Now that you know how to think like a scholarship winner, it’s time to start writing like one. But we can’t just start writing, which is a big mistake I think some students make. Like anything important in life, you shouldn’t just jump head first into it. You need a plan.
As we learned in the previous article, you need to market yourself in a way that is conducive to the scholarship judges. So we need to learn how the judges are thinking, find what they are looking for, and emphasize those relevant qualities and experiences we have into our essays.
So how do we know what the judges are looking for?
Read the Scholarship Criteria Carefully
This should be obvious, but there are still students who don’t study this carefully enough. Most scholarships provide at least a few points or brief summary of the type of students they are looking for, both on the application form and on the website.
For example, the Loran Award states that their overall criteria are leadership, service, and character. In the application form, two of the three essays ask you to talk about a community service and leadership experience. As a result, most students just answer the questions normally, and hand in the application.
But hold on, there is a third criteria: character. In fact, the organization specifies the idea of “moral force of character”. What does this mean? If we do a bit of searching, we find a few character traits that are relevant: “honesty, integrity, courtesy, tolerance, maturity, and compassion”. Knowing this, we can then plan our essay to include specific experiences that emphasize some of these character traits, which is much superior to an essay which neglected them. These three criteria for the Loran Award were here for a reason, and ensuring that all three criteria were met in your essay answers is imperative.
So read the scholarship criteria carefully, and take advantage of all the information available. Make sure you address all of the criteria in your essays.