Starting an essay for a scholarship application can be difficult. We’ve created a strategy to help make it easier and move along faster! Let’s get started:
Write Your Profile: Write a short description about you. Explain why you’re great. Include your strengths, accomplishments, goals and unique characteristics. This may seem obvious but it can be one of the toughest parts to put into writing. It’s incredibly important for you to talk about yourself using a clear story. This will shine through in your essay and help you find relevant scholarships unique to your strengths.
Develop an Outline: This is the foundation of your essay. Preparing your outline before you get into the meat of your story will help you visualize your story from start to finish before putting too much time into writing the specifics. This will help the writing move forward with purpose!
Fill In Your Outline: This is the hard part. If you have a good outline, it will move along much faster. Use the outline below and fill in the gaps. Elaborate on your story, provide examples of your achievements and experience that are fluid and concise. A great writing resource is the Purdue OWL Writing Guide.
Beginning | Hello!
Begin your essay by addressing the scholarship committee directly. Don’t go generic here! Be as specific to the scholarship name or agency as you can. A direct address with a specific scholarship or agency name will personalize your essay and level up your application!
Dear [Scholarship name or agency] committee,
Thank you for taking the time to read my application. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to introduce myself and present my accomplishments.
Remember, your essay is your chance to introduce yourself and make a first impression so make sure that your essay is clear, concise and quickly gets into your story. Read your essay out loud. If you’re not past your greeting and introduction within a few seconds, circle back to edit.
Middle | The body of your essay: Your story
Take a 1-2-3 approach to crafting your story:
- Past: What experiences, challenges, influences, passions, goals brought you to this point in your academic and life journey?
- Present: You are here! But why? Why PSU/Your Major/This School/Community etc.
- Future: Put it all together: Where are you headed? With your past experiences informing your current goals, where are you headed? What’s the next big step?
End | That’s a wrap!
Close your essay by explaining how this scholarship will help you achieve your goals. Don’t go generic here, list specific goals that will help you get to where you’re trying to go.
You only need to craft one solid, core essay. Once you build your core essay, you can use it for multiple scholarship applications with simple updates.
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PSU’s Advising and Career Services offers a selection of workshops aimed toward helping you choose a major and career, answering your questions about internships, preparing you for interviewing, perfecting your resume and cover letter, and more. No need to sign up in advance, just arrive in their office prior to the time the workshop is scheduled to begin.
The Writing Center aims to help writers at any stage of the writing process, from brainstorming to the final draft. When preparing for a session, reflect on what you want to focus on the most. It is helpful to bring two drafts, one for you and one for the consultant. Also, if you are working on an assignment for class, bringing a copy of that assignment is preferable. For more information, review our tips for a successful session. Schedule an appointment.