writing your college admissions and scholarship essays

Posted : September 2, 2006
Last Updated : September 16, 2021

writing your college admissions and scholarship essays

Essays are an integral part of the college admissions and scholarship application process. A college admissions or scholarship essay should be personal, intriguing, and well written. It should have a focus and be specific. It should make you stand out from other applicants. Here are some tips to help you achieve these tasks.

Be yourself.

Choose a topic that has meaning to you. If you choose a topic that you could care less about, it will show through your writing. Consider writing about an event, a person, or a place that has affected you in some way or that has helped shape who you are today. Don't forget to make the essay your own. If you are funny, don't be afraid to make the essay humorous. If you are passionate, write about that quality and describe what motivates you.

Provide a clear thesis and prove it.

The reader should be able to identify the main point of your essay. The thesis should indicate where you are going and what you are trying to communicate from the very beginning. It should be stated in the introduction of the essay and should be supported with specific facts and examples in the sentences that follow.

Be creative.

Draw the reader in with an original introduction so he will want to finish your essay. This original introduction could be:

  • a thought-provoking question
  • an insightful quotation
  • a surprising statement
  • a vivid description
  • an unusual fact
  • a startling statistic

Don't forget that admissions officers read thousands of essays so you have to make yours stand out from the crowd.

Stay on task.

Most colleges or scholarship organizations want you to write about specific topics or answer certain questions. Make sure you stay on topic throughout your essay. If the directions have a set limit for the amount of words in the essay, follow the requirements. Don't ramble on for ten pages when all they want is a 500-word paper.

Don't write over your head.

If you use too many big words, the person(s) reading your paper will think you are trying too hard to show off your vocabulary and may even toss the essay out, especially if those big words are misused. Stick to words that flow easily throughout the paper and only use big words occasionally.


Your essay should have zero grammatical and stylistic mistakes. Proofread the essay several times before you submit it. Make sure there are no misspelled words, punctuation errors, or incomplete sentences. Essays with grammatical or stylistic errors are easily dismissed. When writing your college admissions essay(s), be sure to refer to the correct school. Counselors know that essays are sometimes recycled, but you should be courteous enough to address the correct school.

Ask others for input.

Grab parents, teachers, tutors, or older siblings and ask them to read the essay and give you feedback. They may also find grammatical mistakes that you have overlooked.

Following these guidelines will help you have a high-quality college admissions or scholarship essay. Be sure to check out more tips on how to sharpen your writing skills.

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writing your college admissions and scholarship essays

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