Over the last two decades, there has been a 213% increase rate in tuition fee at public colleges and 129% at private colleges. It’s no wonder that 44.2 million Americans have existing student loan debt. At times like this, a scholarship really is a student’s best friend. However, there are simply too many students vying for very few scholarship for limited slots per college or university. The competition is just too tight, enough to discourage a lot of students. That said, it is not surprising that the scholarship application period is one stressful time. For many students, the pressure of college scholarship essays is enough to make them lose sleep.
If you’re a high school student or an aspiring MA or PhD candidate, right now, you’re probably stressed about your college or university applications, and twice as stressing is the scholarship application.
What do scholarship committees look for in applicants?
Scholarship application starts a year before you start college and continues all the way to your college years. You will be filling out forms, submitting documents, writing essays, and interviewed by scholarship committees. To be accepted to a scholarship, you need to prove to the committee that you are worth accepting. These are the things that scholarship committees look for in an applicant:
More than grades, scholarship committees look for applicants whose passion transcends academics. Someone who is passionate about something they want to do in the future is not likely to lose their sense of purpose in the middle of college. Bonus points if you are passionate about the advocacy of the scholarship’s namesake. They are looking for applicants who will not only complete their studies but also continue the legacy and advocacy of the scholarship. So, ask yourself now: what are you most passionate about and how do you plan on using your degree for that? You need to be as thoughtful in choosing the scholarships you apply to as you are thoughtful in choosing a college major.
Confidence is not something that scholarship committees actively look for but it is something you need in order to impress them. When applying for scholarships, it’s important to know your strengths and your weaknesses, but more importantly, you still need to exude confidence. Why? Because despite you need to be able to show and express your strengths in the best way possible. You need to show the committee all of your accomplishments. Essentially, you should not hesitate in tooting your own horn in your scholarship essay and interview.
Foresight is the ability to anticipate consequences or events in the future. People who exercise good foresight can plan their actions accordingly, and so make great leaders. Scholarship committees and employers look for individuals who are or have the potential to become great leaders. Whether you are applying for scholarships from your college or from organizations, scholarship committees always look for applicants who can add value to their organization in the future.
Analytical skills are important in any field since it involves identifying and solving problems. Showing the scholarship committee that you have analytical skills that will only sharpen as you go through college is a sure way to impress them. Analytical skills tie all the qualities mentioned above. It assures the scholarship committee that you are on the road to success.
When you apply for a scholarship, try to embody and emphasize these qualities not only in your scholarship essay, but also in your interviews.
How to write a winning scholarship essay
Understand the scholarship provider’s mission and purpose
If you have done your research, you may already know that different organizations give scholarships, with each one having their own mission. With this, they also look for specific candidates that match their purpose.
Research on the scholarship you are applying for and highlight how your experiences and goals tie with the organizations’. Show the committee your passion in their field or advocacy.
Follow the scholarship essay instructions
Read and follow every step and detail in the instructions before submitting your scholarship essay. Failing to meet any of the instructions could cost you your scholarship, no matter how impressive your application. Be attentive to detail!
Don’t choose an essay topic that focuses on negativity
Your scholarship essay topic has a significant impact on your application, so you need to choose you topic carefully. Some applicants may think that they need to show the scholarship committee that they need the scholarship and so focus on negative aspects of their life while neglecting to showcase their strengths. While it’s not incorrect to talk about your hardships, it’s better to write about them in a positive light. Specifically, show the committee that you are worth awarding the scholarship because of how you overcame your hardships.
Weed out grammatical errors
Make sure your scholarship essay is presentable by making sure your essay has impeccable grammar. Revise and edit your essay at least twice before submitting it. If possible, ask one of your friends to read it. Fresh eyes are better at spotting grammatical and typographical errors.
Don’t be afraid to seek help
With the tight competition for limited scholarships around the country, it’s not uncommon to hire professional scholarship essay writing help. You would want to put your best foot forward when applying for scholarships. If writing is not your strongest suit, there’s no harm—and indeed a lot of good to gain—in asking for help from an expert.
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