How to Write a Scholarship Essay and Win Your Application

posted by Andy Preisler 11 Oct 2023
Table of contents:

If you are a talented student who’s used to impressive grades, you’ll want to know how to write a scholarship essay. Getting an education is a luxury that only some people can afford. Even if someone takes up a loan, they’ll need years to pay it off, so obviously, no one wants to resort to this decision. The smartest students have a chance to earn a scholarship, a special grant that can cover their expenses and help them continue their education without destroying their budget.

The question is, how to win it? You need to show excellent performance, but plenty of students display it. Being confident or needing help more than others won’t change anything: you’ll still face fierce competition. The only way to stand out is by knowing how to write winning scholarship essay, and that’s what you should capitalize on. Some students prefer to hire experts. They contact an experienced firm with the words, “Please write my essay for me,” and reap the benefits. You could follow their example or craft your own amazing paper if you feel like a good writer! We’ll share numerous useful tips to help you steal your readers’ breath away.

Scholarship Essay versus College Application Essay: What’s the Difference?

Most students already have experience writing college application essays. That’s useful as, in many ways, your scholarship paper follows similar principles. They both focus on you as a unique individual, sharing personal information to help the committee understand your mind and soul. The prompts revolve around your experiences, your thoughts, and your feelings. They both seek to give you an advantage, whether it’s getting into the college of your dreams or winning money for education. But this is where similarities end.
Despite having similar prompts and purpose, applications are longer: they can reach even 900 words, while scholarship essay usually take 500 words or less. Also, scholarship essays are unique since they require students to show advanced skills and sharper self-awareness. You are not competing against general students here; you’re fighting the best of the best: your writing, critical thinking, and reflection abilities must shine. Most scholarships follow unique interests. Find out what the organization you’re applying to stands for, and make certain you write something that fits their criteria. If you’re an eco-activist and they represent the same group of people, emphasize your shared interests and goals.

What Is a Scholarship Essay and Its Goals?

Before we move on to writing specifics, let’s define what a scholarship paper is. It’s a piece of individual writing that follows an assigned prompt and attempts to convince the group of people why its author deserves financial assistance. Often, people refer to them as scholarship application letters — they should come in the package with other advantages, such as stellar grades.
A strong paper alone won’t help students win, but if they correspond to other criteria, all they need is to draw attention and come across as special in their writing. Imagine a person who hired a professional scholarship essay writing service to help them. They will produce a paper with perfect structure, interesting ideas, vivid writing style, and flawless grammar, which the committee will genuinely enjoy reading. In contrast, another student will present an uninspired essay with short sentences, abrupt thoughts, typos, grammar errors, and a vague nature. Both students could be brilliant, but their scholarship paper will put them in vastly different categories, with the first student winning and the second losing. If you want to compete, you must have inspiration and knowledge. We will help you with both.

A Helpful Outline for Your Essay

Having an outline is always a plus. Yes, you might disagree — after all, who wants to waste their time writing something they aren’t even going to submit? But trust us: make an effort today, and you’ll benefit tomorrow. An outline can show you how to write scholarship essay. Break it into three mandatory sections and fill them with ideas for your future paper. Here are the parts you’ll need to include. We’ll cover them briefly in the outline and then explain some in depth in the lower sections.


  1. Hook, the first sentence that secures your readers’ attention.
  2. Background, which includes several general sentences about you.
  3. Thesis, the last sentence, and a strong phrase that shows why you’re writing what you do.


  1. Opening sentence, which must have a direct link to the thesis.
  2. Exploring one of scholarship essay prompts you got. Students could write about why they need a scholarship, describe their biggest failure, identify their education goals, share their academic and career dreams, demonstrate why they applied for this particular scholarship, etc.
  3. Closing sentence, which summarizes or concludes what you wrote.


  1. Restating thesis by repeating it in other words.
  2. Summarizing key points from the body.
  3. Appeal for scholarship and emphasis on its relevance.

Getting Started: Prepare for Your Essay Mentally

How to write a good scholarship essay? First, students should be ready for it psychologically. This task is paramount, so make certain you allocate enough time for it. Don’t wait until the last moment to start writing: on the contrary, start as early as possible. It’s better to finish it sooner than to realize there is no time left and produce a raw, badly written paper. Plan everything accordingly.
A student who wants to succeed must understand their scholarship essay prompt. Read it carefully and slowly once. Then twice. Is everything clear? Are you completely sure that you are not misinterpreting anything? Your education might depend on these answers.

