Fourteen Scholarship Essay Examples That Won Thousands 2023
Winning a big scholarship can be life-changing, particularly for those with financial need.
BUT people often forget that winning lots of small scholarship applications can be life-changing too. The scholarship essay examples (and our strategy) below can take you from planning your college plans and career goals to living them.
A common problem soon-to-be college students face: Paying for college. They qualify for many scholarships but are daunted by the task of writing five to ten to fifteen (or more) essays. It can be a struggle to even start writing, particularly for those “why I deserve the scholarship” prompts.
One solution for how to write a scholarship essay for many topics at once: Pick topics that have overlapping subject matter and write an essay or two that fit lots of these essays at once. Below, we’ve given some more information about how to successfully earn scholarship opportunities with this technique and how to end a scholarship essay.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Kang Foundation and Legal Scholarship
- New York University Scholarship
- North Coast Section Foundation Scholarship
- Fund for Education Abroad Scholarship 1
- Questbridge Scholarship
- Change a Life Foundation
- Millennium Gates Last Dollar Scholarship 1
- Millennium Gates Last Dollar Scholarship 2
- Millennium Gates Last Dollar Scholarship 3
- Millennium Gates Last Dollar Scholarship 4
- National Association of University Women Scholarship 1
- National Association of University Women Scholarship 2
- Fund for Education Abroad Scholarship 2
- Local School District Scholarship
What Makes These Examples So Great
These scholarship winners earned thousands in financial aid from writing these essays.
The key to many of these essays is that they describe a story or an aspect of the student’s life in a way that is dynamic: It reflects many of their values, strengths, interests, volunteer work, and life experiences.
Many of these essays also demonstrate vulnerability. Scholarship committees reading your responses will want to know who this money will benefit and why it’s important that you receive this money. In other words, they want to better understand how your values, qualities, and skills will flourish in college--and how good your writing skills are. In fact, we’ve written a guide to what colleges look for that can help you skillfully write vulnerable scholarship essays.
Whether it’s a scholarship essay about yourself , a creative writing scholarship, or an essay about why you deserve the scholarship, the sample scholarship essays below can help you better understand what can result from following a scholarship essay format or applying tips for how to write a scholarship essay.
But first! If you’re an international student (not from the United States) applying to scholarships, don’t forget to consider some common mistakes international students make when applying to college .
How to Save Time By Combining Essays
Want to save a lot of time during the process?
Write a great college essay and re-use it when writing scholarship essays for similar prompts. Why? Combining essay prompts will not only save you time, it’ll actually result in a better essay.
We sometimes like to call these “Super Essays” because the added benefit of writing a multi-purpose essay is that it makes the essay stronger overall. We have a whole guide for how to do that here .
This makes scholarship essays similar to supplemental essays because many supplemental essays also overlap. We know many students will be writing both types of essays at once! To help, we’ve put together a supplemental essays course on how to tackle the daunting supplemental essays, including many skills that help with writing those “Super” scholarship essays too.
Scholarship Essay Example #1
Kang Foundation Scholarship ($1000), Kingdom Dreamer Scholarship Fund Scholarship through Sarang Church ($2000), and the national contest from the Lamber Goodnow legal team ($1000) by Peter Kang.
Prompt: Open topic.
Fedora? Check. Apron? Check. Tires pumped? Check. Biking the thirty-five minutes each evening to the cafe and back to work a six-hour shift was exhausting, but my family’s encouragement and gratitude for the extra income was worth it. A few years earlier, my family of nine had been evicted from the home we had been living in for the past ten years. With nowhere else to go, we moved into our church’s back room for three months, where I shamefully tried to hide our toothbrushes and extra shoes from other church members. Right then I made a commitment to my family to contribute financially in whatever way I could. My sacrifice translated to a closer bond with my siblings and deeper conversations with my parents, helping me understand the true meaning of a unified family and the valuable part I play in that. With the financial stability that my part-time jobs provided my mother could stay home to raise seven children, my learning-disabled older sister could attend college, my younger sister could go on a mission trip to Korea, and my twin siblings could compete in national math competitions. I’ve seen that even as a high school student, I have so much potential to impact my family and beyond -- how one small act can go a long way. Through the successes of my efforts, I also realized that poverty was just a societal limitation. I was low-income, not poor. I was still flourishing in school, leading faith-based activities and taking an active role in community service. My low-income status was not a barrier but a launching pad to motivate and propel my success. To additionally earn more money as a young teen, I began flipping bicycles for profit on craigslist. Small adjustments in the brake and gears, plus a wash, could be the difference between a $50 piece of trash and a $200 steal. Seeing how a single inch could disarrange the lining of gears not only taught me the importance of detail but also sparked my fascination with fixing things. When I was sixteen I moved on to a larger project: my clunker of a car. I had purchased my 2002 Elantra with my own savings, but it was long past its prime. With some instruction from a mechanic, I began to learn the components of an engine motor and the engineering behind it. I repaired my brake light, replaced my battery, and made adjustments to the power-steering hose. Engineering was no longer just a nerdy pursuit of robotics kids; it was a medium to a solution. It could be a way to a career, doing the things I love. I was inspired to learn more. Last summer, to continue exploring my interest in engineering, I interned at Boeing. Although I spent long hours researching and working in the lab for the inertial navigation of submarines, I learned most from the little things. From the way my mentors and I began working two hours earlier than required to meet deadlines, I learned that engineering is the commitment of long hours. From the respect and humility embodied within our team, I learned the value of unity at the workplace. Like my own family at home, our unity and communal commitment to working led to excellent results for everyone and a closer connection within the group. What most intrigues me about engineering is not just the math or the technology, but the practical application. It is through engineering that I can fix up my car... and facilitate submarine navigation. Engineering, in fact, is a lifestyle -- instead of lingering over hardships, I work to solve them and learn from them. Whether the challenge is naval defense or family finances or even just a flat tire on my bike before another night shift, I will be solving these problems and will always be looking to keep rolling on. Success is triumphing over hardships -- willing yourself over anything and everything to achieve the best for yourself and your family. With this scholarship, I will use it to continue focusing on my studies in math and engineering, instead of worrying about making money and sending more back home. It will be an investment into myself for my family.
Scholarship Essay Example #2
New York University College of Arts and Science $39,500 Scholarship by Ana
Prompt: Explain something that made a big impact in your life.
“If you can’t live off of it, it is useless.” My parents were talking about ice skating: my passion. I started skating as a ten-year-old in Spain, admiring how difficulty and grace intertwine to create beautiful programs, but no one imagined I would still be on the ice seven years and one country later. Even more unimaginable was the thought that ice skating might become one of the most useful parts of my life. I was born in Mexico to two Spanish speakers; thus, Spanish was my first language. We then moved to Spain when I was six, before finally arriving in California around my thirteenth birthday. Each change introduced countless challenges, but the hardest part of moving to America, for me, was learning English. Laminated index cards, color-coded and full of vocabulary, became part of my daily life. As someone who loves to engage in a conversation, it was very hard to feel as if my tongue was cut off. Only at the ice rink could I be myself; the feeling of the cold rink breeze embracing me, the ripping sound of blades touching the ice, even the occasional ice burning my skin as I fell—these were my few constants. I did not need to worry about mispronouncing “axel” as “aksal.” Rather, I just needed to glide and deliver the jump. From its good-natured bruise-counting competitions to its culture of hard work and perseverance, ice skating provided the nurturing environment that made my other challenges worthwhile. Knowing that each moment on the ice represented a financial sacrifice for my family, I cherished every second I got. Often this meant waking up every morning at 4 a.m. to practice what I had learned in my few precious minutes of coaching. It meant assisting in group lessons to earn extra skating time and taking my conditioning off-ice by joining my high school varsity running teams. Even as I began to make friends and lose my fear of speaking, the rink was my sanctuary. Eventually, however, the only way to keep improving was to pay for more coaching, which my family could not afford. And so I started tutoring Spanish. Now, the biggest passion of my life is supported by my most natural ability. I have had over thirty Spanish students, ranging in age from three to forty and spanning many ethnic backgrounds. I currently work with fifteen students each week, each with different needs and ways of learning. Drawing on my own experiences as both a second language-learner and a figure skater, I assign personal, interactive exercises, make jokes to keep my students’ mindset positive, and never give away right answers. When I first started learning my axel jump, my coach told me I would have to fall at least 500 times (about a year of falls!) in order to land it. Likewise, I have my students embrace every detail of a mistake until they can begin to recognize new errors when they see them. I encourage them to expand their horizons and take pride in preparing them for new interactions and opportunities. Although I agree that I will never live off of ice skating, the education and skills I have gained from it have opened countless doors. Ice skating has given me the resilience, work ethic, and inspiration to develop as a teacher and an English speaker. It has improved my academic performance by teaching me rhythm, health, and routine. It also reminds me that a passion does not have to produce money in order for it to hold immense value. Ceramics, for instance, challenges me to experiment with the messy and unexpected. While painting reminds me to be adventurous and patient with my forms of self-expression. I don’t know yet what I will live off of from day to day as I mature; however, the skills my passions have provided me are life-long and irreplaceable.
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Scholarship Essay Example #3
North Coast Section Foundation Scholarship for $1000 by Christine Fung
As a child of immigrant parents, I learned to take responsibilities for my family and myself at a very young age. Although my parents spoke English, they constantly worked in order to financially support my little brother and I. Meanwhile, my grandparents barely knew English so I became their translator for medical appointments and in every single interaction with English speakers. Even until now, I still translate for them and I teach my grandparents conversational English. The more involved I became with my family, the more I knew what I wanted to be in the future. Since I was five, my parents pushed me to value education because they were born in Vietnam and had limited education. Because of this disadvantage, I learned to take everything I do seriously and to put in all of my effort to complete tasks such as becoming the founder of my school’s Badminton Club in my sophomore year and Red Cross Club this year. Before creating these clubs, I created a vision for these clubs so I can organize my responsibilities better as a leader. The more involved I became, the more I learned as a leader and as a person. As a leader, I carried the same behavior I portrayed towards my younger cousins and sibling. My family members stressed the importance of being a good influence; as I adapted this behavior, I utilized this in my leadership positions. I learned to become a good role model by teaching my younger family members proper manners and guiding them in their academics so that they can do well. In school, I guide my peers in organizing team uniform designs and in networking with a nonprofit organization for service events. Asides from my values, I’m truly passionate in the medical field. I always wanted to be a pediatrician since I was fourteen. My strong interest in the medical field allowed me to open up my shell in certain situations— when I became sociable to patients in the hospital as a volunteer, when I became friendly and approachable to children in my job at Kumon Math and Reading Center, and when I portrayed compassion and empathy towards my teammates in the badminton team. However, when I participated in the 2017 Kaiser Summer Volunteer Program at Richmond Medical Center, I realized that I didn’t only want to be a pediatrician. This program opened my eye to numerous opportunities in different fields of medicine and in different approaches in working in the medicine industry. While I may have a strong love for the medical field, my interest in business immensely grew as I soon discovered that I didn’t only have to take the practical approach in the medical field. With this interest, I plan to also become a part of a medical facility management team. In the future, I hope to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor by attaining an MD, and to double major in Managerial Economics. I intend to study at UC Davis as a Biological Sciences major, where I anticipate to become extremely involved with the student community. After graduation, I plan to develop a strong network relationship with Kaiser Permanente as I’ve started last year in my internship. By developing a network with them, I hope to work in one of their facilities some day. Based on my values, interests, and planned future, I’m applying for the NCS Foundation scholarship because not only will it financially help me, but it can give motivation for me to academically push myself. I hope to use this scholarship in applying for a study abroad program, where I can learn about other cultures’ customs while conducting research there.
Scholarship Essay Example #4
Fund for Education Abroad Rainbow Scholarship $7,500 by Steven Fisher
Prompt: The Fund for Education Abroad is committed to diversifying education abroad by providing funding to students who are typically under-represented in study abroad. Please describe how you and/or your plans for study abroad could be viewed as under-represented.
“Oh well look at that one,” my uncle leans over and says about my brother-in-law in the living room wearing a dress. “I’d always had my suspicions about him,” he jokes with a disapproving sneer and leans back in his chair, a plate of Southern-style Christmas dinner in his hand. I was hurt. Why would my own uncle say that like it’s such a terrible thing that my brother-in-law is wearing a dress? That it was the worst thing in the world if my brother-in-law were gay or effeminite. “I think he looks beautiful,” my oldest brother Ethan chimes in. At that moment, I wish I could have hugged Ethan. No, not because he was defending my brother-in-law (who actually isn’t gay, as my uncle was suggesting), but because Ethan was defending me. My uncle has no idea that I recognized earlier this past year that heterosexuality wasn’t meeting all of my needs for intimacy with other people and that I’ve come to define myself as queer. It all started when I took a hard look at how my upbringing in Miami had taught me that the only way that boys are supposed to connect with others is by having sex with “beautiful” girls – that intimacy with other guys or “ugly” girls isn’t as meaningful. After freeing up that block in my brain that told me that I shouldn’t look at guys in a certain way, I could embraced the fact that I’m attracted to men (and people in general) in a lot of different, new ways. My growth as a person was exponential. I rewrote so many areas of my life where I didn’t do things I wanted because of social conditioning. Within two months, my world expanded to include polyamory. I looked back on my past relationship with my girlfriend and realized that I wasn’t jealous (angry, yes. hurt, yes. But not jealous) when she cheated on me. I realized that people’s needs — whether they are for sex, someone to talk to, someone to engage intellectually — don’t necessarily all have to be met with one person. It can be easier sometimes with one person, absolutely. But that’s not the only way. As someone who is both polyamorus and queer, I feel like parts of my family and large parts of my community marginalize me for being different because society has told them to. I want to change that. Since I will be studying for an entire year in Prague, I will have the opportunity to attend the annual Mezipatra, an international film festival in November that screens around a hundred top-ranking films on lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and queer themes. I feel really connected to going to this event because I crave being in an environment of like-minded people who strive to do that same thing I want to: balance the images of people typically portrayed through cliché and stereotype. When I came out to my sister-in-law, she told me that people who are really set in their ways are more likely to be tolerant to different kinds of people after having relationships with these people. If my uncle can learn to love me, to learn to love one queer/poly person, he can learn to love them all. If I can be an example to my family, I can be an example to my classmates. If I can get the opportunity to travel abroad, I can be an example to the world. Not just through my relationships, but through my art. Give me a camera and a screen and I will carry the message of tolerance from the audiences of Mezipatra in Prague to my parent’s living room. Fade in: Two men with thick beards kiss – maybe for once they aren’t wearing colorful flamboyant clothing. Fade in: A woman leaves her house to go to her male best friend’s house and her husband honestly tells her to enjoy herself. Fade in: A college student wanting to study abroad tells his conservative parents the truth…
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Get help from my free guide, scholarship essay example #5.
Questbridge Finalist essay earning $3,000 in application waivers plus $3000 in local scholarships by Jordan Sanchez
Prompt: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
Recall the most cherished memory with your father figure. For some it may be when he taught you how to ride a bike, for others it may be memories of him taking you out for pizza when mom said the family has to eat healthy, for others it’s the ability to confide in somebody that won’t judge or stop loving you because of the mistakes you have made. When a child is born, he or she is given a birth certificate, which provides information such as name, date and place of birth, but most importantly it provides the names of the parents of the child. On my birth certificate I have the name the name of my beloved mother Lurvin, but right above her name is an empty space where my father’s name should be. As a child I would often compare my life to my peers; I would often go through all of these hypothetical scenarios in my mind thinking, “If my dad were around I could be like all of the other boys.” As the years went by I always had a sense of optimism that one day I would meet him and he would tell me “I love you and I’ll never leave your side again.” But when the time came and I met him on January 2014 I learned that a man can reject his only son not once, but twice. My father left when I was one year old and I will soon be turning 17; I did the math and found that for about 5900 days he has neglected me. He was able to sleep 5900 nights without knowing whether or not I was dead or alive. Even though he’s been gone for 5900 days, my life did not get put on hold. In those 5900 days I learned how to walk, talk, and I became a strong young man without the provider of my Y Chromosome because he is nothing more to me than that. In the past I believed that my father was necessary to rise but instead I found that false hope was an unnecessary accessory and now I refuse to let the fact that I am fatherless define the limits of the great things that I can accomplish. It’s said that boys learn to be a man from their fathers, that they learn what it means to be a man that has values and can stand up for what’s right. I, however, have found that grit can come from anywhere. When I was in middle school I was overweight and many other boys would call me names, and even after going to administration several times nothing changed and for several years I kept myself at bay because if I had done anything in return I would be no better than those guys who bullied me. I previously had this perception that somebody else would come to my rescue, that somebody else would provide the mental strength to combat the hardships that were sent my way. But as time passed I grew tired of waiting for help that was never going to come so I had to become my own hero. Since making that decision I have been liberated from the labels that previously confined me and I took back control of my own life. My ability to be self motivated has assisted me in becoming a leader in several of my extracurricular activities. I was one of the 4 male students of my school district that was selected as a delegate by the American Legion to participate at the Boy’s State program and I am also the captain of my group in the Young Senator's Leadership Program that is run by California Senator Tony Mendoza. I also developed skills on the wrestling mat. On one occasion I wrestled the person who was ranked the 9th best wrestler in the state and although I did not win there was not a single second that I was afraid to fail because I knew I gave it my all. Similarly I have put the same effort into becoming a successful. My father’s name is not on my birth certificate, but it is MY birth certificate. My origins are not the brightest but I was given a life that is mine to live and because “Life is made of two dates and a dash..” I have to “...Make most of the dash.” I am not going to live forever but if I were to leave this world today I would feel content with the person I see in the mirror. I know the difficulty that latinos face in this day and age I can envision assisting other young latinos achieving their dreams. I believe the most valuable thing in this world is opportunity because sometimes all it takes for someone to be successful is a chance to do so. Consequently I would like to be part of that chance that can foster the growth of future success.
Scholarship Essay Example #6
Change a Life Foundation Scholarship Essay Examples by Isabella Mendez-Figueroa
Prompt: Please explain a personal hardship or catastrophic life event that you have experienced. How did you manage to overcome this obstacle? What did you learn and how did you grow from it? This answer is critical to your application as Change a Life Foundation’s vision is to assist individuals who have persevered and overcome a hardship/catastrophic life event.
