Scholarships are a great way to help reduce the cost of school. Unfortunately, they’re not just handed out for no reason – you have to apply for them, and applying usually means writing a scholarship essay.
Even if you aren’t a perfect student, a well-written essay can still set you apart from other applicants and really put you in the running to win. Because of this, it’s important that you avoid making any of the common mistakes in scholarship essays outlined below.
Keep it Simple
You may have a temptation to use a lot of large words in your essay thinking it will impress the reviewers. While a large and well chosen word every now and then can be impressive, adding too many can make your essay sound like it was written by a thesaurus. The people who review scholarship essays are typically looking for sentences that are descriptive, clear and simple all at the same time. If you are unsure about a particular word or sentence, try reading it out loud and see if it sounds natural. If you are not comfortable with English (and, really, even if you are) it is also a good idea to have a friend or classmate proofread your essay. It’s hard to spot your own mistakes!
Create an Outline
Another one of the more common mistakes in scholarship essays has to do with organization. Without proper planning it is easy to get off topic and winding up with a messy and unorganized essay. The best way to prevent this is to create an outline before you start writing. The outline should include everything you want to talk about and be laid out in a logical and easy to follow order, with one topic leading into the next. This will keep you on topic and give your essay a more solid and coherent feel than an essay that is written without an outline.
Give Yourself Enough Time
Pushing things off until the last minute is something everyone can be guilty of from time to time, and because of that it is another of the more common mistakes in scholarship essays. It is obvious when an essay is rushed. Even if you are a great writer and confident in your work, there are always simple mistakes that can get past you if you don’t take the time to review and polish your essay. Most common of these mistakes are misspellings and incorrect grammar, both of which can all be easily avoided if you take your time.
* Blank scholarship application photo courtesy of Shutterstock