Choosing Scholarship Essay Topics and Narrowing General Ideas Down

Whatever prompt students select or are given, the goal lies in proving why they deserve this scholarship over everyone else. Keep this in mind as you do the planning. Ask yourself useful questions. Let’s imagine that your prompt says something like, “Describe an event that transformed your personality.” It’s interesting but broad, so what should you write about? You’ll be telling your story: think of a bright event that still stands sharp in your memory. What feelings did you experience when you survived it? What type of person were you before it, and how did it change you? What distinguishes you from others now? What makes you unique? Is it a positive or a negative event? Keep asking these questions until you arrive at ideas that could make for a great essay. Some common prompts for writing an essay for a scholarship:

  1. What Is Your Reason for Needing a Scholarship?
  2. Describe How You Cope with Losing
  3. What Person Affected Your Life Most and in What Way?
  4. Things that Inspire Me
  5. Why I Chose This Specialty for My Career
  6. What Unique Abilities Do I Possess?
  7. How I Learned a Vital Skill
  8. What I Do When I Face a Challenge
  9. What Ultimate Dream Do I Have?
  10. The Kind of Person I Want to Be in 20 Years

Create an Engaging Hook

We promised to discuss the structure of an essay with more details, and we’ll start with the hook. As we mentioned above, the hook is the first sentence of the introduction section. Its role is crucial because it helps intrigue readers in record time. The sooner they feel interested in your paper, the better your chances of winning, and what can be better than fueling their interest with your first line?
There are three popular ways of making a cool hook. Students could use a powerful quote they relate to: it could come from a favorite book, movie, TV show, or just from a known person. Another way is asking a question and finding a common ground between you and your audience. This question could be entirely rhetorical, or you could actually attempt to answer it in the course of your paper. The third method comprises sharing statistics or making a joke if you feel it’s relevant. All these methods could help students stand out from the start, but — and it’s one of the most important scholarship writing tips — you need to make them count. Don’t shock or interest readers without planning on a follow-up. If your hook is a piece of statistics that says, “Less than 0.1% of people drown in their bathtubs,” it must have a direct continuation. “Despite this fact, I have nearly become one of them” would be a logical and interesting follow-up: most people are fascinated with hearing about the near-death experiences of others. But if there is nothing like this in an essay, the hook will lose its relevance. Make it interesting and contextually important at the same time.

Formulate Your Thesis

The thesis summarizes a paper that students hide in one sentence. It comes at the end of the introduction and should be direct, specific, and on point. Take this example: “Losing fills me with expected sadness, but I transform bitterness into strength and use this strength as motivation to do better next time.” From this thesis alone, it is obvious that we’d be writing a paper about our reaction to losing. Make a similar model based on your prompt.

Develop the Body of Your Scholarship Paper

Every scholarship essay must have a body, and this is where problems usually start. Most students who get college essays for sale do it because they cannot write a powerful body. It’s the meatiest, the longest section, and every sentence in it must be specific. The opening line must directly link with a thesis: if your thesis consists of two parts, you’ll need two body paragraphs and two opening sentences.

The text that comes after it should explore it properly and must be extremely specific. This is your paper, your chance for a scholarship: make certain that each line of your text screams about your unique personality. Describe your achievements, express feelings, voice your motivations, and establish your short-term plus long-term goals. Include real-life examples: always be specific. Closing lines conclude your ideas. If an essay has several body paragraphs, then one of them could end with the transition to the next one. If there is a single body paragraph, make its last line a summary of the ideas you just discussed.

Build an Effective and Memorable Conclusion

From all essay tips for scholarships, students usually ignore those about the conclusion, and that’s a mistake we urge our readers to avoid. The conclusion is the last section people see, meaning it has to be bright and end on a high note. If a body is great, but the conclusion is underwhelming, this is exactly the impression your paper will leave your audience with. Amaze them instead. Repeat your thesis in new words and remind them of key details from your experiences. Pick a type of your conclusion. It could be reflective, where students ponder on their experience and its implications. It could be future-focused, where they concentrate on what they’ll achieve and how they are going to act now after the changes that happened in them and which they described in an essay. The cyclic conclusion returns to your first line, presenting the same argument but in a new, more self-aware light. With an example about bathtubs, it could sound like, “Sometimes falling asleep in the bathtub does not lead to death: sometimes it results in a rebirth.”
In the last sentence or two, make a strong appeal for the scholarship. Combine pathos, ethos, and logos in one appeal: make the committee feel like they hear your voice as they read the last lines. This is a possible example: “I am going to follow my goal of becoming an artist regardless of what obstacles block my path, but winning this scholarship will facilitate my fight, letting me focus on inspiration and give back to the community sooner.” This thesis demonstrates that the writer is a strong-willed individual with a real passion for art: losing won’t stop them, but they still hope for a scholarship and promise to pay for it by spreading their talent. Try building a similar model.

Standard Scholarship Essay Formatting

Scholarship papers rarely require the use of styles like APA or MLA. Students need a custom essay that looks good. Your instructors might ask you to format your paper following a specific style, but in most cases, you should maintain these general standards:

  • Indicate your name, date of submission, and essay title on the title page
  • Put page numbers in the right upper corner
  • Use Times New Roman
  • Stick to 12-point font
  • Apply double-spacing
  • Create 1-inch margins from all sides
  • Make an indent before every new paragraph
  • Format your essay in PDF format

When students receive templates that encourage them to follow other tips, obviously, this is what they should stick with. Follow your guide if you didn’t get any special instructions.

