Scholarships: for those of you who are still in college, exhausted yet? For those of you who are finished, how are those student loans treating you?
Writing monotonous scholarship after monotonous scholarship is the bane of every student’s existence. Sure, scholarship money is useful. The $100 you get for a five page long essay on why ThisAndThat’s company is the best company really does help you pay for half a textbook. But honestly, that’s half a textbook my dusty wallet couldn’t afford before.
That being said, most of us broke college kids could use a little monetary assistance.
Scholarships tend to be difficult to win, especially if you’re trying for one offered to a wide scope of people. As long as you’re eligible and you’ve got the time and stamina, I say go for it. They’re a lot of work for a bit of money, but hey, we’re not exactly swimming in it.
Before you dive in, however, you should probably keep these next few hints in mind.
- Write confidently: I am probably not the best example of this, as I tend to think that everything I write is akin to that brown slime that accumulates on the inner side of public dumpsters, but it’s good advice nonetheless. If you sound like you know what you’re talking about, the judges and evaluators are more likely to believe you. It’s just like social situations. People will usually gravitate toward the confident socialite. You want gravitation toward your paper. It needs to stand out from the crowd and get noticed. Remember, confidence is key.
- Boost their egos: For the most part, if you’re writing a scholarship essay for a company, they want you to talk about how great they are. Like I mentioned before, if company ThisAndThat’s essay question asks you to elaborate on the service of one of their stores, you need to write the best advertisement they never had. But, be creative and original. Compliment them for things even they haven’t thought of yet.
- Read the question carefully: After a while, scholarship questions can start to sound pretty redundant. So, it’s important to try to pull something new from what they’re asking. Think of a creative twist or theme for your answer. Judges are just as tired of reading the same type of essays as you are of writing them. Out-of-the-box thinking definitely gives you an edge.
- Don’t be afraid to gloat a little: Judges are impressed by heavy workloads. Even if you weren’t the most involved person in high school or college, talk about what you did do in detail. Make it seem as if what you were doing took up a large amount of your time. The more activities you mention, the better. The businesses that are offering their scholarships to you want to make sure that their money is well invested. They’re not going to waste it on a slacker.
- Have a healthy resume: Though the above tip does help, it doesn’t hurt to have a decent resume to back you up. If there’s still time, join a bunch of activities. Attend fundraisers, be a member of a new club, volunteer somewhere, etc.
- Do NOT procrastinate and DO edit: The best scholarships I’ve written (and won) have been the ones that had multiple sources of feedback. Have your parents, a trusted friend, an English professor, or just someone besides you read it over. Editing is so vital for catching those small (and sometimes huge) mistakes that you, the writer, just can’t always catch. Judges are picky, and if you don’t leave enough room for editing, consider your time well wasted.