Scholarship Essay Tips and Ideas for Your Winning Application

The hardest part of preparing a scholarship application is writing your scholarship essay. While your scholarship application seeks to inform the university body, your scholarship essay persuades. Why? Scholarship slots are always limited and reserved for the best of the best.

With how expensive affording a university education can be, scholarships are the easiest way to attend university without incurring debt. As such, several students are constantly vying for limited scholarship positions. Make your essay compelling to stand a chance amongst others.

Your scholarship essay should demonstrate your strengths, goals, and accomplishments. Writing a compelling one requires careful and thorough thought. If you’re looking for scholarship essay ideas, this article contains scholarship essay tips you’ll need.

Graduate essays: how to start a scholarship essay for graduate school?

Starting your scholarship essay is usually the most challenging part of writing a scholarship essay. In the beginning, you’re brainstorming ideas on how to present your points and ideas. Below are some tips on how to start your scholarship essay:

  1. Choose a course you have genuine interest in

The first thing no one tells you about writing scholarship essays is that your choice of course matters. When applying for a scholarship, your interest in the course of study plays a role in your writing.

  1. Read and follow all question prompts

One significant way of jeopardizing your chances of getting a scholarship is not following instructions. If there is a required word count, adhere to it. Also, make sure you respond correctly to all prompts and follow the correct scholarship essay format.

  1. Tailor your essay to the audience

The people reading your scholarship essay aren’t always from the department you’re applying for. Scholarship committees are responsible for reading scholarship essays. So, figure out their ideal candidate and tailor your essay to fit the picture.

It helps if you have the committee in mind when writing your essay.

  1. Plan in advance

Don’t wait until your application deadline to start drafting your essay. The best way to write a compelling scholarship essay is to start on time. Starting in advance gives you plenty of time to brainstorm, draft and proofread.

  1. Choose an essay topic you’re passionate about

Choosing your topic is as important as selecting the course of study. If you choose a topic to impress, you might not have much to write. So always go for the one you’re passionate about.

  1. Make your introduction compelling

The introductory part of your essay is the hook. Scholarship committees have a handful of essays to read. To stand out, tweak your introduction with engaging sentences to keep the attention.

Your introduction should make them curious. For better effect, your introduction should be a preview of the rest of the essay.

  1. Show emotions

Showing emotions in your essay is the way you connect with your readers. Therefore, your scholarship essay should be a mirror of your personality. A scholarship essay allows room for vulnerability, and you have to always take advantage of that.

  1. Give real life instances

Instead of telling in your essay, show the reader. Use real-life instances to establish a connection between you and your reader. The actual life instances you cite help make your essay unique.

How to format a scholarship essay for graduate school

Like every piece of writing, a scholarship essay follows a set of instructions. However, most scholarships might not provide the instruction. Here’s a format to always follow for your scholarship essay:

  • Always use double line spacing
  • Use Times New Roman font
  • Your font size should be between 10-12
  • Leave a one-inch margin on the side of the page
  • Your last name and page number should appear on the left side of the paper

How to end a scholarship essay for graduate school

The beginning and end of your scholarship essay leave a lasting impression on the reader’s mind. Most times, it could determine their judgment. This is a simple tip on how to end your scholarship essay:

  • Recall your introduction
  • Your conclusion should build upon previously cited points
  • Thank your readers

How long should a scholarship essay be?

Because several people are vying for the scholarship, the committee has a lot to read. So, to avoid getting them bored, cut down your essay. The length of your scholarship essay should be 500 words or less.

Common scholarship essay questions for graduate students

The questions asked in a scholarship essay might change from time to time. But, some of the common scholarship essay questions you’ll come across are:

  • How will this scholarship help you?
  • How have you contributed to your community?
  • Tell us about yourself
  • What are your academic or career goals?
  • What impacts would this scholarship have on your academic performance?
  • Why do you deserve this scholarship?
  • How are you unique? (Discuss your, identity, interest, background, or talent)
  • Why do you want to study/pursue [X]?


Studying can be expensive, but a scholarship is your free access to education. You’ll need to optimize your scholarship essay properly to stand a chance.

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