Learn How To Write a Winning Scholarship Essay with Our Guide and Examples

scholarship essay
Table of Contents
  1. Learn How To Write a Winning Scholarship Essay with Our Guide and Examples
  2. What is the scholarship essay
  3. How to write a scholarship essay step by step
  4. Pre-writing phase
  5. Writing the essay
  6. Concluding and proofreading
  7. Tips for writing a winning scholarship essay
  8. Things to avoid in your essay.
  9. Ideas for scholarship essay topics
  10. Examples of great scholarship essays
  11. Scholarship essay format
  12. Difference between scholarship essay, college essay, and grant essay

If you need to write a winning scholarship paper, you should be aware of the nature of scholarship essay writing. The committee reviews hundreds of essays a day, so it is tough to create a piece of writing that would deserve the top attention and help win scholarship money. A good scholarship essay is always clear and concise, follows the format of a scholarship essay, and demonstrates the high level of professionally written and chosen vocabulary. Applying for a scholarship, you should pick up the proper topic and manage your time wisely to exclude missing the deadline for admission. In case you are not ready to demonstrate your writing skills, you can always ask for academic assistance and get a winning scholarship essay completed by professionals.


What is the scholarship essay

Each scholarship program requires a piece of writing called a scholarship essay that is a student’s chance to make a case for themselves and show the committee that they deserve to win money. Such writing presupposes introducing your personality and telling about people or actions that you are most proud of in your life. The scholarship application is the part of admission that should inform, whereas a good scholarship essay should persuade.


How to write a scholarship essay step by step

If you found a great sponsor to get a scholarship, you should think of writing a  quality and convincing scholarship essay in order to make it stand out from the millions of the other essays. To get prepared for such a responsible process, you may follow several useful steps for writing a good scholarship essay.  Writing the essay step by step will ease your writing process and make sure that you have not missed any part of the scholarship instructions.

Pre-writing phase 

Before you start working on your essay, we recommend to do the following:

  1. Start early. If you start writing your essay beforehand, you will have enough time to complete, revise and edit your paper with no stress. A scholarship essay written 30 minutes before the deadline is not likely to impress any commission.
  2. Read the instructions and essay prompt. After getting the instructions and essay prompt, read them attentively. While reading, it is useful to highlight important parts in order to understand the assignment better. Also, you may underline the phrases that you find confusing.
  3. Brainstorm and choose the topic.  We recommend to choose a topic right about the things you have a passion for and care abou. If you choose cliche topics or write about things you have little knowledge about, it is highly  unlikely to impress the committee and win scholarship money.
  4. Make a research on the organization that provides scholarship. To get a scholarship, you should know your audience and where you actually address to get scholarships. Once you found the best option, you should study all the background information about the organization as well as its mission and values. This information will help you choose the right topic.
  5. Read examples of scholarship essays that won. The best way to get the idea of how a good scholarship essay should look is to read winning samples of the essays as they successfully combine ethos, pathos, and logos.
  6. Create an outline. The last step of the pre-writing phase is organizing all the written ideas about your scholarship essay into a logical order.

Writing the essay

When you have already read the instructions and made your research, it is high time to start writing your scholarship essay.

  1. Keep to traditional essay structure.  The classical structure of any scholarship essay is three-paragraph writing that consists of the introduction, main body, and conclusion.
  2. Start with a hook. Pay attention to the hook sentence that can be the first sentence or among the first sentences that begin your scholarship essay. The hook sentence plays a role of grabbing the attention of the reader.
  3. Thesis statement. Do not forget to add strong thesis statement that will express the main idea of your scholarship essay.
  4. One paragraph - one idea. The basic rule of quality scholarship essay is to keep one idea to one paragraph.
  5. Develop ideas logically. To win a scholarship, you should lay out each of your premises, provide evidence, and draw a connection to the conclusion.
  6. Stay focused. Writing a scholarship essay, you should stay focused on your topic to make sure the essay is well-organised.
  7. Appeal to logos, ethos, and pathos. While an application introduces, a scholarship essay persuades; and, modes of persuasion fit the best to convince the committee.

Concluding and proofreading

 An important stage of writing essays is conclusion and revising. Adding a cliche conclusion or just repeating the information you have already mentioned in your essay may spoil the general impression from your writing. Thus, we recommend the following.

  1. Summarize the story. The main goal of the concluding part is to restate a thesis statement and summarize all the ideas represented throughout a scholarship essay. Mind that summarizing is not repeating or copy-pasting the already mentioned ideas.
  2. Avoid cliche conclusions. Using cliches, you are telling the committee that you lack originality, so they will want to yawn and stop reading your scholarship essay.
  3. Don’t repeat yourself. Make sure each paragraph is devoted to a unique idea, but each paragraph should also relate to the thesis statement. Also, avoid repeating the same idea several times within the same paper.
  4. Keep to the word limit. Do not exceed the required word count as the more does not mean the better.  The committee reads loads of essay and may just not finish reading your paper if it is too long. Also, if you submit the essay via the special form, it may not allow you to submit the paper that is longer than 500 words.
  5. Check grammar, spelling and stylistic mistakes. Even minor mistakes can spoil a general impression of the applicant. Thus, make sure to carefully proofread your scholarship essay before submitting it.Use some of the online grammar checkers or read your essay over and over again until you are sure that it is error-free.
  6. Ask for feedback from a friend. A friend will always give honest feedback on your scholarship essay.  When you have completed the first draft, give it to your friend to know other people’s impression of your work. After this, you may introduce some changes to improve your essay.
  7. Revise. To ensure getting an error-free content, you should always proofread your scholarship essay attentively and several times.

