Here are some qualities you will want your scholarship essay to have in order to win the big bucks for college.
Spelling and Grammar
Spellcheck is your friend. As much as scholarship committees want to give money to applicants, they also want to shrink the pool of applicants as much and as quickly as possible. Typos and mistakes are fine in a rough draft, but they need to be edited for the final product.
Originality and Passion
Everyone judging scholarship essays knows the students are in it for the money. Their goal is to give money to students who seem like they will go on to do great things with the opportunities awarded to them. A common piece of advice is to write as if you were telling a friend about your goals, accomplishments, hardships, etc. This is a good shortcut to making sure the judges see you for your unique qualities. They don’t want an interchangeable candidate trying to say the “correct” thing.
Also, if you are applying to several scholarships at once, make sure each application and essay mentions the correct college or institution! You would be surprised how many applications trip up before the essay even begins.
Stick to the question asked. If an engineering scholarship asks what you would like to invent one day and your essay is about making friends at summer camp, there had better be an invention in that story somewhere.
Know your worth, and that you are worthy of the prize, and judges will want to believe you. Otherwise, you can sell yourself short and the judges will believe that, too.
This is one of the simplest qualities to bring to your scholarship submission. Get in ahead of the crowd! Many scholarships see half or more of their applications arrive in the final 2-3 days before the deadline. Judges will try their best to be fair and impartial to each applicant, but do you want your application to get lost in the shuffle? It’s better to make an early impression and set the bar for everyone later than you.
While you have scholarships on your mind, you may want to visit or bookmark the Scholarships, Fellowships, and Loans database. It includes “more than 7,000 scholarships, fellowships, loans, internships, work study, and other education-related financial aid available to high school students, undergraduates, graduates, post-graduates, and professionals.”