"How to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay"
By Dante Lee alumnus of Bowie State and CEO of Diversity City Media
THIRD PERSON: Be sure to write your essay in 3rd person. This means not to use words such as “I”, “we” or even “you”. Rather, you want to write your essay as if it’s a newspaper article or a press release. For instance, suppose the essay question is “What do you think about abortions?” Don’t start off saying “ I think abortions are…” or “I believe that abortions can… “Instead, just say “Abortions are …” or “Abortions can…”
ORGANIZATION: Be sure to organize your essay. This means that you will need a definite introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Be sure to use paragraphs, and make it clear which paragraphs are which. Also, organize your thought. Don’t have random thoughts within the essay that don’t fit with the flow of the paragraphs.
REFERENCES: Use references in your essay to show that you did your research. You can cite a book, a magazine, or even a web site. Whenever you make a claim in your essay that wouldn’t be obvious to most people, you should definitely cite where you obtained such a statement. You can also include a few quotes from notable people, but make sure that it appropriately relates to the topic of your essay.
PAY ATTENTION: Pay attention to the rules. Many people lose essay contests because they don’t follow simple rules. For example, if a scholarship contest requires that you put only your name and phone number at the top of your essay- then do just that. Don’t decide to add your address and fax number. If they say email your essay in, don’t submit it via postal mail. This may very well be a test to see if you can follow instructions.
NO TYPOS: Be sure that you spell all words correctly in your essay. Make sure that you use quotation marks, commas, colons, semi-colons, and periods appropriately. Avoid incomplete sentences and run-on sentences.
MAKE THE DEADLINE: Shockingly, many applicants try to submit essays after the deadline. Make sure that you get yours in on time. Don’t procrastinate. Start early, and submit early.
THINK BIG …AND SMALL: Don’t just apply for the high-end scholarships for $5000 and up. Keep in mind that these generally are more competitive due to more applicants. Be sure to also apply for the smaller ones, like the $500 and $1,000 scholarships. These opportunities are easier to win because most applicants don’t take them very seriously. They also usually have less applicants.
Check out a list of scholarships at: HBCU Connect