How to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay? Steps & Tips

scholarship essay

Scholarships are a student’s dream. Scholarship essays allow you the opportunity of showing off what makes YOU special from any other candidate out there. However, writing a great scholarship essay is not that easy for everyone.

Wondering how to write a scholarship essay? This guide will walk you through the entire process, from brainstorming to final revisions.

By following these tips, you can create a strong, well-written essay that will help you stand out from the competition and increase your chances of being selected for a scholarship.

So get started today and put yourself on the path to financial assistance!

What is a Scholarship Essay?

When you are applying for a scholarship, you may be asked to write a letter or essay to the committee members. This is your chance to explain why you deserve this form of financial aid.

Make sure to persuade the admission officers that you are worth the money. Your essay should be well written and submitted along with your scholarship application.

A scholarship essay is a good way to show the committee your personality and ability. They will use this to decide if you are the right person for the scholarship. Writing about your career goals is a good way to state what you want to achieve.

Difference Between a Personal Statement and a Scholarship Essay

The personal statement and scholarship essay are two different things. They have some similarities, but you can't call your personal statement a scholarship essay. A personal statement is written when you are applying to a college or other institute, and it may or may not be a scholarship essay.

Difference Between Scholarship Essays and College Application Essays

The scholarship and college application essay both describe the student’s personality. However, they both differ in the following ways:

  • The college application essay is meant to show your personality. However, scholarship essays must also include the interests of the organization that is awarding the scholarship.
  • The length of a scholarship essay is usually less than 500 words. But college essays can be up to 650 words long.
  • In comparison to scholarship essay prompts, college application essay prompts are broader.

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Scholarship Essay Format

The following is a standard format for scholarship essays:

  • Font can be Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman, and Verdana
  • 10 to 12pt font size
  • 1.5 or double line spacing
  • Indentation before each new paragraph
  • Margin size should be one inch on all sides
  • Your scholarship essay must include your last name and page numbers on the top left corner.

Formatting your essay correctly shows the committee that you have followed their instructions. No matter how great your content is, it won't matter if it's not formatted correctly. So make sure to format it properly to draft a perfect scholarship essay.

How Long Should a Scholarship Essay Be?

Most scholarship essays are around 450-500 words long. This word count helps the committee members review many essays on the same topic. If your essay would be too long, they wouldn’t review it as they have thousands of applications to go through.

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How to Write a Scholarship Essay?

There are certain steps that one should follow to write an impressive scholarship essay. It is important to pay careful attention while writing a scholarship essay since it is important to craft it perfectly to get the scholarship.

How to Start a Scholarship Essay?

To start a scholarship essay, follow these steps:

  1. 1. Plan Your Essay

    The first thing is to make sure you have enough time to write your essay. Don't wait until the last minute. This will make your essay worse. Plan your essay so you have enough time to do a good job.

    Create a calendar that has all the deadlines and requirements of your scholarship essay. This will help make sure you have enough time to brainstorm and proofread the essay.

  2. 2. Know Your Target Audience

    Before writing your scholarship essay, know who your audience is. That is the committee awarding the scholarship. Find out what they are looking for in an essay and make sure you fit that description.

    However, don't lose yourself in the process. Keep your own voice and personality while highlighting your strengths.

    Moreover, make a list of keywords and important points that you want to include in your essay. This will help you stay on track while writing.

  3. 3. Pay Attention to the Essay Prompts

    Before you start writing your essay, you need to read the essay prompts carefully. You also need to make sure that you follow the scholarship essay format and word count. Make sure that you answer all the parts of the prompt thoroughly.

  4. 4. Choose a Topic That You Find Interesting

    Choose a topic you're interested in, rather than a topic you think you should write about. This will make your writing more interesting to read and show your personality. If you're bored by the topic, chances are the audience will be too.

  5. 5. Consider Reading Other Scholarship Essays

    Using the same essay prompt, you can answer different questions in your scholarship essay. Reading other scholarship essays and using their prompts is a good strategy. This is because it allows you to reuse an existing essay and still produce a new, original document.

Steps to Write a Scholarship Essay

To write an exceptional scholarship essay, follow these simple steps:

  1. 1. Focus on the Essay Questions

    When writing a scholarship essay, it is important to think about the following questions.

    • Why do you want a specific scholarship?
    • Why do you deserve the scholarship more than others?
    • How do your beliefs and passion align with the scholarship awarding organization?
    • What are your career goals, how can the scholarship help you achieve them?
    • How can your activities as an elementary school, middle school, or high school student help during your tenure in this college/university?
    • What possible contributions will you make in the chosen field?
    • What are the challenges that have given you life learnings?
    • How did you overcome the life challenges?
    • What are your strengths?

    Think about the volunteer work, strengths, achievements, etc. that you can mention in your essay. Your unique traits are an important part of your essay. Also, think about your college plans and how this scholarship can help you achieve them.

  2. 2. Draft a Scholarship Essay Outline

    Make sure to arrange and design all the content of the scholarship through an outline in a way that is simple yet effective to the judges.

    The following is a basic outline structure of a scholarship essay:

    1. 1. Scholarship Essay Introduction

      The introduction to your essay is very important. It decides whether people will keep reading or not. You need to make the committee want to read your essay by writing a strong, convincing introduction.

