Tips for Organizing a Winning Scholarship Essay

March 28th, 2014 by Jennifer Frankel

businessman wealth477168287Writing a scholarship essay is, perhaps, the most important—and often, most daunting—step for any student looking to win a scholarship. Judges must assess applicants quickly and will already know your basic information/details from the rest of the scholarship application. That being said, the essay is your chance to stand out as an applicant and tell the judge(s) exactly why you’re the ideal recipient for their award.

And, as any experienced essay writer will tell you, an outstanding essay begins with a well-formulated outline.

There aren’t specialized scholarship essay outlines per se, rather, scholarship essays are organized much like any other essay. However, there are a number of key features the scholarship essay must convey to the judge, and these features are important to keep in mind when planning.

Scholarship Essay Important Features to Remember

  • Don’t just reiterate the basic information in your profile (the judge(s) already have access to that), identify yourself as the ideal recipient of this particular scholarship
  • Give a personalized response, specifically tailored to each individual scholarship
  • Remember who the judges will be. Who offers the scholarship? What are they looking for in a candidate? Don’t just respond to the topic, write for your audience and highlight the desired qualities in yourself!

Outline Formats

As there aren’t specialized formats for scholarship-specific essays, any traditional outline format will do (Interchanging numerals and letters for major points and supporting details, for example).

  1. Idea 1
    1. Supporting statement
    2. Supporting statement
  2. Idea 2
    1. Supporting statement

The only particular thing to remember is you are planning more than a mere response to the provided prompt—you are planning a way to sell yourself as the ideal candidate for the scholarship while responding to the prompt.

An Example of a Better Response

When planning, it is important to remember that there are better and worse ways to respond to a scholarship provider’s prompt while simultaneously selling yourself as the ideal candidate to receive the award.

Outlining and planning your scholarship essay is the most valuable asset in crafting a formidable response—a response that needs to both answer the provider’s question while setting you apart from a group of similarly qualified applicants.

For example:

BAD: “I am a very hard worker.”

BETTER: “At my current job, there are often extended lulls in the workload. During those lulls I stay busy by finding things in the office that still need to be done and taking care of them. Rather than sitting around or waiting to be told what to do, I refill paper trays, tidy up areas that have become cluttered throughout the day, and otherwise take initiative to improve the workplace and assist my co-workers.”

Scholarship Essay Outline Recap:

  • The scholarship essay is the best means for a student to distinguish themselves from other applicants and procure a scholarship
  • Creating a detailed outline and planning your response is the best step a student can take to write an impeccable scholarship essay
  • When planning responses, students should write for their audience—highlight the qualities the scholarship provider is looking for!
  • Any traditional outline format will do (numerals, letters, etc) as there is no specialized scholarship essay outline format—it’s not important what style the outline is, only that there’s an outline!

Springtime Selfie Contest

March 27th, 2014 by Bryanna Davis

selfie 186103555Springtime Selfie Contest
Deadline: April 25th

Since you’re going to take a few selfies this month anyways- you might as well win $25 from one! is hosting a Springtime Selfie Content that international students around the world who are 18 years or older are able to enter into. It’s your chance to shine as an international student while trying to better yourself or the world around you.

To enter you need to take a great selfie while doing some type of spring cleaning. This can be organizing your dorm room, volunteering for campus clean up, or any other spring cleaning activity you plan to participate in. Photos must be submitted by 11:59pm EST on April 25th with a short photo description. Photos can be submitted to International Student through a tweet or Facebook post.

Keep in mind that any photo submitted will become property of, must be appropriate content and only submitted once

For more information on the Springtime Selfie Contest and if you are eligible please visit here for more information.

Chris Meyer Memorial French Scholarship

March 20th, 2014 by Bryanna Davis

Paris 186529763Chris Meyer Memorial French Scholarship
Deadline: April 15th

Students who want to study the French language through a homestay summer program won’t want to pass up this award. Students who would like the opportunity to participate in this program without having to pay tuition must demonstrate not only outstanding academic performance through their Grade Point Average (GPA), but also through extracurricular performance in the field of French language and culture. Those who apply must have a passion for French culture and be involved in French school work or school projects that demonstrate this, or through foreign language clubs and events.

