How to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay

There is no one way to write a winning scholarship application. If you gathered together all the scholarship entries that have ever won a prize, you would find it difficult to identify what made them the same. Each would offer a distinctive style employed by the author; a unique insight into his or her past, present, and future aspirations.

This uniqueness is the key, and the first point to remember when you pick up your pen to write. Make your scholarship application essay exclusive to you, personalize it, delve deep into your passion and drive to study your subject, and create a response that could only ever relate to you. It is this individuality that stands out, and that’s exactly what catches a judge’s eye and defines a winner.

1. Read and re-read the essay statement you are being asked to respond to, and identify the key themes.

From my own example, the essay statement was: ‘Where I have demonstrated responsible leadership, or innovation, and how it made a difference either in my community or in my work’. I identified the key themes as ‘leadership’ and ‘community impact’.

2. Understand the meaning of the key themes.

After identifying the key themes, it is important to understand what each of these ideas really means, beyond the initial level. For instance, I acknowledged that the meaning of ‘leadership’ involved identifying the effects my leadership had – the actions taken and results achieved under my leadership – and not simply describing the position I held and my responsibilities. The more depth you bring to your understanding of the meaning of each theme, the more examples you will be able to identify to demonstrate your abilities.

3. Fill your scholarship essay with keywords/synonyms of keywords used in the scholarship statement.

Using the keywords from the scholarship statement throughout your essay will demonstrate your commitment to addressing the question being asked. For instance, I made a special effort to ensure references to ‘leadership’; ‘innovation’ and ‘impacting communities’ ran throughout my essay.

4. Make an engaging start to your essay.

If you are struggling to start your scholarship application essay, why not include a quote or statement that relates to your intended course, and which you can later link to the main body of your text. Showing wider knowledge and aptitude for your subject will help convince the judges that it is a worthwhile investment to support you in your chosen course.

5. Understand the criteria used by the scholarship committee to evaluate application essays.

Based on my own experience, I have outlined what I believe to be the key criteria used by scholarship committee judges for evaluating scholarship application essays on the themes of leadership and community impact. My advice would be to address all of these areas in your essay, whether the question explicitly asks for it or not.

What to include in scholarship essays about leadership:

  • The extent of the leadership experience and degree of accomplishment. What were the results? Did you manage to grow a society from 10 to 100 members through your tenure?
  • Why you got involved in the leadership experience. What was your initial inspiration and how did the experience make you feel? This is a very important aspect as it allows you to show your sincerity and demonstrates your passion.
  • What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them? Inspirational stories of perseverance despite adversity make readers (especially judges) want to help you succeed. It also shows that you have great leadership qualities: the ability to adapt to new situations and the determination to not give up.
  • What did you learn? How did these lessons shape you as a leader? Every experience brings new lessons and personal growth opportunities and the best leaders are humble and realize this. Speaking about these lessons indicates that you have truly reflected on your experiences and that you understand what leadership is. (In other words, you know that leadership isn’t just about getting a title like “President” or “Executive Director”.)
  • What does this mean for the future? A scholarship isn’t just an award; it’s an investment in your future. So if you plan to continue being involved in your particular leadership activity in the future, tell the judges.

What to include in scholarship essays about community impact:

  • How much time did you dedicate to the activity? The scholarship committee is likely to be looking for applicants who made a fairly long commitment to a community activity.
  • Why was it important to you? Joy from helping others? The excitement of trying something new? Opportunity to form relationships with others? Having a genuine reason helps build a convincing essay.
  • Why was it important to the community? Ask the question: What would be different for your community if you didn’t do what you do? It is most important to show that you recognize the real needs in your communities, and act to address these.
  • What did you gain yourself through giving to the community? It is important to show that you understand how through giving, you end up receiving more in the end. Sharing what community service has taught you and how it helped you develop demonstrates that you have truly gained from your participation and suggests you will continue doing so in the future.

My final point of advice when writing your scholarship application essay or cover letter is to really show that you know who you are.

Free Online Course on Using Email for Networking in English

Improve your writing skills. Write effective emails including great subject lines, greetings, and closings. You’ll be more confident as you communicate for business, send messages, expand your network, and search for jobs in English.

Effective writing is an important business skill, especially for networking, and most communication takes place using email.  In this course, you’ll learn important vocabulary and strategies for writing effective emails, starting with the subject line.

You’ll learn how to write messages for different audiences and understand when to be formal or direct. You’ll also learn how your choice of words can change the way people view your message. You’ll practice writing emails to follow up with people in your network.

