It is imperative that you find your voice in order to be successful at writing your scholarship essay. Here are five guidelines for helping you define your voice:
1. Be Original – Being original is the most important part of writing your scholarship essays, because it’s essential that your work stands out from the crowd. While this might seem difficult to accomplish, remember that you are your number one secret weapon. That’s right – YOU! While the essay question may be the same for everyone, you can use your own experiences to differentiate your answer from all the others. Examine the question thoroughly and find the best way to relate the subject to your own life. You can do this, even when the topic seems to have nothing to do with you. Try to avoid what seems like the obvious answer and find a creative and insightful way to approach the topic.
2. Be Passionate – It takes a lot of spirit to convince somebody that you are the best out of the bunch, but if you can sell yourself, it will mean college money in your pocket! The judges want to know that you are the type of person with the enthusiasm and dedication to take full advantage of your opportunity to be educated. People who care strongly about something are the people who set goals and work hard to achieve them. That’s why you have to barrel into your essay with guns blazing! Let your passion show through regardless of the topic. Most essay questions are open enough to allow the applicants to write about the one thing they truly love. So, dive deeper into the question and find a way to relate your big devotion in life to the topic.
3. Be Honest – Being fake isn’t going to get you anywhere. Put your effort into finding an original and passionate approach to the essay topic. Then write your essay in a way that presents your story in a positive light, while still being true to who you actually are. While it might seem like a good idea to exaggerate about your accomplishments in order to give the judges a good impression of you, understand that this plan always backfires. The scholarship panelists are smart people, and they will know if your essay sounds forced. On the other hand, you also don’t want to undersell yourself and your achievements to avoid being “showy” because that will work against you too.
4. Be Descriptive – Nobody likes a boring story – and that includes the scholarship judges! You need to do your best to avoid making your essay a snooze fest and keep those judges riveted and awed. Use descriptive writing to lift your words from the page and help the judges to touch, taste, see, smell and feel your story and why it’s special. Be sure to read pages 104-105 in The “C” Students Guide to Scholarships for examples on how to use descriptive writing in your scholarship essay.
5. Be Positive – Attending college is all about optimism for the future, and your scholarship essay should stick with this tone of confidence. Don’t try to impress the judges with your caustic, jaded view of the world. Criticizing society for its stupidity is perfectly acceptable on your personal blog, but the scholarship committee is not going to want to be responsible for unleashing your negativity on the educational world. In the same way, you should also avoid tearjerkers that don’t have a positive and uplifting message. Neither of these tactics work on the judges. Remember, positivity is key.