Scholarship essays can be an intimidating prospect for students. Essays are always
challenging, but now you have to write about yourself, with money on the line? It's
no wonder students feel overwhelmed.
But don't worry! We here at WyzAnt have seen thousands of scholarship essays. Drawing
from this experience, we've put together five tips for writing a winning scholarship
essay. Use this advice to stay focused, stay confident, and write the best essay
possible. Better yet, we've put past WyzAnt Scholarship winners on the site for
you. You can read real
winning scholarship essays and use them as examples or inspiration.
Whether you're applying for WyzAnt scholarships or any other, follow this advice
and you're sure to do your best. With the right approach, anybody can write a winning
First and foremost, make sure you're answering the right question. Scholarship essays
often ask you to respond to a specific question or topic. This may seem obvious,
but students sometimes make simple mistakes. Writing about something unrelated is
to fastest way to see your essay rejected.
The 2011-2012 essay question was, "What is the most important lesson you have learned
in your life?" Second place winner Iman provides a
great essay example, directly answering the question in her conclusion.
Today I walk across the school campus, smiling genuinely, because I know that I'm
unlike anyone else. This is the way the world should be, and this is perhaps the
most important thing I've learned: my differences aren't my weaknesses, they are
my strengths. They are what make us as a nation, strong.
We want to hear about you! Tell us about what makes you different and unique, and
let us know what you’re passionate about. Write in your own voice and avoid unnatural
"thesaurus words." And be careful that you don't write an essay about someone else.
Students sometime make the mistake of focusing on people such as parents or teachers.
It's OK to write about other people as long as you tie it back to your own life.
2012's first place winner, Jesse, mentions her sister and parents several times
in her essay. They are, after all, important people in her life, and it's natural
for students to write about other people who have influenced them. But Jesse
stays focused on herself, explaining the lessons she learned from her family.
I would never have it any other way. Nevertheless, with my sister, I learned very
early in life the value of money. When we were younger, times were hard, but our
parents did their best to give us everything we needed. There was a time where the
only piece of furniture our family owned was my sister’s and my bed—I knew, even
before I realized it, how valuable it is to have everything I needed.
Scholarship essays often have word counts, and WyzAnt's is no exception. When your
essay is only 300 words, make sure every word counts. Don't write a lengthy introduction
and try to cram the body of your essay in the last 100 words. Make sure your essay
is specific and focused - avoid big topics that are hard to fit into a small word
count. Stay on-topic and get to the point.
2012 third place winner Elena hits the ground running with the first sentence of
her essay, giving us a great example of how
to start a scholarship essay.
Being the first born child in my family has given me the challenge of figuring out
what my purpose in life is and what I should be doing to achieve my goals.
Always remember to edit your essay thoroughly. Make sure you've caught every grammar
and spelling error. Remove unnecessary words and sentences. Read your essay out
loud, or ask someone else to read it out loud to you. Double check the three points
above. Did you answer the essay topic? Is your essay personal and unique? Don't
rush to hit "submit." Even a little editing goes a long way and really makes your
Before you submit your essay, be sure to get constructive criticism from at least
one other person. Once you've submitted your essay, be sure to tell your friends
and family to vote (finalists are determined by popular vote!). Take advantage of
social networks like Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Think outside the box and consider
all the different ways you can promote your essay. Most importantly, be proud of
your essay and don't be afraid to share it.
2013 Winning scholarship essays
2012 Winning scholarship essays
2011 Winning scholarship essays