Key Information

  • Length: 4 weeks
  • Effort: 3 to 5 hours per week
  • Price: FREE or Add a Verified Certificate for $99 USD
  • Institution: University of Washington
  • Subject: Language
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcripts: English
  • Start date: Starts on April 23, 2019, or Self-Paced
  • Prerequisites: Intermediate level of English language proficiency.
  • Associated Programs: Professional Certificate: English for Business Networking

What you’ll learn

  • Create and use email messages, including greetings, the body of message, format, and closing
  • Use appropriate tone and formality in your emails
  • Use email to invite a person in your network to meet with you
  • Write follow-up emails

Course Syllabus

  • Week 1: Subject Lines & Openings: This week you’ll learn the parts of an effective subject line and know what common mistakes to avoid. You’ll also know how to use greetings like “Dear” and when to use titles or first names.
  • Week 2: Tone: When to be Formal or Direct: This week introduces the idea of the tone. The words you use and the way you say it makes your writing more or less formal and more or less direct. You need to make choices about these things depending on who you are writing to.
  • Week 3: Effective Beginnings and Endings: The first and last lines of an email are super important to success. We’ll point out how to write good openings and closings and provide a useful vocabulary for these parts. We’ll also practice the language of making arrangements to meet.
  • Week 4: Writing Follow Up Emails: In the final week of the course, you’ll look specifically at the language of following up. This is an important step in making your network bigger. You’ll practice writing your own email and get feedback from your fellow classmates.

Meet the instructors

  • Daphne Mackey: Instructor, University of Washington
  • Richard Moore: Instructor, University of Washington

Apply Now

Free Online Course on Academic Writing Made Easy

Struggling with writing an academic text? This MOOC will ease the pain – and make your writing shine. The course requires upper-intermediate (B2) to advanced English (C1).

This MOOC takes you through the basics of academic writing step by step. From structuring and organizing an academic text to avoiding common pitfalls that can negatively affect your credibility, this 6-week course offers a guide for those who want to improve their writing.

It looks at various components that will make your academic writing stand out for all the right reasons, including paragraphing, style, tone, paraphrasing and punctuation. Using samples of student writing it also gives you tips on what to avoid and explains why.

Key Information

  • Length: 6 weeks
  • Effort: 2 to 3 hours per week
  • Price: FREE or Add a Verified Certificate for $49 USD
  • Institution: TUMx
  • Subject: Language
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcripts: English
  • Course Start Date: Start on April 29, 2019
  • Prerequisites: Upper-intermediate to advanced knowledge of English.

What you’ll learn

You’ll learn:

  • to understand the basic tenets of academic writing
  • to identify the different genres and the expectations of each one
  • to overcome writer’s block
  • to structure your ideas cohesively
  • to write reader-friendly sentences
  • to use appropriate tone to gain credibility
  • to avoid plagiarism and
  • to ensure your text respects the rules of general punctuation in English.

Course Syllabus

Each week is comprised of video lessons, followed by exercises and peer-review tasks, taking you through various aspects of academic writing. The MOOC “Academic Writing Made Easy” covers the following topics to help you improve your writing:

  • Week 1 Rhetorical Preferences: Meeting the expectations of your target group
  • Week 2 Genre: Differentiating between types of scholarly texts
  • The Writing Process: Overcoming writer’s block
  • Week 3 Cohesion: Making your ideas flow logically
  • Week 4 Sentences: Writing reader-friendly sentences
  • Week 5 Credibility: Convincing your peers to accept and believe what you write
  • Week 6 Punctuation: Polishing your text
  • Putting it all together: Overcoming the last hurdles

Meet the instructors

  • Heidi Minning: Lecturer, Technische Universität München
  • Jeremiah Hendren: Lecturer, Technische Universität München
  • Stephen Starck: Lecturer, Technische Universität München
  • Aparna Bhar: Lecturer, Technische Universität München
  • Susan O’Byrne: Lecturer, Technische Universität München
  • Rose Jacobs: Lecturer, Technische Universität München
  • Ruth Shannon: Lecturer, Technische Universität München
  • Huma Abid: Teaching Assistant, Technische Universität München

Apply Now

Free Online Course on Upper-Intermediate English

Take your language skills and career to the next level by advancing your knowledge and fluency of the English language.

This English language Professional Certificate program is aimed at students with an intermediate level of English (based on the B1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) wishing to advance their language skills to an upper-intermediate level (B2).

This program will cover interesting topics such as food, business, modern life, globalization, and technology today. You will learn to write different types of formal and informal texts, including reports, reviews, complaints and more. You will also enhance your vocabulary and grammar and better understand how to use verbal tenses in context.

This program also includes preparatory materials and recommendations to successfully pass the Cambridge University First Certificate in English Examination (FCE).

  • Average Length: 4 weeks per course
  • Effort: 4 hours per week, per course
  • Number Of Courses: 4 Courses in Program
  • Subject: Language
  • Institution: Universitat Politècnica de Valencia
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcripts: English
  • Price (USD): Free to learn of each course or $180 USD for the entire program

Job Outlook

  • Any job with an international outreach
  • Any job seeking employees with good communication skills
  • Any job seeking employees with a good command of English

What You’ll Learn:

  • How to write a formal and informal letter in English
  • How to use English verb tenses in context
  • English vocabulary and grammar
  • Listening and speaking in English
  • Prepare for an interview in English

Free Online Course on Upper-Intermediate English

Courses

Upper-Intermediate English: Business: Take your English language skills to the next level. Learn how to write letters use appropriate verbal tenses and enhance your vocabulary and grammar, all within the context of business.

