How to Write a Successful Scholarship Essay

In this guide, you will learn how to prepare to write an essay for a scholarship application and arrange the structure and content of your essay to ensure it provides a solid cornerstone to achieving a scholarship.

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Applying for a scholarship often requires writing a scholarship essay. While considering the likely competition for a grant, a grant committee will make a choice based on an essay that, apart from other criteria, meets the quality requirements. This type of essay has its own unique features, and an unprepared student may experience difficulty in attempting this task.


Preparing an application for a scholarship usually starts long before the submission date to provide sufficient time for a thoughtful writing process. While it may be tempting to put off writing until the last moment, such a strategy may result in a poor-quality essay due to insufficient attention to detail. Therefore, the key advice for preparation is to begin drafting and brainstorming ideas as early as possible. It is better to have enough time to finalize and perfect your essay than to submit lackluster work.

Scholarships are usually awarded on a specific basis or within a particular field of study, where the committee chooses individuals who demonstrate interest in certain issues and a set of skills or competencies required for this area. Thus, it is important to create a piece of writing that corresponds to these criteria in a meaningful and comprehensive way. Try to envision or discern what the pertinent required details might be by analyzing all information available about the scholarship and the awarding institution.

As soon as you receive essay instructions, be sure to study them carefully. In addition, immerse yourself in the topic and read extensively on the matter you are expected to write about. Even if you feel that your knowledge base is sufficient to produce a solid paper, it is still vital to refresh your understanding of key concepts. Moreover, if some relevant discovery in the field has recently surfaced, mentioning it in the essay might sway the reader’s mind in your favor as you demonstrate the timely nature of your knowledge.

Write an outline for your future paper to establish how you will address your topic. The outline will serve as a guide for further writing and development of key ideas that you have identified in the literature or are drawing from personal experience.


The structure is a critical element of any essay including those written for scholarship applications. In terms of general arrangement, such an essay does not substantially differ from a standard college essay as it also consists of an introduction, body, and conclusion. To demonstrate a proficient understanding or creative angle in describing or analyzing a particular issue, an essay must show clear organization. Therefore, each section must serve its purpose well and present the writer as a skilled academic.

  1. Introduction
    The introduction should acquaint the reader with the intended topic of discussion. Starting from a citation that relates to the issue is a reliable yet common way of starting an essay. Many scholarship committees value originality and innovation, which may give you an advantage if you use your own thoughts. A key concern in the introduction section is the last sentence or thesis sentence. It needs to succinctly explain to the reader what your essay will discuss, the angle you have chosen for your approach, and your position and reasoning. The rest of the paper should be structured in a way that will best address the claims stated in this sentence.
  2. Body
    The body is where you present evidence that substantiates your claim. A critical quality criterion for the essay body is cohesion. Each idea and its supporting evidence must meaningfully interconnect and link to the central argument of the paper. Using opening and concluding sentences in each paragraph is a proper academic practice that ensures comprehension of your ideas by the audience.
  3. Conclusion
    The conclusion of an essay restates the central argument and demonstrates how it was proven in the paper. Other techniques can also be used to form the conclusion, such as referring to the future or including self-reflection. These strategies can be instrumental in demonstrating your understanding of scientific progress regarding the matter at hand. In any case, you need to include a review of what you have discussed in the body of your scholarship essay in the conclusion section.


  • Regardless of the topic, the content of the essay must be original, and all unoriginal material should be properly cited.
  • Certain scholarship essay topics may require you to write about your experience or achievements where the task is to demonstrate why you are worthy of the scholarship. In such works, it is paramount to display personal progress and the process of overcoming obstacles on your way to this prize. In this type of essay, you should positively present yourself as a person who will be able to initiate change by receiving a grant.
  • Always welcome writing advice and gather feedback. However, it is crucial that the people providing guidance possess sufficient qualifications to ensure that the final essay retains its quality and an academic nature. In addition, beware overreliance on advice that might undermine the originality of your work. It is essential to carefully evaluate all suggestions.
  • Critically reflect on the content from the reader’s standpoint. It is also good practice to review your arguments and seek any flaws in them in order to achieve the best possible quality (Peterson). Embrace rewriting in cases when certain notions stand out as weak points. Always inspect your essay for generalizations or statements not relevant to the topic as staying on point is also a notable academic quality in the eyes of a scholarship committee.
  • Since you are only one of dozens or possibly thousands of other applicants, it is important to focus on standing out and being conspicuous (Peterson). This might be achieved by demonstrating a unique personal experience or knowledge relevant to the topic.


A scholarship essay is a significant undertaking that requires you to demonstrate finesse in writing, excellence in content, and unique personal qualities that convince the committee of your merit as a candidate. This guide provides advice on how to create such a work. The critical elements of writing a scholarship essay are preparation, structure, and content. Careful consideration of these essentials can assist in creating a perfect essay that will yield you the grant of your choosing. However, keep in mind that no universal solution or guidance applies to any particular scholarship; and each institution has its own unique requirements for all the elements involved in applying for them. Therefore, the present guide offers a set of general recommendations that can apply to most scholarship essay expectations.

Work Cited

Peterson, Kay. Writing the Scholarship Essay. 28 Nov. 2018, Accessed 28 Dec. 2018.

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