Did you know that the U.S. Department of Education awards approximately $46 billion in scholarship money each year? While most of them are federally funded, there are also a lot of private scholarships out there to help students pay for their college tuition.
Whether they are private or federally funded, students may or may not have to present letters of recommendation and transcripts in order to apply for scholarships, but one thing is for certain: nearly every application requires an essay.
A scholarship essay is essentially your chance to tell the admission committee why they should write a check to you. The committee will offer a prompt for you to answer. It may be something simple and open-ended such as:
“Why do you want to attend XYZ college?”
Or, it might be something more specific such as:
“What impact have you had on your community? How has community service affected you? How has community service influenced your future plans?”
As you can see, some prompts give quite a bit of room for you to craft your answer while others offer more guidance on the topic they want you to discuss. There are also prompts that ask you to answer multiple questions while others ask only one question.
If you’re planning to apply for some scholarships and need some guidance on how to write a killer essay, pay close attention to the following steps because there’s college money at stake here:
Fair enough, but why specifically are you passionate about this?
Ex 1: I want to go to medical school because I am passionate about helping people.
See the difference?
Ex 2: Ever since I volunteered as an assistant for Doctors Without Borders in an HIV clinic in South Africa, I have been certain that I want to dedicate my life to helping the world’s sick have access to medication and health care.