One student will receive full tuition for this program and one will receive a partial tuition.

To apply, students must submit the following:

  1. A foreign language evaluation
  2. Two letters of recommendation: One personal, one academic
  3. An official academic transcript
  4. A recent photo
  5. A personal statement that includes the following:

• Your reasons for applying for a fellowship or scholarship
• Academic strengths and challenges
• Any applicable internship/leadership/work experience or volunteer activities
• Your future academic and career plans, including an explanation of how a fellowship or scholarship and participation in an Abbey Road summer program will support these plans
• The reasoning you used to determine your preferred summer program choice
• Any other information you feel the Scholarship Committee should know

The Chris Meyer Memorial French Scholarship is sponsored by Abbey Road in memory of Chris Meyer (1980-2009). Chris was a member of the of Abbey Road’s French Homestay Summer Programs staff in 2002 and 2003, and diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2002. Although diagnosed with this illness, he graduated from Stanford in 2004, began a Ph.D. program in art history at Harvard and received numerous awards and recognition including the Harvard Presidential Fellowship and a Mellon Fellowship.

Learn more about this scholarship and how to apply here.

Tips for Writing an Effective Scholarship Essay

March 18th, 2014 by Jennifer Frankel

While there are many sources of financial aid, scholarships are by far one of the best ways a student can offset some of the costs associated with pursuing a degree. That being said, most scholarships require students to write an essay in response to a provided prompt.

The scholarship essay is typically the biggest hurdle students face when applying for scholarships, so we will explain why the scholarship essay is actually the best opportunity for students to secure the scholarship, then we will provide some important tips to keep in mind when doing an effective scholarship essay all of your own.

The Essay is a Great Opportunity for Applicants

The essay is one of the most important components in a scholarship application because it helps the scholarship provider to narrow down their choices from a range of applicants that meet the application criteria (and, typically, most people applying will have similar academic standing, extra-curricular activities, interests and goals). That being said, the essay is also the best opportunity for students to differentiate themselves from the other applicants, and really catch the attention of the scholarship provider.

Essay Writing Tips

1. Tailor each response to the particular scholarship

It’s important that you not only directly respond to the prompt given by the award directions, but remember who the organization is: Who are they specifically looking to give the scholarship to? What qualities are they looking for in a recipient? Try to highlight those qualities in yourself while staying on topic.

Make the essay passionate enough to stand out, personal enough to distinguish yourself as the ideal recipient, and directly tailored to the provider—write (eloquently) for your audience!!

2. Have someone else edit/proofread

The last thing anyone wants to do after writing a personalized essay that can make or break their application is read it over again (and over again, and over again). Plus, it is just general good proofreading practice to get a second set of eyes to edit a document. So, edit the paper yourself, then have someone else proofread and suggest edits in addition. Better safe than sorry!

3. Remember all the standard essay qualities

In addition to distinguishing yourself as the ideal recipient of whichever scholarship it is you’re applying for, the scholarship essay also has to demonstrate your writing abilities. As important as the content, the ability to write effectively is a major criterion for providers. Remember to plan your response ahead of time, use proper grammar, and demonstrate your mastery of language (but not at the expense of being clear or concise!).

Check out our most recent Google Hangout where we gave you tips on writing your scholarship essay:


Green Ticket Scholarship

March 13th, 2014 by Bryanna Davis

Gglobe 14reen Ticket Scholarship
Deadline: April 15th

Students between the ages of 14 and 18 who have demonstrated a commitment to the environment and their community are eligible for the Green Ticket Scholarship. This scholarship is sponsored by Abbey Road Programs, INC, a study abroad summer program that provides a quality academic experience and cross-culture understanding.

One deserving student will be granted a full Green Ticket scholarship, while two will receive a partial Green Ticket Community Service Scholarship (airfare or its equivalent). To be eligible for consideration of this scholarship, you must be a high school student aged 14-18 and have a strong Grade Point Average (GPA). Students must also be involved in after school activities like clubs or community service projects.