      The main purpose of the introduction is to provide a brief overview of your essay's main points and explain why the reader should continue reading.

      The first thing you need to do is state your name and the place you want to go to school. Next, you need to choose a powerful hook that will make the admission officers want to keep reading. This hook must be followed by a sentence that gives the reader something to look for.

      You should create questions that make people curious, so they will keep reading to find the answers.

      There are a few tips for writing a compelling introduction paragraph. Here are some of them:

      • Keep it precise and clear
      • Add a compelling hook and a strong thesis statement
      • Always include some background information
      • Try to avoid cliches
      • Grab the reader’s attention and tell them that the writing is worth reading
    2. 2. Scholarship Essay Body Paragraphs

      The main body of your scholarship essay must include all the information and answers that the scholarship committee is looking for. This includes discussing the following essential elements:

      • Challenges: When writing your essay, it is important to discuss the challenges you have faced in your life and how you overcame them. This will give your essay a deeper meaning and connect with the reader on an emotional level. Additionally, it is wise to connect with the reader logically and sensibly.

      • Achievements and Skills: Think about what motivated you to work hard when you were dealing with difficult things in your life. Focus on your strengths, achievements, and skills that helped you get through this tough time.

      • Professional and Personal Goals: You should write briefly discussing your current educational goals, the field of study, long-term career goals, degree, etc. In addition, explain why you need financial aid and how it will help you achieve your goals.

      • Life Experiences: Including real-life examples and experiences in your essay can make it more interesting and attractive. If you have any relevant, inspirational incidents to share, be sure to present them well. Additionally, if you are stating facts, quote them in the light of real-world situations and your personal experiences.

      When writing a scholarship essay, it is important to stay positive and give others hope. You can do this by sharing your own stories and experiences, and showing how they have helped you grow.

    3. 3. Scholarship Essay Conclusion

      To leave a mark on your readers, you need to conclude your essay in a powerful way. For example, don't just repeat the information from your body paragraphs. Instead, highlight the need for financial aid and explain how you can use it to reach your goals.

      Talk about what you have learned from your weaknesses and past experiences. Then, explain how they have helped you grow as a person.

      Finally, you can also review and restate your introduction to your conclusion. This will help the reader feel more connected to your work.

    Scholarship Essay Outline Template (PDF)

    Scholarship Essay Outline Template

  3. 3. Start Writing Your Essay

    After creating a detailed outline, start writing your essay. Make sure to follow the proper outline format and cover all the key ideas. Focus on meeting the instructed word count. Also, try to be concise and to the point.

    Make sure that your scholarship essay sounds like you wrote it, and answer the essay prompts correctly.

    After completing your rough draft, take a break. This will give you a fresh mind to rewrite your sentences for the final draft so that they are perfect.

  4. 4. Proofread and Revise Your Essay

    After writing your essay, check it for mistakes. Check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. Make sure you use the correct words so the committee will be impressed.

    Check for missing or extra commas, and for typos. If you see the same words repeated, find different words to use.

    Proofreading your work can help make your writing clearer. It can also help you make sure your argument makes sense and that the reader understands it.

    Lastly, revise your final draft based on the feedback and suggestions you receive.

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Great Scholarship Essay Examples

Here are some scholarship winners' essay examples. This will help you to better understand what makes a good scholarship essay.

Scholarship Essay Examples About Yourself (PDF)

Scholarship Essay Examples About Yourself

Financial Need Scholarship Essay Examples (PDF)

Financial Need Scholarship Essay Examples

250 Word Essay on Why I Deserve a Scholarship (PDF)

250 Word Essay on Why I Deserve a Scholarship

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Scholarship Essay Topics for Students

The following are some interesting topics for you to write about in your scholarship essay.

  • The Goals I Will Achieve in 10 Years
  • What I Do Best, My Biggest Success
  • Learning From the Best: How My Science Teacher Changed My Life
  • My Dreams
  • My Adoption: A Chance at a Whole New World of Possibilities
  • My Part-Time Jobs Efforts In High School
  • Role Models Who Set the Course for My Future
  • The Person Who Influenced My Views
  • How I Graduated From College While Living Beyond The Poverty Line
  • Thinking Outside the Box: An Ambitious Future

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Tips to Write an Impressive Scholarship Essay

To make your scholarship essay stand out, follow the writing tips below.

  • Your essay should have a story-like structure.
  • Plan your essay before you start writing it.
  • Make sure your outline includes all the information that is given in the instructions.
  • Make sure to be critical of grammar mistakes.
  • Present yourself in an inspirational way.
  • Make your essay more personal by quoting real-life experiences and what you learned from them.
  • Don't brag about your accomplishments, simply state them.
  • To ensure a smooth transition between paragraphs, it is important to be explicit and clear.
  • Use clear and concise language throughout the essay.
  • When writing your essay, use words you know and feel comfortable with.
  • Make sure that the structure of your essay is appropriate for the prompt.

There are a number of students out there who dream of getting into the top-of-the-league universities and colleges but are unable to do so because they can't afford paying for college. A scholarship essay can help all such students in getting the financial aid that they need to fulfill their dreams.

The above-mentioned tips and examples will assist you in writing an impressive scholarship essay.

However, if you lack those writing skills then you don’t need to put your chance to get that scholarship in jeopardy. Just take the help of the expert writers at and order a great scholarship essay today!