How to write a scholarship essay

As a student, you may need to submit letters of recommendation and transcripts in order to qualify for scholarships, whether private or publicly sponsored. But one thing is certain, almost any admission requires a well-written essay.

So, how do you make your scholarship essay stand out and the writing process go more smoothly? Try checking out the resources and suggestions we’ve listed for you.

What is a scholarship essay?

A scholarship essay is simply the opportunity to persuade the admissions committee to award you a scholarship. The committee will give you an essay prompt to respond to. It may be something straightforward and open-ended.

It could also be something more complex, like:

As you’ve seen, some prompts require you to answer several questions, while some only ask one.

Now, there are the steps you can follow to write a brilliant scholarship essay that will get you the scholarship you want.

A short example of scholarship essay

You can see a short example scholarship essay below. This is written based on the prompt:

For me, nothing is more critical than to stop racism and racial injustice in America. Opening sentence: Strong opening sentence that shows the candidate’s idealism. This sentence also provides a personal background. Yes, we do seem to have the same rights as white people on paper. But in practice, this is not the case. People tell me to get over this, but how can I get over a hardship I still face on a daily basis? Personal information: Personal information about the candidate that creates an emotional bond with the committee. Today, black teenagers are four times more likely to be in prison than white teenagers. Statistics: Including statistics to make the essay more reliable. Even this statistic only shows that we as blacks still face racial discrimination, and we need to do something about it. Concluding sentence: A strong concluding sentence of your introduction.

In order to achieve this, I plan on using one of the strongest tools of our day: social media. People use social media to solve societal problems every day. Goals: Follows the prompt effectively and explains the plan behind what is aimed to be achieved. I will inspire a new wave of transformation in our country by raising awareness of racial discrimination occurring everywhere. In addition, I would draw the interest of millions and encourage activism against this subject worldwide if I could have access to the influence of celebrities in my campaign. Detail: Provides further detail about the plan since this aspect is essential for the prompt.

I am aware that social media can only deal with these problems to a limited extent since not everyone can afford to have Internet access. Acknowledging challenges: Acknowledges the possible challenge with the plan, as the prompt requires. However, I hope my initiative will encourage those who have access to change by inspiring us to be together on a worldwide basis in this matter. I expect negativity and critique from others who either don’t think this problem exists or don’t believe in our cause. Still, if it ensures that culture as a whole is irrevocably able to grow in order to recognize distinctions within itself, I am prepared to meet it. Personality statement: Shows determination, and therefore reveals certain qualities about their personality that makes them an ideal candidate.

Scholarship essay planning

In this step, we will show you how to plan your essay in detail. 

Plan in advance

If you wait until the last moment, the quality of your scholarship essay will probably not be great.

Follow the instructions/essay prompt

While it may seem to be one of the most apparent tips, several applicants make their first mistake (see common mistakes of academic writing) before even starting: they do not read the directions carefully.

Choose a subject that you’re passionate about

The quality of your essay will be significantly influenced by the subject you choose.

Research the organization

How to write a 5-paragraph scholarship essay

After you know how to plan for our essay, let’s get to the actual writing. At this step, you’ll see a long example for a scholarship essay. 

Scholarship essay introduction

The introduction is one of your essay’s main elements because it pulls the reader into it and convinces them to keep reading. Therefore, you better create a strong introduction paragraph that includes a hook sentence and thesis statement. 

Look at the example below and hover over the sentences. 

Scholarship essay introduction example


I am writing to apply for the XYZ scholarship program, which aims to support students who demonstrate academic excellence and leadership potential. Hook sentence Start with a attention-grabbing statement that sets the tone for the essay. As a highly motivated and passionate student, I strongly believe that I am a strong candidate for this scholarship. Background: Provide some context about yourself, your achievements, and your interest in the scholarship. In this essay, I will describe my academic achievements, leadership skills, and future career goals, which I hope will demonstrate my suitability for this scholarship. Thesis statement: State your purpose for applying to the scholarship and what you hope to achieve with it.

In general, you need to give your reader a taste of what to expect from your essay in the introduction paragraph.

Scholarship essay body paragraphs

Scholarship essay body paragraphs example

Body Paragraphs

Growing up, I had a keen interest in science, particularly in the field of biology. Throughout high school, I consistently achieved excellent grades and received several awards for academic excellence. Topic sentence: Introduce your academic achievements and what makes you stand out. This passion for science led me to pursue a degree in Biology at XYZ University, where I have continued to excel academically. Provide specific examples of your academic accomplishments and how they demonstrate your potential. I have maintained a high GPA, taken on challenging courses, and participated in various research projects, which have given me the opportunity to develop my critical thinking and analytical skills. Tie in your achievements to your future career goals.

In addition to my academic achievements, I have also been involved in various leadership activities. Topic sentence Discuss your leadership skills and experiences. For instance, I was a mentor for incoming freshmen students in my department, where I helped them navigate their way around campus and assisted them in adapting to university life. Background: Describe your involvement in leadership activities and community service programs. I have also been involved in community service programs, where I worked with underprivileged children in my hometown, helping them develop their academic skills and providing mentorship. Explain how these experiences have helped you develop important skills and qualities that make you a strong candidate for the scholarship.

Looking towards the future, my ultimate career goal is to become a research scientist in the field of genetics. Hook sentence Share your future career aspirations and how the scholarship will help you achieve them. I believe that this scholarship will provide me with the financial assistance I need to continue my education and pursue a higher degree, which will equip me with the necessary skills to achieve this goal. Background: Discuss your long-term career goals and how the scholarship will support your education and professional development. I am committed to giving back to the scientific community and society at large by advancing our understanding of genetics and contributing to the development of novel treatments for genetic diseases. A confident closing sentence

Scholarship essay conclusion

Scholarship essay conclusion example


In conclusion, I am a highly motivated and driven individual who is dedicated to achieving academic excellence and making a positive impact in my community. Restate thesis statement Recap your purpose for applying to the scholarship. This scholarship will provide me with the opportunity to continue pursuing my academic and career goals, and I am confident that I have the necessary skills and determination to make the most of this opportunity. Summarize your key points and reiterate your suitability for the scholarship. Thank you in advance for considering my application. Conclude with a positive and grateful tone, thanking the scholarship committee for their consideration.

Show emotions and personality

Showing your feelings is a perfect way to create an emotional bond with the scholarship committee.

Proofread and edit

Proofreading is one of the essential steps of any kind of essay. Here are some tips for you in your proofreading process.

You can ask yourself these questions to make the proofreading easier:

After you’re sure that you followed all the instructions, you can ask yourself another question:

Key takeaways

Now we know how to write an great scholarship essay. Make sure to follow these steps very carefully so you can get the dream scholarship you desire and deserve!

Thank you for reading. If you need further information, feel free to have a look at our essay samples or contact us at live chat.

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Deniz Akcaoglu
Content editor and writer. Probably out there trying to get into an obscure band she actually hates the sound of.