Eight Steps Towards a Better Scholarship Essay
Writing a scholarship essay can be very difficult – especially if you want to do it well. Your essay will need to wow the reader, and speak directly to the goals of that organization, as well as the objectives of that award. If done properly, you will very rarely be able to submit the same application to multiple awards – it is not a one-size-fits-all; most essays will need to be tweaked or completely altered to show the reader that you are deserving of the award above and beyond any of the other participant who also applied.
Read on to find eight steps to help you write a better scholarship essay so that you can get the money you need to fund your international education.
Step 1: Read the Essay Prompt Thoroughly
Many schools and other organizations that give out scholarships will give you a "prompt" or a question which the essay is supposed to address. Read the question or prompt carefully and try to "read between the lines." For example, the prompt you are to answer might be, "Describe a book that made a lasting impression on you and your life and why?" Ask yourself, "Are they really interested in my literary preferences or is there something more to this question?" More than likely, they want to get a better idea of who you are—not only what types of books you like but also what motivates you and what sorts of stories or topics interest you. They may also be interested in getting a sense for how promising a student you are based on the type of book you choose and what you have to say about it.
Tip: Always keep in mind that any scholarship essay question, no matter the topic, should demonstrate your interests, your background, and most importantly, highlight the experiences you've had that fit with the goals and mission of the funding organization.
Instead of being given a prompt, you might be asked to write an essay on the topic of your choosing. Although challenging, this is also an opportunity to demonstrate your creativity. Finally, if anything about the directions aren't clear, don't be afraid to contact someone at the funding organization and ask for clarification.
Step 2: Make a List of Important Points and Keywords to Include
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Check out our Sample Essay section where you can see scholarship essays, admissions essays, and more!
Regardless of the essay prompt, you will want to make sure to include the important and relevant information about your experiences and background that makes you an ideal candidate for the scholarship award. To complete this step, it can be helpful to first research the organization to which you're applying and try to find their mission statement on their website. Circle a few key words from the mission statement and make sure to include those buzzwords in your essay.
Scholarship committees are not only looking for good students, they are often looking for a person that fits their organizational goals. You should gather your other application materials such as transcripts and resumes so you can review your qualifications as well as make note of what is missing in these materials that needs to be included in the essay.
For example, if you're applying for a general academic scholarship, you might want to talk about a specific class you took that really piqued your interest or inspired your current academic and career goals. The committee will see the list of the classes that you took on your transcript but they won't know how a particular class inspired you unless you tell them. The essay is the best place to do this. Your list of important points to make might also include:
- Any academic awards or other honors you've won.
- Any AP or college-level courses you took in high school.
- Any outside courses, internships, or other academic experiences that won't necessarily appear on your transcript.
- Why your experience and the mission of the funding organization match.
- What you plan to major in during college and how you think that major will be useful to your future career goals.
- Any special training or knowledge you have, or a project you completed in school or as an extracurricular activity.
- An example of how you overcame a challenge.
- Your financial circumstances that makes it necessary for you to finance your studies through scholarship money.
The challenge now is to integrate those points that you want the committee to know with an essay that answers the prompt. You can see our example scholarship essays to get a better idea of how to do this.
Step 3: Write an Outline or a Rough Draft
Not everyone likes to make an outline before they begin writing, but in this case it can be very helpful. You can start with your list of important points to begin writing the outline. For many, telling a story is the easiest and most effective way to write a scholarship essay. You can tell the story of how you found your favorite book, and how it has changed and inspired you. Start with large headings in your outline that describes the basic storyline. For example:
- High school composition teacher recommended book
- Read it over one weekend
- Made me see the world around me differently
- Inspired me to pursue a career in social justice
Now you can start filling in the subheadings with points from your previous list:
- High school composition teacher recommended book
- Favorite class in high school
- Class opened my eyes to new ways of thinking
- Teacher noticed my enthusiasm—recommended outside reading
- Read it over one weekend
- Was the first time I was so drawn in by a book, I read it very quickly
- I realized my academic potential beyond getting good grades
- Made me see the world around me differently
- Started to look for jobs in social justice
- Interned for a summer at a law firm doing pro bono work for the poor
- This was a big challenge because I realized you can't help everyone and resources are limited
- Overcame this challenge by knowing that small change can be big, and working hard in a field you are passionate about will inspire you everyday
- Inspired me to pursue a career in social justice
- The book is a constant source of inspiration and will keep me motivated as I pursue my career
- The book will always remind me how people with limited financial resources can still make a huge difference in others' lives
Step 4: Write a Strong Statement that Summarizes Your Points
You will want to include one strong thesis statement that summarizes all the major points you will make in your essay. It is often easy to start writing with this simple statement. Your essay doesn't have to begin or end with the thesis statement, but it should appear somewhere in order to tie all the individual sections together.
