Home Blog Scholarship Essay Guide How to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay

How to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay

How to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay

Writing a scholarship essay is an overwhelming task, especially when your academic future depends on it. To stand out among thousands of other college essays requires a well-planned and focused essay.

By getting better at writing this type of essay, you can level up your chances of getting a scholarship. Scholarship winners know how to write great and inspiring essays and this is what makes them stand out from the competition.

This blog discusses a simple guide and tips to help you write a successful scholarship essay.

What is a Scholarship Essay?

A scholarship essay is a type of essay that gives you the opportunity of convincing and give the admissions committee an idea of why they should help you in paying for college.

Scholarship committees receive thousands of scholarship applications every year. Your essay is the sole factor through which the members of committee judge and filter out the perfect candidate.

Reportedly, the United States Department of Education provides scholarships to high school students worth more than $40 billion. The scholarships include both federal and private scholarships. No matter what type of scholarship it is, you will be required to submit a well-written essay in order to please the committee members.

How to Write a Scholarship Essay

In order to make your essay stand out from thousands of others, there are simple scholarship essay tips and steps that you need to follow. Continue reading to write a scholarship essay that will definitely help you land scholarship in a great college.

Choose a Topic

This is the first and important step of your essay. To start a scholarship essay, you need to decide the topic first. That will greatly depend on the field that you have chosen to continue your studies. For example, if you want to go to a law school or a medical college, a common question will be why are you going for that particular field.

The smart way to answer the question is to back it up with some relevant facts or personal learning experiences. You can say that you want to join medical college because you want to help others. Now that you have stated your reason, the next step is to write a personal experience that agrees with your statement.

A scholarship essay is somewhat similar to writing a personal statement. However, the difference lies in the purpose.

Scholarship essay is written in order to get a scholarship from an institute. A personal statement is written to land admission in a college or university. However, the style for writing a personal statement is somewhat similar.

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Conduct a Research on The Institution

Before you start writing, it is an important part to research about the institute. You must know about the institution you are applying to. Go through their website and focus on the objectives and their values. You can also mention about their values and how your passion complements their objectives.

Another way can be to restate their mission statement and incorporating it in your content. This will impress the admissions committee, considering the fact that they need a perfect candidate for the scholarship.

Make sure that you read the question carefully. It will be somehow related to their values and core objectives. Use similar words in your content to align it with the question.

How to Start a Scholarship Essay?

Before you start to write your essay, it is important that you go through a few scholarship essay examples. The examples will give you an idea regarding how to write an essay for a scholarship and what should the end result looks like. Continue reading and you will find a few examples written by professional essay writer to help you with your essay.

Apart from examples, here are a few tips that can prove to be helpful before you start writing your essay for scholarship.

Whatever topic you choose for your essay, write it according to your perspective.

If you are assigned a topic, the written content to be delivered should be a reflection of your thoughts.

Make sure that your essay is of minimum 500 words if the content length is not specified.

Let's consider a random example ‘What makes a great leader?' as your topic and how to compose an essay on it.

  • Research what attributes and qualities are necessary to be a leader.
  • Create a strong outline for your essay before you start the writing process.
  • Make sure that you add a unique factor to your essay that expresses your thoughts on the topic.
  • Think about how your academic career can be based around this topic.
  • Mention how can you be a leader with your leading abilities?

The objective of writing this essay is to convince the admission committee and prove that you are worthy of a scholarship. The key to a successful scholarship essay is the ‘unique' and ‘you' factor. A unique perspective will help you stand out in the crowd.

Now that you have a little idea about a scholarship essay, let's get to the writing part and how to create an outline for your essay.

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Scholarship Essay Examples

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Scholarship Personal Statement Essay Example (PDF)
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Scholarship Personal Essay Example (PDF)
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Sample Scholarship Essay (PDF)

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Scholarship Essay Outline

It is necessary to follow a specific scholarship essay format in order to create a well-organized essay. There should be a smooth flow and transition between different paragraphs. The outline should cover all the points that you want in your essay in a proper order.

Scholarship essay is no different from other types of essays. Following is an outline that you can follow for your scholarship essay.


Start the essay by explaining yourself, your background and your values. Or if you have chosen to write on a topic such as “Discuss the time you overcame a challenge with the help of leadership abilities.”

You can start by discussing the time when you faced a challenge, narrate the entire incident.

Body Paragraphs

In the body of your essay explain what you did to overcome the obstacles. The body of your essay is the main essence of the entire essay, this gives the college scholarships committee a chance to get to know you. So, provide with the chance to understand you and your personality, don't be afraid of being yourself.

Don't try to be someone else or copy their thoughts; this is your chance to show them who you really are. Even if your beliefs or perspective is different from the usual it doesn't matter. A winning scholarship essay is the one that is different and stands out from the rest.

Also, at this stage you must share your educational and career goals, reasons for picking the particular degree and course. What do you plan on doing with this degree, how this scholarship will enable you to fulfill these goals.


End your essay by linking the entire essay together; the ending shouldn't be abrupt. Restate how the scholarship will benefit you. The tip is to sound confident and let them know how serious you are about your goals and that you will use the money for good. You will have enough skills and experience to create a positive impact in your field.

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Do's and Don'ts of a Scholarship Essay

Here are some do's and don'ts that you must be aware of before you start writing your paper.


  • Follow a narrative outline, tell your experiences and story.
  • Sketch an outline before beginning to write the essay.
  • Research about the institute and make sure you're a good match.
  • Present yourself as someone successful. Even though you went through challenges, they helped shape you in a better way.
  • Proofread and edit your essay, run it through spelling and grammar checkers, or have your friends and family members go through it once.
  • Make it clear and simple with a smooth transition.


  • Don't use fancy vocabulary that you aren't sure of yourself.
  • Personalize your essay.
  • Avoid clichés.
  • Don't highlight what is already presented in your resume.
  • Don't write how bad you need the money, instead, show them why you deserve it more than the others.
  • Make sure there are no grammar mistakes in your essay.

Looking for Help?

A scholarship essay is one of the main elements of the application process that can help you fulfill your dream of going to college, so don't blow it up. If you don't possess good writing skills, it's best that you seek professional help.

The essay experts at 5staressays are well aware of the qualities of a winning scholarship essay and can help you craft quality content. Reach out to them today and start your journey towards your dream college.

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