Filling out this application, and my college applications, has forced me to face head on the realities that I've grown up in. Looking back and describing my life I see all the ways in which I am disadvantaged due to my socioeconomic status. But I think it's important to note that I wasn't fully aware of any of it growing up. I knew that my parents couldn't buy me everything, but I also knew that they hardly ever said no. I was a very normal child, asking for chicken nuggets and looking at mom and dad any time I was scared or unsure of something. As I've grown I've learned to fight my own monsters but I now also battle the ones that frighten my parents, the monsters of a world that they weren't born into. Monsters of doubt and disadvantage that try to keep them stuck in a cycle of poverty; thriving in a world that casts them to the side and a society that, with its current political climate, doesn't welcome them with the warmest hello. The baby sitter, the house keeper, the driver, it's taken my dad 10+ years of night shifts to attain financial stability, and become an asset to his workplace. He's been one of the millions of people who has been laid off in the last couple of decades and has had to start over multiple times. But each time he's re-built himself with more resilience. I've grown up living in section 8 housing because my parents often found themselves living paycheck to paycheck, not by choice, but by circumstance. They've endured bankruptcy over credit card debt, have never owned a home, or been given access to resources that allow them to save. Every time we've readapted, we get struck by a new change. I currently live in Manchester Square, a ghost town, byproduct of the Los Angeles Airport expansion project. The 16 steps I have always known, soon to be demolished. My neighbors are empty lots, enclosed by fences. Homeless people’s pitch tents, under the roar of airplanes. My home is soon to become an accommodation to an airport, soon to be nonexistent. Knowing that my family has to relocate as I'm applying to college makes me feel a tad guilty, because of my lack of resources, I fear it will become a barrier into my transition to college. My parents finances are not a secret, I know their struggles as I hear about them day after day. My parents now deal with the burden of relocating, no longer having subsidized housing and again, struck by yet another need to readjust and reassemble. Relocating a family of 5 in an area plagued by gentrification of stadiums and demolition is no simple task as rent prices are as high as mortgages. It's odd they don't want me to stress or have it become my problem but I know it is, and I want to do whatever I can to help. My older sister is the first in my family to go to college. I was always the shyer one. She's taught me through her efforts that the only limits you have are the ones you place on yourself. With my sister's example I have followed in the footsteps of never letting money become a reason why I can't or won't do something. If my sister can do it, I can do it. I see the leadership characteristic is genetic and it runs in my entire family. I witness my parents be leaders everyday as they tackle cultural obstacles in a country that wasn't the one they were born into, speaking a language that is not their own, and raising children to succeed in a system of higher education; one they never had the privilege to be part of. My family and I are one. We stack our efforts, and obstacles on top of each other to further our successes as a whole. When I think back to my family's story I'm amazed to think that my grandpa came to the US in the midst of WW2, a bracero, leaving his family to help feed millions of Americans in time of war. My grandpa, a man of the fields, paved the way so I could defy the odds with my prosperity. At home, the teacher role often switches within my family. I am responsible for translating documents to my parents and explaining procedures and concepts as I, myself, am learning them. I have had the responsibility of helping assist my younger sister who has a mild case of Cerebral Palsy. Due to her pre-existing condition, she is a slow learner. I have dedicated a lot of time this past year, helping her with her transition from elementary to middle school and helping her adapt to such a drastic change. Sometimes, I only sleep 4 hours as I wake up and rush out the door in order to make it on time to 6am tutoring. Having to manage my schoolwork and home responsibilities has been difficult but I've managed to maintain high academic achievement by managing my time correctly and being persistent. If I truly want something, I need to go after it, and I will get it done. Sometimes being tired isn't an option.
Scholarship Essay Example #7
Millennium Gates Last Dollar Scholarship and $3,500 in Outside Scholarship Essay Examples by Famyrah Lafortune
Prompt: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” - Nelson Mandela. Describe a change you would like to make in the world. Tell us about how you would plan to make that change, and what obstacles you might encounter along the way. * (No more than 400 words)
Nothing is more important to me than ending racial inequality and discrimination in America, as I do not want my younger siblings to face the discrimination Black people continue to face in our present society. After winning our fight to freedom and provoking the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, why do Black teens face higher poverty rates than Whites and are still four times more likely to be incarcerated? “That was such a long time ago. You really need to get over it,” my White peers say when referring to racial inequalities. But, why then, in 7th grade, after winning Nazareth Academy’s Spelling Bee competition, did my fellow White classmate state with a heavy dose of surprise, “You know…when I first saw you, I didn’t think you were going to be smart?” I hope to contribute to ending racial discrimination by utilizing our present interconnectivity and running a social media campaign titled #It’sNotOver. #It’sNotOver aims to oppose the widespread misconception that, because racial inequality was legally outlawed, de facto racial inequality does not still persist in our society. Our recent presidential election may have brought life to a ‘Divided America,’ but it also exposed how influential social media is. By raising awareness of racial disparities that occur everywhere, I might encourage a new wave of change in our country like that of the present Time’s Up movement. Furthermore, if I can access the influence of celebrities in my #It’sNotOver campaign, like that of Time’s Up, I might similarly capture the attention of millions of people and inspire action against this issue across the globe. I know that social media can only do so much in addressing these issues as not everyone can afford the luxury of having internet access. However, I hope that my campaign can inspire all those who do have access to take it upon themselves to be the change by being inspired by the fact that we are globally united in this issue. Although I expect negativity and criticism from people who either do not believe that this issue exists or do not believe in our cause, I am willing to encounter it if it means our society as a whole irrevocably can grow to accept each other’s differences.
Scholarship Essay Example #8
Prompt: “It is very important to know who you are. To make decisions. To show who you are.” – Malala Yousafzai. Tell us three things that are important to you. How did you arrive at this list? Will these things be important to you in ten years? Why? * (No more than 400 words)
The three things that are important to me are my family, being successful, and leaving a legacy. As a result of my past, I keep these three crucial things at the forefront of my mind every day to help myself be successful. Above all, my family is the most important thing in my life. The meaning of family may differ for everyone, but for me, my family is life. I almost died in the 2010 Haitian earthquake, as Jacmel was one of the worst damaged areas, had it not been for my grandmother and my mom. Later, if it was not for my uncle, my mom would not have been able to come to America to give me a better life. Without my family, I wouldn’t be here. I am forever indebted to their sacrifices, and I am so grateful that I have their eternal love and support. Success is also very important to me. I hope to accomplish many things in my life, but most importantly, I would like to make my family proud so that they know that all of their sacrifices were worth it. Success to me is having a career that I love and allows me to help my family members financially. I hope to no longer experience hardships such as homelessness, poverty, and economic difficulties, as I had in my young life. Ultimately, however, I would like to grow into someone who is loved and remembered by people who aren’t my immediate family members and my friends. I do not wish to be glorified, but I want to be more than a nonentity in this big, vast world. I hope that if I can inspire the change that I want to make, I can leave a legacy that continues to influence and shape the landscape that follows me. After coming to the epiphany that if I died today, nothing would change except for the lives of those extremely close to me, I find myself unwilling to be just another Jane Doe. I want to leave a part of myself behind, whether it is a building or a popular hashtag, that is meaningful and permanent once I die.
ANOTHER GREAT READ: HOW TO COMBINE YOUR COLLEGE ESSAY PROMPTS (TO SAVE 20+ WRITING HOURS)
Scholarship essay example #9.
Prompt: “Preservation of one's own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.” - Cesar Chavez. What does it mean to you to be part of a minority community? What challenges has it brought and how have you overcome them? What are the benefits? * (No more than 400 words)
Being part of a minority is very conflicting for me as I feel both empowered as a part of a Haitian minority community but also disconnected from my non-immigrant peers. Coming from a background of poverty in Haiti, I knew that, even at a very young age, I had to be a good student in order to succeed. This work ethic--found throughout my Haitian community--has been very beneficial in my life as we all came here to pave ourselves a better future. As my mom held two jobs, went to college, and was temporarily homeless just to secure me a better future, I feel invigorated to be part of such an indefatigable community. And, it is because of this strong work ethic, central to my community’s core values, that I am now the salutatorian of a class of 679 students. As I was so young when I came to the US, I didn’t know how American society functioned, specifically elementary school. I was the only immigrant in a class of forty, barely spoke English, and had no friends because of these limitations. Every day of those first few years, I felt an almost physical divide between my peers and myself. I never experienced a sense of belonging, despite my efforts. Already a double minority as a woman and a Black person, I tried to relinquish my language and culture in favor of American language and values to better fit in the crowd. By doing this, however, I almost completely lost my cultural identity as both a Haitian and an immigrant, and also my language. It was in the halls of my first high school, International Studies Charter High School, that I realized the enormity of what I had lost. Where my peers retained their cultural identities and language, I had almost lost mine. It was there, I learned to embrace a part of me that was virtually buried inside, as I was encouraged to be more open: speaking Creole with my Haitian math teacher and peers. As a senior, I now volunteer weekly helping Haitian ESOL students with their homework. I am both a teacher and a student in that small classroom as I help them with their homework, and, in return, they help me in perfecting my use of Creole. They are my daily reminder of what unites us as Haitians—our ability to triumph in the face of adversity.
Scholarship Essay Example #10
Prompt: “The secret of our success is that we never, never give up.” - Wilma Mankiller. Tell us about a time when you failed at something. What were the circumstances? How did you respond to failure? What lessons did you learn? * (No more than 400 words)
I’ve danced ballet since I was seven-years-old. But, even after almost eight years, I could still barely extend my legs as high as my peers nor could do as many pirouettes as them. My flexibility was incredibly subpar and I easily wore out my Pointe shoes, making them unwearable after a couple of months. Where the average lifespans of my peers’ pointe shoes extended into months, mine could barely last ten classes. I was the weakling of my class at Ballet Etudes, and I was too absorbed in my insecurities to do anything to better myself to become the dancer I aspired to be. After a humiliating recital, wherein my pointe shoe ribbons untied in the middle of our group performance, I all but gave up on dance. I was in the middle of doing a Changement de Pieds (Change of feet jumping step) when I glanced down in horror to see my beautiful ribbons untied as I forgot to tape them with clear tape as I usually did before my performances. Glancing to my right, I saw that my ballet teacher backstage had also taken note and was rushing me to get off the stage, her hands beckoning me in a frantic manner. After berating me for not having properly tied my laces, I was not allowed to finish my part. Later, I could barely get back on stage that evening for our final performance as I didn’t want to fail myself and my team again. But, because of my move to Port Saint Lucie in the summer before sophomore year, I was able to rekindle my passion for ballet and pointe at South Florida Dance Company. South Florida Dance Company was my saving grace, a place where I was able to restart my experiences in dance and renew the joy I once felt in my art. It was an incredible feeling regaining my confidence and surety in my abilities, as a result of the additional help that I received from my dance teacher, Ms. Amanda. Presently, I always remind myself to be the best that I can be and to positively use my dance role models, like Misty Copeland, as encouragement to be a better dancer. From this experience, I learned that to overcome personal failures, I needed to move forward and think positively because change doesn’t happen when you sit still.
Scholarship Essay Example #11
National Association of University Women Scholarship Essay Examples by Isabella Mendez-Figueroa
Prompt: Please explain how your experience volunteering and participating in community service has shaped your perspective on humanity. Elaborate on how these experiences have influenced your future ambitions and career choice.
I didn’t really understand my community until I was forced to see it from the outside; sort of like when you see a picture of yourself someone else took that you weren’t aware of. It took a 3,000 mile flight for me to gain a different perspective of the world, of my world. When I landed in Maine it was nothing like the place I called home. There was no traffic, there were lots of trees, and absolutely no spanish to be heard anywhere. I missed my people, my home, and my community the most as I saw the ways in which other communities fostered creativity, advocacy, and community involvement. I talked about my community every chance I got, writing a public backlash to Donald Trump and reading out to the group of parents to show them my unique struggle. The election of Donald Trump has forced me to come to terms with the harsh realities of this world. The lack of respect he has for women, minority groups, and factual evidence are alarming. This presidency makes me want to prove wrong all of his perceptions of people like me, the poor, the immigrant, the woman. I left people in awe, leaving me empowered. I had people come up to me and explain that they can relate to my poem about not fitting in, being Mexican American and not feeling like you can consider yourself American or Mexican because you’re both. I emphasized that I, like many others, am in between and we have the same platform that anyone else does to succeed. I explained that many of us, hold this pressure of first generation children of immigrants to prove that we are the proof that our parents sacrifices of restarting in a new country was worth it. I was the visible representation of a first generation child of immigrants, branching out into a new environment despite where I had come from and shocking everyone with my prosperity. If I was the only visible representation available, I was going to use my voice to echo the feelings of my entire community and make it known that we are all here-- all of our struggles, our efforts, and our passions, are not absent from places where we are not seen. Maine helped me branch out in my own community now as a Student Ambassador. From this experience, I’ve learned that I can represent my high school and have the responsibility to assist staff at events for prospective students and organize presentations for parents. I spend a lot of time interpreting for parents at meetings and explaining the current events that are ongoing and new educational opportunities that students should take advantage of. I have had the privilege to work alongside office staff and the Principal, where I get to positively dedicate my time to parents who have general questions regarding the schools upcoming events. By dedicating my time as a Student Ambassador, I have allowed myself to excel at communicating with others and improving my customer service skills. I want my education to change the negative stigmas surrounding my community, by showing that it's possible to expand your access to the world and allow you to leave, by choice, through receiving a post-secondary education. I am someone who has grown up in an area with limited resources fostering limited mindsets. My neighborhood has 4 elementary schools, 2 high schools, and a strip club feet away from a library. What message does that send to children? It's normal in my community to have pregnant classmates in high school. People aren't aware of the world outside, they aren't encouraged to ever leave. Through my experience as a volunteer that communicates a lot with parents, I have learned that the American Dream does not simply belong to first generation students like myself. I have found that our accomplishments are stacked upon the sacrifices of our parents. I used to think that growing up was like the passing of a baton where you’re the next runner and it’s your turn to run your best race, but I now see that this is a team effort, as you expand your horizons your family also gets to experience the benefits. I want to demonstrate to my community that there can be a female, bilingual, Latina doctor. I want to showcase that one's zip code, doesn't determines one's success. One of the most common questions I get at these parent meetings is “what’s better college or university”? This question didn’t make sense to me at first then I realized that parents wanted to know the difference between community college and a four year. Concepts like financial aid, grants, loans, are all foreign concepts as most of our parents never went to college. They want to be able to help but do not know where to begin. As a student ambassador I helped bridge that gap. We often held meetings where we explained to parents within our community what resources were out there and available and what the difference were among the different options for each student. Being the student face for Animo, I’ve learned that I as a student and daughter, can provide assistance to my own community through the knowledge that I have gained. I am the communication that is needed in my community that’s necessary for further successes by using my personal knowledge and experience to help uplift and educate others in similar situations.
Scholarship Essay Example #12
Prompt: Discuss in your essay any challenges or obstacles you have dealt with and overcome in life and how this will help you succeed in college and beyond. Describe how volunteer, community service or extra-curricular activities have shaped who you are today and what it has taught you. May also include future educational plans and career goals. [250-500 Words]
I have encountered an emotional barrier making it difficult to manage my schoolwork, extracurricular activities and family responsibilities. I have had to deal with being viciously raped by a peer during my sophomore year, resulting in severe depression. I am no longer allowed to be alone for a long period of time, as I’ve attempted to commit suicide twice, but I do not regard those as true attempts to end my life. I just wanted someone to know how I felt and how much I needed help. My past has only made me more resilient, as I choose to prove to myself and those around me that I am more than the barriers I’ve encountered–but overcome. It took a 3,000- mile flight for me to gain a different perspective of my world. Landing in Maine was nothing like home. There was no traffic, lots of trees, and absolutely no Spanish to be heard anywhere. I was a 10th grader when I found myself at Coastal Studies for Girls, a marine science and leadership school; I would be there for a whole semester. I was surrounded by strangers who looked different, sounded different, and could recite tide pool specifics in casual conversation. I was the visible representation of a first-generation child of immigrants, branching out into a new environment. An environment where I wanted to prove wrong all perceptions of people like me, the poor, the immigrant, the brown woman. I used my voice to echo my community and make it known that, we, are here–all of our struggles, our efforts, and our passions, are not absent from places where we are not seen. Returning home, I had the privilege to work alongside school administrators as a student ambassador. I got to positively dedicate my time to parents who have general questions regarding the school and help translate information. I have learned that the American Dream does not simply belong to first generation students like myself, but I now see it is a team effort, as you expand, your family also gets to experience the benefits. One of the most common questions at parent meetings is “what’s better college or university”? This question did not make sense to me, I then realized that parents want to know the difference between community college and a four year. Concepts like financial aid, grants, loans, are all foreign concepts as most of our parents never went to college. As a student ambassador, I help bridge that gap. We often hold meetings where we explained resources available and different options for each student. I have learned, that as a student, I can provide assistance to my own community through my knowledge. I am the communication necessary for further successes, using my personal knowledge and experience to help uplift and educate others in similar situations. My pursuit is to not only go to college but thrive and come back ready and able to help students like myself that have to fight for their seat in the lecture hall.
Scholarship Essay Example #13
Prompt: The Rainbow Scholarship is awarded to a deserving LGBTQ student who aims to participate in a high-quality, rigorous education abroad program. If you would like to be considered, please explain why you would be a strong candidate for the Rainbow Scholarship. What will this scholarship enable you to achieve for yourself and your LGBTQ community?
