Tips and Tricks for Scholarships


Ryley Schuster

It is the time of year when college scholarship essays are due. At this point, all of the school-specific essays should be done, but many of the local scholarships are still open. These scholarships may require essays about yourself, something many people struggle to write.


There are two important things to remember when writing about yourself. First, do not tone it down. Second, don’t qualify or be bashful.


The point of a scholarship essay about yourself is to play up your strengths. You are trying to get people to give you an award, so it is important to emphasize all the good things about you. Watch the connotation of your words (for example using steadfast or determined instead of stubborn). A good way to find good words is to use


When talking about your good qualities, make sure you are not bashful about it. Do not qualify with words like ‘sometimes.’ Once again, the point of this essay is to make you sound good enough that people will want to give you money. Be big-headed, take time to boost your ego a little before writing it if you must, just do not be bashful.


Listed below are some other tips that help to write about yourself, but the most important are the ones listed above.


Relax, things will fall into place. College is stressful, but you don’t need to obsess or worry yourself to death.


Some other tips:

  1. Mention work experience. Have you done volunteer work? Do you hold or have you held a part-time job? Do you participate in a lot of school clubs and organizations? Don’t hold back when thinking about these things.
  2. On that note, make sure the information is relevant. If you are writing about your education goals, mentioning the time you helped plant flowers may not be to your advantage (unless it is what made you want to go into botany or agriculture).
  3. Organize your resume before trying to write about accomplishments. It is so much easier to write about what you have done if you have a list ready.
  4. Remember when your parents told you that you were special? You are, now list reasons why. Can you clean your room in two minutes to avoid being grounded? You are efficient. Can you get a paper written in two hours because you forgot to do it the night before and it is due during fourth block? You are good under pressure. Anything you can think of can be a good trait.
  5. Your first draft doesn’t have to be the one you submit. Have fun with it, make jokes and throw in things to make you laugh and make the task of writing easier. For example, on one particularly hard history essay, my introduction was “Listen here, Imma tell you about this really cool thing from history that I don’t even really understand just yet…” And went on like that until I could wrap my head around what I was writing. The final draft was a whole lot more formal, but that is the kind of thing that can help motivate you, just don’t forget to edit it before you turn it in.
  6. Do you have siblings? What did that teach you about sharing and caring? How did that affect you? Even what seems like the smallest thing can be a solid building block.
  7. Finally, just remember that in the end it is about you. You are not a stranger, you are not writing about someone separate from you who you can’t relate to. Finding the perfect words isn’t going to be easy, but fortunately you don’t have to have the perfect words.