How to Start a Scholarship Essay About Your Accomplishments

by Jenny Lewis
Knowing how to list your accomplishments will help you write a great scholarship essay.

Though starting a scholarship essay can be intimidating, it gets easier if you remember a few key points. If you take the time to get to know your audience, list your accomplishments, know what makes you unique and write out your goals, you will be on track to write an effective scholarship essay.

Know Your Audience

Before writing any scholarship essay, consider who will be reading it. What is the organization's mission? What is the purpose of the scholarship? Knowing the organization's values will help you to tailor your writing. Think about how you fit in with the organization's mission. Will awarding you the scholarship fulfill the organization's purpose? If not, find a scholarship that is a better fit for your strengths, talents and goals. Also, make sure you read and understand the instructions on the scholarship application. Think about how you will address the questions or topics you are asked to write about.

List Your Accomplishments

Though it may make you feel a bit uncomfortable, it's important to highlight your accomplishments in a scholarship essay. Even though your mother told you not to brag, this is different. The people deciding who will earn their scholarship will give it to the person they feel is most deserving; they expect you to convince them of why you are that person. Think about awards you've received, academic accomplishments and extracurricular activities. What jobs have you held? Have you done any volunteer or community service projects? Though you may not include everything on your list on every application, making a complete list will help you get started.

Determine What Sets You Apart

After listing your accomplishments, consider what makes you unique. Though this is often the most difficult part of starting a scholarship essay, it is the most important. If you fail to set yourself apart from the other applicants, you will get lost in the shuffle. Look back at your list of accomplishments: Of which are you most proud? Think of a problem you encountered and how you overcame it. Each person has qualities that make him unique; knowing yours will help you put your best foot forward on scholarship essays.

Know Your Goals

The people deciding who will receive their scholarship money want to know that it will be well-spent. You'll need to be clear on your goals for college in order to convince others to help you. Why do you want to go to college or to that particular school? What would you like to learn and accomplish while you're there? What are your career goals for after college? How will attending that particular college help you to achieve your career goals? Consider how your goals align with the organization's mission. This will position you to write a great essay and increase your chances of earning a scholarship.

About the Author

Jenny Lewis has been an educator since 1992 when she earned her masters in teaching. Since then she has taught Spanish, English Language Arts, Social Studies in the diverse schools across the country. She added a Special Education Endorsement in 2010 for her work as an instructional coach. She started blogging about education in 2010.

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