The most important part of every scholarship application is the personal statement or essay. It's your chance to make a case for why you are the most desirable candidate for the opportunity. Here are tips from a recent Personal Statement Writing Workshop:
- Understand what you are applying for: Why is the scholarship being offered and how do you fit the need?
- Create a starter/ template essay that includes your basic academic and personal information that you can later adapt to specific essay requirements.
- Edit, proofread, and reread your essay multiple times.
- Mention the name of the organization/program that is offering the scholarship in your opening paragraph.
- Thank the scholarship committee for taking the time to consider your application at the end of your essay.
- Acknowledge and address all criteria indicated in the essay prompt.
- Explain special circumstances in your financial situation.
- Provide brief anecdotes and specific behavioral examples to illustrate your accomplishments.
- Highlight what you have learned and how you are applying the learning.
- Visit the Writing and Communication Center for help during all stages of your composition.
- Include a photo of yourself unless it is specifically requested as part of your application.
- Reveal too much personal information that is not relevant to the scholarship essay.
- Recycle an essay without appropriately adapting the content to reflect the criteria.
- Use slang, colloquialisms or assume that the reader will understand acronyms.
- Exceed the designated essay length.
- Lie or misrepresent your achievements.
- Wait until the day before your scholarship application is due to begin drafting your essay.
You will not win every scholarship that you apply for, but your applications will become stronger and your chances for success will increase as you gain experience.