Writing Scholarship Essays: The Secret to Success

We're putting together an editorial staff that reflects our broad audience and their various financial circumstances. We value and encourage the experiences and perspectives that help us connect with our readers, answer their questions, and win their trust. Please read our disclosure for more information.
Updated on August 26, 2022 by
Writing Scholarship Essays: The Secret to Success is advertiser-supported: we may earn compensation from the products and offers mentioned in this article. However, any expressed opinions are our own and aren't influenced by compensation. The contents of the website, such as text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this site (“Content”) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional financial or legal advice. Always seek the advice of your Financial Advisor, CPA and Lawyer with any questions you may have regarding your situation. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website!

Essay writing is usually essential to a scholarship application process, helping the committee better understand you and merit your chances of getting a stipend. The great thing about a scholarship paper is that it can level off your application if your average is lower than other candidates. There are various cases where impressive papers got students into Ivy League institutions and secured them with full-fledged scholarships, but let’s take a step back and find out how to succeed in writing such papers. After all, writing an excellent piece hasn’t been more challenging, given the scholarship paper’s role in the application process. Below is a breakdown of tips to help you compose a successful essay and get a scholarship.

Invest enough time in brainstorming and reflecting

Topics for scholarship essays are usually general and focus on revealing students’ ways of thinking and treating different life aspects. In this respect, a scholarship essay doesn’t differ too much from an application essay. More to the point, the prompts will touch upon common topics like routine, academia, extracurricular activities, sports, hobbies, etc. Whatever you pick, make sure you don’t write the paper in a rush. Even though topics aren’t complex, it doesn’t mean you can dump words on the sheet, submit it under your name, and get financial aid. Quite to the contrary. Simple topics require a lot of brainstorming and reflection to ensure your work is revealing and thought-provoking. The best way to make it work is to start long before the deadline. This way, you will manage to go over numerous scenarios and choose the most productive and unique one.

Learn and meet the requirements

Scholarship essays mostly have few requirements, but in no way does it mean you can ignore them. You must follow everything stated in the instructions, from font and spacing to word count. Many students have fallen short by choosing a different format, although the content of their works was pretty decent.

Create a fascinating hook

Your body part may be outstanding, but if you fail to keep the scholarship committee at the edge of its seat right from the first sentence, the head of the committee will be unlikely to vouch for your work. Writing a fantastic opening is a must if you want to get into the top list of candidates. Luckily, there are dozens of ways to make your hook stand out. Depending on the subject, your paper’s opening may start with a joke, famous quote, question, shocking statement, and even contradictory information. While each works wonders, you must analyze which tactic best suits your writing circumstances.

Learn from others

There is nothing wrong with getting extra inspiration and reading model papers. Such works show that life experience plays a more significant role than grammar and vocabulary diversity. For example, look at Costco and Papa John’s essays. While not scholarship papers, they have helped students get into top-tier universities. The reports walk readers through the authors’ lives and experiences so they can wear their shoes and re-experience their emotional states. You are free to check any available essay you think can come in handy. “Can I even use EssayShark to write my essay,” you might ask. You can; an exemplary paper will show how you can leverage your opinions and describe them more vividly. Besides, you will learn how to structure the essay correctly.

Follow the structure

Structuring the piece is necessary to make it easily readable and smooth-flowing. Apart from adding linking words, it would be best to break your scholarship essay into several paragraphs indicating the paper’s introduction, body, and conclusion. The number of paragraphs varies by word count and other requirements. If you write a 600-word paper, the number of sections will not exceed six. Again, ensure to learn it by double-checking the instructions.

Have a clear storyline

You want to lead the readers through A to Z with no deviations and digressions. Not that they are ineffective (they are very effective, in fact), it’s just because you don’t have enough space for doing that. Plus, try to complement your application and ensure the committee gets to know you better by reading an application and essay.

Avoid being overambitious

Many students often take scholarship essays as tournaments. While these are somewhat tournaments, the jury pays attention to the content, not fancy grammar and vocabulary. It’s more important to use grammar correctly and pick relevant words, even if they are common.

Build a unique voice and tone

The scholarship officer wants to hear your story, no matter how you deliver it. Your voice and attitudes are vital to ensure you are the author, and that’s how you perceive the world. Whenever you want to suppress your inner writer to include any phrase, even if it sounds a bit slangy but best fits the context, don’t hesitate to use it.

‌Embrace tools to polish your writing

Grammarly for writers must resemble holy manuscripts for priests: wherever they go, they bring them along. Writing strategies have made a giant leap forward thanks to rapid technological development. You no longer need to use grammar books to perfect your writing. It’s now done much faster with Grammarly, the tool you need to use after you draft any paper. Grammarly will help make your writing more appealing and professional in minutes.

Forget about keeping it to yourself only

You may think your piece must not see the daylight and be kept under lock and key. But the reality is that you will never know whether it needs improvements if you don’t let others glance at it. After all, you get only one application attempt, so don’t hesitate to ask your friends and family to go through the piece and pinpoint its strengths and weaknesses. They will also spot errors you haven’t simply because you’re the author and your brain may omit some mistakes.


There you have it. The mentioned are not secrets-secrets to success when writing scholarship essays. These are simple yet game-changing tactics to help you compose a good piece and increase the likelihood of getting a scholarship. So what are you waiting for? Waste no more time and start working on the essay right now!

(Visited 119 times, 2 visits today)

🏔 Read Next 🏔

Best Side Hustles of 2023

The 27 highest paying side hustles you can start today.

View article ➞

The Common Cents Mom Newsletter

Join thousands of curious consumers getting the inside scoop.