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Writing

Scholarship Applications

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 https://www.sparkol.com/en/blog/8-classic-storytelling-techniques-for-engaging-presentations 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

Don’t Include

“Show, don’t tell” method of creating imagery.

A full autobiography.

An honest picture of yourself; specific examples.

Emojis; excessive exclamation points.

A brief “thank you” at the end.

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 oscarplus.mcmaster.ca. Appointments available Monday – Friday during the academic year. For resume critiques, visit https://studentsuccess.mcmaster.ca//careers-and-employment/job-search/.

References

Butler, M. Writing a strong scholarship application. Scholarships Canada. https://www.scholarshipscanada.com/News/8/2975/Writing-a-Strong-Scholarship-Application

How to write a scholarship essay and win big. https://myscholly.com/how-to-write-a-scholarship-essay/

University of Massachusetts Amherst. Tips for scholarship applications. https://www.umass.edu/sbs/tips-scholarship-applications

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