How to Write a Killer Scholarship Essay in 8 Steps

How to Write a Killer Scholarship Essay in 8 Steps

October 13, 2019 17 By Ronny Jaskolski


Writing a Killer Scholarship Essay in 8 Steps
Thank you so much for attending our webinar today about how to write a killer scholarship
essay in 8 steps. My name is Bryanna Davis and I’m a Marketing Coordinator at International
Student Loan and we’re going to go ahead and dive right in.
OK, so for those of you who missed our first webinar on how to get an international student
scholarship, we are going to go ahead and review what exactly a scholarship is. Essentially
a scholarship is free money and typically they are for your international education.
Now just because they are free doesn’t make them easy to get. So there is a bit of work
involved with scholarships first locating a scholarship and secondly, applying.
One of the hardest parts of applying for a scholarship is going to be the essay portion.
This is where many students have a problem with and the reason we have an entire webinar
devoted to
writing killer essays. Step 1: Understand the Question or Topic of
the Essay It’s important to read over the question
many times. If you can’t understand exactly what the essay is asking then you’re going
to want to find a friend, family member or perhaps a professor that can help explain
what the essay is really asking. If they are unsure as well, you do have another option.
We have had this happen in the past, usually with international students who are not yet
in their country of study. Contact the host institution or company that is granting the
scholarship and ask them for further clarification as to exactly what the question or topic is
asking. Some students are hesitant about doing this because they think contacting them will
hurt their chances of receiving the scholarship. Keep in mind that you have the option of not
sharing your name. Give the host school or company a call and say that you don’t want
to identify yourself, but you do need more information. It really won’t be a problem.
Step 2: Do your Research Every single essay has at least a little bit
of research that can be done. This will really help “beef up” your essay and give you
a better chance at putting your best foot forward. So what I’ve gone ahead and done
is create a sample question to help explain this step better.
Sample question: “Ways you plan to use your past experience in business to help mold the
future of international business.” Of course you probably won’t get this question
or one like it, but we have done this simply to show you how to break down the question
and find the different areas in which you can research. So the first part is to look
at the part of the question that says “use your past experience in business.” So you
will want to start by doing research on yourself. You can do this by gathering your resume,
past awards or simply creating a list of your past business experiences. This will help
you reflect on the types of business experiences you have had and what you will be able to
bring to the table as far as helping the future of international business.
The second bit of research you should conduct is on international business itself and a
few ways that could be improved. Look for current problems in the international business
world and then bring it all together and see how you can combine your experiences with
the problems that international business is currently facing.
Step 3: Brainstorm Essentially brainstorming is having a quiet
moment to let your mind run with your thoughts. Write down those thoughts and any ideas that
come to mind that might be parallel to what the question is asking. So once again, using
our example question, I have gone ahead and written down a few ideas that might come to
mind when brainstorming this topic. Of course I only have three ideas on the slide for sake
of space, but when you brainstorm you will have a lot more ideas that come to mind and
will probably have a few off of these ideas as well. So the examples have I have come
up with are: time difference, cultural etiquette knowledge and working habits. Keep in mind
when you are brainstorming that you can always cross a thought out of your list later on,
but if you have a great idea that you don’t write down, chances are you won’t remember
it later. No matter how silly you may think an idea is, go ahead and write it down because
you never know when it could come to play later on.
Step 4: Funnel Your Main Ideas After you are done brainstorming it’s time
to funnel each of your ideas into one idea, turning it into the main point of your essay.
So once again, I have taken the example question and created my main idea based on the brainstorming
ideas I had. I took “business etiquette” and turned it into “How learning business
etiquette of the country you are in is beneficial.” My essay will now focus around this main point.
Keep in mind that you can use your other brainstorming ideas to help accentuate the main point but
they should all tie in together to focus on what the main point is really saying.
Step 5: Write a First (Rough) Draft As you may have noticed, you’re already
more than half way through the 8 steps before you even start to write your essay. There
are a lot of important steps before you put pen to paper. Whenever you write your first
draft you’re going to want to find a quiet area where you can think and if you prefer
to use a typewriter like the gentleman on the slide, feel free to do so (even though
I wouldn’t recommend it). Do whatever gets your brain juices flowing because your purpose
is to write a killer scholarship essay. Something to keep in mind is the fact that there are
8 steps to this process. Technically you could write an essay in only one step: writing,
but then it wouldn’t be a killer essay, just an OK one.
Here’s a tip to keep in mind when you sit down to write your first draft. If you are
writing an essay that even you don’t want to read, chances are the judges won’t want
to either. You want to make it entertaining, creative and original. You can do this by
telling a personal stories or experiences, anything to help relay who you are to the
judges. Step 6: Leave It, Then Come Back
After you have written your first rough draft (this is probably the easiest step of all)
just leave it. Leave your essay alone for a few hours or a few days, however long you
have. If you have a few days, that’s best but any time period is great for giving your
eyes and mind a break. When you come back you will see any spelling or grammar mistakes
– any of those larger errors that you may have made the first time.
Step 7: Proofread The next step in our process is to proofread.
You’re going to want to look for any spelling or grammar errors in your essay. After you
have proofread your scholarship essay, find someone else who can review it for you as
well. When writing a language that is not your first (so as a second or third language),
I recommend finding someone whose native language is the same as the scholarship prompt. For
example, if your essay is in English, find someone who is a native English speaker to
proofread your essay. Step 8: Submit!
The final step is of course, to submit your essay, but the key ingredient is to ensure
you turn it in on time. We had a student in the past who went through all 8 steps and
created a beautiful essay, but he was a few minutes late submitting it and it was unfortunately
disqualified from winning the scholarship. Every essay has rules and after all, they
are giving you free money so it’s important to follow the rules. After following the other
7 steps it’s important to complete the process and complete the 8th step; turning in your
essay on time. This concludes our webinar on How to Write
a Killer Essay in 8 Steps. If you have any questions feel free to join the conversation
on Twitter #FinancialAidTalk. International Student Loan is also on Facebook and Google+
as well so be sure to follow us on social media to keep you updated on webinars and
relevant financial aid information. Feel free ask any questions you have about writing essays
on any of our social media platforms.