Tips for writing a winning scholarship essay

Check some tips from the experts that will help you make your scholarship essay better:

  1. Always follow scholarship essay instructions and the essay prompt
  2. Write about things you are proud of if you want to inspire the reader
  3. Have a strong hook, as it ensures the committee will read your essay till the end
  4. Prefer simple real-life examples and advice given instead of using stereotyped inspirational quotes
  5. Be clear, specific, and concise - it underline the professionality in writing
  6. Be personal, but be careful not to tell your autobiography
  7. Use proper academic language free of errors
  8. Stay positive and inspirational by showing emotions in your scholarship essay
  9. Always be yourself
  10. Stay focused on the organization of your thoughts in a scholarship essay as it increases readability
  11. Provide evidence, do not just tell about the hurdles you’ve overcome, explain how they helped you grow, what lessons you’ve learnt, and how they will help you in future.
  12. Demonstrate why you are the best candidate and deserve a scholarship

Things to avoid in your essay. 

We recommend to avoid the following points in a scholarship essay to make it look better. So Do not:

  1. Start with quotes by famous people
  2. Do not tell your autobiography
  3. Boast or use cliche stories
  4. Show negative intent and thoughts
  5. Talk bad of other candidates
  6. Use slang or curse words
  7. Waste half of the essay to express gratitude for the opportunity to apply for scholarship
  8. Tell that you just need money
  9. Tell general knowledge
  10. Make extreme declarations

Ideas for scholarship essay topics

Have a look at some useful examples of scholarship essay topics:

  • Describe an activity, issue, or idea about which you are passionate and explain why it means so much to you.
  • Review a book that has special significance for you. It should not be a book that you read for school, but rather something you read on your own. In your review, please explain what attracted you to the book and why you would recommend it to a friend.
  • Describe examples of your leadership experience, in or out of school, in which you significantly influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time.
  • Describe a challenge you've faced, how you met it, and its effect on you.
  • Describe an event and the significance it has had in your life.
  • What are your academic/professional goals?
  • A person, event or circumstance that has influenced you, and how it impacted your life. This may include a rewarding or unforgettable experience. (This may be the most used essay topic.)
  • Why are you interested in the college to which you are applying? Why do you want to come here?
  • Local, national or international issues and why it is important to you.
  • Favorite teacher, or class, and why.
  • How would you describe yourself as a human being?
  • Do you believe there's a generation gap? Describe the differences between your generation and others.
  • What does a college education mean to you?  What do you plan to do with your college degree?
  • How would your friends characterize you? Look at yourself from the outside.
  • Choose a prominent person (living, deceased, or fictional) that you would like to interview and explain why.
  • What is a major achievement in your life? Who and what assisted you in reaching your aim?
  • Doors and windows I have opened
  • Dreams and inspiration
  • My 10-year perspective
  • Biggest influence in my life
  • How scholarship will affect my education?
  • My leadership ability in college
  • Why I deserve a scholarship?

Examples of great scholarship essays

Have a look at the first example of a winning personal statement of a girl who clearly explains her plans of using money. She states that just a scholarship will allow her to get an excellent education and apply received knowledge in order to help conserve the precious ecosystems because they are in danger of ultimate demise. 


Here is a second example that stands out from the other essays. The author of this personal statement clearly explains their huge desire to become a professor of Tropical Agriculture and gain knowledge through personal experience.   



Scholarship essay example 3


Scholarship essay example 4


Scholarship essay format

First of all you should check the specific requirements and instructions provided to you. If there are no specific requirements, you can follow the common general recommendations. Choose font Arial or Times New Roman, 12pt, double-spaced text with 1- 1 ½ inch margins at all sides. The essay should be approximately ¾ to one page in length. Remember to list a scholarship title and your name.


Difference between scholarship essay, college essay, and grant essay

Scholarship essays, college essays, and grant essays have much in common, and also few differences. Among the core differences between those three types of academic writing, there are length, approach, prompt, and purpose of the essay. While a scholarship essay and  grand essays are written with the purpose of receiving financial help. While grant is given based on applicant’s financial need, scholarship is given based on merit such as student’s academic, artistic, or sports talent  authentically. College essays are usually longer and aim to tell the committee about your personality. 


If you stuck on writing a scholarship essay but want to become a scholarship winner, you can easily apply for some academic assistance. All you need to do is to visit an online academic assistance service and choose the type of needed services.