It is my life goal to make films that will change the way society see groups of people typically defined by stereotype and cliché. By immersing myself in Prague’s culture through the American Institute of Foreign Study year-long program, I will gain the cinematic and philosophic tools to create films that will help others to better understand the LGBTQ community. I’ve been making movies since I was old enough to hold a camera, but now I’d like to take it a step further. While abroad, I’ll visit the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague. The Hollywood Reporter puts FAMU at the top of the list of best film schools in Europe. I put it at the top of my list of prospective graduate schools because it was the center of Czech filmmakers’ during communist rule in the 1960s. FAMU was where rebellious film makers broke the bonds of censorship by creating films that depicted the perspectives of marginalized people. I want to do the same thing today. I ask: What can the Czechoslovak New Wave filmmakers and their struggle for social equality teach me about making films that will help to free the LGBTQ members in my own community? I will find my answers here: In November, the international film festival held in Prague called the Mezipatra will screen around a hundred top-ranking films on lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and queer themes. What better place for a queer filmmaker obsessed with Czech New Wave film to meet people to learn and collaborate with? I’d also like to volunteer to work on a photography project at the Lobkowicz Palace and Nelahozeves Castle, 15km from Prague, where I will find one of the world’s largest private collections of world-famous artworks, artifacts, and a library of over 65,000 volumes. I hope to hone my skills with a camera and take a zoomed-in look at the Prague history. I’m going to wear my Canon t2i like a glove. And finally, I hope to better understand Czech culture as it pertains to film making by studying at Charles University and taking classes like “Central European Film: Search for Identity” and “Hollywood and Europe”. I will get more in touch with the performance and character elements of film by taking the theater class “Prague Theater Scene: Performance Analysis.” Finally, I’ll learn to better listen to what my community in Prague has to say (literally and figuratively) by taking Czech language classes in a two-week intensive course that includes two language-focused events where students engage with the local area. Through traveling abroad in Prague, I give myself to a new perspective and open myself up to influence. I want to use my experience to create films that will convince others to do the same—as a representative of the LGBTQ community, I want to send the message of acceptance and tolerance to the world, from the screens of Mezipatra in Prague to my conservative parents’ television sets.
Scholarship Essay Example #14
$1,000 local school district scholarship by Amani Davis.
Last February, I partook in a Divas in Defense workshop. Within this class, our group met a woman who was a survivor of domestic violence. She was also close to becoming a victim of sex trafficking. From this I learned that intimate partner violence is the leading cause of female homicide and injury-related deaths during pregnancy. Although it is not a common hot topic, many people go through it everyday. These people are not only women but men and children, too. Therefore, domestic violence is an issue that is under-discussed, yet extremely important. Every 1 in 4 women will be a victim of severe violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. This means our mothers, sisters, grandmothers or even daughters can be victims of domestic violence. We have to be the ones willing to initiate the conversation because many victims are scared. Everyday more people are speaking up about their own stories. Celebrities such as Bill Clinton, Rihanna, and Halle Berry have spoke about their personal accounts with domestic violence. Through these views, people are seeing domestic violence as a bigger issue and an issue that needs to be opened up about. All in all, domestic violence is all around us. Additionally, abuse can hurt people physically, mentally, and financially. Physical abuse results in injuries that cost money in order to be fixed. Many remain in or return to an abusive relationship because they lack the financial resources to live on their own. Also, children who grow up around domestic violence are 15 times more likely to be physically and/or sexually abused than the national average. In short, abuse can have various effects on those involved. To surmise, domestic violence is often kept quiet within minority communities. As a whole, we have to be proactive and reactive in order to fight the current problem with abuse. Nevertheless, we have to be the change we want to see.Ultimately, domestic violence is not an issue that can be completely rid of, but we can make a true difference through education and prevention. Some issues have to be dealt with in house before we see a major turn around.
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6 Awesome Scholarship Essays That Worked
When it comes to paying for college, scholarships are the best form of financial aid, since they offer students free money that never needs to be repaid. But let’s face it: completing scholarship applications, especially the essays, can feel overwhelming. The scholarship essay is arguably the most important part of the application and should be well-thought-out. In this article, we’ll walk through five scholarship essay examples and explain why they worked, so that you can write your own winning scholarship essays .
Here are 6 winning scholarship essay examples that worked:
Why this scholarship essay example worked:, how could this essay have been better , want more resources on writing your scholarship essay, get started with your scholarship essay.
The essay is your chance to let your personality and life experiences shine through, giving you the opportunity to stand out from other applicants.
The best way to get an idea of what scholarship committees are looking for is to look over scholarship essay examples from past winners. Take some time to analyze the writing style, think about the strong points, and consider how you can improve. Below, we’ll show you just how you might dissect a scholarship essay.
1. Going Merry Scholarship Success Story by Gabby DeMott
What’s a winning scholarship essay look like? Check out this Going Merry success story with Gabby DeMott.
ESSAY PROMPT: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
“There were only a few minutes to go and our eyes were glued to the screen. On the edge of our seats, clutching whoever happened to be next to us, we watched as the referee blew his whistle and the German players took their free kick. The ball was hit with precision and skill; it flew up over the Swedish players, past their goalie, and was caught safely in the back of the opposing team’s net. We all jumped up and screamed, a mixture of German and English, of excitement and relief, of pride and anticipation.
We stood, enraptured, for the last several minutes of the game as Germany kept its 2-1 lead over Sweden. The horde of us, Germans and Americans alike, hugged and cheered and made our way out onto the balcony, where we chanted “Deutschland! Deutschland! Deutschland!” for the whole village, the whole country, the whole world to hear. Never have I felt so accepted while being an outsider, so proud of a country that isn’t even mine, so part of something I didn’t really belong to.
My German friends didn’t care that we were from different countries; they didn’t care that we would only be staying for three weeks. They accepted us into their homes and their daily lives, their traditions and their celebrations. In watching that World Cup game, it didn’t matter that we were from different places; we were all cheering for the same team. The acceptance I felt in Germany extended beyond that living room. I came to the country on a three week exchange with ten other students from my school.
We each stayed with host families and attended the Wildermuth Gymnasium, which was surprisingly accommodating to a gaggle of loud American teenagers. The teachers were friendly and welcoming, the students treated us like ordinary peers, and even the people I interacted with in public were understanding.
Before coming to Germany I feared judgment based on my level of the language (which is nowhere near as good as the German students’ English) and American politics. It was intimidating to be in a country with limited knowledge of the language and the customs, even though everyone was welcoming. People did ask myself and the other students about the US’s political climate, but no one blamed us for it. They recognized that we were outsiders, that the place we came from had flaws, and they accepted us anyway.
Since that trip, I’ve found myself trying to provide that acceptance to people in my own country. For example, I work at a canoe livery and we receive a lot of visitors with limited English. Some of my coworkers will avoid such customers because they don’t want to take the time to explain things, to exercise patience with someone who may not understand them. If people had done this to me in Germany, my time there would have been much less enjoyable; in fact, I would have been offended.
So now when someone walks up to me at the livery and asks a question in English that isn’t perfect, I smile and welcome them. I take my time to make sure they understand, that they can have a good time, and that they feel accepted. It’s a small action, but I know firsthand that it can make a big impact, at my place of work and in the world. “
- It shares a personal story of realization. Gabby’s essay throws us right in the middle of the action in her story, from her perspective. She paints a clear picture of where she is, how she feels, and what her goals were in that moment. She then goes on to explain the unity of the German and American students to introduce other people in the essay. LESSON TO TAKE : When including additional people in an essay, introduce them early on so you can continue telling your story in an organic way.
- She reflects on her previous fears and explains how she’s moved past those to grow. In the fifth paragraph, Gabby shares how she feared judgment due to her level of the German language and American politics. As Gabby became more familiar with the host families and her German friends, she realizes they accepted her, and she relaxes. LESSON TO TAKE: Sharing a story in sequential order can help illustrate personal growth and how your character changed for the better.
- She answers the prompt and demonstrates how she’ll put her newfound knowledge in action. Once Gabby realized her German friends and host family accepted her, regardless of her fears, that sparked a realization for her when she returned home to America. Gabby concludes her essay by explaining how she’s providing that same acceptance she received in another country to acquaintances and people in her country, to be patient, help them enjoy themselves, and to welcome them. LESSON TO TAKE : Consider concluding your essay with a wrap-up of what you learned, and how you plan to apply that lesson in your life.
2. Who is a “Good” Doctor? by Joseph Lee
Below is a winning essay from Joseph Lee, Rush Medical College for the Giva Scholarship.
ESSAY PROMPT: Who is (or what makes) a good doctor?
“Had you asked me the same question one year ago, my answer would have been vastly different to the one I will give today. In the summer of 2012, with my first year of medical school completed, I embarked upon my last official summer vacation with two things in mind: a basketball tournament in Dallas and one in Atlanta. My closest friends and I had been playing in tournaments for the past 10 summers, and it was a sacred bond forged together in the name of competition. However, two weeks before our first tournament, I became instantly and overwhelmingly short of breath. Having been born to Korean immigrant parents, I was raised to utilize the hospital in emergency cases only, and I knew this was such a case. A few scans later, doctors discovered numerous pulmonary emboli (PE), caused by a subclavian deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and just like that, I was lying in a bed of a major hospital for a life threatening condition.
Fast forward a few months, and I am lying in a similar bed to treat the underlying cause of the subclavian DVT: a first rib removal. There is little that can adequately prepare someone physically, emotionally or spiritually to undergo surgery; and my thoughts continued to race in the days following. In addition to the expected physical pain, isolation, fear and frustration were a few of the emotions I experienced in the four day ordeal. The procedure went according to plan thanks to a skilled surgeon and his team, but the attributes that made the doctor “good” went far beyond his ability to operate.
“Wow. I’m glad you are feeling better” and “I can’t believe you went through that” are common reactions people have when they see the scars on my upper chest. Quite frankly, the past nine months have been difficult, literally full of blood, sweat and tears. But through it all, I have been able to maintain my positivity and gratitude knowing that I have gained the invaluable experience of being a patient and discovering the vulnerability and trust that patients give their doctors. Patients indulge information to doctors that they may have never told anyone in their life and in doing so, place a great deal of trust and responsibility in the hands of a doctor. Many patients will not understand the mechanism of disease behind their condition and anticipate that the doctor will explain to them and their family why it is that they are feeling the way they are and ultimately heal them. And that is precisely what my surgeon understood: the privilege of being able to care for patients and the intimacy of the doctor-patient relationship. And as I awoke to the care of my worried parents, the first thing they wanted to discuss was the details of the procedure that was methodically and patiently explained to them by my “good” doctor.
In study after study, patients have reported dissatisfaction with their medical care, not because of lack of knowledge or health outcome, but because their doctors did not show enough warmth in the encounter or listen to the patient’s questions and concerns. There are few times where a patient and their loved ones are more vulnerable and in need of compassion than when dealing with a hospitalization. And for some doctors, a patient may be another item on a checklist, but that patient is someone’s mother or father, son or daughter, sister or brother. My “good” doctor understood this and would often say “If you were my son…” when discussing treatment options, reflecting on the type of care he would want for his family and treating me similarly. Such ideals are rooted in love and compassion for patients, not as clients in the health care system, but as fellow human beings striving to make something of themselves and the world around them (I).
Unfortunately, the ordeal of living with a chronic illness or undergoing a major operation extends beyond the confines of the hospital. Whether it is creditors harassing patients for medical bills, prescriptions that need to be refilled, or lifestyle modifications that need to be made, the health care experience doesn’t end when a patient walks out of the hospital doors. It often takes merely a minute, as in the case of the “good” doctor who told me that as a student I could apply to get the procedure financially covered by the hospital. Such foresight in anticipating financial concerns and directing me on the next steps to be taken provided relief in the surmounting stress.
Lastly, the “good” doctor understands that as our patients are human, so are we. This means we will make mistakes, some of which can result in life-threatening consequences. With that said, the “good” doctor practices humility and honesty, apologizing and sharing as much information with patients as possible. Although no one strives to make mistakes, they will happen, and how one reacts to them is a distinguishing feature of the “good” doctor (II).
Of all the qualities I tried to explain in what makes a “good” doctor, there was no emphasis on skill and knowledge. And while being able to fulfill the duties of making the correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment plans is expected, the intangibles of love, compassion, foresight and honesty is what makes a doctor, “good”. I learned such lessons in the purest manner possible, by being a patient myself, and will use them to guide me in all future patient encounters, as I strive to be a “good” doctor.”
- It tells a captivating story. This essay immediately pulls the reader in, immersing the audience right in the story. . We want to know how Joseph’s definition of a good doctor changed and why it did so. Hooking your reader from the first sentence of your essay or even the first paragraph is a surefire way to keep your reader engaged in the story you’re telling. The story itself is also told really well, with good pacing and just enough detail to elicit empathy without causing boredom. (He could have easily given too much scientific/medical detail!) LESSON TO TAKE : When telling an anecdote, consider how much detail is the right amount, to make it engaging.
- It’s a list, without you realizing it’s a list. After the first 2 paragraphs (which are mostly story-telling), the rest of the essay is effectively a list of ways that doctors are “good”: they recognize the intimacy and trust involved in the doctor-patient relationship (paragraphs 3-4), they anticipate future sources of patient stress (paragraph 5), and they exercise humility (paragraph 6). Joseph could have easily structured the essay simply by saying “There are 3 main things that make a doctor good” and then explaining each idea. However, that would have been much more boring! Instead, he expertly hides the list format, by couching it in an engaging story. LESSON TO TAKE: Not all list-type essays need to feel like lists.
- It’s personal and believable. Joseph takes a negative personal experience, shows what he learned from it and how it caused him to grow as a person. Sometimes essays about singular, defining moments or experiences can seem blown out of proportion and thus not credible. This one feels right: a big ordeal in his life that has therefore shifted his perspective. LESSON TO TAKE : Consider which personal stories to tell, and make sure the “size” of the story feels right.
3. Life Happens Scholarship by Emily Trader
Here is an example of a moving scholarship essay on the topic of family loss by Emily Trader for the Life Happens award.
ESSAY PROMPT: How has the death of a parent or guardian impacted your life financially and emotionally? Be sure to describe how the loss of your parent/guardian impacted your college plans, and explain how the lack of adequate (or any) life insurance coverage has impacted your family’s financial situation.
“When I was seventeen years old, my father lost his battle with kidney failure and cardiovascular disease. As long as I shall live, I do not believe that I will ever forget the first moment I saw my father’s once vibrant face in that cold and unforgiving casket. I won’t forget his lifeless and defeated hands, or how his pale lips would never utter another joke or speak to his grandchildren. Even though the day of his funeral was undoubtedly the worst day of my life, I wish I could relive it just to be with him one more time. Since that moment, I have felt as if all of my grief and longing resides underneath my skin with nothing to relieve the pressure. On September 8th, 2016, I lost my voice of reason, my confidant, my cheerleader, and my best friend.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had lost so much more. Upon my father’s passing, he left us with funeral and medical expenses that his insurance would not cover. Because he did not have any form of life insurance, the financial burden of his death was now the responsibility of my mother and me. Even though my mother works night shifts as a neonatal nurse and her commute is nearly two hours, she was forced to pick up extra shifts to support my family. Though I already had a job and I worked about ten hours a week, I now work anywhere from twenty-five to thirty-five hours a week, and I am also a full-time high honor student. Even though the death of my father forced me to realize the importance of cherishing time with my family, I do not see them very often because of our busy schedules. I also sacrificed my social life and the joy that every senior in high school should experience. Instead of football games and homecoming, I had to deal with mourning and the possibility that I would not attend college because of my family’s financial troubles.
If my father had a life insurance policy, we would not have to work ourselves to the bone and sacrifice our physical and emotional well-being to keep up with expenses. I would not have to worry so intensely about the future of my education on top of the crippling grief that I have felt over the last five months. If this devastating experience has taught me anything, it is this: financial planning for these situations is absolutely invaluable. I will not soon forget the stress and despair that I have experienced, and I now realize that to have a life insurance policy is to throw your surviving family members a crucial lifeline. Though no one can ever prepare you for the trauma of losing a parent, life insurance allows you to grieve without the constant stress of financial burden, and for that reason, it is an absolutely essential precaution.
I love and miss you so much, Dad. Thank God I will see you again.”
- She answers the prompt . It would be easy to write an essay that just spoke to her grief, or to what her father was like and how much he meant to her. But the essay prompt asks applicants to reflect on how the loss has affected the student emotionally and financially. Emily does a great job of this, by connecting the financial parts (she and her mother needing to pick up extra hours of work), with the emotional (due to the work schedule, the family not being able to spend as much time together). She also addresses how this might affect her college plans. LESSON TO TAKE :
- She provides (beautiful) detail. The first paragraph immediately pulls the reader in because of the detailed description she provides (“ his lifeless and defeated hands”, “pale lips” ). Similarly, the specificity of how her family is shouldering the financial burden (e.g. her working 25-to-35-hour weeks) make it feel more real rather than generic. LESSON TO TAKE : Use details and descriptions to make something feel more emotional and tangible.
- She knows her audience . This scholarship is funded by Life Happens, an organization formed by seven leading insurance providers, in order to educate the public about important insurance planning topics. Clearly Emily researched the provider and understood that an essay that spoke to the importance of insurance planning would be well-received by the essay readers. LESSON TO TAKE : Research the scholarship provider and adjust your content to fit the organization’s or company’s mission statement (or business model).
4. Going Merry Scholarship Success Story by Jesus Adrian Arroyo-Ramirez
Jesús Adrian Arroyo-Ramirez wrote a winning scholarship essay (and video!) that he submitted on Going Merry . He earned an outstanding $40,000 through the Golden Door Scholarship.
ESSAY PROMPT: What differentiates you from the hundreds of DACA students who apply to our scholarship? Use one of those opportunities to tell us something else we cannot see just by looking at your grades, test scores, and transcripts.
“I always knew I was different than my friends in some way. Growing up, I struggled to speak English while everyone else had little to no problems. I needed extra help in school while my friends coasted by with ease. My friends would hop on planes and travel all around the world while I had to stay at home. At the age of 13 all of my friends started driving while I still couldn’t.
I built up the courage and asked my mother why I did not have access to the simple liberties everyone else did. My name Is Jesus Adrian Arroyo-Ramirez, and I was illegally brought to this country when I was just six years old. At the time I had no clue that I was breaking any laws, and I did not realize the fact that my life was going to change forever. Growing up with a different citizenship situation than my peers was and still is the biggest challenge I have to face in my life.
Looking back there is not a single thing that I would change. Knowing that I had to work harder than everyone else lead me to be the person that I am today. I took that fire inside of me, pushed myself, graduated first in my class with a cumulative 4.0 GPA, became a Kansas Scholar, and graduated High School with a semester’s worth of college credit. In November of 2016, everything began to look up for me. I received a work permit and a social security card all thanks to the DACA program. I was finally able to get my license, get a job, and most importantly attend college.
