How to Strengthen a Scholarship Essay

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With limited scholarships available and hundreds of applicants, it is essential that your application stand out to a scholarship committee. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by writing clear, compelling essays that effectively communicate your strengths and greatest qualities. This is your opportunity to showcase your strengths and convince the committee that you deserve their scholarship. By implementing powerful language, careful editing, and knowledgeable focus, you can increase the impact of your essay.

Power Statements

You can use power statements to present your skills in a persuasive manner. A power statement is a concise statement that communicates one of your strengths along with a specific example of that strength. The effect is enhanced in the form of a story with quantified results (such as numbers, dollars, or percentages). This will communicate your value and ability to achieve results, which will further demonstrate your qualifications for a scholarship award.

Think about some of your personal achievements that you are most proud of. Format one specific experience into a short story that demonstrates your ability and value. If you can work this story into your scholarship essay in a manner that is compelling and concise—leaving them wanting to know more about you—your essay will deliver a strong impression to those who read it.

Make Your Essay Shine by Paying Attention to the Details

Consider the following suggestions:

  • Ensure that the outline of your essay supports the overall purpose or theme of the topic addressed. 
  • Look at your sentence structure and word choice. Without sounding like a thesaurus, your essay should reflect intelligence and polish.
  • Proofread your essay carefully. Missing punctuation and spelling errors can completely undermine the credibility of your essay. 
  • Ask for the help of an adviser, teacher, friend, or someone with excellent editing skills to review your essay before it is submitted.
  • Make sure you follow the application’s directions explicitly. Each scholarship committee determines the essay requirements. For example, “Submit an essay that is 500 – 600 words in length and single spaced.” The committee will reject your essay if it is 850 words long and double spaced. 

Focus on Your Audience

Information is power. Arm yourself with it by taking time to research the sponsoring organization of each scholarship:

  • Review their website. 
  • Discover the organization’s history, vision, and mission statement.
  • Determine who serves on their board of directors and research to learn more about them.

The information you find can tailor the focus of your essay directly to the specific organization you are applying to. Use power statements that communicate the skills they are looking for. The better you show that you fit their criteria and mission, the more likely they will be to reward you with a scholarship.

See the articles "Topics for Scholarship Essays" and "Emphasizing Strengths in Scholarship Essays" for more information on the preparation and writing of scholarship essays.

For more information about scholarships, see the following:

Letters of Recommendation 

Scholarship Master Application

Scholarship Sources

Finding Financial Aid on

Continuing Education 


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