, you may not find such. However, use the keywords from the organization’s mission statement.

Also, many scholarship programs feature past winners on their websites. You may find the winning essays or excerpts from them. Read these essays and get familiar with the structure and what they did differently.

Brainstorm Ideas and Choose a Topic

After you’ve understood the prompt and done your research, it’s time to brainstorm. If for example, the essay prompt is “Describe a book that inspired you, and why?” You will need to write down ideas that come to mind, relating to the question. One of the ways to generate ideas is by doing a free-write which focuses on addressing the prompt or answering the question. Freewriting increases the flow of ideas as you set to write continuously for a given period without stopping. Set a time limit and write.

Look at your paper, are there any ideas that relate to the essay on which you’re working? Furthermore, when choosing a topic, stick with subjects that you enjoy. Write about events and experiences that mean something to you. Also, bear in mind that the aim of writing an essay is to persuade the organizers to choose you for the scholarship. So, you must show them you’re worth the money. Nevertheless, be authentic and don’t make up stories to show you’re more deserving.

Essay Outline

The general outline for your essay should have three sections, the same with a traditional academic paper. Because scholarship essays always have a lower word count, you will have to shorten each section. 

You can outline your essay using this basic structure:


Your introduction is the first part of your scholarship essay. It includes a hook that grabs the attention of the reader, short description, and a thesis statement.


You discuss the theme of your essay in this section. The body acts as a piece of supporting evidence to your thesis statement. Highlight all the main points here. Also include real-life experiences and achievement.


The last part of your essay should have a sense of closure. This section should summarize the experience you discussed in the main body. You may also include the lessons learnt or how your life changed as a result of the event.

Are you struggling with your scholarship essay? Contact professional writers at Grade Amplifier and get the best support.

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How to Develop a Thesis Statement

A thesis will make your essay have a central focus, and this will serve as a guide to your readers. When reading an essay without a clear thesis statement, it’s easy to misjudge the intent of the writer. However, a thesis describes in a sentence your answer to the prompt. How do you create a thesis statement when writing scholarship essays? To do that, answer this question, “What is the primary aim of my essay?” in a single sentence. The answer to that question is your thesis. Always be clear and precise. A thesis statement is often the last sentence in the first paragraph.

Creating a Hook for your Essay

A hook is the opening line and should draw your readers in. Make it specific and engaging. Don’t start your essay with quotes. It’s a popular way to begin essays amongst many people, and you should avoid it. The other reason you should avoid starting with quotes is they are impersonal and requires crediting the source. You don’t want to rely on people too early in your essay.

Also, don’t begin by introducing yourself. For example, stating your name, age, college, or where you come from is a big NO. Always remember that the opening statement plays a vital role in the essay. It gives the reader the first impression of you. A strong hook is your opportunity to make your paper stand out from the rest.

Finally, keep it short. The shorter the hook, the better. You’re more likely to capture the attention of the reader if the opening sentence is brief. Instead of a long, tedious sentence, have it simple with a short one to increase your reader’s curiosity.  

Writing the Body

The body is the longest part of your scholarship essay. This section is where you provide all the relevant details that support your thesis statement. Discuss your experiences, leadership abilities, and achievements, depending on the essay prompt. A scholarship is an investment in the future of a student. You have to show the organization they will not make a mistake by choosing you. Write about your career goals and how the scholarship will play a role in helping you achieve them.

Tips for writing excellent body paragraphs:

Avoid Generalization and Make it Personal to You.

You’ll have a more powerful essay when you share a personal experience that relates to the prompt. You reader will get to know more about you – which is the reason you’re asked to write an essay.

For example, if the essay prompt is “Discuss a movie/book that inspired you” Do not mention a book you read during the summer, then go ahead to talk about how it helps young people aspire for more in life. Instead, share your personal experience with the book. Was there a particular event going on in your life when you read it? How did it open your eyes to see opportunities where you thought none existed? Tell a story.

Make Sure your Essay Resonates with your Audience 

One of the best tips for writing a winning scholarship essay is to tailor it to your audience. Be sure to consider the committee members or whoever will be reading your piece when writing. Though a scholarship essay should be about your personal experience, you also want to appeal to the interests of the organization. Put yourself in the place of your reader. What would you expect from the right applicant if you were a judge? Think about those when addressing your prompt.

