Application and Essay Tips

Suggestions for Completion

  • Remember your scholarship application represents YOU!
  • Give your application the time, attention, and preparation that it deserves.
  • Complete all sections.
  • Read and follow the instructions carefully.
  • Proofread your work – especially your essay – if one is requested.  Be specific and personal.  It is your job to make your essay stand out from the rest.  Check the spelling and grammar.  Ask a parent, friend, or teacher to proofread your completed application.
  • Be honest and yourself.
  • If you are asked, do not be afraid to highlight your strengths and to talk about yourself.
  • Make certain the people you ask to prepare letters of recommendation know you well.
  • WATCH DEADLINES – financial aid offices and scholarship personnel adhere to them.
  • You are responsible for making sure that ALL parts of the application arrive on time.  If letters of recommendation or transcripts are required, give the people who will provide these documents generous lead-time. 
  • Finally – keep a written record of scholarships for which you applied.  Make a note of deadlines, requirements, and responses.
  • Ask for help if you need it.

Writing the Scholarship Essay

The personal essay – this may be the hardest part of your application to complete, but it is also the part of the application where you can stand out from the rest of the crowd.
The key to writing a strong essay is to be personal and specific.  Include details about yourself so the reader can get to know who "you" are and what you stand for.  Be truthful and honest.
Scholarship Selection Committees may have many essays to review.  It is YOUR job to get their attention when reading your essay.  Here are tips that may help you when you begin:

  • Think before you write.  Brainstorm to generate some good ideas and then create an outline to help you get going.  Make sure that if you have to address specific questions that you express them clearly.
  • Be original.  Be creative in your answers.
  • Show, don't tell.  Use examples to individualize your essay and demonstrate the point you want to make.  You'll avoid vagueness and make a stronger impression.
  • Know your audience.  Personal essays are not "one size fits all."  Write your essay that fits the requirements of that scholarship fund.
  • Neatness counts.  Make sure your essay is neatly typed.  Your name and the scholarship you are applying to MUST be in the top, left-handed corner of your essay.
  • Proofread.   This is very important because you do not want to have a typing mistake on your essay.  Check spelling and grammar and share your essay with a friend, parent, or teacher.  Another pair of eyes can catch errors you might miss!