I plan to continue my success in the classroom and do everything to the best of my ability as I know that under my current circumstances it can all be ripped away from me at any moment. Growing up with my situation has taught me to not take advantage of a single opportunity. There has been continued support around me past and current and I know there are people out there rooting for my success. I will strive to be the first generation in my family to graduate from an American University and I will set a stepping stone for my future family so they will not have to struggle as I did. My citizenship is not a setback, it is a mere obstacle that I will always learn to work around if it means giving my future children a better life, just like my mother did for me.”
- He shares how hardships made him who he is today. Right off the bat, Jesus sets the tone for his essay by sharing how he struggled to speak English and that he was not given the same opportunities as his peers. He shares his mother’s explanation on why he lived a different life, along with his honesty in the challenges of growing up with a different citizenship situation than the teens around him. LESSON TO TAKE : Share personal details (as you feel comfortable), and consider including a defining memory or conversation hat contributes to your story. This can help paint a picture of your beginnings or your inspirations.
- He includes emotional details. Although Jesus grew up with hardships, he persevered and mentions he wouldn’t change anything. It may have taken a little longer than his peers to get his license, but he also excelled in school, pushed himself to graduate first in class, and take college courses on top of all that. LESSON TO TAKE : Tell your story with details, feelings, thoughts and emotions to explain where you came from and where you are now.
- He plans for the future . Jesus shared his personal story with us, and then explains how he plans to continue his success without letting anything get in the way of his path. He goes on to say his citizenship is not a setback, and that he works to provide a better life for himself and for his future children. LESSON TO TAKE : Include your plan at the end of the essay. Consider how you’ve grown and how you will bring these lessons learned with you to help your future.
5. Why College Is Important to Me by Nicole Kuznetsov
Here’s an example of a simple yet creative and heartfelt essay on the popular prompt, Why is college important to you?
ESSAY PROMPT: Why do you want to go to college? Why is it important to you?
“As a child, my life had structure. Coloring books had lines, letters took on very specific shapes, and a system of rules governed everything from board games to the classroom. I found comfort in the fact that my future had an easy-to-follow template: elementary, middle, and high school, college, job, family retirement, “happily ever after” ending. When I graduated from elementary school I was told I completed 25% of my education. During my middle school graduation, I was told I was halfway there and I know I’ll be told I’m 75% done when I throw my cap in the air this June. College was always factored into the percentage and the overall formula for life. And I never questioned its importance. I always figured it is important because it is necessary.
Going to college makes sense. From helping my parents land stable jobs after coming to America to giving my brother the chance to gain work experience at some of the top financial firms, college educations have shown their worth in my family. Yet I didn’t think about what actually goes on inside the magical universities until I entered high school. Applying to the Academy for Math, Science, and Engineering was the first time I had actively made a decision in my education. With the encouragement of my parents and favorite science teacher who recognized that I would excel in the challenging environment of like-minded students, I applied. Four years later, I can confidently say they were right.
My class of twenty-six has shown me the benefits of a collaborative rather than a competitive environment, especially the impact that camaraderie with my peers has on our collective learning experience. Each student has an inspiring level of passion and motivation that made me excited to learn, work on projects, and participate in discussions both in and out of the classroom. I used my education to gain skills and open doors for myself such as an internship at my local hospital. I gained confidence in my abilities to communicate with individuals from strangers my age to practicing professionals. I was thinking longer and harder than I ever had before to solve individual problems and large-scale challenges. In all honesty, I was having fun.
Looking back on my years at the Academy I realize how big of an impact the school made on how I view education. I wasn’t coming to school to mark another day off my calendar and inch closer to finishing the next 25%. I came to school to learn and question and push myself. Now, as a senior, I’m excited. I’m thankful for the sample that my high school gave me of what learning is supposed to be like and thankful that it left me wanting more. I’m entering college in August with a new understanding of its importance. It is important because it is what I want for my future.”
- It finds structure through chronology . This essay is basically structured like a chronological timeline: As a child, I believed this. Then I applied to this high school (my first active academic decision). Then the high school changed me. Now I’m a senior and I believe this. Not all stories are best told in time order, but the simplest stories often are. And simple stories provide structure, which scholarship committees love. LESSON TO TAKE: Consider structuring your essay like a timeline, emphasizing the milestones along the way that have led you to where you are today.
- It is simply told . While the essay is descriptive, it doesn’t try to get fancy with overly flowery language or unnecessarily long SAT words. And that’s the strength of it. For instance, this passage [“ College was always factored into the percentage and the overall formula for life. And I never questioned its importance. I always figured it is important because it is necessary” ] explains her child’s logic in a really clear and well-written way.
- It’s got (mostly) great topic sentences . We here at Going Merry love a good topic sentence– that is, a sentence at the beginning (or end) of a paragraph that summarizes the rest of the paragraph. It helps “signpost” the most important parts of your essay. Here, three of the four paragraphs (1, 2, and 4) have strong and concise topic sentences. “As a child, my life had structure” sets up the rest of the paragraph to explain what these structures and unquestioned rules were. “Going to college makes sense” sets up why college made sense to her parents.
6. Financial Literacy for Hispanic Women by Rosaisha Ozoria
The inaugural Founder’s Scholarship supported by the New York Women’s Bond Club in honor of Michaela Walsh goes to two New York City public high school students who won an essay competition writing about their hopes for the future of women and girls worldwide . Winners of this scholarship won a trip to accompany Women’s World Banking to Amman, Jordan for their biennial gathering of WWB network members.
PROMPT: Write about your hopes for the future of women and girls worldwide.
“Twice a week I head down to volunteer at the Los Sures Social Services office, situated next to the local senior citizen home, to help at the food pantry. We distribute food to people in my neighborhood. Many are familiar faces. Many are middle-aged Hispanic women with children dangling from their hips like grass skirts. These women are there as a result of their culture and lack of financial knowledge. In our Spanish culture, patriarchy prevents women from preparing for themselves as much as they should. This leads to Hispanic women having little or no money management skills. Financial illiteracy is a major issue in my neighborhood, and that is why I hope to give Hispanic women a chance for a better future through financial education.
While I was volunteering I met a woman who happened to live in the same building as my aunt. Unemployed with two young children, and a husband earning minimum wage at a fast food restaurant, she struggled to get by every day. I thought to myself – many in my community are just like her. Then I realized I could do something to help. How? I can start a financial literacy program, which teaches Hispanic women to earn and manage money. Once a woman becomes financially literate, she is capable of making good personal and professional decisions, empowering her to improve her family’s financial well-being. Moreover, such a program will help Hispanic women become competitive employees, even in a slow recovering economy such as the one we are experiencing now.
Participating in the 2013 Women’s World Banking Global Meeting in Amman, Jordan gives me access to invaluable resources that will help me achieve this goal. I hope to find mentors from a roomful of inspiring, experienced leaders who will offer me their guidance. Also, meeting accomplished women from other countries means access to new ideas and unique perspectives. And if I am lucky, I may even come across individuals who can provide financial support to jumpstart my financial literacy program for Hispanic women. Lastly, I will tell my idea to everyone I meet in Jordan, a baby step to help Hispanic women rise from poverty.
The world continues to change rapidly, especially with globalization. It is about time that Hispanic women strive for gender equality. Thus, it is essential that Hispanic women increase their roles and knowledge in finance. The women in my neighborhood shall no longer be left out. I will task myself to help these women become better, stronger and most importantly, take control of their lives. I want to be involved so that they can save themselves from any unforeseen financial crisis. This is a tremendous goal, but for me, it is an opportunity to make a difference – in my neighborhood and for my Spanish community.”
- There is clear structure . Right off the bat, the introduction summarizes what the reader can expect to find in the body of the essay. In particular, the closing line of the first paragraph (“ Financial illiteracy is a major issue in my neighborhood, and that is why I hope to give Hispanic women a chance for a better future through financial education”) works as an effective topic sentence, tying together the anecdote and the reason she’s interested in networking with the scholarship provider, Women’s World Banking. The last 2 paragraphs also serve clear, independent purposes: the penultimate one establishes what she would do with the scholarship (the trip to Amman), and the final paragraph explains why her particular interest is important for the larger Hispanic community. LESSON TO TAKE: Clear structure helps the reader follow your point better (especially if they’re skimming, which scholarship essay readers almost definitely are!) So include a summarizing topic sentence at the beginning or end of your first paragraph, and make sure each subsequent paragraph serves a purpose that moves forward your argument or story.
- The author’s passion shines. Rosaisha, the scholarship winner, is clearly passionate about serving her Hispanic community of women. And rather than simply saying that, she shows us how she cares by using personal examples from her volunteer work. LESSON TO TAKE : Show, don’t tell. Use specific personal examples, and don’t be afraid to show your emotions.
- She stays positive. Even though Rosaisha discusses what might be considered a difficult and personal topic, she keeps the tone light and inspirational. She expresses hope and her desire to make a change in the world, answering the essay in a positive tone. It’s important to make sure your essay is not too depressing to read. (Essays about personal trauma are a bad idea.) This is a scholarship provider, not a therapist!
While this was a winning essay, we note that it did have two points of weakness:
- The second paragraph lacks a bit of structure. Her point ends up feeling a bit generic, and it’s unclear what she is thinking versus planning or actually doing . For instance, she realized she could start a financial literacy program. Did she then do so? It’s unclear.
- The last paragraph is again a bit general. Often scholarship committees want to see what concrete steps will be taken, using the scholarship award. Here she speaks in lofty terms about what goals she hopes to accomplish, without explaining ways she might accomplish this goal.
For more information on writing a killer scholarship essay, check out our list of helpful tips .
Also check out these related blog posts:
- 6 tips for writing scholarship essays about academic goals
- How to write the best personal statement, with examples
- How to write an awesome essay about your career goals
You can start writing your winning scholarship essay today and submit it to thousands of scholarship applications, all in one place. Sign up for Going Merry today to put your pro scholarship essay writing skills to practice. Going Merry is your one-stop scholarship shop to search and apply for scholarships to get you on the right foot for funding your future.
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Sample Scholarship Essays
If you’re applying for a scholarship, chances are you are going to need to write an essay. Very few scholarship programs are based solely on an application form or transcript. The essay is often the most important part of your application; it gives the scholarship committee a sense of who you are and your dedication to your goals. You’ll want to make sure that your scholarship essay is the best it can possibly be.
See the sample essays:
The book that made me a journalist, planners and searchers, saving the manatees.
Unless specified otherwise, scholarship essays should always use the following formatting:
- Double spaced
- Times New Roman font
- 12 point font
- One-inch top, bottom, and side margins
Other useful tips to keep in mind include:
- Read the instructions thoroughly and make sure you completely understand them before you start writing.
- Think about what you are going to write and organize your thoughts into an outline.
- Write your essay by elaborating on each point you included in your outline.
- Use clear, concise, and simple language throughout your essay.
- When you are finished, read the question again and then read your essay to make sure that the essay addresses every point.
For more tips on writing a scholarship essay, check out our Eight Steps Towards a Better Scholarship Essay .
I was taking a composition class, and we were learning how to write persuasive essays. Up until that point, I had had average grades, but I was always a good writer and my teacher immediately recognized this. The first paper I wrote for the class was about my experience going to an Indian reservation located near my uncle's ranch in southwest Colorado. I wrote of the severe poverty experienced by the people on the reservation, and the lack of access to voting booths during the most recent election. After reading this short story, my teacher approached me and asked about my future plans. No one had ever asked me this, and I wasn't sure how to answer. I said I liked writing and I liked thinking about people who are different from myself. She gave me a book and told me that if I had time to read it, she thought it would be something I would enjoy. I was actually quite surprised that a high school teacher was giving me a book titled Lies My Teacher Told Me. It had never occurred to me that teachers would lie to students. The title intrigued me so much that on Friday night I found myself staying up almost all night reading, instead of going out with friends.
In short, the book discusses several instances in which typical American history classes do not tell the whole story. For example, the author addresses the way that American history classes do not usually address about the Vietnam War, even though it happened only a short time ago. This made me realize that we hadn't discussed the Vietnam War in my own history class! The book taught me that, like my story of the Indian reservation, there are always more stories beyond what we see on the surface and what we’re taught in school. I was inspired to continue to tell these stories and to make that my career.
For my next article for the class, I wrote about the practice of my own high school suspending students, sometimes indefinitely, for seemingly minor offenses such as tardiness and smoking. I found that the number of suspensions had increased by 200% at my school in just three years, and also discovered that students who are suspended after only one offense often drop out and some later end up in prison. The article caused quite a stir. The administration of my school dismissed it, but it caught the attention of my local newspaper. A local journalist worked with me to publish an updated and more thoroughly researched version of my article in the local newspaper. The article forced the school board to revisit their “zero tolerance” policy as well as reinstate some indefinitely suspended students. I won no favors with the administration and it was a difficult time for me, but it was also thrilling to see how one article can have such a direct effect on people’s lives . It reaffirmed my commitment to a career in journalism.
This is why I’m applying for this scholarship. Your organization has been providing young aspiring journalists with funds to further their skills and work to uncover the untold stories in our communities that need to be reported. I share your organization’s vision of working towards a more just and equitable world by uncovering stories of abuse of power. I have already demonstrated this commitment through my writing in high school and I look forward to pursuing a BA in this field at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. With your help, I will hone my natural instincts and inherent writing skills. I will become a better and more persuasive writer and I will learn the ethics of professional journalism.
I sincerely appreciate the committee’s time in evaluating my application and giving me the opportunity to tell my story. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Scholarship Essay Do's and Don'ts
Being African, I recognize Africa’s need for home- grown talent in the form of “planners” (assistants with possible solutions) and “searchers” (those with desperate need) working towards international development. I represent both. Coming from Zimbabwe my greatest challenge is in helping to improve the livelihoods of developing nations through sustainable development and good governance principles. The need for policy-makers capable of employing cross-jurisdictional, and cross- disciplinary strategies to solve complex challenges cannot be under-emphasized; hence my application to this scholarship program.
After graduating from Africa University with an Honors degree in Sociology and Psychology, I am now seeking scholarship support to study in the United States at the Master’s level . My interest in democracy, elections, constitutionalism and development stems from my lasting interest in public policy issues. Accordingly, my current research interests in democracy and ethnic diversity require a deeper understanding of legal processes of constitutionalism and governance. As a Master’s student in the US, I intend to write articles on these subjects from the perspective of someone born, raised, and educated in Africa. I will bring a unique and much-needed perspective to my graduate program in the United States, and I will take the technical and theoretical knowledge from my graduate program back with me to Africa to further my career goals as a practitioner of good governance and community development.
To augment my theoretical understanding of governance and democratic practices, I worked with the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) as a Programs Assistant in the Monitoring and Observation department. This not only enhanced my project management skills, but also developed my skills in research and producing communication materials. ZESN is Zimbabwe’s biggest election observation organization, and I had the responsibility of monitoring the political environment and producing monthly publications on human rights issues and electoral processes . These publications were disseminated to various civil society organizations, donors and other stakeholders. Now I intend to develop my career in order to enhance Africa’s capacity to advocate, write and vote for representative constitutions.
I also participated in a fellowship program at Africa University, where I gained greater insight into social development by teaching courses on entrepreneurship, free market economics, and development in needy communities . I worked with women in rural areas of Zimbabwe to setup income-generating projects such as the jatropha soap-making project. Managing such a project gave me great insight into how many simple initiatives can transform lives.
Your organization has a history of awarding scholarships to promising young students from the developing world in order to bring knowledge, skills and leadership abilities to their home communities. I have already done some of this work but I want to continue, and with your assistance, I can . The multidisciplinary focus of the development programs I am applying to in the US will provide me with the necessary skills to creatively address the economic and social development challenges and develop sound public policies for Third World countries. I thank you for your time and consideration for this prestigious award.
It is a cliché to say that I’ve always known what I want to do with my life, but in my case it happens to be true. When I first visited Sea World as a young child, I fell in love with marine animals in general. Specifically, I felt drawn to manatees. I was compelled by their placid and friendly nature. I knew then and there that I wanted to dedicate my life to protecting these beautiful creatures.
Since that day in Orlando, I have spent much of my spare time learning everything there is to know about manatees. As a junior high and high school student, I attempted to read scholarly articles on manatees from scientific journals. I annoyed my friends and family with scientific facts about manatees-- such as that they are close relatives of elephants--at the dinner table. I watched documentaries, and even mapped their migration pattern on a wall map my sister gave me for my birthday.
When I was chosen from hundreds of applicants to take part in a summer internship with Sea World, I fell even more in love with these gentle giants. I also learned a very important and valuable lesson: prior to this internship, I had imagined becoming a marine biologist, working directly with the animals in their care both in captivity and in the wild. However, during the internship, I discovered that this is not where my strengths lie. Unfortunately, I am not a strong student in science or math, which are required skills to become a marine biologist . Although this was a disheartening realization, I found that I possess other strengths can still be of great value to manatees and other endangered marine mammals: my skills as a public relations manager and communicator . During the internship, I helped write new lessons and presentations for elementary school groups visiting the park and developed a series of fun activities for children to help them learn more about manatees as well as conservation of endangered species in general. I also worked directly with the park’s conservation and communication director, and helped develop a new local outreach program designed to educate Floridians on how to avoid hitting a manatee when boating . My supervisor recommended me to the Save the Manatee Foundation so in addition to my full-time internship at Sea World, I interned with the Save the Manatee Foundation part-time . It was there that I witnessed the manatee rescue and conservation effort first hand, and worked directly with the marine biologists in developing fund-raising and awareness-raising campaigns. I found that the foundation’s social media presence was lacking, and, using skills I learned from Sea World, I helped them raise over $5,000 through a Twitter challenge, which we linked to the various social media outlets of the World Wildlife Federation.
While I know that your organization typically awards scholarships to students planning to major in disciplines directly related to conservation such as environmental studies or zoology, I feel that the public relations side of conservation is just as important as the actual work done on the ground . Whether it is reducing one’s carbon footprint, or saving the manatees, these are efforts that, in order to be successful, must involve the larger public. In fact, the relative success of the environmental movement today is largely due to a massive global public relations campaign that turned environmentalism from something scientific and obscure into something that is both fashionable and accessible to just about anyone. However, that success is being challenged more than ever before--especially here in the US, where an equally strong anti-environmental public relations campaign has taken hold. Therefore, conservationists need to start getting more creative.
