Essay Advice—We’re Here To Help!

Feb 22, 2018

A little less than a month remains until the scholarship deadline. By this time, you have likely reached out to those providing your letters of recommendation, or at least you have an idea whom you should ask. Maybe you’ve gone over your community service and extracurricular activities throughout your high school career, working to expertly craft your most flattering resume. And, of course, you may have begun to write, stop, rewrite, then rewrite again, that lovely little thing called the scholarship essay.

For some, this is all part of the fun—grappling with ideas, reorganizing their thoughts in different ways to capture the best snapshot of their connection and qualification to the scholarship vision. However, for others this part is the most paralyzing. You may feel like you’re writing aimlessly, or maybe you haven’t been able to write anything at all. Writing about oneself in scholarship essays can be tough, but hopefully we can explore some thoughts and considerations to support you in your writing process.

  1. How do you connect to the scholarship? Read over the Scholarship Fund’s mission. What are we working to do? Do you support our mission, and if yes, why? Has anything in your past work in your community reflected the values? Start by clarifying your understanding of what the scholarship is looking for, and why this is something that draws you in.
  2. What work has been done by past scholarship recipients? It can be easy to overlook the true breadth of our work when we don’t have a reference point. To get an idea of what you might look for in your own experience, check out what our past scholars have done. Academic pursuits, volunteering, sports, personal development, community work, family engagement—all these can me excellent sources for material on what highlights your values, service, and strengths.
  3. What do you want to highlight about yourself? I know, not necessarily an easy question. Like I said, writing about ourselves can be a real challenge! We aren’t always used to emphasizing our strengths and what makes us unique. However, what is amazing about writing for a scholarship is that it finally gives you the space to do so. You get to decide what you want to be said, and heard, about YOU. You are the maker of your own image, so to speak. What drives you to do the community work you do? What pulls you toward your academic passion? What have you learned from your growth throughout your life? The trials and triumphs we experience make us each unique and exciting in our own ways—do not be shy to express your faith in your own potential.

Hopefully these guiding questions offer some inspiration! If you’re able to sit down with them and begin writing, you might find a bit more ease in getting your essay off the ground and headed in a direction you can be proud of. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your essay likely won’t be either. Take your time to start, stop, write, and rewrite, and get some outside feedback. Patience and diligence go a long way!

Some final thoughts…

Keep in mind that your essay will require a connection between your experiences and the beliefs and values of Stanley Ann Dunham. Make sure to take time to read through the provided articles to find quality inspiration.

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Happy writing!