Scholarship judges are looking for the most of the same things as admissions committee members. Combine this fact with the strict word limits and it should be readily apparent that you need to keep your essay topics very focused. Doing so will also ensure the topic is covered in adequate detail. Those scholarship applicants who decide on overly broad topics almost always end up wasting their time.
Once you have identified your topic, or thesis, be sure to adhere to it. Trust us when we say it will be a welcome site to scholarship judges who suffer through so many meandering, unfocussed essays. It’s OK to follow a formal outline if it helps your essay maintain its focus.
The scholarship judges are seeking to learn insight into you and what makes you tick, so be sure to demonstrate lots of introspection. (After all, they are not going to award the scholarship to an achievement.) Accordingly, the statistics that worked so effectively for your term papers will be ineffective for these essays. Likewise, we understand some teachers reward students for using big words even if their use is a bit awkward. This is another “no no” as scholarship applicants are strongly encouraged to use “everyday language.”
Due to the unavoidable presence of personal bias (your essays will be read by human beings after all), we strongly encourage you to avoid opening your essay with a boring thesis statement. We are all subconsciously wired to be rather easily influenced and biased. (Don’t say you haven’t judged our company based on the website colors and font size and font!) The positive bias generated by a strong, successful attention-grabbing introduction is often the tipping point that distinguishes the scholarship winner from the many runner ups.
Just as you follow instructions for the topic, so too should you adhere to any stated word limits. Remember that your audience may be logging long hours to read thousands of essays and going over the word limit will not endear you to them. Retain a good editor who can help you identify extraneous material that can be cut from your essay without detracting from your theme.
Spellcheckers are wonderful tools, and we certainly encourage you to take advantage of these readily available resources, but they do have their drawbacks and it is unwise to pass up an opportunity to have an experienced editor review your essay for structure, flow, content, focus and tone as well as grammar and word choice.
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