I want to be a part of this renewed effort and use my natural abilities as a communicator to push back against the rather formidable forces behind the anti-environmentalist movement. I sincerely hope you will consider supporting this non-traditional avenue towards global sustainability and conservation. I have already been accepted to one of the most prestigious communications undergraduate programs in the country and I plan to minor in environmental studies . In addition, I maintain a relationship with my former supervisors at Save the Manatee and Sea World, who will be invaluable resources for finding employment upon graduation. I thank the committee for thinking outside the box in considering my application.
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Scholarship Essay Examples
With college tuition costs rising each year, many students apply for merit scholarships to help make college more affordable. However, merit scholarships can be competitive—and that’s where our scholarship essay examples come in. By reading our scholarship essay examples, you can learn what it takes to write an award-winning essay.
Scholarships are an excellent opportunity for students to lessen their college tuition costs. Most merit scholarships require a brief application, usually including one or more essays. Below, we’ve rounded up our best scholarship essay examples.
Reading winning scholarship essay examples, especially scholarship essay examples about yourself, can help you begin the scholarship essay process. By reviewing essay examples, you can learn how to craft a strong essay. You’ll also get a better sense of what scholarship committees look for when they review applications.
In this guide to Scholarship Essay Examples, you’ll find tips on how to write the best scholarship essay, as well as:
- Various scholarship essay examples about yourself
- A strong scholarship essay sample about why I deserve the scholarship
- Scholarship essay examples about financial need, and more!
We’ve included scholarship essay examples specific to schools, including UC Berkeley, as well as specific programs, like the SHPE scholarship. We’ll also discuss the different types of scholarships you’ll find on your scholarship search.
Now, before we jump into our essay examples, let’s learn more about getting scholarship money for college.
What is a scholarship essay?
A scholarship essay is an essay you’ll include in your merit scholarship applications. In many ways, your scholarship essays might resemble your college essays. So, the scholarship essay format should seem familiar.
The best scholarship essays will highlight who you are and why you deserve money for college. Scholarship essay prompts will ask you to include various information, from details about your background to explanations of why you deserve a scholarship.
Crafting a compelling, well-written essay can help you win substantial financial awards to help cover your college tuition costs. However, not all scholarship essays are the same. Later on, we’ll review different winning scholarship essay examples to show you what kind of essays you’ll write in your application process.
Types of Scholarships
There are many different types of scholarships available to students. You can find a variety of scholarship opportunities on scholarships websites. The earlier you start your scholarship search, the more scholarships you’ll find.
While some scholarship applications accept applicants of all backgrounds and abilities, some have very specific eligibility guidelines. So, you may not be eligible for every scholarship. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re eligible, you can find eligibility information on most scholarships websites.
Here are a few different scholarship types you may come across in your scholarship search:
- Academic scholarships
- Merit scholarships
- Essay competitions
- Community service scholarships
- Military scholarships
Scholarship essay prompts will differ across programs. As you’ll see in our winning scholarship essay examples, the prompts can vary in word count and complexity. We’ll provide you with descriptive essay examples to help you get an idea of what to expect.
Most scholarships we’ll highlight in this article are merit-based scholarships . A merit-based scholarship is money awarded by a college or community organization based on your academic achievements.
In contrast, a need-based scholarship is awarded based on a student’s financial need. If you are applying for financial aid, be sure to check out our scholarship essay examples about financial need. You’ll find both merit- and need-based scholarships on your scholarship search.
To qualify for a merit-based scholarship, you generally must meet specific criteria. Scholarship committees look at your grades, academic achievements, extracurriculars, and even test scores. Need-based scholarships can have similar requirements, but they’re primarily concerned with your family’s financial status.
There are many merit-based scholarships available to help students afford college, including:
- National merit scholarships
- Gates Scholarship
- Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship
- Robertson Scholarship
Check out our guides on these popular merit-based scholarships for more details. There, you’ll find tips on how to write a winning essay. Our descriptive essay examples can also help prepare you to apply to these programs After all, while prompts vary, the scholarship essay format remains fairly standard.
In this guide, we’ll highlight some scholarships you may be eligible for. However, make sure to check out the rest of our resources to help you approach the scholarship search.
Some scholarships we’ll discuss include:
- QuestBridge scholarship : helps low-income students attend elite colleges
- Park scholarships : for students attending NC State University
- SHPE scholarship : offers financial assistance for Hispanic students interested in STEM degrees.
Scholarship essay examples about financial need will help you prepare for your scholarship applications. For instance, if you apply for the SHPE scholarship, you’ll include a lot of details about your background.
You can also use scholarship search portals or scholarships websites to find other scholarships you may be eligible for.
How do you write a scholarship essay?
While scholarship essay prompts may differ, you’ll usually stick to the same general scholarship essay format.
One resource that can help you write the best scholarship essays and find money for college is Sallie Mae. Sallie Mae is a private lender offering undergraduate, graduate, and professional student loans. They also grant scholarships and provide aspiring college students with a scholarship search portal on their scholarships websites. Here’s what they have to say about having a winning scholarship essay format.
When writing a scholarship essay, it’s best to start with a scholarship essay format that organizes your thoughts. This will allow you to follow a plan that clearly and concisely gets your points across. You should begin your essay with a solid introduction. Then, introduce your supporting arguments and add an appropriate conclusion.
A good scholarship essay clearly states why you deserve to win money for college with evidence to back up your argument. You’ll see how to do this in our scholarship essay sample about why I deserve the scholarship. The best scholarship essays will be original and honest. It should be written in an inspirational and positive tone, highlighting your strengths and capabilities.
When you feel like you have put your best foot forward, you should ask others for their feedback. This can be from a teacher, counselor, or one of our advisors here at CollegeAdvisor! Proofread your final essay and make sure you’ve caught any spelling and grammatical errors before submitting your application.
Up next, we’ll get into our descriptive essay examples and the different scholarship essay prompts they responded to.
By looking at scholarship essay examples, you can learn what exactly makes a good essay. So, let’s look at some descriptive essay examples written by students looking to secure money for college.
First, we will walk you through scholarship essay examples about yourself. Then, we’ll look at a scholarship essay sample about why I deserve the scholarship. Lastly, we will provide you with scholarship essay examples about financial need. Remember to keep these scholarship essay examples in mind when writing essays of your own!
Scholarship Essay Examples About Yourself
Let’s take a closer look at some scholarship essay examples about yourself.
Scholarship essay prompts vary quite a bit, so make sure you understand what the prompt really asks of you. That way, you can answer the question or address the prompt in its entirety.
Some scholarship essay prompts may ask how the scholarship will make a difference for you. They may also ask about any contributions you have made to your community.
Ready to look at some winning scholarship essay examples? Check out these scholarship essay examples below.
The first of our scholarship essays is for Phi Sigma Rho. Here’s the prompt:
How do you promote Phi Sigma Rho and STEM on your campus or in your community? (300 words Max)
Phi sigma rho scholarship essay.
In my campus and community, I strive to promote Phi Sigma Rho and STEM by promoting Phi Rho’s values and sharing my experiences and passion for Phi Rho.
My involvement in the Women in Engineering Program (WEP) and Society of Women Engineers (SWE) has allowed me the opportunity to promote Phi Rho and STEM. These activities have given me insight into how to successfully create a network that will support and encourage women in engineering to continue their careers.
Within WEP, I served as a sophomore orientation leader (Envoy), mentoring first-year women and assisting with program logistics. As an envoy, I was able to promote Phi Rho ideals of friendship and encouragement. I was also able to informally recruit for Phi Rho by sharing my experiences and passion for the sorority.
Within SWE, I was the Internal Relations Chair my freshmen year and am the Director of Member Engagement this year. Both roles are related to member engagement, allowing me to promote friendship within engineering. Member engagement is important for creating a community among female engineers. Similar to my envoy position, my leadership within SWE has allowed me to share my love for Phi Rho.
Additionally, my volunteer experience with Engineering Ambassadors (EA), a STEM outreach group, has allowed me to promote STEM in the community. In EA, I give presentations on engineering, speak on panels, and lead hands-on activities for K-12 students. EA has taught me strategies to promote STEM to children and teenagers.
Because of Phi Sigma Rho, I have the confidence to inspire and encourage the next generation of female engineers. I hold the values of scholarship, friendship, and encouragement in the highest regard and strive to embody those in every leadership position and volunteer role. Through SWE, WEP, and EA, I have promoted Phi Sigma Rho, its values, and STEM as a whole in both my campus and community.
This is, in many ways, a scholarship essay sample about why I deserve the scholarship. The writer clearly highlights how they’ve engaged with Phi Sigma Rho and how their values align with those of the organization. The writer also provides specific examples of their leadership positions, skills, and accolades.
The next two of our scholarship essay examples about yourself are for the SHPE scholarship. Here they are:
SHPE Scholarship essay example #1
Summarize your life experiences and any challenges that have impacted your path to higher education. (250 Words)
I vividly remember the first day of First Grade because I didn’t know the Pledge of Allegiance like the rest of my classmates. Growing up in a Hispanic household, I had never learned what the pledge was. This was the beginning of several years of disconnect.
From receiving weird looks when I told classmates my family opened Christmas gifts at midnight, to my parents’ confusion when I didn’t want them to speak Spanish in public, both sides of my life never understood the other. As a result, I always felt out of place in school, like I was behind in some way because I didn’t share the same upbringing as my classmates. In contrast, academics felt like a level playing field, something we were all learning together in the same way.
While I couldn’t tell you who won the super bowl, I could do mathematics or read just as well, if not better, than my classmates. Socially, I always felt out of place, but academically I was always comfortable, and as a result, I tried to excel in that area of my life. That desire to succeed created the relentless work ethic I have today and the appreciation I have for education.
Despite the lack of emphasis from my parents on schoolwork, I developed this sense of responsibility and persistence to pursue an education. Although my family’s Hispanic culture made my life difficult when I was younger, it made me a more resilient person.
More scholarship essay examples
Shpe scholarship essay example #2.
Discuss your educational and career aspirations as well as your ability to complete and achieve these goals. (250 words)
Using a degree in engineering, I hope to work on improving sustainability and efficiency in the aerospace industry by creating cheaper, safer, and more environmentally-conscious options.
Recently, Pratt and Whitney designed an engine that is 16% more efficient and will release 3600 less metric tons per airplane per year. Excitingly, it also greatly reduces the noise footprint of an airplane. Innovations like these will allow the aerospace industry to evolve and improve while reducing negative environmental impact. I hope to work at the forefront of this innovation, pushing the boundaries of improved engine performance and efficiency.
Last semester, I started working in the Experimental and Computational Convection Laboratory on campus to learn more about turbines. Some current projects in the lab involve new turbine cooling techniques and additive manufactured heat exchangers. Throughout the course of my undergraduate career, I hope to learn more about the barriers facing improved engine and turbine efficiency. Following undergraduate, I plan to attend graduate school to gain a deeper knowledge of these topics. Following graduate school, I may go into industry working on turbines and jet engines. Due to beginning research early, I believe graduate school is an attainable educational goal.
The potential ability to make a difference in the environmental impact of the aerospace industry is exciting. To accomplish this, I know studying Mechanical Engineering will give me the skills necessary to fulfill my career goals.
Both of these scholarship essay examples use specific details to highlight the writer’s strengths, experiences, and accolades. In reading these winning scholarship essay examples, we get a sense of who the writer is both as a person and as a student.
Scholarship Essay Sample about “Why I deserve the scholarship”
Another scholarship essay prompt you may come across is “why I deserve this scholarship.” A good scholarship essay clearly highlights why you deserve to win the scholarship and provides evidence to support your argument.
Below, you’ll find scholarship essay samples about why I deserve the scholarship. You can use these as a guide to help you tackle your own scholarship essays.
Here’s the first of our scholarship essay examples, which was used for the Park Scholarship:
The Park Scholarship is an investment in the potential of young people. It prepares scholars to make lifelong contributions to communities, states, nations, and the world. Tell us a story that illustrates your potential to make these lifelong contributions. (What have you done that should compel us to invest in you?) (Max. 3,990 characters including spaces.)
Park scholarship essay example.
Coming from a Venezuelan family, I have always been able to connect with total strangers through Spanish. Whether I’m eating at a restaurant or volunteering, I am constantly stumbling upon other Spanish speakers. The ability to converse in their language allows me to bond with them in a way I couldn’t in English, something I do not take for granted.
Because of my experience, I believe that learning a foreign language is an incredibly important skill. Being able to speak in a second language allows a person to understand another community and reach out to people within that community. Additionally, speaking a second language assists in appreciating other cultures. This appreciation is important for fostering open-mindedness, something America as a whole struggles with today.
In my school district, foreign language classes are not offered until late middle school. Once in high school, many students drop the class. In addition, those who stay in the class often find that the classes provide little more than a basic understanding of the language and then become discouraged in their learning. On a larger scale, this issue affects America as a whole. Second language programs often come second in terms of funding and planning and are not encouraged as rigorously as other academic courses. As a result, many Americans are ignorant to the benefits of bilingualism and are unable to understand the viewpoint of those who are multilingual.
After my freshman year of high school, my frustration with my community’s lack of priority for second language learning culminated in my desire to take some sort of action to promote foreign language education. In my sophomore year, a classmate and I created and ran an introductory Spanish program, Spanish in the Spring, at my local library for young children in the district. I spent hours at home creating lesson plans, activities, themes, and advertisements for the program. I placed heavy emphasis on cultural aspects and the importance of the Spanish language in America and the world as a whole.
My purpose for this program was to introduce children at a young age to learning a foreign language, so their desire to learn would continue throughout their life. Through the program, I was also able to share my belief of the importance of learning a second language with the children, as well as their parents. After the final day of the program, I was thrilled when one parent mentioned their desire to learn a foreign language program themself. I felt that if I made an impact on one person or family, the entire program was worthwhile.
Unfortunately, this past spring I was unable to continue the Spanish in the Spring program due to library scheduling restraints. However, I hopefully plan to offer the program again this spring with some changes that will improve and expand the experience. One of these changes will include the immersion of parents into the experience to encourage foreign language education as a family activity.
While this program was only offered once, the impact was immeasurable, for the children, for the cause of foreign language education, and for me.
This is another scholarship essay sample about why I deserve the scholarship. In it, the writer clearly and directly answers the prompt—that is, they highlight their potential to make a lifelong impact on members of their community.
Ready for another scholarship essay example? Here’s the next one:
How will a ScholarSHPE impact your life and education? (200 Words)
Shpe scholarship essay example.
Receiving a ScholarSHPE will give me the gift of time and opportunities. My parents are unable to support me financially throughout college due to large amounts of accrued debt. A ScholarSHPE will reduce my financial stress and allow me to improve my overall health as a result. It will also prevent the need to work several hours a week at a part-time job to pay for tuition, books, and living expenses, which will limit what I can do academically and outside of class. A ScholarSHPE will allow me to spend more time on research pursuits, engineering extracurriculars, volunteer work, and school work, instead of long hours at a part-time job.
This essay sample is fairly straightforward. In it, the writer follows a clear scholarship essay format, explicitly answering the prompt.
UC Berkeley Scholarships essay examples
Let’s look at some school-specific merit scholarship essay examples.
At the University of California – Berkeley , students can apply for a variety of merit scholarships. These scholarships can help offset the cost of UC Berkeley tuition.
Below, we’ve included various scholarship essay examples for the UC Berkeley scholarships. These UC Berkeley scholarships can help students cover their college tuition costs. This can make the UC Berkeley tuition less of a barrier for students hoping to attend.
You’ll find a variety of UC Berkeley scholarships that can help you afford UC Berkeley tuition. Available UC Berkeley scholarships include:
- Berkeley Undergraduate Scholarship
- Fiat Lux Scholarship
- Middle Class Scholarship
- Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship
These are just a few ways to cover the cost of UC Berkeley tuition. UC Berkeley students also receive more than $10 million per year in outside scholarships to cover college tuition costs. If you are interested in exploring non-UC Berkeley scholarships, check out this list of outside scholarship resources .
To help you get started, check out our winning UC Berkeley scholarship essay examples. The authors of these scholarship essay examples about financial need all won money to help cover their UC Berkeley tuition.
UC Berkeley scholarship essay examples
I am grateful to realize how fortunate I am today. All the loved ones around me and their acts of kindness have given me such a great life. I also realize the sacrifices that those around me have had to give up in order for me to succeed. It is because of this that I have realized what “paying it forward” truly means. I have been given the opportunity to make an impact in my community and I have fully taken advantage of this opportunity. I have been a volunteer for the Buddyball Sports Organization, which is a non-profit sports organization dedicated to providing the opportunity for children with developmental disabilities to play sports.
Growing up, watching and playing sports has been one of my greatest pleasures of life, so teaching these less fortunate kids has been something I have enjoyed doing every single weekend. On top of this, I am also both a volunteer at the South Orangetown Ambulance Corps and the Nyack Hospital. With the desire to pursue a career in the medical field, volunteering at these places has given me a great idea of what my career could look like in the near future. While all of these volunteer activities have had a significant impact on me, little did I know that this summer would truly make a lasting difference in my life.
This past summer, my family decided to go on a vacation to India to visit my relatives. This was the first time in my life that I was going to India and this was only because my grandmother came down with Parkinson’s disease and was extremely sick. Little did I know at that time that my visit to India would be a life-changing experience. Never could have I imagined such a filthy village. Everywhere I looked, there was garbage and to make matters worse, no one seemed to do anything to try to ameliorate the repugnant image of my home country.
While I realized on my flight home that I was not going to be able to make a difference and help my community back in India, there was nothing stopping me from doing so right here in Rockland County, New York. When I was told that I would have the opportunity to help organize and direct “Make a Difference Rockland,” I joyfully accepted! Make a Difference Rockland is a free public meet and greet for all local non-profits and other government agencies in an attempt to promote different community service opportunities within the public. By gathering all the local non-profit organizations and giving them a chance to present themselves, people learn more about all of the local community service opportunities that are available to them. This way, the community will be able to recruit volunteers and will not have to suffer through calamitous conditions.
