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Scholarship Application and Essay Tips

  1. Follow the directions explicitly.  Students are encouraged to apply online.  Type or neatly hand-write all applications submitted in paper form.

  2. Complete applications thoroughly. Answer every question. Leave no blanks.

  3. Do not answer, "See attached" to questions.

  4. Use complete sentences. Do not write lists. Use formal English, do not use contractions.

  5. If an application has questions, answer them, even if they are addressed in your essay. You may include your essay as an addition, but answer the questions on the application itself in the space provided.

  6. If you do not know the answer to a question, ask for help.

  7. Do not include a picture unless it is requested. You may be eliminating yourself because the scholarship committee may recognize you and then they cannot score you, thereby, possibly disqualifying you.

  8. Check to make sure documents are in the order requested and that they are complete.

  9. Mail or post mark the application on time. Follow-up with a phone call to make sure it was received.

  10. Send a thank you note/letter to the scholarship committee within two weeks of receiving your notice of being a scholarship recipient. If you do not send a thank you note/letter, you may not receive the money even though you won. It pays to be grateful.

Essay Tips


Scholarship Essay Instructions

  • Answer the questions below as a guide to organize your main ideas.

  • Each section of the body should have only two to three sentences.

  • The final essay should be ONE page only, font size 12, Arial or Times New Roman.

  • Have someone else review, provide feedback, and edit your essay.

  • Do NOT include your name in the essay or on the essay.

  • The foundational “My Story” essay can be “tweaked” and used over and over again to complete a majority of all required college admission and scholarship essays.


I. Introduction


The opening sentence and paragraph must catch the reader’s attention and interest.

II. Body


A. Family

  • Describe your family: ethnic background, gender, country of origin, number of brothers/sisters, parents’ educational background and occupation.

  • Mention any special circumstances such as: single parent home, illness, death, disability, divorce, or mobility.


B.   Obstacle, Overcoming, Character Qualities

  • Describe one of your most challenging obstacles and how did you overcome it?

  • What character qualities have you learned, are presently learning, or need to learn from your obstacle?

  • Explain how this obstacle will help you to become successful in the future.


C. Community Service, Leadership, Role Model

  • Describe two or three contributions you have made in community service.

  • When and where have you served others?

  • How has it made you a better person? What impact did you make?

  • What did you learn about life, yourself, or other people?


D. Life Purpose, Direction of Study

  • Explain your dreams for the future, educational, and career goals.

  • What are the reasons you are seeking this field of study?

  • How can you contribute to society or make a difference in the lives of others?


III. Conclusion

  • Why do you want to attend university/college? Why do you need a scholarship?

  • Describe in detail any special family circumstances that will affect your ability to obtain assistance in reaching your goal.

  • Example: Without a scholarship I would not be able to attend college because______.

College Admission Writing Guides, Scholarship Essay Writing Forms/Pre-Writes, and instructional videos are available on the FREE Five Step e-Courses for High School and College Students on


June McBride, M.A., Author and Founder of Path to Scholarships® and Edudaris®

Copyright©2015 June McBride          Used with permission by June McBride November 2015

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