Eligible applications must submit the following before April 15th:

  1. A recent photograph
  2. An official transcript
  3. A foreign language evaluation
  4. Two letters of recommendation: one personal letter and one academic letter
  5. A personal statement that includes the following:
  • Your reasons for applying for a fellowship or scholarship
  • Academic strengths and challenges
  • Any applicable internship/leadership/work experience or volunteer activities
  • Your future academic and career plans, including an explanation of how a fellowship or scholarship and participation in an Abbey Road summer program will support these plans
  • The reasoning you used to determine your preferred summer program choice
  • Any other information you feel the Scholarship Committee should know

Find more on this scholarship, if you are eligible and how to apply here.

International Scholarship for Brazilian Students Provides Education Opportunities

March 11th, 2014 by Jennifer Frankel

favela188059788From primary school through university level, the Students Helping Street Kids International scholarship provides the opportunity for at-risk Brazilian students from impoverished and crime-stricken areas and households to attain an education: a privilege many from those circumstances unfortunately never get to enjoy. 

The Scholarship

Students Helping Street Kids International (SHSKI) is a non-profit organization based in Eugene, Oregon that organizes curriculum and donation efforts between sister schools in Brazil and the USA to provide scholarships for at-risk Brazilian youths. These scholarships allow younger Brazilians to attend primary and secondary schools in their communities, as well as the opportunity to study abroad in the USA after attaining a high school diploma.

SHSKI Scholarships Provide:

  • School Tuition/Associated Fees
  • Books/Supplies
  • Uniforms
  • School Lunches
  • Transportation to and from school
  • Monthly basket of staple food items for student and family, when deemed necessary

Where does the scholarship come from?

The SHSKI scholarship is made possible by the contributions of individual sponsors/donors, as well as pledges from universities, primary, and secondary sister schools in the United States. Individuals interested in donating to SHSKI or sponsoring an at-risk student are encouraged to get in touch with the organization.

Who is eligible?

Unlike a typical scholarship, wherein individuals apply and compete for a select number of slots, the SHSKI scholarship has its recipients determined by professionals with a number of NGO’s who work directly with the at-risk Brazilian youth. Student recipients are selected according to a number of criteria, including: intelligence, self-discipline and desire to learn, poverty level, having a fixed home, and parent/guardian agreement to allow student to follow through with education until at least high school graduation.

Are you Brazilian and looking for other scholarships? Check out our other scholarship awards available to Brazilian students!

Join Us Today to Chat About Scholarship Essays for International Students

March 6th, 2014 by Jennifer Frankel

connected people464897683Today, at 2:00 pm EST International Student Loan will be featuring their next FREE hangout on 8 Steps To Write A Killer Scholarship Essay. You will not want to miss this discussion, where one of their financial aid representatives will be discussing:

  • How to brainstorm your essay
  • Tips and tricks to make your scholarship essay stand out
  • Proofreading and editing

This discussion will all be focused on scholarship essays for international students, so don’t miss your chance to get the specifics. If you have used our scholarship search, then you know that most scholarships require you to have an essay enclosed in your application. The essay is one of the important considerations for the award panel and can be the reason an applicant is selected as the most deserving. You can spend hours applying for the many scholarships out there for international students, but it won’t matter if you don’t have a good essay.

Let International Student Loan help you with their Google Hangout today at 2:00 pm EST. All you need to do is click this link, and log in to join the conversation. You’ll also have a chance to ask all your questions live online, so be sure to create a calendar reminder and join the conversation.

Win a (small) Pot of Gold

March 6th, 2014 by Bryanna Davis

goldworld92283661Win a (small) Pot of Gold

Deadline: March 17th

When it comes to finding scholarships, even those with a smaller award amount are helpful! Participate in the Win a Pot of Gold contest and you will have a chance to win a $25 amazon gift card. Keep in mind that this award is only open for international students to participate in until March 17th- St. Patrick’s Day.

Here is a breakdown of the steps you need to follow to enter:

  1. Visit their Facebook, Google+ or Twitter page and like or follow them.
  2. On or before March 17th tell them what you would do if you found an actual pot of gold on their Facebook or Google+ wall, or tweet them @intstudent.
  3. Impress them with your answer and you could win a $25 Amazon gift card!

If you want to share what you would do if you found a pot of gold and have a chance to win a $25 amazon gift card- visit here for more information. Keep in mind that you must send in your answer before St. Patrick’s Day. Good luck!

