Scholarship essay requirements vary a great deal by scholarship type and they generally change from year to year. If you’re serious about applying for scholarships, it’s a great idea to start practicing writing scholarship essays in advance. However, there’s no way to adequately predict exactly what your scholarship essay topics will be. Thankfully, while these topics can vary, there are some very common writing prompts which can help you prepare yourself for any topic that comes your way.
One of the most common prompts, this topic essentially asks you to discuss your strengths and unique traits and then describe how they will help you in the future. Some prompts specify educational ambitions, while others focus on employment. Write about either or both for practice.
This prompt is designed so that you’ll express the values and traits you admire, in an interesting way. Choose some less common historical figures to write about for maximum impact.
Of course the obvious one is money—but what they’re really looking for is the fact that you have clear ambitions and plans (including the scholarship in question) to attain them, based upon your merits.
The prompt may specify a problem (one posed by a current event, a common interpersonal situation, etc.) or it may allow you to construct a problem and then solve it.
Are you a leader? Or do you focus on being a support member? There’s no right answer here; simply describe your skills when cooperating with others.
Keep in mind you can talk about this from several perspectives: why it’s important globally, within smaller communities, within families, why it’s important for your career, or for your personal growth as a human being.
This prompt is mostly about demonstrating that you’re capable of assessing new ideas and determining whether or not they’re right for you. After all, most of education is about encountering new ideas and fitting them into your world view.
This prompt helps the scholarship committee place you in context; there’s a lot they can learn about you as a person by what you consider making a difference, who you consider to be “your community,” and so on.
Below are some common scholarship essay questions. You can use these as a great starting point for a pesonal statement. Some of these essay questions are used in the Maricopa Scholarship Database.
- What life experiences have shaped who you are today and what challenges have you overcome in achieving your education (i.e. financial, personal, medical, etc.)?
- Explain why you need financial assistance.
- Describe your academic and career goals and your plans to achieve them and discuss any of your extracurricular/volunteer activities (both on and off campus) that you may perform.
- Describe an event in which you took a leadership role and what you learned about yourself.
This is a sample essay to help guide you when you are writing essays for scholarships. Keep in mind that all scholarship applications are different, so you may have to design your essay to meet those specific requirements.
(State an overview of what you are going to talk about in the essay. If the essay is about you, give a brief description of your experiences, goals, aspirations, family background, etc. Touch on why you want the scholarship.)
For as long as I could remember, I have wanted to be a veterinarian. I have been responsible for the care and feeding of pets ever since I was in the second grade. In high school, I participated in the 4-H club as well as the Junior Humane society. To reach my goals, I realize that I must pursue an eight year college education which will begin with the Fall 2010 semester. I am very excited about my future and feel that with the opportunity your scholarship will provide, I can help many animals.
Paragraph II & III
(Go into more detail on one of the topics listed in paragraph I. For example, elaborate on your previous experiences, family and financial situation, volunteer work, employment, academic career, future goals, college plans, etc.)
My love for animals has been encouraged by my family and friends. I have had the opportunity to volunteer with the local animal shelter and provide basic care to the stray animals. With the help of my biology teacher, I was able to start a 4-H club on campus. Many of the other students on campus developed an interest in the animals and now our club has 100 members. My family also has many animals for which I provide care, including basic needs as well as first aid. I find that I enjoy that aspect of pet ownership best. Unfortunately, my family cannot afford to pay for my entire education, so I hope to use my skills and love of animals to help me pay for college.
(Conclude your essay with a wrap-up of why you should be considered for the scholarship; how do your goals match those of the organization, etc.)
Your organization stands for what I believe in. Like your organization, I hope to help animals for the rest of my life. To reach my goals, I need as much help as possible. I already have the moral support of my family and friends, but that is not quite enough to make my dream come true. I hope that your organization can help me reach this dream by awarding me your scholarship.