For example, your thesis statement might be, "You will find that various experiences from both my academic career and my personal life align very well with your organization's mission: shaping community leaders who are working towards a more just and sustainable world." Starting with this sentence can help you organize your thoughts and main points, and provide you with a direction for your essay. When you've finished your essay, be sure to reflect back on your thesis statement and ask yourself, "Does this essay further explain and support my thesis statement?"
Step 5: Fill in the Missing Parts
Now that you have a thesis statement, an outline, and a list of important points to include, you can begin to fill in the missing parts of your story. The first sentence is particularly important: it should capture the attention of the reader, and motivate him or her to continue reading. We recommend starting your story by painting a vivid picture of an experience about which you will be talking in the essay.
For example: "It is 6 am on a hot day in July, I've already showered and I'm eating breakfast. My classmates are all sleeping in and the sun has yet to awaken, but I'm ready to seize the day, as I couldn't imagine spending my summer any other way but interning at a local law firm that specializes in representing the poor. I work a typical 8-5 day during my summer vacation and nothing has made me happier. But I wouldn't be here if it weren't for one particularly savvy teacher and a little book she gave me to read outside of class."
Step 6: Rewrite, Revise, Rewrite
A good writer rewrites and revises his or her work many, many times. After getting a first draft on paper, take a day or two away from the essay and then come back to it with fresh eyes. Make appropriate edits for content, and pay attention to proper spelling and grammar. If need be, you might want to write an entirely new draft and then integrate the best of both into a final draft. Writing a new draft can inspire you to think of new ideas or a better way to tell your story. Some other tips to think about as you rewrite and revise:
- Make sure it sounds like your voice. You want the scholarship committee to feel like they are getting to know you. If you don't sound authentic, the committee will know. It is better to be yourself than to say what you think the committee wants to hear.
- Strike a balance between modesty and arrogance. You should be proud of your accomplishments, but you don't want to sound arrogant. Don't exaggerate a story; instead be clear about what you did and the impact it had and let that speak for itself.
- Check to make sure you are answering the prompt and fulfilling all other requirements of the essay as directed by the committee, such as font preference and word count limits.
- Don't just list your accomplishments; describe them in detail and also tell the reader how you felt during these experiences.
- A scholarship essay is not a dissertation. You don't need to impress the committee with big words, especially if you're not completely clear if you're using them correctly. Simplicity and clarity should be the goals.
- Make sure your essay will be read from the beginning to the end. Committee members won't dedicate much time to reading the essay, so you need to make sure they are given motivation to read the entire thing. If you are telling a story, don't reveal the end of the story until the end.
- Check to make sure the buzzwords from the mission statement appear. It is easy to forget the scholarship committee's goals as you write. Return to their mission statement and look for spots to place keywords from the statement. Be sure, however, that you're not copying the mission statement word-for-word.
Step 7: Have someone else read your essay
Ideally, you could give your essay to a teacher or college admissions counselor who is familiar with scholarship essays and the college admission process. If such a person is not available, virtually anyone with good reading and writing skills can help make your essay better. When your editor is done reading and you've looked over his or her notes, be sure to ask the following questions:
- Was the story interesting and did it hold your attention?
- Were there any parts that were confusing?
- Did you find any spelling or grammar errors?
- Does the essay sound like my voice?
- Does the essay respond appropriately to the prompt?
- Is there anything you would have done differently or something you thought was missing?
After having an editor (or two or three) look over your draft, it is time again to revise and rewrite.
Step 8: Refine the Final Draft
Once you feel satisfied with the draft, review it one more time and pay particular attention to structure, spelling, grammar, and whether you fulfilled all the required points dictated by the committee. If you are over the required word count, you will need to make edits so that you are within the limit. If you are significantly under the word count, consider adding a supporting paragraph.