As one of the people in charge of organizing, it was my responsibility to adequately contact, invite and help prepare for hundreds of people. Once I gathered their contact information, I had to ask each one of these places if they would be interested in joining the fair. If interested, I had to also prepare a table for them to present themselves at the fair. The feeling of bringing all of these community service groups together brought me a feeling of happiness that I will never forget.
The best scholarship essays will teach the reader about who the writer is, what they care about, and why they deserve a scholarship. The essay above does just that—it highlights the writer’s background and describes how they give back to their community.
Next, let’s dig into a few more scholarship essay examples.
If you’re interested in more descriptive essay examples, keep reading.
Reading a ton of winning scholarship essay examples is a great way to pick up on what makes them winners. Over time, you’ll start to notice how the details, tone, and flow all work together to tell a story.
Below, you’ll find a few more scholarship essay examples. Our first one is from the NC Parks Scholarship. Here’s the prompt:
What do you do to serve your community? Why do you do the service that you do? What impact have you made? What challenges or insights have your service contributions given you? (Max. 3,990 characters including spaces.)
Community-focused scholarship essay example #1.
“What are the boys like in high school?” “Is it easy to get a boyfriend?” Sighing, the other frustrated leaders and I look at each other as we read the questions posed by the younger girls. Every year at Girls’ Night Out (GNO), a program that introduces and prepares eighth-grade girls for high school, the girls question the leaders about relationships and dating ad nauseum, irritating other leaders to the point of ignoring the questions.
Giving each question a careful and deliberate answer is often difficult, but instead of disregarding the issue, I try to offer my most sincere and honest advice. Originally, when I began as a group leader in the program I would give the same response, “You shouldn’t worry about boys. Instead, enjoy your friends, and do things you enjoy.” While that advice is true, it is often not the answer that will satisfy the girls. Through many years in the program, I have learned that advice is not “one size fits all”; it must be individualized to the person’s needs. Now, when faced with a question about dating, I respond with more questions before giving “words of wisdom”.
Many times I am able to understand the perspective of the middle school student, allowing me to give advice accordingly. Supplying proper advice about sensitive topics is one of the most impactful parts of GNO. As a role model and positive influence for the girls, I largely impact their ideas and perception of the environment when entering high school. In addition to teaching the students valuable lessons, volunteering at GNO has taught me that various perspectives may present themselves identically. To better understand those around me, it is important that I look beyond the surface for the other person’s viewpoint.
Beyond understanding other viewpoints from GNO, I have learned from other service that understanding a person’s situation is essential for providing exceptional assistance. Through Key Club, I volunteer many times a year at the local food pantry. As a volunteer, I help the recipients “shop” at the small grocery store using a point system. The process takes up a lot of time because shoppers do not always know what they want. Originally I thought this was a poor design. I believed it would be much more efficient to just hand out the food rather than giving out points and shopping with the food pantry recipients.
Upon expressing my opinion to one of the adult food pantry staff, he explained to me that the grocery store aspect of the store taught the recipients life skills. Additionally, by giving them autonomy over what food they “bought”, they retained a sort of independence, an important skill to have if they find themselves above the income level required to use the food pantry.
The next time I volunteered I took note of the skills presented. Budgeting of points, deciding whether or not they needed something, determining the quality of the fruit, and decision-making of choosing extra food or toiletries, were all skills that those above the poverty line have ingrained. For those who have been using food pantries and other assistance for prolonged periods of time, these skills are not so natural. As a result, teaching the people means after they no longer need the services of the food pantry, they have valuable skills necessary for their independence.
From this experience, I learned an important lesson: helping people is not just giving them what they need at the moment, but understanding what they will need in the future and providing that as well. After realizing this, I emphasize the abilities that the food pantry teaches whenever I dedicate my time. By doing that, I am positively affecting the development of those skills.
When reflecting on the various ways I have served my community, one thing stands out to me: I always understand another viewpoint or gain a new perspective afterwards. For me, the ability to look at something from different angles is an unparalleled talent, and one of the most important skills a person can have.
Describe your volunteer or community experience with SHPE or other organizations and any internships you have held. (250 Words)
Community-focused scholarship essay example #2.
In SHPE, I have been involved in planning the Penn State College of Engineering STEP-UP (Student Transition Engineering Program at University Park) Program as a chair. The STEP-UP program helps students from Penn State branch campuses smoothly transition to the University Park campus through a 3-day program in the spring. The program introduces them to engineering resources, other engineering students, and provides professional development. Due to COVID-19, this year it was held virtually.
Within the Society of Women Engineers and the Women in Engineering Program, I have volunteered at different STEM events in the community for elementary school students. I am also currently serving as an Envoy (a mentorship and logistical position) for the Women in Engineering Program Orientation. Additionally, I participate in many of SWE’s service events, such as donating and collecting donations, cleaning up areas on and around campus, and visiting nursing homes.
On campus, I am also involved with Engineering Ambassadors (EA), a group that does STEM outreach around Pennsylvania from the elementary school to high school level. EA goes virtually or in person to schools, does engineering presentations and activities, and answers questions.
Prior to COVID-19, I had secured an internship with Pratt and Whitney, however, they had to cancel their internship program. As a result, I was fortunate enough to obtain a Process Quality Engineering internship at Brentwood Industries for summer 2020.
Both of these scholarship essay examples highlight how the writers have given back to their communities. These winning scholarship essay examples highlight the writers’ strengths. In doing so, they highlight why these writers deserve help with college tuition costs.
Reflecting on scholarship essay format
As important as the content of your essay is, your scholarship essay format is equally important. As you write, be sure to adhere to the scholarship essay format guidelines provided to you.
However, there are some things all of the best scholarship essays have in common. Here are some general tips, tricks, and outlines to help you in your own writing process.
Three scholarship essay writing tips:
- Word counts are hard to adhere to, but the other applicants must adhere to them, too. Make sure every word counts.
- When you write a solid essay, you can repurpose some of your key points, including specific anecdotes and details, in other scholarship applications.
- Writing a good essay helps you solidify who you are and what you want. This sets you up for success in the scholarship application process and beyond.
Three essential elements to include in your essay:
- State your goals. Scholarship committees are investing in your future and your potential. To take a chance on you, they need to know your plan and what you want to do with your award.
- Establish an implicit or explicit link between your goals and the scholarship you are applying for. Describe to the committee how the specific scholarship will help you attain your goals. Give them a tangible reason as to why you deserve their investment.
- Share your story. Use personal details about your experiences that highlight your identity and objectives. How have you pursued your goals and prepared for your future? How will the scholarship help you going forward? Get personal and be honest.
Storytelling in your essay
Some of the best scholarship essays utilize good storytelling strategies. You should share the details of your personal story in a narrative, using a logical order. Remember, telling personal details about yourself and your goals does not mean simply restating your resume!
By the end of the essay, the scholarship committee should have an in-depth sense of why you applied. You should reveal:
- When and how you arrived at your future goals
- Your motivations to accomplish these objectives
- What traits or skills you have developed along the way
- The meaningful experiences that drive you to your goals
- Any personal challenges you have faced and how you have overcome them
- What has shaped you and your worldview
These details humanize you and show your complexity as a person and an applicant. It’s helpful to use anecdotes and personal experiences to give life to facts and details about yourself. Sharing real-life experiences will help make your essay more interesting and more fun to read.
Creating your scholarship essay format
Once you have thought about what you want to say, start thinking about your scholarship essay format. You may start by making a list of what your reader may be interested in:
- How you spend your time
- Your accomplishments
- What your passions are, etc.
Start by brainstorming everything you may want to include in your essay. Then, think about whether the stories you include support your arguments. Ask yourself, “What did I learn?” or “How did this get me closer to my goals?”. These reflections help the reader connect to your purpose for writing.
Make sure to organize your thoughts in a narrative order. However, there isn’t just one way to write an essay. So, don’t limit yourself to one version of your story. You may find yourself writing multiple drafts before you get to your final scholarship essay format.
Editing and proofreading your essay
When you think you have finished, be sure to proofread and edit to ensure it’s ready to be submitted. Check that you’ve adhered to all the scholarship essay format guidelines (like the word count).
Reviewing also includes getting input from others! An outside reader’s opinion can help you confirm your essay effectively communicates your ideas.
Tips for scholarship essays
You may notice some similarities between the scholarship essay examples about yourself we’ve provided. That’s because the authors of the best scholarship essays all use similar strategies to make their essays great.
Here are 5 tips from U.S. News to help you make all of your scholarship essays stand out:
Tips for writing stand-out scholarship essays
1. get personal and be specific.
The best scholarship essays will share an authentic story with impactful details. The key is to be yourself and not shy away from personal details. The more the committee gets to know about you, the more likely they are to invest in your future. You want your essay to offer a genuine, in-depth look into who you are as a person.
2. Tell a story
Your essay should be more than a collection of facts—it should tell a story. That means having a solid introduction that grabs the reader’s attention from the very start. Then, you should include a logical flow of experiences or details. By the end of your essay, you want your reader to have learned something valuable about you.
3. Tailor the scholarship essay to the prompt
Some of your scholarship essay prompts may be similar across different scholarship applications. However, it’s important that your essay is specific to each prompt and answers the question entirely. While you can repurpose an essay you’ve already written as inspiration or a starting point, be extra attentive when doing so.
4. Don’t tailor yourself to the reader
Many students fall into the trap of telling a story they think scholarship foundation committees want to hear. Instead, stay true to yourself as you craft your scholarship application essays. Don’t tell your reader what you think they want to hear—just tell them who you are.
5. Follow directions
This final tip may arguably be the most important. Above all else, students should follow instructions. This means adhering to the scholarship essay format guidelines and word count. It also means answering the essay prompt in its entirety. Application readers can be easily frustrated by a student’s failure to follow directions. This could reflect poorly on you and your essay in the long run.
Use these tips to guide you as you approach the scholarship essay format.
Scholarship Essay Examples – Final Thoughts
We hope our roundup of scholarship essay examples has shown you how to approach your scholarship applications. With rising college costs, scholarships should be a part of your college financial planning process. Take the time to do your own scholarship search based on your specific interests. You can find plenty of scholarships to apply to on scholarships websites and college financial aid pages. There are many different scholarships websites to help you with your search.
Save this guide
Feel free to save this guide and review our scholarship essay examples about yourself and about financial need. You can always look back on our scholarship essay sample about why I deserve the scholarship when writing your own essay.
Start with an outline that organizes your thoughts. Then, make sure your essay is clear and concise. Be original and honest, and include personal details and anecdotes when appropriate. State why you deserve to win the scholarship. Then, support your claim in a way that makes a scholarship committee invested in your future.
We’re here to help
Don’t forget to proofread your essay and ask others for their feedback. When in doubt, reach out to our advisors at CollegeAdvisor. Our team is always here to help support you find and apply for scholarships!
This article was written by Bailey Bennet. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.
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The Scholarship System
Paying for college begins here
Scholarship Essay Examples That Won Money
Scholarships & Financial Aid Student Success
Updated on October 13th, 2023
Scholarship application essays often carry a TON of weight when deciding who will receive the most scholarship money, but it’s not always easy to stand out in the crowd of applications. Even if your student fits the scholarship criteria exactly , they’re still likely to be one of a number of applicants with similar grades, accomplishments, community involvements, and aspirations.
That’s where an excellent scholarship application and scholarship essay format becomes a necessity and the key to winning the money. The scholarship essay provides the scholarship committee an opportunity to learn more about the individual behind the application and gives them a much more detailed look at your student’s school and home life. Additionally, the essay is your child’s greatest chance to shine and make their case for why they should be awarded the scholarship.
So, what do you need in order to write a great essay and maximize your chances of winning?! Check out these scholarship essay examples from scholarship winners that won money!
If you and your student are working on the scholarship process, make sure you don’t miss our free scholarship training. I cover exactly where you can find more scholarships your student is actually eligible for and are legitimate . Grab your spot here: 6 Steps to Quickly Securing Scholarships for College .
- 1.1 Winner #1: Special Attribute or Accomplishment Essay
- 1.2 Winner #1: Plan beyond college essay
- 1.3 Winner #2: Special Attribute or Accomplishment Essay
- 1.4 Winner #2: Plan beyond college essay
- 1.5 Winner #3: Special Attribute or Accomplishment Essay
- 1.6 Winner #3: Plan beyond college essay
- 2.1 Example 1:
- 2.2 Example 2:
Prompts for our scholarship essay:
- Discuss a special attribute, experience or accomplishment that sets you apart. How do you think that will help you succeed in college? (500 – 750 words) (Hint: we ask for ONE attribute, experience or accomplishment so please choose only ONE to talk about.)
- Discuss your plan beyond college. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Please include what you majoring in and how you plan on using that in your career. (250 words maximum)
The Scholarship System Winning Scholarship Essay Examples
Winner #1: special attribute or accomplishment essay.
“Two and a half years ago if I had been asked if I wanted to be a part of the HOSA organization I honestly would not have had a clue what that meant or where to begin! I did know that I wanted to pursue a career in the health field and was guided to Tolles Career & Technical Center where I was accepted into the Pre-Vet two year program. At the start of my Junior year I was introduced to HOSA, an organization for Future Health Professionals. The mission of HOSA is “to empower HOSA-Future Health Professionals to become leaders in the global health community through education, collaboration, and experience”. I became a member immediately and participated locally in many of the community events and service projects. I also competed in the Ohio HOSA competition for medical innovation and advanced to the local, regional and state level.
I then decided to run for one of the seven Distinguished Representative positions for all of Ohio. This was an intense process! I was required to first take a test over HOSA rules, regulations, and guidelines. I was then asked to set goals for the organization and give a speech regarding my goal ideas in front of several hundred people, the current state delegates and officer team. The final step was a vote by the current state delegates and officer team. I was successfully elected as Historian and my HOSA experience was in full swing.
My first HOSA conference as the Historian was the International Leadership Conference in Orlando, Florida in June 2017. Over 2,500 students came together to learn from five outstanding healthcare professionals. Topics included exploring healthcare careers, changes in healthcare, and medical innovations needed in the industry. I had the opportunity to have an active role in facilitating and participating in workshops and meetings for HOSA members. The goal of these workshops and meetings was to develop practical leadership skills, effective communication skills with people of all ages, and to understand the importance of encouraging individual and group achievements. Exceptional qualities that I plan on using in my career.
In September 2017 I participated in the HOSA Washington Leadership Conference where 400 officers from all the states learned strategies to improve our leadership skills. These interactive workshops included topics on self-motivation, problem-solving skills, managing others, and professionalism. I collaborated with representatives from many different states in preparation for our meeting with our political leaders both from the House of Representatives and the Senate to discuss with them the value of Career & Technical Education. We explored and presented evidence regarding the importance of funding for these types of educational opportunities. Upon completion of this conference I reported back to the local Board of Education sharing my experiences and the success of our meetings. Both of these conferences taught me what it takes to be successful in healthcare.
As my tenure was coming to a close, I organized meetings with the local students who were planning to run for local and state officer positions. I met with them in groups and individually to help prepare them for the interview process, and to emphasize the importance of maintaining the high standard of leadership in the global health community, if elected. In May 2018 the Ohio HOSA State Leadership Conference was held in Columbus, Ohio. I had an integral role in interviewing, selecting, and presenting the new Ohio State Officers to over 1500 students and advisors from around the state.
In conclusion, my HOSA experience helped provide me with improvements in leadership, communication, and team work skills. As I move onto college each of these skills will help me in defining my goals, establishing lasting friendships and relationships, and working with others for common goals for the betterment of our local, state, and national health communities. I am confident that all of these qualities that I have learned and practiced through HOSA will contribute to my success in every aspect of my future!”
Winner #1: Plan beyond college essay
“The day was May 28, 2014. My doctor told my parents that I would need Spinal Fusion Surgery with rods and screws, and it had to happen quickly. Before surgery, the doctor suggested strength training for the muscles in my back so that I’d recover faster. I immediately went to the local gym and began working with a personal trainer, Justin. I learned so much from him including how the body works and how surgery takes time to heal. After surgery, I knew that I wanted to use my experience to help others, just like Justin helped me. My ultimate goal is to own my own gym to help others, just like Justin helped me. I will also include a nutritional supplement line to make sure clients are fit inside and out. I know I will successfully reach my goals!
I will be pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science with a Minor in Business. These areas of study will give me the knowledge and background to achieve my ultimate goal. In association with this area of study, I will also be taking an entrepreneurial class and participating in entrepreneurial study group. This will help me in understanding the energy, perseverance, financial commitment, and planning needed to open my own business.
Upon graduation in 4 years, I plan on getting a job in a field associated with my goals, continuing to learn about the field, investing and saving to achieve my dream of having my own gym.”
If you and your student are working on the scholarship process, make sure you don’t miss our free scholarship training. It’s about 45 to 60 minutes long and I cover exactly where you can find more scholarships your student is actually eligible for and are legitimate. Grab your spot here: 6 Steps to Quickly Securing Scholarships for College.
Winner #2: Special Attribute or Accomplishment Essay
“I wake up to the sounds of chickadees singing outside my bedroom window and the delicious smell of breakfast cooking downstairs. A feeling of contentment washes over me as I slip out of bed and into my slippers. I saunter downstairs and sit at the kitchen bar as I rub the sleepy dirt from my eyes and wait to taste my mom’s delicious cooking. I love my laid back mornings. No alarms are jolting me out of a deep sleep followed by a mad rush to get ready and catch a bus like the other children in the neighborhood.
From the time I entered kindergarten until my eighth-grade year, I had the privilege of being homeschooled. It was during these formative years that I developed a love of reading and learning. My siblings and I used a literature-based curriculum which made history and other subjects come alive. My favorite part of the school day was our read-aloud books. My mom would sit on the couch, and the four of us would gather around her to see the pictures and hear the stories and then discuss the adventures we just went on. It was so enjoyable that it hardly seemed like school and we would beg for more. The schooled kids I would talk with were all jealous and wished they could be taught at home, too.
