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Writing Scholarship Applications

Here are some top tips for writing scholarship applications. Best of luck to you!

Step 1: Brainstorm

  • What are the relevant milestones in your life and big lessons you’ve learned?
  • What is the focus of your application and how do you want to organize it?

Step 2: Draft

Include the following:

  • A strong opening statement. Give context; don’t be overly general.
  • An introduction, body paragraphs (new point = new paragraph), and a brief conclusion.
  • A storytelling structure. Visit for examples.
  • Your scholarly accomplishments and scholarly plan.
  • The 3 Rs: recency (of your experiences), relevance (why you’re the best candidate based on your experiences), and responsibility level (your role titles and duties).

Step 3: Revise

  • Take a break before each revision session to allow for a new perspective on your writing.
  • Read your application aloud to check for clarity and flow.
  • Strike a balance between a tone of professional writing and one of personal reflection.
  • After revising your ideas and structure, proofread for grammar, spelling, and typos.

Include the “show, don’t tell” method of creating imagery; an honest picture of yourself with specific examples; a brief “thank you” at the end.

Don’t include a full autobiography; emojis, excessive exclamation points; clichés or inspirational quotes. 

Other Tips:

  • Be aware of the word count.
  • Stick to the prompt if one is provided.
  • Read past winning applications to understand what the scholarship committee is looking for.


Book an appointment at the Writing Centre at Appointments available Monday – Friday during the academic year. For resume critiques, visit


Butler, M. Writing a strong scholarship application. Scholarships Canada.

How to write a scholarship essay and win big.

University of Massachusetts Amherst. Tips for scholarship applications.

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