Tips for Writing College Application/Scholarship Essays
Read and re-read the specific essay question(s) and identify key themes – For example, if the question is to “demonstrate a time when you used your leadership
skills to improve the community,” the key themes of leadership skills and community
need to be identified and addressed in the essay.
Make certain you fully understand the themes addressed in the question/prompt – For example, if the theme is leadership, it is important to identify and explore
what leadership entails. Does it include certain personality traits, such as determination
and perseverance? Is it displayed by an ability to remain calm under pressure or
to read the individual needs within a diverse group of people? Once you have clarified
the themes, you can then begin to explore the various ways you are able to write
about your ability to demonstrate these particular skills. Doing so will not only
bring clarity to yourself, but also structure and focus the essay.
Fill the essay with keywords that are the same or have similar meanings as the ones
indicated in the statement question – For example, if the essay prompt asks you to demonstrate your dedication to a
career in the educational field, it is important to include education-related terms,
particularly ones that demonstrate passion for teaching. Word and/or phrases such
as compassion, classroom management and teaching experience would be ideal to include
in a prompt such as this. Essentially, it is vital to select words that have the
same meaning as the themes indicated in the question or at least demonstrate a similar
Begin in an engaging way – Assume that the competition for most scholarships is immense and that you need
to set yourself apart from the many applicants in multiple ways. In addition to the
rich details included in the body of the essay, it is important to begin the essay
in a way that is engaging, creative, and certain to captivate the interest of those
making the final decision. There are many ways to do so, but some easy ways to begin
are with personal stories/narratives or hypothetical questions.