I was a late reader and had difficulties with spelling, but I didn’t realize that as my mom let me progress at my own pace and never compared me to others. I had plenty of opportunities to be a child and learn through play during the early years and to explore and follow my interests, which often centered around horses and animals. The freedom to pursue my interests is how my passion for architectural design also began as I got a little older. In the early years, my mom would dictate for me and allow me to answer questions orally while my written expression and spelling developed. My mom was a firm believer in “better late than never,” when it came to reading and learning. This method worked well for me. I learned much later that I had dyslexia, and I believe if I had started off in public school I would have been frustrated and realized I was struggling more than the other children. My love for learning very well may have been hampered.
The joy of reading and learning is just the tip of the iceberg of how I benefited from being taught at home. I got to grow up surrounded by my family, interacting with them, working as a team, and calling my siblings my best friends. I developed valuable life skills as a result of doing life together. I learned to cook, do laundry, watch younger siblings, plant a garden, clean, and I learned a lot about good health. I learned responsibility, time management, and how to work independently. I became self-motivated and took an interest in my learning.
Homeschooling laid a firm foundation; my values are firmly rooted. My work ethics are strong. I can stand on my own two feet and function independently. I have the skills to manage both my education and my personal life outside of my home. I have the skills necessary to be a successful college student and to pursue a higher level of learning. I give much of this credit to the experience I received as a homeschooled student early on in my formative years.”
Winner #2: Plan beyond college essay
“In five years I will have a four-year degree in Industrial & Innovative Design and a year of work experience under my belt with a design firm. My degree will provide me with the skills, tools, and technology necessary to digitally design. Communication and interpersonal skills will also be part of my educational foundation as interaction with clients will be an essential part of my job. There are several avenues I could pursue with my degree, but my passion lies in residential architectural design. I will be working in a position where I will be talking to clients, drawing out their dreams in a house, designing it, watching it come to life before my eyes, and seeing them move in, making that space their own. As I gain knowledge and expertise, I envision myself volunteering for an organization like Habitats for Humanity which provide housing for those in need of a place to call home.”
Winner #3: Special Attribute or Accomplishment Essay
“I never felt so out of place before.
The battlefield was a scrap-littered felt carpet, white fold-up chairs graffitied by permanent marker and frozen yogurt bowls full of worn-down pencils. Ahead, lied the lone boys’ art class at my church. I was the lone volunteer, deploying only two open ears as a weapon, and had to coax their participation in the annual Christmas craft bonanza that they dreaded for weeks. My first and most impactful lesson in teaching had begun.
The class quickly degenerated into anarchy. I spent the first twenty minutes watching as elbows sent pencils overboard and handmade tattoos crawled up arms. With chaos mounting, I was paralyzed by the inability to speak. I forced myself to listen, as their conversations progressed to artistic ideas: Spiderman ornaments, Batman Christmas cards, ninja star origami. I expected a stir of artistic energy as their art took shape, but all I heard was the crinkling of paper and scattering of markers as ideas never became reality.
Then, it clicked. I could fulfill my duty as a teacher by cultivating the artistic visions I heard. I didn’t need to employ bubbly enthusiasm or commanding words. Rather, I could listen, and use my observation to empower their artistic expression. Slowly, I worked to tailor to each fantasy-infused idea, with Pinterest, bubble cuts, and mounds of tape to aid me. As class ended with an assortment of festive superhero projects, I saw a glimpse of the impact that I could make by responding to my observations.
Now, I cherish the chance to act based on what I hear. Through teaching at Kumon and church and leading volunteer organizations, I’ve worked to develop and implement my style of listening to benefit others. Listening is a skill that I feel is often under appreciated in leadership. People usually flock to the figure in the center of the room, not the person on the side listening. But from my experience, it’s clear that I can guide others by harnessing my observations to benefit the inspirations and passions of those around me. My college plans are only avenues to further explore this ideology, as I’ll have the unique perspectives of thousands of other students, and professors to listen to.
While in college, I hope to impact my own learning experience and that of the student body around me by taking an active listening approach. Rather than sink back to my high school mindset that purely focused on soaking in knowledge and regurgitating it for grades, I plan to adopt a posture of employing my listening abilities to curate and act upon a stronger understanding of the lives and perspectives of my campus. Whether it be reciprocating the advice I receive in my summer transition program to my future roommates or finding campus opportunities best fit for my classmates while in conversation with upperclassmen, I believe that I will be able to positively impact both my own individual growth and the intellectual development of others by harnessing my observations and parlaying them into new opportunities, connections, and insights for others.
At a large school, I will be able to work alongside a student body with a swath of complex and fresh career plans, and it is through my observations and subsequent response that I hope to help others move further along their path to reaching their ideals while pursuing my own career in medicine. In doing so, I am confident that I will be able to forge the deep, lasting bonds that I consider critical for personal development all while building up skills in observation and interaction- traits that I consider integral to a successful medicinal career.
Whether it’s in a lecture hall or while stepping foot into my first Christian club meeting, I’ll be surrounded by a myriad of unique voices, experiences, and insights. I can hear it now, and I can’t wait to listen.”
Winner #3: Plan beyond college essay
“Having worked in children’s education for years, I’m enthralled by child psychology. From shaping my Kumon students’ work ethic through positive reinforcement to employing associative learning to help my church students anchor their understanding of scripture, I have become experienced in using my knowledge of psychological concepts to help children manifest their cognitive and social abilities. Based on my experience working and bonding with youth, I want to be able to integrate psychological concepts into my future work as a pediatrician to develop supportive and insightful relationships with my patients.
As a psychobiology major, I hope to continue building a strong, fundamental understanding of the mental aspects of human well-being to complement with a growing knowledge of the physical aspects involved in bodily development. While learning, I plan to integrate and enhance an expanding grasp of psychological concepts within my volunteer and extracurricular activities, as I find new organizations and clubs that allow me to teach children and gain further insight into how psychological ideas can impact the health of a child.
Following this experience, I plan to attend medical school, where I will be able to harness my undergraduate education to explore medical concepts in depth while also receiving more hands-on experience shadowing and observing the work of current and future physicians.
Ultimately, I plan to discover a career path that fits both my strong interest in the underlying mental and physical factors that shape child development and translate my knowledge into becoming a dependable and caring pediatrician.”
Additional Winning Scholarship Essay Examples That Won:
Essay Prompt: Submit an essay (750-1,000 words) on the following topic:
- Tell us about that time you did something extraordinary with money.
- What did you accomplish and why?
- How did that experience shape you as a person?
- What did you learn?
- What can you share with others so they can also learn from your story?
Standing outside in the rain shuffling through the wet mail is about as riveting as it sounds. I was going through a handful of car dealership coupons and bills when I saw an envelope at the bottom of the stack addressed to me—something that doesn’t happen often when you’re twelve. Inside was an $800 check for a radio show I worked on called “Adventures in Odyssey.” That day was my first taste of money, and I felt like a millionaire. Then I asked my mom how much our house cost because I was curious, and the numbers that came out of her mouth were more than middle school me could have imagined. Suddenly $800 didn’t seem like so much. My mind immediately went to the fact that one day I would have to pay my own rent, electricity bill, and buy my own groceries, not to mention pay for college, which I had already heard about from my friends’ parents and older siblings. I knew I had to think up a way to start earning and saving money as soon as possible, and the idea of starting my own business was one that stuck.
I’ve been drawing and painting since I was three or four, and the most popular request I got when I took my sketchbook out in school was, “Could you draw me?” It occurred to me that it was the perfect way to start my own business selling my art, and since I was my own boss, I could work whenever I had the time from the comfort of my own home. Eventually, word got out at my middle school that I was selling drawings and people I didn’t even know began to reach out to me to buy them. I ended up making well over a hundred dollars in my first two weeks.
At one point, people started asking me if I could sell a piece to a friend of theirs who didn’t go to our school. The drawings and money changing hands made it difficult because both had to go through someone else to reach me, and the person who ordered the art. I started to think about how I could start selling my art to people outside my school in an easier way, and the perfect platform dropped into the palm of my hand when I discovered Tumblr. It was a social media platform like Facebook or Twitter, but it was dominated by people who were around my age at the time. I found dozens of art blogs that said that they sold their art through online commissions, and everything seemed to click. I created a blog and set up a Paypal account so I could sell my art to people from all around the world, and that was the birth of Kohana Illustrations, a company I still run to this day.
The experience of starting my own company completely changed my point of view about money. Being a family of artists, our income was inconsistent, so we learned to be smart with our money. But actually earning money for myself for the first time made me even more financially conscious and taught me how to handle, track, and save money. I remember using some of the money I made to go to the store after school to buy a little black notebook, which I decided would be my “money log” to keep track of my income and expenses. My parents told me when they got a paycheck, they would put aside 10% of their earnings for charity and another 10% to put towards investments (another term I learned that day). I decided to do the same thing whenever I got paid. I drew a four-column chart in my notebook and kept track of my total earnings, investment savings, charity donations, and expenses. This is a system that has stuck with me to this day. It has taught me to not only retain money but also the value of giving back. I’ve donated to several charities including Nourish the Children, a charity that feeds malnourished children, and the ACF, which works to bring love back to children affected by the trauma of child abuse and family violence. In terms of investments, as I earned more money, I decided to open a Roth IRA account when I was fourteen. I’ve been contributing to it for the past four years and I’m proud to see a 34% gain to date!
Kohana Illustrations has taught me nearly everything I know about money so far through experience. If I had never created it, I wouldn’t have the money to give back to charity or start my retirement fund at such a young age. Working for my own money taught me its value and how to best utilize it so I can retain it over time. This scholarship would be a huge step towards my graduating with as little debt as possible, and I hope that people can learn from my experience and my story. If I can share anything with others, it would be that you’re never too young to start saving and investing in your own future.
Essay Prompt: unknown
Ever since the birth of modern America, community and school-driven sports have brought families and friends closer for decades. Competition is the fuel behind this fire and has sparked both rivalries and college careers. I have played sports since a very young age and it has taught me many life lessons through the years and I believe it has prepared me in a positive way to pursue not only my college education, but my life goals as well.
I started playing sports when I was 5 years old. Ironically it was soccer, which is a sport I haven’t pursued as a player, but one that I referee now. Also I was coached by none other than Bruce Elvington. His son, Logan, was on the team as well and we have maintained a steady friendship through the years. I have lived in Howe all my life so it was only natural that I started playing pee-wee football when I was 6 years old because that is what my friends did in Howe. Playing with my buddies has always been the biggest thing I enjoy about sports and a lesson I learned early on which started in pee-wee football. It helped me to connect with my friends outside of school with a sport that arguably does the best job of bringing guys closer together and forming an almost unbreakable bond.
I started playing baseball about the same time I started playing football which, as anyone with kids can imagine, was a nightmare in terms of scheduling. I played every year until kid-pitch and I managed to break my arm which forced me to miss a whole season of baseball. This was my first lesson of injury in a sports season which was something I had never before experienced. Missing that first season of kid pitch was rough because I felt I was a year behind and after that I had to work long hours to improve my skills to achieve the same level of the other guys. However, this turned out to be a positive situation of sorts because it was a small step in preparing me for high school sports and the real-world. How? It forced me to work harder.
I continued to play sports throughout middle school including football, basketball, track in school and baseball with Howe Youth Sports Association. Upon entering high school I continued these 4 sports and did my part as a freshman, working hard to help the program and fill spaces. My sophomore year I didn’t play football because it was difficult to manage my Type 1 Diabetes in the heat, and the risk of concussions, so I tried powerlifting and quickly realized I had the technique and strength to truly be good at it. I placed 8th in the Region in the 165 weight class and was looking forward to the next year. I played baseball that spring as well and just focused on my mechanics. I knew I did not want to play sports at the collegiate level. I simply enjoyed playing for the sake of competition, physical conditioning, discipline and being part of a brotherhood.
My junior year, which was last year, was probably the most interesting year yet. I decided again to not play football, I focused on my offseason workouts and getting ready for powerlifting. That is what I thought about every day until football was over. The very first meet we went to, the S&S powerlifting meet, I was on my final squat lift of 440 pounds. I went down and as I pushed to come up, I felt a sharp pain in my lower back and knew something was wrong. They walked me to the training room and was told that I strained my lower back quite severely. I was devastated. I had been working so hard all offseason and my third lift of the season I get hurt? It sucked and it was a huge lesson and mental struggle to get over those facts. The biggest lesson I took from that ordeal is that sometimes you work extremely hard for something and it can be taken away in a split second. It just showed me even more that life really is not fair. On the bright side, I made a decently quick recovery and was able to compete in the Howe meet and I managed to qualify for Regionals. I was sitting in 6th place after my bench lift during the Regional powerlifting meet in Chico, Texas. I had one more chance to qualify for state or at least qualify for state alternate. The odds were not looking good until the very last lift of two guys in front of me. They decided to go for a crazy weight and both ended up dropping the bar which automatically disqualifies them. I did well enough to place 3 rd and was able to go with my friends to the state powerlifting meet as the first alternate in the 165 weight class.
This year, I decided to play football to be with my buddies for my senior year and because I believe in what Coach J is bringing to our program. Our season was rough and there were many different struggles we all shared as a football family. Through all we went through, all the hurts and pains and discomforts, I would do it all again for my brothers. Football showed me what it can be to have a strong bond with the guy next to you. It’s almost like a less intense version of serving in the military. I’m blessed I did not have to be called to serve. Coach J did that for us.
Throughout my high school career of sports, I have learned my different lessons, big and small that have helped me grow as a young man and be prepared for the world today. I have been accepted to Southwestern Assemblies of God University and plan to get my degree in something pertaining to the ministry. Playing sports in high school has shown me the enormous amount of discipline it takes to keep up with school, sports, and extracurricular activities so I will be better prepared for college schedules and be much less overwhelmed. I am so thankful for the lessons I have learned playing these sports and the many memories and laughs I have had with all my friends. It is something I will always remember and treasure for many years. I want to give a big thank you to every coach and parent that has contributed to this journey because without them, none of it would have been possible. My parents deserve a heap of praise as well for supporting me and carting me to every practice and every game. Playing sports has had an enormously positive impact on my life, my future and has taught me countless life lessons both big and small and for that I will be forever grateful.
If you’re looking for additional helpful information regarding writing scholarship essays? Here are some additional articles to explore:
How to Write Winning Scholarship Essays
- Make Scholarship Essays Stand Out by Avoiding These 4 Clichés
- Pinterest 451
December 4, 2020 at 3:01 pm
These essays are so impressive and enjoyable to read, they really are the best scholarship essays I have come across. Thanks very much for posting they are very educative.
April 7, 2021 at 7:42 am
I like how personal they were. Each essay has got it’s own uniqueness and I have learned a lot from reading them. Thank you @thescholarshipsysytem.
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- Scholarships /
What is a Scholarship Essay?
- Updated on
- Oct 19, 2022
Scholarships are one of the most convenient methods to ease the financial stress for students who plan to study abroad. However, the majority of the scholarships come with an essay that requires writers to explain “ Why do they deserve the scholarship ”. This helps the scholarship committee shortlist who really deserves the scholarship. The essay must reflect on certain points that can help you earn the particular scholarship. In this blog, we will discuss the scholarship essay format and tips for an effective essay with scholarship essay Examples.
This Blog Includes:
How to write a scholarship essay, scholarship essay format, points to add in your scholarship essay, tips for scholarship essay, essay to study abroad, essay to study in india.
Also Read: Top Scholarships to Study Online
Scholarships are programmes that offer needy students financial aid. Whether you are in high school or in college, these programmes are available to students at all levels. You must write essays in order to be considered for the majority of scholarships. Your opportunity to persuade the scholarship committee that you deserve financial aid will come in the form of the scholarship essay you submit. You must present a distinctive perspective on yourself in your scholarship essay in addition to your academic accomplishments, GPA, and achievements. You must demonstrate your writing abilities and do so in an interesting way, regardless of the essay prompt. The award money will go to the essay that captures the scholarship committee’s attention and keeps them reading.
Essays are written on various topics however there are some fundamental ways to write an essay. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you in penning down a remarkable scholarship essay:
- Take more time than needed to write your scholarship essay because great things take time. Write the essay in a relaxed atmosphere rather than in a haste manner.
- Understand the essay question asked and answer that in a comprehensive and to the point manner.
- Be clear about the question asked in the scholarship statement as it lays the foundation of the essay.
- Write it in a genuine and authentic manner and don’t give false details just to impress the scholarship committee. As in the long term it is honesty and authenticity which makes an individual stand out.
- Research about the scholarship committee and understand what they actually desire from the applicant tp write your essay on similar lines to grab the scholarship.
A pervasive and generalised scholarship format exists tells you what to include while penning down a scholarship essay. The format of the scholarship essay should ideally be like the following-
- In a Scholarship Essay, first, the applicant has to elucidate upon their personal background.
- For the second paragraph, they get to write about their educational background in a brief and comprehensive manner.
- The Third paragraph must explain why they want to get the scholarship and course for which they have applied.
- In the last paragraph, the applicant explains why they are suitable for the scholarship and the course for which they have applied.
Before moving on to the Scholarship Essay Examples, read about Report Writing Examples and Tips!
While writing your scholarship essay, you must include components that have worked out before for others. Together, the points mentioned below thread your scholarship essay into a story of a candidate worth giving a chance-
- Leadership – Funding parties go for the candidates that have leadership qualities all the time. You can write in your essay that you are a leader but how will you prove it? That is why we suggest that you add certain special circumstances where you took the lead and got success.
- Extracurricular – Maintaining academic records is a lesser important criterion when it comes to scholarship. Anyone can be book smart and get higher grades. Your overall performance in various other aspects of life- sports, community, skills, etc that add value to your scholarship essay.
- Community – We talked about community in extracurricular but the significance of your connection to the community is much larger. Scholarships, funded by organisations, governments or universities, wish to invest in a candidate who puts community needs before his/her own. Try adding instances of community service (working with NGOs, cleaning drives, campaigns, etc) without sounding boastful about the same.
- Emotion – Subtle emotions make a scholarship essay worth reading till the end. At the end of the day, the main purpose of it is to sell your story to earn the scholarship. So add those subtle yet important emotions of perseverance, patience and dedication quietly into your scholarship essay.
Popular Scholarships to Study in London
Here are some tips/hacks that will help you write a good scholarship essay-
- Know the word limit so you don’t overwrite.
- Don’t start with a quote as it will eat up space for your profile.
- Keep the tone formal yet descriptive .
- Make notes of what you wish to add before you start on your first draft.
