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,” you would want to identify the key themes of leadership
skills and community.
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 to the essay.
Fill your 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 environmental science, include words such as determination, focus, and
motivation. Essentially, select words that have the same meaning as the themes indicated
in the question or at least demonstrate a similar skill set.
Begin in an engagingway – 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 you choose to include in the body of the essay, it is important to begin
the essay in a way which 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.
Understand the criteria for the scholarship – All scholarship applications will entail more components than just the personal
statement. Many committees utilize the personal statement to create a more complex
picture of the applicant in addition to GPA, letters of recommendation, and academic
achievements. Knowing and fully comprehending each component of the scholarship essay
process enables you to discern which details are most important to include in the
essay. Likewise, this understanding provides a sense of how the essay will be weighed
against other factors.