Scholarship Essay Tips for Students Who’re Starting Their Paper

The planning stage is behind now. We created an outline, prepared formatting, and now we’re ready to start writing. How to do it effectively? What writing tips could strengthen the skills of any writer? We present them below!

  • Use a mild tone throughout your paper. The best writers find a balance between confidence and humility. If a student has an inflated ego and keeps repeating how they’ll earn the scholarship, it’ll push the committee away. Similarly, if a writer begs for a scholarship, it’ll look pitiful. Be dignified, quietly confident, and mildly grateful for consideration. 
  • Be polite. This is vital: keep everything polite! Never complain, insult, or threaten anyone. You probably won’t, but some students need reminders. Even if writers don’t actually like an organization that issues scholarship, they should not criticize it in any way unless their prompt asks them for it. Don’t lose your common sense, not when you’re asking for a money favor. 
  • Follow your outline. The more detailed an outline for the scholarship essay is, the better. It allows students to follow it so that they’ll know what to write about at every stage. If writers suddenly catch new ideas that weren't part of an outline, it’s okay to explore them anyway, but ask yourself, is it a good idea? Won’t it affect the flow and logic of other ideas? Are there any other changes you must make to accommodate your new plan? Changing things is possible, but ideally, stay with your outline unless you realize it has flaws. 
  • Weave a story. Some students make mistakes by dumping a collection of dry facts on their scholarship committee. This is a terrible idea. If someone writes, “I want a scholarship because I want to be an engineer. I like building things. This job also pays a lot,” technically, they’ll follow their prompt. But will it look powerful? Definitely not. No one is interested in bare facts: the committee wants emotions. They hope to know the real student, to see their soul, their dreams, and character. Exaggerate a little, add emotions, and play on people’s feelings. It’ll help.  
  • Proofread your paper. After an essay is finished, students must re-read it in search of errors. Even the best writers make mistakes, so give it your best. There is nothing worse than submitting an essay and then catching a typo. If English isn’t your strongest fort, ask professional editors for help. They’ll comb through your essay and make it shine. 
  • Seek feedback in advance. Give your paper to friends, family, or paid academic experts for review. The more people voice their opinions and give suggestions, the better. This way, you’ll know how strong your essay is and whether it requires any changes.

Submit a Perfect Essay that Represents Your Brain and Your Heart

If students have knowledge and stubbornness, but they lack money to pay for their education, what should they do? Rob a bank? Ask for a loan that will haunt them for years after graduation. Not at all. Scholarship is a gift that can be given if one gets it, and to get it, one needs to write a great paper. We showed how to format a scholarship essay; we explained how to structure it and which tone to use. Develop an outline, create a strong narration, be specific, proofread, and re-read everything. Craft a genuine appeal for a scholarship that sounds heartfelt but not imploring. If any of these steps bother you, never hesitate to ask for help. Our team of expert writers is there for students 24/7, with no exceptions: place a request, and we’ll write, edit, or simply review your paper. Leaving our mark on your way to winning a scholarship will be our pleasure!     

Andy Preisler

Blog writer for GrabMyEssay

Andy Preisler


Hey there!

I’m Andy Preisler, and I’m super happy to be joining the blog team at!

While I hail from Fayetteville, Arkansas (I know, not the most progressive state!), I left the Southern life behind me many years ago when I went to college for my first degree. I’ve received it in University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and I’m really proud of this. Since then, I have studied in the U.S., and later on, continued my education in Loughborough University, UK, where I actually my second Bachelor’s Degree along the way.

With my perpetual studies (my parents wonder if it will ever stop), I have become a bit of an expert on college life – academic, social, and financial – and love sharing my experiences and my methods of “circumventing the system” with others.  I will be sharing all of these great tips and strategies with my readers, so stay tuned!

When I am not blogging or enrolling in some new course that interests me, I am backpacking through Europe and staying in hostels, working on my second novel (a riveting murder mystery), and pursuing my interest in music. Yes, I travel with my guitar, and you would be amazed at the amount of cash I can accumulate, just performing on the streets of European cities (they are so much more tolerant of vagabond musicians). 

My other passion is environmental. In my short 27 years of life on this planet, I have witnessed the extinction of species, the destruction of rain forests, and irreparable harm to our oceans. I contribute both time and money to several international environmental organizations, because we all must do our part to save Mother Earth.

But I digress! If you are interested in the “ins and outs” of college life, and want some great tales of navigating through the game of “degree attainment,” as well as tips for easing the pain of those pesky essay and paper assignments, follow my blog!

I would love to hear from you, to give you advice, and to lend a listening ear. You can contact me at [email protected] anytime! And follow my posts – you won’t be disappointed!

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