How to write a scholarship essay

Some scholarships awarded by universities and schools ask for a scholarship essay as part of the application. If you’ve been asked to write one, you’ll want to know how to write a scholarship essay that will win you a place at the institute. Often there’s a theme that will be relevant to the course, but you could easily ramble on awkwardly without any real purpose, especially if you don’t plan your essay.
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The saying “fail to prepare, prepare to fail” should be at the forefront of your mind when you undertake something like this because a scholarship essay shouldn’t be written until you’ve carefully planned it. The first step is to read the instructions fully and understand them. Make some notes as you read and don’t assume anything. The criteria set out by the institute should be followed without too much deviation, so make sure you understand what’s being asked of you. Once you’ve grasped the subject, write an outline that answers the question.


Write your first draft of the essay using the outline you created during the planning stage. Follow it step-by-step, but be prepared to deviate from it as other ideas come to you. Writing the first draft in one sitting will give you a sense of achievement, but be aware that you will need to review and revise it.


As with any written work, you will need to review the essay for grammar, spelling and punctuation but more importantly than that, you should make sure your essay’s answered the question. Comparing the draft to the criteria in the instructions will show you any areas where you’ve gone off topic too much. Identify those areas and revise the work. Once that’s done and you’re happy that you’ve answered all points, revise the work for clarity, tone and structure.


If you’re happy with what you’ve written, check it for mistakes. Small errors could raise alarm bells with the school or college you’re applying to so make sure your piece is as perfect as can be. Time is the best resource for revisions. Taking your time when you proofread will highlight most of the issues, but the best use of time is to leave your work for a few days and then return to it. With fresh eyes and after you’ve forgotten the content, you’ll see some of those minor spelling and punctuation issues that need to be removed.

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