Office of Scholarships

Essay Writing Tips

Essay writing can, at times, be an intimidating thing if you don’t take the time to understand that it is a process. Sure, there are those gifted few who can write poetry at the first use of a pen. But, for the rest of us, we find ourselves having a vague idea of what we want to say, but don’t know how to say it. Here are a few tips to help ease the fear, and stress, of writing an essay.


Have you ever started to read something and you’re yawning before you get to the second sentence? No one wants to read anything that puts the reader to sleep. Each and every one of you has a story to tell…so get to it and tell it. Don’t beat around the bush. Grab your audience’s attention so that they want to keep reading what you’re about. Donors and universities want to know why they should give you a scholarship. Sure, grade point averages, SAT and ACT scores are important. But, being able to tell who you are and how you will be an asset to that university is what is going to set you apart from everyone else.


So, now you’ve got their attention – what are you going to do with it? Donors and universities don’t have the time to read a novel. By the same token, there is no way they will be able to get a sense of who you are and what you’ve done in one paragraph, unless of course you’re only two years old. Pick out the most important facts about you…ones that you are really proud of. It’s ok to brag. The readers of your essay are asking the expert – YOU. Be specific, but don’t drown them in detail. Be concise, but don’t sell yourself short. Be sure to include, not only what you’ve done, but also what you are planning to do with your future. What are you going to study? What are your aspirations and dreams? They want to know where you’re going and, more importantly, how they can help you get there. This is going to take time and probably more than one draft. Don’t groan about this…if someone asked you to work, let’s say, eight hours and they would hand you a check for $1000-$3000, would you do it? Then get to it.


You’ve just explained how bright and shiny you are – now give them something they won’t be able to forget. Thank them for taking the time to read your story and remind them again why you should be the recipient of their funds. End it with a bang and you’ll be certain to receive some bucks.