Study Abroad: How to Write a Scholarship Essay that Stands Out

Study Abroad: How to Write a Scholarship Essay that Stands Out

You decided to study abroad? That’s great! Whether it’s just for a semester or you’re going to spend years as a student abroad, it’s going to be a great experience for you.

However, you’re also aware of the fact that this experience is going to cost a lot of money. You’ll have to cover the expenses for your studies, but the living expenses will also be high. Fortunately, there are scholarship programs that can cover that part for you. To become part of such scholarship program, however, you have to stand out among all other students who are trying to get their studies financed.

You know that many other students have the same academic achievements and similar interests to yours. The scholarship essay is the main differentiator. It’s the part of the scholarship application that shows your personality. The perfect essay will convince the board that you deserve that money to be invested in your education.

Don’t worry; you can write a scholarship essay that stands out. It will open the doors to your adventure of studying abroad. We’ll give you few great tips on how to compose this essay.

  1. Explore Essays from Native Students

If this is a scholarship program from the country of your interest, you’ll have to meet standards you’re not used to. French students, for example, write different essays from the ones American students write.

It’s important to understand what exactly you’re supposed to write. Read the guidelines for the scholarship program very carefully. If you don’t know what kind of essay they want, contact them with your request for clarification.

  1. Make Sure You Understand the Essay Prompt

Before you start doing anything, read and re-read the essay question. Think about it. Do you understand it? How will you answer it?

Let’s take this essay prompt as an example: Describe a situation where you demonstrated responsible leadership or innovation. What are the keywords here? Situation, demonstrated, leadership, and innovation. Take those themes. Make sure you understand them. Brainstorm on them. Develop an outline that will force you to stay on topic while bringing depth in the essay.

  1. Impress from the Very Beginning

The first few sentences you write are crucial. You may start with a quote if that’s what you prefer, but make sure to follow it with your own words that are powerful, too. You may also start with an anecdote related to the theme of the essay.

The important thing is to show your knowledge, interests, and personality right from the start. Don’t make any digressions and don’t make the introduction endless. Get right to the point.

  1. Surprise Them

Let’s take the same essay prompt as an example. If you write about a simple team project from school that allowed your leadership skills to shine, it might be boring. What’s so special about a presentation that every other student has done?

If, however, you write about a non-governmental organization where you really made a change, you’ll surprise the scholarship committee members. If you still take that presentation for school, but show how you used things you learned from Star Wars to be a good leader, you’ll still have them surprised.

Whatever the theme is, add a surprising element to it. It will make the essay feel more personal and unique. That’s what scholarships are awarded for.

  1. Relate This Essay to Your Target Country      

Remember: you’re not writing a generic scholarship essay. You want a particular scholarship that will allow you to study in a particular country. Why do you want to study there? Find a way to include that information in the essay, so you’ll convince the scholarship committee members that you’re worthy of the investment.

What will you bring back to that country? How will this experience of studying abroad help you influence the society in your own country? Why are these studies so important for your future and how will this scholarship program get you on that track?

  1. Don’t Forget to Edit!

Your work is not over until you edit and proofread that essay as close to perfection as possible. This phase will test your discipline. You’ve spent a lot of time working on your essay, and now you have to evaluate every single aspect of it.

Don’t rush through the process. Take your time to pay attention to each word, sentence, and paragraph. Is your message clear? If you suffocated with too many adjectives and unnecessary additions, cut them out. Keep reading your essay as you make the edits. You’ll come to the point when it sounds much better than its first draft did. That’s when you’ll know you’re done.

Don’t take the scholarship essay as an overwhelming challenge. Take it as an opportunity. Remind yourself how great this program is and how cool it would be for you to become part of it. That mindset will drive you towards the perfect scholarship essay.

About the author: Karen Dikson

Karen Dikson is a tech-savvy teacher and consultant at academic writing service Best Essays. Her works have been published on HuffPost and other educational resources. She enjoys helping her students achieve their most ambitious goals.

Follow Karen on Twitter.


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