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The college scholarship essay that almost every high school student dreads having to write will always be one that can’t be avoided.
Although it seems to be a dreaded task, it’s not only necessary but very important to your success at winning college scholarship money.
Are there any college scholarships that don’t require an essay?
I get asked this question often and the answer is always the same. Approx. 98% of scholarships require a written essay. The few that don’t initially require an essay to get accepted in to will eventually require you to write one if you should become a finalist.
BOTTOM LINE: If you want to become successful at winning lots of scholarships and grant money to pay for college costs then you need to write a college scholarship essay that will get you the award.
Remember, college admissions applications also require that you write an essay. Since you need to do the work, you may as well follow our essay tips for writing an essay that will knock them out of their seats.
Focus on “You”. Even though you may have some really great ideas on things that interest you the most such as hobbies or activities, make the essay about you. Your mind may be filled with ideas about how to improve the efficiency of a solar panel or build a successful fantasy football team, but what they really want to know about is you.
Do You Know Who You Are? Take the time to prepare in your mind what positive strengths you have and write a story about yourself that revolves around those strengths. Don’t spread yourself out too thin by focusing on too many of your strengths and characteristics. Be honest and use your own personal voice and style. Don’t try to sound like some one your not, it’ll most likely show through your writing.
Create An Adventure. This is where my philosophy of planning and preparation come in.
My son wrote about his 14 year old adventure of racing a bicycle up Mt. Washington. This race was essentially an eight mile hill up a 5000’ mountain. This is considered one of the world’s most grueling mountain climbs on a bike. Just imagine the adventure created for a 14 year old boy in such an event. This story is the kind of story that tells a lot about a person and it was a very popular essay to write for college scholarships and college admissions applications.
My point with this is…Go out and create an adventure for yourself that revolves around who you are as a person. Get involved in something that you love to do and create an adventure that will be used for many college scholarship essays. It’s never too late to start.
Avoid Controversial Opinions. Let’s face it, we’re all passionate about different ideas and things about life, but college scholarship essays are not the place to express them. The people who’ll be reading your essay will come from diverse backgrounds and you’ll want to try and appeal to all of them. What they’re all interested in is getting to know who you are.
Your application questionnaire will give them an idea about who you are, but then they’ll be looking to get much deeper about you when they read your essay. So keep it about you and your positive strengths.
Say It In A Story. At the risk of sounding redundant, this is where the adventure story really helps. You want to avoid saying that you’re a good leader, or saying you’re a great decision maker or that you’re really smart. Rather, let these qualities about you show in your story. A well written story will tell the reader the things that you want them to know about you without actually coming out and saying it.
An Awesome Essay In 500 Words Or Less. Imagine being given the task of having to read 10, 20, 50 or even 100 essays. Doesn’t sound very exciting unless the stories are well written…Now imagine reading one with over 1000 words that’s written more with statements then an actual story and filled with lots of redundancy? This essay will tell a great deal about the writer except it’s not the stuff that will get their attention and win you the scholarship money.
Don’t let this happen to you and your scholarship essays. Be yourself, be honest, be concise, focus on you and your positives and tell them a story about you that will knock their socks off in 500 words or less.
If you don’t have a good story to tell, go out and create one because it’s never too late.