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Guide: How to write a scholarship essay

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  • Subject area(s): Types of essay
  • Reading time: 2 minutes
  • Price: Free download
  • Published: 6 December 2019*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 431 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 2 (approx)
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The Purpose of The Scholarship Essay

Many scholarships awarded by private schools, universities, and private organizations require that applicants write a scholarship essay as part of the application process. The purpose of this essay is to get a better sense of who the applicant is as a person. The theme of the essay is often designed to evaluate the applicant in terms of the scholarship criteria, or in terms of their drive to finish their program of study or their need for the scholarship. For example, the theme of an essay for a scholarship for female business students might be “What a career in business means to me.”


Scholarship essays require careful planning. The first step to planning the scholarship essay is to read the instructions carefully. Follow the criteria outlined in the instructions step by step. Scholarship committees are quick to dismiss essays that deviate from the criteria in any way.

The next step is to create an outline of the major points that will be covered. Scholarship essays must be carefully organized and easy to follow. An outline helps the author meet that goal by providing a plan for the author to follow, ensuring that he or she does not deviate from the major points or forget to cover any of the requirements of the essay.


Once the outline is planned and the instructions are understood, the author can begin to write the essay. The outline should be followed step by step. However, it can be modified is the author finds additional points to cover as they write.

Getting started on a scholarship essay can be difficult. Many students find it easiest to write a draft of an essay all in one writing session. That way they will not be hampered by procrastination as the deadline approaches, and they can focus on revising and polishing the essay.


Once the draft has been written, it must be revised. The first step is to compare the draft to the criteria stated in the instructions. If the essay does not meet the criteria or follow the instructions as well as it might, revisions should address this problem and make the essay adhere to the directions more precisely. The essay should also be revised for clarity, tone, and organization.

The final step is a careful proofreading. Even the smallest error can disqualify an applicant, so the essay must be as close to perfect as possible. If necessary, have a teacher or professor review the essay. An extra set of eyes can catch small errors to which the author is oblivious.

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