Essay Writing Center
Misconception: No one actually reads your scholarship essay! – Wrong!
Fact: Your essay is the key to your scholarship application. It is an opportunity to demonstrate to the selection committee that you are a well-rounded individual, that you are more than your GPA, that you are a strong writer, and it gives you a chance to talk about your experiences and qualifications in greater detail than what appears on your resume or transcripts.
Essay on Rabindranath Tagore
We have provided below various essay on Rabindranath Tagore in order to help students. Now-a-days, essays writing are common strategy followed by the teachers in the schools and colleges in order to enhance the skill and knowledge of students about any topic. All the Rabindranath Tagore essay are written using very simple words under various words limit according to the need and requirement of students. Students can select any of the essays given below:
Rabindranath Tagore Essay 1 (100 words)
Rabindranath Tagore was a great Indian poet. He was born on 7th of May in 1861 at Jorasanka, Kolkata. His parents name was Maharsi Debendranath Tagore (father) and Sarada Devi (mother).
He took his education at home under private teachers for various subjects. He started writing poems in his very early age. He is still a famous poet as he wrote thousands of poems, short stories, songs, essays, dramas, etc. Both, he and his works are famous all around the world. He became the first Indian who received the Nobel Prize in 1913 for his great writing named “Gitanjali”. He was also a philosopher, a painter, and a great patriot who composed our National Anthem titled as, “Jana Gana Mana”.
Rabindranath Tagore Essay 2 (150 words)
Rabindranath Tagore was a great poet, patriot, philosopher, humanist, and painter. He was born in Jorasanka, Calcutta on 7th of May in 1861 in his ancestral home to the Maharsi Debendranath Tagore and Sarada Devi. He was 14th child of his parents however different from others. He got his proper education and knowledge about various subjects at home by the private teachers. He was very young when started writing poems, some of them were published in the periodicals.
He went to England for his higher education but was not satisfied by the traditional system of education there. He returned to India and opened his own school named Santiniketan in Bolpur, Birbhum, Bengal. This school later became a college and then a university (Visva-Bharati). He was honored with the Nobel Prize for ‘Gitanjali’ in 1913. He was also awarded with Knighthood by the British Crown however he returned as a mark of protest against massacre in Jallianwalabagh.
Rabindranath Tagore Essay 3 (200 words)
Rabindranath Tagore was a great Indian poet and the youngest son of his parents. He was a leader of Brahmo Samaj in nineteenth-century, Bengal. He took his early education at home however higher education in England. He went to England at his seventeen for his formal schooling however could not complete. His interest and close touch with the common humanity draw his attention towards the country to do some social reforms. Then he started a school at Santiniketan where he followed the Upanishadic ideals of education. He also involved himself in the Indian nationalist movement and followed his own non-sentimental and visionary ways. Gandhi Ji was a devoted friend of him. His immense love towards the country was seen when he returned the honor given by British Government in 1915 as a protest against British policies in the country.
He was a good writer and get success in writing in his native Bengal. His continuous success in writing made him able to become a famous voice of India’s spiritual heritage. Some of his odd volumes of poetry are like Manasi, Sonar Tari, Gitanjali, Gitimalya, Balaka, etc. Besides poetries, he was also famous in writing dance dramas, musical dramas, essays, travel diaries, autobiographies, etc.
Rabindranath Tagore Essay 4 (250 words)
Rabindranath Tagore was also known as Rabindranath Thakur and more popularly as Gurudev. He was a great Indian poet who has given many famous writings to the country. Undoubtedly, he was a greatest poet after Kalidas. Now, he is well known all over the world as a greatest Indian poets and writers of all ages. He was born in a rich and cultured family in Jorasanko, Kolkata on 7th of May in 1861 to the Maharshi Debendranath Tagore (father) and Sarada Devi (mother). He lost his mother at his fourteen in 1875. He developed the interest of writing poems in his early age. He was also a painter, a philosopher, a patriot, an educationist, a novelist, a singer, an essayist, a story writer, and a constructive worker.