Graduate Research Program Offers Scholarships for African Students to Study in Germany

February 28th, 2014 by Jennifer Frankel

earth melting186767766The WASCAL Graduate Research Program on Climate Change and Agriculture

Deadline: March 31st, 2014

 A number of scholarships are available to African students through the long-term research initiative established by the German Ministry of Education and Research, referred to as WASCAL (the West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use). WASCAL consists of an educational network and infrastructure designed to help West African countries take on the various challenges and adaptations required by climate change. Through combining their experience and knowledge with that of several German universities, the ten African WASCAL countries will be able to strengthen their area’s infrastructures and capacities to adapt to the challenges associated with climate change.


  • Candidates must be no older than 40 years
  • Candidates must be from one of the ten WASCAL countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo)

  • Candidates must possess a Master’s Degree or its equivalent in Soil Science, Crop Science, Agroforestry, Forestry, Animal Science, Integrated Pest Management, or other revelant disciplines, with at least an average of 60% (Second Upper Class, Assez Bien)

 While not a requirement, familiarity with modeling or geographic information systems is a benefit.


  •  A stipend of 500.00 euro/month (350.00 during the pre-course language preparations) to cover accommodation and expenses during the study period
  • The student will be allowed to travel to Germany during the course of the PhD fellowship period in order to work with scientists at German universities or research centers

  • All airfare will be paid for by the project, as well as a monthly stipend of around 1000.00 euro per month will be provided for each month spent in Germany

How to Apply:

Students must apply directly to the 3 ½ year doctoral training program at the Graduate Research Program on Climate Change and Agriculture (GRP CC&Agric) offered through the University of Bamako, Mali in conjunction with the IPR/IFRA of Katibougou by March 31st 2014.

Want to learn about other upcoming scholarship awards? Check out our other blogs telling you which scholarships to look out for!

The Malaysia International Scholarship (MIS)

February 27th, 2014 by Bryanna Davis

AidThe Malaysia International Scholarship (MIS)
Deadline: March 31st
The Malaysia International Scholarship (MIS) is a postgraduate and postdoctoral scholarship intended to draw talented international students to Malaysia in order to study a number of prioritized disciplines at one of the well-established public or private universities in the country.

Each Malaysia International Scholarship consists of:

•Airfare to Malaysia
•A tuition waiver
•A monthly spending allowance
•An annual grant for books/domestic travel
•Medical/health insurance
•An installation and termination grant
•A thesis allowance
•A visa (assuming all other student visa requirements are adequately met—the offer of the MIS does not in itself guarantee a visa)

There are a number of criteria an international student must meet in order to be eligible for the MIS. Applicants for the MIS must:

• Be no more than 40 years of age for postgraduate applicants, or 45 years of age for postdoctoral applicants
•(Postgraduate) have obtained either a minimum of Second Class Upper (Honours) or a CGPA of 3.5/4.0 at the Bachelor’s Degree level (for Master’s Degree applicants), and a CGPA of 3.5/4.0 at the Master’s Degree level for Phd applicants
•(Postdoctoral) be prepared to be assessed based on the number of books produced, submissions to refereed/non refereed journals, overall portfolio, patent copyrights, reputation as a researcher, and possession of knowledge related to the research that is to be carried out
•Have taken an English Language Proficiency Test not more than two years before the date of application, scoring at least:

◦IELTS Academic Test/6.5
◦TOEFL (paper)/580
◦TOEFL (computer)/230
◦TOEFL (internet)/92

•Be certified to be in excellent health/condition by a certified medical professional
•Have written a proposal in one of the prioritized fields of study (to be listed, below) that shows a potential contribution to advancing technology and human well-being
•Have applied for and gained admission to postgraduate or postdoctoral studies in Malaysia (conditional letters of offer are accepted at time of application)

Prioritized Fields of Study:

1. Science and Engineering
2.Agriculture and Fisheries
3.Economics and Islamic Finance
4.Information and Communications Technology
6.Biosecurity and Food Safety
7.Infrastructure and Utility
8.Environmental Studies
9.Health (not including nursing, medicine, or clinical pharmacy)

How To Apply:

All applications are accepted from January 1st through March 31st online through the Malaysian Ministry of Education’s website. To find more on this scholarship visit here.