Upper-Intermediate English: Modern Life: Advance your English language skills as you learn how to rephrase sentences and prepare for an interview.  Topics such as films, sports, and natural resources will also be discussed.

Upper-Intermediate English: Globalization: Learn how to write letters use appropriate verbal tenses and enhance your English vocabulary and grammar, all within the context of globalization.

Upper-Intermediate English: Technology Today: Take your English language skills to the next level. We will discuss technological innovations as you enhance your English vocabulary and grammar and learn how to write a business plan. Starts on January 29, 2019 – Self-Paced

  • Length: 4 weeks
  • Effort: 3 to 5 hours per week
  • Subject: Language
  • Price: FREE or Add a Verified Certificate for $50 USD
  • Prerequisites: Lower Intermediate or Intermediate level of English
  • Meet the Instructor: Ana Gimeno: Full Professor, English, UPValencia
  • Starts on: Self-Paced

Apply Now

Free Online Courses How to Write an Essay

Hurry Up!! Join this free online course and learn an introduction to academic writing for English Language Learners, focusing on essay development, grammatical correctness, and self-editing. College Writing 2.1x is an introduction to academic writing for English Language Learners, focusing on essay development, grammatical correctness, and self-editing.

The five-week course includes a review of basic grammar terminology and understanding; writing effective sentences and paragraphs; introductions and conclusions; strategies for writing longer texts; and thesis statements.

The course materials will be offered via readings and videos. An optional course workbook, in ebook form, may be used for additional writing work. Students will participate in online discussions as well as peer review. Students will complete an essay for this part of the course.

Key Information

  • Length: 5 Week
  • Effort: 5 to 6 hours per week
  • Price: Free (Add a Verified Certificate for $99 USD)
  • Institution: UC Berkeley
  • Subject: Humanities
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcripts: English
  • Course Start Date: Self-Peace

What you’ll learn

Enhance your learning experience via weekly interactive small-group sessions with a live mentor. In this course you will learn how to create:

  • Basic grammar terminology and understanding
  • How to write effective sentences and paragraphs
  • How to tackle writing introductions and conclusions
  • Strategies for writing longer texts and thesis statements

Who Will Teach You?

  • Maggie Sokolik: Director, College Writing Programs, University of California, Berkeley

Prerequisites: Students should be proficient enough in English to follow an introductory level university course.

Apply Now

Reedsy National Creative Writing Scholarship

Reedsy is pleased to announce the inaugural Reedsy Creative Writing Scholarship, a biannual award for writers and novelists in further education.

They have designed this scholarship to award a student whose writing displays a clear and unique voice with the potential to thrive in the competitive literary landscape.

Awarded twice a year, successful candidates will receive $1,000 towards educational expenses and be eligible for further sponsorship from Reedsy while they develop as a writer.

Provided By: Reedsy is a community of over 50,000 authors, publishers, and professionals. They provide writers with the tools to craft beautiful books. As the world’s leading marketplace of book publishing talent, Reedsy is passionate about nurturing the next generation of fiction authors.

Key Details:

  • Award Amount: A $1,000 grant towards your studies
  • Number of Awards: Varies
  • Study Level:
  • Requirement: ESSAY
  • Application Deadline: February 21, 2019, and September 21, 2019
  • Winner Announcement:

Who May Enter:

To be eligible for the Reedsy Creative Writing Scholarship, applicants must be:

  • United States, Canada or Australia Citizens or Permanent Residents; and
  • Accepted to, or currently enrolled in an accredited college, university, or graduate program within the United States, Canada or Australia.

Application Procedure:

To participate, applicants must submit an application at https://blog.reedsy.com/scholarship/#apply

Your application must include the first chapter (1,500 to 7,500 words) of an original novel you are currently writing, or have written but not yet published.

  • All applications must be submitted by email to scholarship@reedsy.com and include:
  • Your name, address, and contact number;
  • The name of the college or university you are attending or planning to attend;
  • Your sample chapter attached to the email in .doc or .docx format with a written introduction. Google Doc links and PDFs will not be accepted.

Five finalists will be selected from each application pool. If your submission is shortlisted, a blurb about your novel will be featured on their scholarship page.

Award Description:

The scholarship must be applied to tuition and other education-related expenses. A wire transfer for $1,000 will be made payable to the recipient’s educational institution directly.

Official Website

If you have any question, contact at the address: Reedsy Ltd. Seedcamp 4-5 Bonhill St, Shoreditch, London EC2A 4BX, Phone: +44 20 3108 9367, USA: +1 (407) 233-3331, and email: scholarship@reedsy.com