Graduation is just around the corner, and many high school juniors and seniors are already preparing their college applications. Many colleges don’t require handwritten work for admission, but students who apply for scholarships are usually required to write and submit an essay.
“The number one reason why students don’t apply for scholarships is they don’t have enough time to complete the essay,” said James Tindell, College Advisor for Auburn High School. “Working on two essays for your admission and scholarship portfolio is the key to streamlining your application process.
”When it comes to topic, personal experiences that have impacted students are best. For instance, an ordinary essay about a summer fishing trip with Grandpa most likely won’t catch the interest of scholarship reviewers if it’s told only on the basis of what happened and whether or not the trip was enjoyable.
The story needs to contain a certain level of significance to the student. They should explain why the trip was special and memorable, as well as discuss whether or not the experience affected them in a positive or negative way.
Detail is another important element of an interesting, successful essay. The story should have clear descriptions of places, colors, smells and emotions.
Mr. Tindell’s Top Tips:
“Set yourself apart with a thoughtfully crafted, well-polished essay that shows how something changed your life in a significant and personal way,” said Tindell.
1. Show that you have perspective – Most kids don’t have a hard-knock life; write about something you are passionate about.
2. Know your audience and tweak your essay accordingly.
3. Make sure you are the hero of the story.
4. Don’t be afraid to show you’re not perfect – Authenticity is key!
5. Have at least two adults proofread your work.
• Write your essay from a personal standpoint.
• Tell a story. The key to an interesting topic is significance rather than extravagance. Why is your story/experience important to you, and what valuable lessons did you learn? How does this story/experience make you the person you are today?
• Don’t forget to include vivid descriptions, but don’t go overboard.
• Grammar and word choice are highly important!
• Type the essay in Times New Roman size 12, unless instructed otherwise.
• Try to keep your essay between 300-500 words.
When considering students for scholarships, colleges pay close attention to grades, test scores, and transcripts, but the application essays allow them to learn more about the students as people, and this is where you can stand out.