I read the book How to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay by Gen and Kelly Tanabe since Sophia is in the process of applying for scholarships as she prepares to head to college in Fall 2019.
There were many examples of strong essays and interview questions. However, they are unique to the person who wrote them, so they aren't things to write down to remember.
There were some tips that I thought would be helpful or general insight that I found interesting:
- Check out The Ultimate Scholarship Book that has scholarships based on field of study, ethnicity, hobbies, talents, etc.
- Sell the scholarship committee on the things that you have done outside the academic area.
- Find a unique topic - what point of view of life experience can you share that is unique?
- What's the underlying question. For example, "Why do you want to study business?" means "Why do you want to study business, and why are you the best future business person we should gift with our hard-earned money?"
- Be passionate about what you've done.
- Give specific examples - not just general statements.
- Expand on your accomplishments. Give details about what was actually involved with the role you did.
- Show positive energy. If you are writing about a problem, present some solutions.
- Even if it takes a long time to fill out applications and write essays, think of it as being paid $500 an hour if you win.
- Use your essay to craft a story showing why you are a unique candidate. Include personal experiences, lessons learned, and how you are trying to improve yourself.
- Give specific examples of leadership, special talents, obstacles, or community service.
- Make sure the essay fits into the values that the foundation/business cares about.
- Go deeper and beyond what is in your application.
- Paint a picture of yourself (briefly), and then explain where you're going and how you're going to get there.
- When talking about leadership, focus on the specifics of what you did in a particular role (e.g, writing an article for the paper, soliciting donations, overseeing volunteers, contacting people).