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How to Write a Scholarship Essay

'Tis the season to apply for scholarships. As the cost of education continues to rise, scholarships are an excellent way to relieve the pressure of funding your education.

Afraid you won't be eligible? Don't worry—there are tons of scholarships available. It may take some searching, but you can find scholarships for pretty much anything. Scholarships are typically offered through schools, independent organizations, and businesses. Once you find the right scholarship for you, it's time to craft the perfect application. Here's how.

1. Follow the Instructions to the Letter

Each scholarship has its own set of requirements. Read them carefully. Word counts, formatting requirements, and submission details are not suggestions; your application could be dismissed if you fail to comply with the standards.

Most applications include an essay portion. Some scholarships require a long essay, while others want you to keep it short and sweet. Either way, your essay needs to have an impact on the reader. Unless stated otherwise, a typical scholarship essay should be double spaced, use a 12-point font (Ariel, Times New Roman, and Calibri are all safe bets), and use standard one-inch margins. You should also ensure that the essay is grammatically flawless and contains no spelling mistakes or punctuation errors.

2. Write a Polished, Personal Essay

After you have clear understanding of the requirements, it's time to start thinking about the question itself. What does the scholarship provider want to know? Are they interested in your academic performance, athletic ability, or community involvement? Maybe they want to hear about how you overcame adversity or learned from a mistake.

Answering their question is your opportunity to connect with the reader. Make your essay specific and concrete; if you volunteer at an animal shelter, explain why you do it, what you do, and what impact you have. If you choose to write about your academic performance, elaborate on your work ethic and what drives you to succeed. If the scholarship is more general or program based, explain what you want to accomplish with your degree or why entering your chosen field is important to you.

Depending on the length of the essay, you might have to give a summarized "CliffsNotes" version, but, either way, you should make it clear why you deserve of the scholarship.

3. Demonstrate Who You Are

Don't be afraid to brag about yourself. Scholarship providers want to give their money to students who are exceptional, compassionate, and involved. Your essay should make readers feel as if they know you. Make it compelling, and make it personal.

Your essay should have personality, as there are going to be many other applicants. You don't want it to read like a resume. A great way to stand out is to give your essay a theme that relates to your topic and can be carried throughout the essay. This can catch the reviewer's attention and make your essay memorable among the many. Make sure you use words that emphasize your passion, ambition, and enthusiasm.

4. Edit, Edit, Edit, and Submit

Once the essay has been written, give it another read—perhaps in a larger font—to catch any mistakes. Spelling and grammar errors will definitely distract readers from your message, so consider having a friend or professional proofreading service look over your essay before you submit it. Once you're sure the entire application is free of errors, it's time to send it off.

Every penny counts in university. Applying for a number of relevant scholarships, including the Scribendi Community Leadership Scholarship, will increase your chances of being awarded a scholarship. After that, all that's left to do is wait!

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