His great writings in the form of novels and short stories indicate his wisdom, deep experience and understanding about human character. He was a poet who has given a nice national anthem “Jan Gana Mana”. Some of his important works are “Geetanjali”, “Amar Shonar Bangla”, “Ghare-Baire”, “Rabindra Sangeet”, etc. He has been awarded with the Nobel Prize in 1913 for his great English version writing of “Geetanjali”. He was the first Indian and first Asian to get this award. He was the founder of Vishwabharati University at Santiniketan in 1902. His endless love towards his country and countrymen forced him to reject “Knighthood”, an award given by the British government, in 1919 in a protest against Jallianwala Bagh massacre. His great writings still inspire and encourage people of the country.
Rabindranath Tagore Essay 5 (300 words)
Rabindranath Tagore was a famous Indian poet who popularly known as Gurudev. He was born in Kolkata on 7th of May in 1861 in a rich and cultural family. His parents were Maharishi Debendranath (father) and Sharda Devi (mother). He was very much interested in writing poem from his childhood. Together with being a great poet, he was also a humanist, patriot, painter, novelist, story-writer, educationist and philosopher. He was a cultural ambassador for the country who spread the knowledge of Indian culture all around the world. He was a talented and genius child of his time who did great works. He was like a rising sun in the field of poem writing.
He had shown well the mental and moral spirit of the people through his writings in poem or stories forms. His writings have also been proved to be path-breaking and revolutionary even for today’s people. He was full of sorrow because of the massacre tragedy at Jalianwala Bagh in which many innocent people including women and children were killed on 13th of April in 1919 at Amritsar by the General Dyer and his soldiers.
He was a great poet however a patriot too who always believed in oneness of life and its expression. Through his writings, he tried his best to bring people much closer to unite them in order to maintain the love, peace, and brotherhood. He had described well about love and harmony through his poetry and stories. His whole life also provides the clear view of love and harmony to each other. His devotion towards his country is shown by the following statement, “My country that is forever India, the country of my forefathers, the country of my children, my country has given me life and strength.” And again, “I shall be born in India again.
Rabindranath Tagore Essay 6 (400 words)
Rabindranath Tagore, a great Indian poet, was born on 7th of May in 1861 at Calcutta, India to Debendranath Tagore and Sarada Devi. He was born in a rich and cultural Brahmin family. He took his early education at home under private teachers and never attended school however went to England for higher studies. He started writing poems at his early age of eight. His poetry was published under the pseudonym Bhanushingho (Sun Lion) when he was just sixteen. He went to England in 1878 to study law however returned India before completing to pursue the career as a poet and writer.
He translated his work Geetanjali into English during the long sea journey to England. He was awarded with the Nobel Prize for literature within the year his Geetanjali was published. He has mentioned the mysticism and sentimental beauty of Indian culture in his writing for which a non-westerner was honored with prestigious award first time. Together with being a renowned poet, he was also a genius, writer, novelist, visual artist, composer, playwright, and a philosopher. He knew well how to command over language while writing poem or stories. He was a good philosopher through which he influenced a huge range of Indian people during the freedom struggle.
His contribution towards the Indian literature is very vast and unforgettable. Two of the songs from his Rabindrasangeet are more famous as they have been national anthem of two countries such as “Amar Shonary Bangla” (national anthem of Bangladesh) and “Jana Gana Mana” (national anthem of India). His creative writings, whether in the form of poem or stories, are unchallenged even today. Perhaps he was the first who bridge the gap between west and east through his effective writings.
Another composition of him was Puravi in which he mentioned Evening Songs and Morning Songs under many subjects like social, moral, cultural, religious, political, etc. Manasi was written by him in 1890 in which he collected some social and poetical poems. Most of his writings were based on the life of people of Bengal. Another writing named Galpaguccha was a collection of stories based on the poverty, backwardness, and illiteracy of the Indian people. Other poetry collections are like Sonar Tari, Kalpana, Chitra, Naivedya, etc and novels are like Gora, Chitrangda and Malini, Binodini and Nauka Dubai, Raja and Rani, etc. He was very religious and spiritual man which helped him a lot in the days of crisis. He was a great educationist thus he founded an abode of peace, a unique university named Santiniketan. He died on 7th of August in 1941 in Kolkata before seeing the India’s independence.