Scholarship Essay Tips
If you want to be competitive to receive scholarships for study abroad, you’re going to need to put in some quality time and effort. By following these tips, you’ll be able to write essays and applications that stand out and have a better chance of receiving additional funding.
It’s easy to put off applications until the last minute, but, just like your professors always say, it’s very easy to tell which applicants wrote their essay at the last minute. Give yourself plenty of time to outline, draft, write, edit, have others read, re-edit, and submit your application.
Pay attention to the little things
Proper grammar and spelling might seem like a very small factor in a successful application, but it actually makes a huge difference. Even if you write an extremely compelling essay, you won’t be taken seriously as a candidate if your spelling and/or grammar is lacking. Plan extra time in your personal writing timeline to visit the UNO Writing Center to receive constructive feedback on your application.
Unfortunately students often forget to include all the required information and their applications are immediately put on the bottom of the stack. If there are prompts, be sure to answer all of the questions. If there are formatting specifications, take the time to make sure your application follows them. Following directions is the simplest way to improve your chances of earning a scholarship.
Tell your story
Scholarship committees typically have to read through dozens (or even hundreds) of applications at one time. Make yours stand out by going beyond surface-level responses and infusing your writing with your unique personality and circumstances. Instead of writing, “I want to be immersed in culture” (a phrase found in many study abroad scholarship essays), explain why and how you plan to do so. How will this program help you achieve your future goals? How will this scholarship help make the program a reality for you? If the scholarship is need-based, speak to your financial situation. If the scholarship is academically focused, spend time elaborating on your dedication and success as a student. Scholarships will be granted to the students with the most compelling (and well-written) stories.
Because of the high volume of applications that scholarship committees read through, you need to capture their attention immediately. There’s no need for a lengthy introduction in your essay. Provide necessary context and then get to your point. If you can deliver your story in a clear and succinct way, you’re going to shine as an applicant.