- Avoid overcrowding of achievements and only add those relevant to your course and scholarship nature.
- Use communicative vocabulary and don’t add difficult words to sound more formal or knowledgeable.
- Your conclusion should be brief with a thank you.
- Research about the scholarship provider and their motive so that you can match your essay to that.
- Don’t oversell yourself as it only bores the reader.
- Read the scholarship statement thoroughly to know what they expect out of you and your scholarship essay.
- Emphasize how the scholarship will be instrumental in achieving your dreams.
- Proofread the scholarship essay draft more than a couple of times to avoid silly mistakes.
Scholarship Essay Examples
It is really important to learn how to express and elaborate our views and passion in a scholarship essay. It also serves as a medium to communicate one’s goals and dreams. To reach your dream University, mastering the art of writing scholarship essays is crucial. Given below are two samples for a scholarship essay to study abroad and a scholarship essay to study in India.
I have always been a people person right from my childhood and every friend and family member of mine used to compliment me on my people’s skills like empathy, compassion, altruism, and patience. During my teen years, I slowly and steadily realized that destiny is unfolding the answers to my unresolved questions and I realised after profound analysis and contemplation that careers that involve dealing with people are the best fit for a person like me. I have always been proactive in volunteering activities so I genuinely understand the value of kindness and communication skills. I can clearly recall my school days when my friends used to come up to me for sharing their problems and I used to empathize with them and patiently listen to what they are going through and during those moments, a huge sense of satisfaction dawned upon me when I used to see my friends happy because I helped them feel better.
Instances like these gave a boost to my decision of pursuing a Psychology major in my Bachelors and during my bachelors apart from scoring High marks in my semester exams, I did numerous practical learning based internships, published my research paper on well-being in the workplace, and worked as an HR intern in 3-4 well-known firms to get practical insights into Organizational Psychology. I was an associate member in the Enactus and Placement cell of my college which developed my personality to a great extent and honed my communication skills in the best possible manner.
I have a strong desire to pursue an MA in Organizational Psychology and receive this scholarship. I have also had a genuine interest in the well-being of people in their workplace and thus, helping them lead a balanced life. And adding on to that I come from a lower-middle-class family, so the high fee of prestigious Ivy League Universities is not affordable and that is the reason I am applying for the scholarship. Rest assured, I never believe in a victim mentality as my parents have always taught me to be a warrior and their encouragement has propelled me to walk the whole nine yards for my dream University
I strongly believe that I am the best fit for this scholarship as I have everything ranging from a high GPA to a Strong ECA, which makes the profile of a student remarkable.I have left no stone unturned in exploring things, developing skills, and shaping up my personality in the right direction.
To get admission to a prestigious university like yours in the USA would definitely help me scale up to huge heights of success and along with that, it is my commitment that I will leave no stone unturned in contributing positively to others’ lives through my work.
Right from my childhood, I have had the knack of explaining things well to people of any age group be it children, adolescents, or adults and because of my great public speaking skills, I have always won debate and oratory competitions. Everyone in my family and School used to appreciate my public speaking skills and confidence which I considered as a regular compliment but in my high school I was renowned for teaching my peers and they used to understand it so well and the smiles on my friends’ faces brought me immense satisfaction. In the first year of my college, I started teaching to students and that was a turning point in my life as from that moment I had decided that I will be a college professor
I have pursued a major in psychology and a minor in management in my bachelor’s and further pursued MBA in HR from Delhi University. I have an ardent desire to get a Scholarship and admission to an esteemed and top-notch University for the realisation of the dream which is really close to my heart. Adding on to that, I come from a lower-middle-class family, and affording the fees of top institutions would be really tough but problems bring with themselves potential opportunities. I will leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of my dream. I have realised that my true calling lies in teaching school and college students and for fulfilling that dream of mine I want to pursue a B.ED and P.hD in Management.
As APJ Abdul Kalam said, rightly that the future of the nation lies in its young minds and I have always believed that I have the potential to shape up the young minds and help them channelize their energy in the right direction. I have great communication skills and a strong sense of altruism and putting these strengths of mine into use will help me contribute positively to society through my work. The above-mentioned reasons clearly illustrate why I am the best candidate for this course and scholarship.
Scholarships can be a godsend for a student who desires to pursue higher education and lead an extraordinary life. Writing an essay that is worthy of a scholarship will help you get the best grants. We hope that this article has given you a clearer understanding of how scholarship essays are produced and the techniques you should employ to write an essay that will convince the scholarship committee to select your essay as the winner.
Also Check out: Statement of Purpose: Format, Samples and Tips
Your essay must stay inside the allotted word count. Before composing the essay you will submit, draught it since you need to create the biggest effect possible given the word limit.
No, scholarships are not a requirement for admission, but they do offer financial assistance that lessens the load that students frequently bear.
Yes, the majority of scholarships are open to students from throughout the world. Find the ones that work best for your financial condition and will enable you to cover your living expenses while visiting the destination.
This was all about scholarship essay examples and format. We hope that now you have enough tips and the ways to pen down an impressive and genuine scholarship essay. If you further need help, our Leverage Edu experts are just a call away!
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- Applying For Scholarships
About Yourself Scholarship Essay Examples (2023)
Jennifer Finetti Sep 28, 2022
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A popular scholarship essay prompt is “Tell us about yourself.” This question is relatively open-ended, which may make it difficult to answer at first glance. What should I tell them about myself? My struggles, my goals, my passions…? These may all be fitting topics, depending on the scholarship. We’ll show you some scholarship essay examples about yourself, along with writing tips to guide you along the way.
What they want to know about you
As you prepare to write, think of the topics the scholarship committee would be interested in. These may include:
- Your current degree, as it applies to your overall career goals. You can explain why you chose your current educational path and what you want to do with that.
- Your short-term and long-term professional goals . Frame your answer as if to say “Where will you be in 5 years? Where will you be in 10 years?” Scholarship committees like to reward people with defined aspirations.
- Past experiences that sparked your passions. You could talk about an influential person in your life, but make sure most of the essay focuses on you. After all, you are talking about yourself.
- Something about you that relates to their organization. With any scholarship essay, you should try to connect yourself with the organization providing the funding. Don’t force a connection. Find one that naturally fits. Mention hobbies, experiences and goals that match what the review committee is looking for.
- Something unique that sets you apart from other applicants. This may be volunteer experience, career specialties, situational differences (growing up in an area that didn’t encourage education), etc.
Note that you do not have to throw all this information into one essay. Choose the elements that best fit the scholarship. If you were on the review board, what would you want to learn about each applicant? What would make you choose one applicant over another? Keep this in mind as you develop your thoughts.
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What they don’t want to know about you
There is plenty of information you could include in an about yourself scholarship essay. There is just as much information to avoid though. Some topics to keep out of your essay include:
- False information. Do not make up stories or fabricate goals to fit the prompt. The scholarship committee can instantly tell when someone is lying, and they will disqualify you immediately.
- Past struggles that do not pertain to the essay topic. You can briefly mention struggles from your past, as long as you mention how you’ve learned from them. Do not make your essay a long story about the hard life you’ve led. Focus on your triumphs, not your obstacles.
- Vague goals and aspirations. Scholarships are usually given to students who have a plan. If you say, “I’m not sure what I’m doing yet,” the committee will select a more motivated candidate. If you have a plan and a backup plan, that’s fine. Just make sure you mention both options and show which one you favor.
- Cliché stories that most people tell. There is something that makes you stand out as a person. Use that to your advantage. Don’t rely on generic information they’ll find with other applicants.
- Unrelated elements of your personal life. In most cases, you should not mention your significant other in the essay. You might mention a spouse if you need to reference your children or a turning point in your life, but these personal details do not fit most essays. Any information that seems frivolous or ill-placed should be removed from the essay.
Read through your essay carefully. If you stop at one point to say, “Why did I mention that?” get rid of the corresponding information. Showcase the best elements about yourself in a fluid and cohesive manner.
Short scholarship essay example: Tell us about yourself (100 Words)
With 100 words, you can only focus on one or two elements of your life. Think about your biggest selling points – the things that show you are the ideal candidate. Start by introducing yourself and your educational status. Then jump into the main topic of the essay. You may not have room to mention how the scholarship will help your education. Instead, mention how your education can help your career. The other information will be implied.
My name is Christian Wood. I am a high school senior who will be attending the University of Nevada, Reno in the fall. I want to become an online journalist. My goal is to work for the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Huffington Post, or another news outlet that has a strong online presence. Most people already get their news on the internet, and the industry will be even bigger by the time I graduate. Getting a degree in journalism with a focus on digital media will set me up for a fulfilling, fast-paced career fit for the future.
Word Count: 96
Medium scholarship essay example: Tell us about yourself (250 Words)
With a mid-length scholarship essay, you have more space to explain how your past has influenced your present and future goals. You should have rom for an intro paragraph, a few body paragraphs, and a conclusion (maybe incorporated into the last body paragraph). Think of a few main points you want to touch on, and write those down first. If you still have room, you can add more details about yourself.
My name is Sarah, and I spent most of my childhood on the wrong medication. I experienced a problem common in clinical psychology – misdiagnosis. Professionals provide inaccurate diagnoses for many reasons – f rom antiquated testing methods to limited education. I want to open my own psychological testing facility and help change that. Therefore, I am pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Neuropsychology. I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child because I had trouble focusing in school. The medication m y doctor prescribed to me only made me numb to the world around me. I couldn’t think or process emotions, or had no emotions at all. After several years my parents finally decided to get a second opinion. I saw a specialist and she concluded that I didn’t have ADHD , but a combination of dyslexia and dysgraphia (difficulties with reading and writing). She sent us to a therapist who helped me learn how to work around my conditions, and my life improved tremendously. I went from being a lifeless student with barely passing grades to an honor roll student full of joy and excitement. Unfortunately, my story is not one of a kind. There are countless children in America who are put on mind-altering medications that do not adequately address their needs. I cannot help all of those children, but I can provide a better alternative for the ones in my area. Through proper education, funded by financial aid, I can learn about psychological evaluations and provide the most accurate diagnoses possible.
Word Count: 249
Long scholarship essay example: Tell us about yourself (500 Words)
Scholarship essays that are 500 words or longer let you tell the whole story. You can discuss your past, present and future in a comprehensive manner. Avoid rambling and make sure each topic contributes to the overall essay. If one piece feels out of place, remove it and elaborate more on the existing elements. By the end of the essay, the reader should have a full understanding of who you are and what you want to accomplish.
My name is Sierra Breault, and I am a junior at Murray State University. I am double-majoring in Criminal Justice and Forensics Science, and I will graduate in 2024 with two bachelor degrees. My career goal is in social justice, so I can contribute to criminal justice reform. I want to ensure that those who commit crimes are treated fairly. I come from a small town where excessive force and even death by cop incidents are often committed, especially against minorities. A few years ago, one of my relatives was charged for a crime although the crime scene evidence wasn’t properly obtained, catalogued and analyzed. This experience played a big part in my wish to study criminal justice. I started exploring the career more when I decided that a desk job just wasn’t for me. Throughout high school I struggled because of the routine nature of it all. I saw the same people and attended the same classes every single day. I knew I didn’t want a job that would be that stagnant. That’s when I got the idea to work in law enforcement, because there would always be a new challenge for me to tackle. After researching the field even more, I set my sights on crime scene investigation. I have performed much better academically in college than I ever did in high school. That’s because there is no routine to the experience. Every week, I have new projects to complete, tests to study for, and activities to try. I have been involved with the campus Crime Stoppers organization all three years of college, and I was elected president for the upcoming term. This lets me work closely with law enforcement to supplement my college education and further my career. After graduating, I will apply for work as a dispatcher in a state organization, such as the Department of Criminal Investigation. While my ultimate goal is to work as a forensic analyst or crime scene investigator, those positions usually only go to people within the organization. Dispatch is the most direct option for career entry, giving me the best chance to pursue my dream career. I am applying for this scholarship to help me finish the last two years of my degrees. As a college junior and soon-to-be senior, my scholarship opportunities are limited. Most awards are reserved for freshmen. I took advantage of those early on, and I have one recurring scholarship that covers half of my tuition. However, I need additional financial aid to cover the remainder of my academic costs. I appreciate your consideration, and I hope that you can help me pursue a profession in criminal justice. This is my passion, and I have a clear plan to turn that passion into a lifelong career.
Word Count: 463
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As a parent who recently helped her own kids embark on their college journeys, Jennifer approaches the transition from high school to college from a unique perspective. She truly enjoys engaging with students – helping them to build the confidence, knowledge, and insight needed to pursue their educational and career goals, while also empowering them with the strategies and skills needed to access scholarships and financial aid that can help limit college costs. She understands the importance of ensuring access to the edtech tools and resources that can make this process easier and more equitable - this drive to support underserved populations is what drew her to ScholarshipOwl. Jennifer has coached students from around the world, as well as in-person with local students in her own community. Her areas of focus include career exploration, major selection, college search and selection, college application assistance, financial aid and scholarship consultation, essay review and feedback, and more. She works with students who are at the top of their class, as well as those who are struggling. She firmly believes that all students, regardless of their circumstances, can succeed if they stay focused and work hard in school. Jennifer earned her MA in Counseling Psychology from National University, and her BA in Psychology from University of California, Santa Cruz.
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Scholarship Application Essay Example
Below are some common scholarship essay questions. You can use these as a great starting point for a personal 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.
Paragraph I (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.
Paragraph IV (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.
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10 Winning Scholarship Essay Examples From Real Students
Make your application shine.
Writing a scholarship essay can be intimidating. The competition is fierce and the stakes are high, so students are bound to feel the pressure. It may be helpful, therefore, to look at essays that were successful. What did those students do to impress the committee? These scholarship essay examples will give you a better idea of how to make an application shine!
Tips for Writing a Scholarship Essay
We’ve put together a whole guide for how to write a scholarship essay , so if you haven’t read it already, definitely give it a look! In addition, here are some quick tips to help students get started.
Carefully read the rules
The last thing you need is to be disqualified from winning a scholarship because you didn’t do the right thing.
Don’t wait until the last minute to start researching and applying for scholarships. Give yourself plenty of time to work through the process.
Get to know the provider
Think of the scholarship provider as your target audience. You want to tailor your essay to impress them, so do your research. What kinds of candidates are they looking for? What causes do they support? Dig deep for the information you need!
Think about who you are, what you want to say, and how to appeal to the scholarship committee. Write everything down and then choose the best ideas.
The scholarship committee will be reviewing many applications. How can you make yours unforgettable? Highlight your strongest assets, share hard lessons if they showcase your growth as a person and/or student, and be honest. Never lie in a scholarship essay!
Consider this the most important academic paper you’ve ever written. Don’t use slang or casual language. Submit a properly formatted essay that’s been well-edited and proofread by multiple people.
One last tip
Don’t reuse scholarship essays! Yes, it’s time-consuming, but students need to put the same effort into every application. Use the same process and it will get faster and easier every time!
Scholarship Essay Examples
Afc visionary scholarship essay by nicole kuznetsov.
Award Amount: $5,000
Essay prompt: Why do you want to go to college? Why is it important to you?
Why it was successful: The beauty of this essay is that it’s well-organized and simple. Nicole Kuznetsov chose to outline her story by using chronology and provided a clean, concise story following a linear path.
North Coast Section Foundation Scholarship Essay by Christine Fung
Award Amount: $1,000
Why it was successful: Christine Fung masterfully shared how her upbringing instilled strong values, a love for education, and a passion for medicine .
The Bill Browning Scholarship Essay by Gabby DeMott
Award Amount: $10,000
Essay prompt: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
Why it was successful: Gabby DeMott shared her experiences with personal growth and overcoming fears in Germany. She also appealed to the very human feeling of wanting to belong in a way that was inspiring.
Life Happens Scholarship Essay by Emily Trader
Award Amount: $15,000
Essay prompt: How has the death of a parent or guardian impacted your life financially and emotionally? Be sure to describe how the loss of your parent/guardian impacted your college plans, and explain how the lack of adequate (or any) life insurance coverage has impacted your family’s financial situation.
Why it was successful: Emily Trader fully addressed the prompt in honest, beautiful detail. She knew her audience and tailored her essay to appeal to them while telling her compelling story.
Change a Life Foundation Scholarship Essay by Isabella Mendez-Figueroa
Essay prompt: Please explain how your experience volunteering and participating in community service has shaped your perspective on humanity. Elaborate on how these experiences have influenced your future ambitions and career choice.
Why it was successful: Isabella Mendez-Figueroa shared an empowering story about her parents overcoming financial adversity so that she and her sister could be the first in their family to go to college.
Giva Scholarship Essay by Joseph Lee
Essay prompt: Who is (or what makes) a good doctor?
Why it was successful: Joseph Lee offered a captivating , personal story that was essentially a list of things that make someone a good doctor without it feeling boring or calculated.
New York University College of Arts and Science Scholarship by Ana
Award amount: $39,500
Essay prompt: Explain something that made a big impact in your life.
Why it was successful: Ana discussed how early experiences w ith learning difficult things has contributed to her passion for teaching and supporting students.
The Fund for Education Abroad Rainbow Scholarship Essay by Steven Fisher
Award amount: $7,500
Essay prompt: The Fund for Education Abroad is committed to diversifying education abroad by providing funding to students who are typically under-represented in study abroad. Please describe how you and/or your plans for study abroad could be viewed as under-represented.
Why it was successful: Steven Fisher’s powerful essay connected his realizations about his own sexual identity with embracing the beautiful diversity found all around the world.
Women’s World Banking Founder’s Scholarship Essay by Rosaisha Ozoria
Essay prompt: Write about your hopes for the future of women and girls worldwide.
Why it was successful: Rosaisha Ozoria focused on a very specific topic , financial literacy for Hispanic women, and emphasized its importance and relevance to her own life.
The Millennium Gates Last Dollar Scholarship Essay by Famyrah Lafortune
Award amount: $3,500
Essay prompt: Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” —Nelson Mandela Describe a change you would like to make in the world. Tell us about how you would plan to make that change, and what obstacles you might encounter along the way.
Why it was successful: Famyrah Lafortune starts with a strong statement about ending racial inequality and then details the steps she’ll take to make it happen.
Do you have any great scholarship essay examples? Share them below!
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