Sell Yourself by Including your Achievements 

The best place to talk about your accomplishments is in a scholarship essay. You will do this with some finesse. Listing your awards without providing context will come off as a brag. Highlight your accomplishments and provide details on how you earned them. The idea is to show your reader that you’re the best person for the scholarship. If you can, mention only achievements that relate to the essay prompt in one way or the other.

Provide Real-Life Examples without Victim Playing 

Your scholarship essay is an opportunity to share stories and experiences where you were faced with an obstacle but overcame. That’s right. But, avoid telling stories of your unfortunate past and how the only way out is by winning the scholarship. An essay with that kind of narrative will not make you the ideal recipient of the award. 

Present your experiences in a positive tone. Highlight your resilience and show that regardless of many hurdles, you found a solution. Committee members love to hear about the student’s leadership and problem-solving skills.

How to Write your Conclusion

You need to keep the tone you’ve maintained from the beginning of your essay. Also, you don’t want to end with a sloppy conclusion after wowing your reader. The essential thing to keep in mind is: this part of your essay answers the question, “So what?” After sharing your experiences, awards, and goals; why should your reader care? Summarize these events and shed more light on the hope for the future. You can restate your thesis statement and connect back to the introductory section.

Formatting your Essay

Scholarship essays should have this format, except otherwise specified:

  • Double spacing
  • Times New Roman font
  • Font size: 12pt
  • Indentation before each paragraph
  • An inch margin at the top, sides, and bottom.

Sometimes, the institute provides a set of guidelines for formatting your essay. Always pay attention to these specifications and adhere to them. Most committee members are thorough and will not bother with any essay formatted incorrectly. There are online platforms that can help you learn different citation styles.

Other Important Tips for Writing a Scholarship Essay

Don’t go beyond the word count. Scholarship essays are generally within 400 – 500 words. Your submission must be within the given word count else they will not consider your writing. On the other hand, you should endeavor to reach the word limit. If the word count is 500 words, writing an essay of 300 words is not advisable.

Be concise and precise.  Being succinct will not only help you keep to the word limit, but you will also have a more effective essay. In as much as we encourage students to fill in essential details, at the same time, you should get straight to the point.

Avoid clichés. For example, if the prompt for the essay is, “Why do you want to study medicine?” Resist the urge to offer a response like, “I love helping people since I was younger, so I decided to go for Medicine.” More than half the number of persons who will be applying for that scholarship will give the same reply. You want your essay to stand out, not sound like everyone else’s.

Be professional. A scholarship essay often reads like a personal narrative. While you want to be yourself and share individual events, you do not need to be informal. Except otherwise stated, use formal languages.

Contact the administration for clarifications. Most persons are unaware of this or are probably shy. If you have any uncertainties about given instructions, feel free to get in touch with the administration. They will be more than happy to offer clarifications.

Start each paragraph with a new idea. Yes, please. Do not try to jam different events and stories into a single section. You will make the essay hard to read. It is best to have short paragraphs than a long one that will be tedious for your reader.

Lastly, put in the work. This point goes without saying, but you are never going to win any scholarships if you don’t put in efforts. There are hundreds of persons applying for the same scholarship, and if your essay does not stand out, you might as well not apply for it.

Reviewing your Essay

After completing your scholarship essay, it’s time to revise and edit. You don’t want to frustrate your reader with grammatical errors. Start by taking some time off. Go for a run, watch a movie, or engage in other activities. After that, take a fresh look at your essay. You can read it out loud. Listen to the flow of sentences and how you move to the next paragraph or section. The use of transition words between paragraphs will give your essay a better flow.  

Additionally, you can ask for the opinion of another person. Listen to their critic and make the necessary correction. If there are unclear sentences, you should address them. Although the focus is on impressing your reader, you shouldn’t use words that you don’t know what they mean. There’s a risk you will use them the incorrect way. Simple words and short sentences are your best bet. Also, you can use online editing tools to improve your writing. Edit your essay until you are satisfied.

Need Help with your Scholarship Essay?

Writing a scholarship essay can be a bit tough, but with a little help, you will stay ahead of the competition. At Grade Amplifier, we offer cheap essay writing services in the USA and can increase the odds of you getting the scholarship. Your chances are high only when you submit a brilliant scholarship essay. If writing is not your forte, or you lack enough time to create one, feel free to get in touch with us.

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